SATISFYING HAY CROP AT STRATFORDJune 14, 2023
IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY ON THIS FARMAugust 15, 2023
Stratford Ecological Center on Liberty Road was closed the week of July 4. It is a tradition to give the farm camp staff time off, to regenerate before the 9-12 years old camp starts the following week. The rest of the staff were offered the same opportunity, or they could come in for a day or two to take advantage of the quiet time and catch up.
Farmer Jeff is always on call, and he decided to close the lane on Thursday the 6th and bring in Ray Spring to cut down the dangerous snagged trees close to the driveway. A number of farmhands were willing to come in and remove the debris. There is now enough branches and invasives in our shredding pile to warrant the use, for the first time, of our commercial-size shredder to produce our own mulch. The logs were transported to the Sugar Shack on the hay wagon. The route was much smoother around the “rabbit ear” trees and field 7, as the farmhands had done a great job filling the ruts with gravel.
Ray is a master of his craft. Farmer Jeff and the farmhands watched as he threw a rope over a dead tree and tied it to his truck. He then drove forward and two thick sections, at least 16 feet and 20 feet long, landed between a tree and the back of the Stratford Woods Nature Preserve Area sign, with only inches to spare on either side. Everyone was in awe and even Ray felt proud!
The spelt in fields 1, 3 & 4 is golden and ready to harvest as hay. We just need the soil to dry on top; hay lying on wet ground will never dry! The grass fields will take a little longer before we take a second cut of hay.
The five friendly pigs, the heaviest now weighing 200 lbs., have been allowed to graze outside for some time, as they continue to make a considerable mess of their pen. On June 30 they were moved from the Backyard to the neighboring field known as the Corral, without access to their pen. They did not appreciate the move, and Farmer Jeff discovered the next day they had not drunk any water. A serious problem. He carried in some buckets of water to entice them, which they flipped, and more buckets to drench and cool them. Later that day they were still not drinking and thus won the battle to return to their pen and stay there! On Monday, Onika, a farm intern, waved a bucket of feed through their door. She must have the right touch, because they followed her to the Corral, and settled in with no further problems. A 3-day operation in all!
A 2-year-old bull calf was delivered to the processors on Tuesday, June 27. His mother is Oreo, a 5-year-old Holstein Cow. The following Saturday Farmer Jeff was out of town. Molly, another farm intern, was in charge. Molly noticed Oreo’s udder was swollen and hard. Unbeknown, Oreo’s calf had still been suckling her! Molly, single-handed, ushered the cow into the small pen in the barn, and locked her in the neck brace and milked her! Molly has milked goats before but never a cow. Oreo had been milked a few times when she gave birth to her first calf and offered no resistance. She gave 1.5 gallons which Molly took to drink. Oreo was kept in to prevent her eating juicy grass, fed only dry hay, and milked occasionally. Within five days she had dried off. Kudos to Molly.
Seven male lambs out of this year’s thirty lambs went to the processor on July 10. Their average weight was 100 lbs. A respectable weight considering lambing did not happen this year until early March.
Honey production this year is setting a record. The frames in the observation hive in the barn were full, creating overcrowding for the bees. Six frames were removed and replaced with empty ones. At the same time the Queen Bee was located and caught to mark her for future identification. Much to bee group leader Kent’s chagrin, the Queen Bee was mistakenly returned to the hive without being marked. He laughed at himself as he shared the story. In the Orchard is a hive with a Queen producing aggressive bees. They react when anyone opens the hive. It is a genetic trait, and this Queen will be removed and replaced!
Enchanted Evening, our signature fund raiser and annual celebration, is scheduled for Thursday, August 24 from 5:30-9:30 pm. Once again, the event will be held at the Columbus Zoo African Event Center, with a wide deck overlooking the grazing animals on the Savanna, and a front row seat to watch the giraffes striding to their sleeping quarters. It was a lot of fun last year! Further details and registration can be found on our website. We hope your summer plans are going well.