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This weekend I did my best to spin the seeds out counting on a light frost Monday morning. The vehicle and I both finished the job “rode hard and put up wet”, since there wasn’t much point in washing either of us since the next jobs of the day were equally filthy. Which brings me to a personal quirk: I’ve never understood what people get out of trail riding ATVs for recreation. I’m not investing a lot in reseeding since I know that the grass will come back on its own, both from root regrowth and from all the seeds in the bales, but I would like to add some higher digestability forages to the field while I have the opportunity.

Sure the machine is fast and loud and it can splash around in the mud, but riding as a hobby seems like a tedious approximation of real work without any of the rewards of knowing that you are accomplishing anything. I spun on a mix of several seeds: dwarf essex rape, ladino clover, leftover pearl millet I stored in the freezer from last year, and some really old ryegrass.

There is easy access for us and a secure perimeter to keep out predators.


It turns out that the tractor can easily drag the container all over the place and the bucket can lift the ends without straining, so the larger one wouldn’t have been a problem. A few weeks ago I mentioned that we were not going to be farrowing piglets on our farm this year; instead we’ll be working with a few other farms to purchase their weaned piglets. The land surrounding us and various properties extending for about two miles have been signed over to become redeveloped as a solar facility that, if built, will be the largest in NY State.

That is still the plan, but since we have a coed dormitory for the pigs, one of the gilts decided to make a liar of me and gave us this litter of piglets. The developer formally submitted the application a few days ago.

Between the aggregation of nearby land for a feedlot, the proliferation of subdivided farmland into five acre “country living” lots, and the loss of pastureland due to solar development, the prospects for grazing are dwindling. Would I be better off going to the solar developer, hat in hand, asking to become part of their system, and use some of the proceeds to put a downpayment on a new farm?

It is a bitter disappointment, now that we finally are achieving some momentum in selling our products, to see our prospects for growing to a scale that can support our farm suddenly diminish. Or is my milkshake already slurped up and I just don’t know it?

Solar electricity = productive; commodity crops relying on tillage, fertilizer, and herbicide = productive; photosynthesis and carbon capture from deep rooted perennial pasture plants = under-productive.

I can’t predict all the ways this could affect land use.

When a project funded by federal and state subsidies elbows into a neighborhood making offers that can’t be refused, how can unsubsidized farms withstand that pressure?

A farm trying to be successful on its own merits can’t outmuscle a developer backed by private investment and public grants.

For the previous six years of brooding chickens, we’ve used all kinds of cobbled together brooders.

This year as we transition to bigger groups of chickens we knew we needed to get our brooding act together. It isn’t fancy, but it should be just what the chicks need: warm, dry, well-ventilated — yet not drafty, with room for a large heated hover, automatic nipple waterers, and plenty of feeder space.

But after years of neglect, my plan for this Saturday afternoon was to strip off​ the metal roofing and reuse it for our chicken bulk feeders. Thunderstorms lifted the hut clear from the mud, tossing and tumbling it three hundred feet.

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