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Preparing for winter

Agriculture.com Staff 10/18/2006 @ 9:34am

At Sunrise Acres, harvest is over and thoughts turn towards next year. With frost in the air, the wood stove has been dusted off, tested and officially back in business. The canals have been shut off, pumps winterized and siphon tubes stacked safely until next year.

Since last month's report, our new pasture has been seeded and watered several times. The pumping system worked great and a beautiful shade of green now can be seen from our farmstead. With the freshly seeded pasture comes a new crop of gophers. They seem to enjoy the easy digging. They won't enjoy it for long! I invite anyone who has a soft spot for these nasty creatures to grab a shovel and try to get water from one end of the field to the other after these guys finish with it.

Our fourth cutting of hay is in the stack and covered up for winter. It sat in the field for a long time and had to be turned twice to dry. With our close proximity to the Snake River, we have very heavy dew this time of year, which makes drying quite difficult. We have started selling our first cutting as "feeder" hay as it was rained on while it was drying. Although it was discolored, it has been moving pretty quickly. The higher quality 2nd and 3rd cuttings seem to be popular with horse raisers. It has a nice green color and smells great. The demand for hay in small bales is increasing as more people move into our valley with horses.

As for our fields that were in wheat, the Canadian thistle will soon meet its end. After another frost or two, we will have it sprayed with Roundup. This chemical is taken into the root system and does a great job of wiping out this noxious weed. Part of our irrigation water comes from a drain ditch and the thistle seed is an unwelcome passenger. Hopefully with our new bubbler screen, this will no longer occur.

Carol has been spraying the field borders one last time before winter. She has been on a mission this year to keep the edges clean and has done a great job. If they are sprayed early, they never get a chance to get big and ugly. Her persistence has really paid off. When I was farming full time there were always "escapes."

A farm is much more relaxing without weeds poking out of every corner. Katie and Johnny have been busy with school. Katie is a cheerleader this year and in Dad’s humble opinion doing a great job. Johnny is cruising through his Senior year and practicing his guitar skills. He has promised me a cut of the income from his bands’ first album.

My weekend project this month has been to prepare our outbuildings for a new coat of paint. Johnny and I took turns with our new pressure washer removing the old finish. While saving time and doing a great job, this new machine is so aggressive it tends to remove more than just paint! Hopefully this coming weekend I can give them a fresh coat for winter. The problem is Saturday is opening day of pheasant season and the University of Idaho versus Boise State University football game. Just too many opportunities to escape work. (Go Vandals!!)

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