High Grove Farm Journal – August 2022
Sep 06, 2022 (Westby, WI)
By Jessica Rogers
With the corn taller than the cab of the tractor and the fourth crop of hay baled and put away, the beginning of autumn seems to be upon us. I’d love to just ignore these changes in season and have summer all year round, but I still haven’t figured that one out yet!
I watched leaves fall from trees as I drove to pick up the boys from football practice last night, and the apples on our later season tree have started to drop too. The bees and butterflies are happy because they get all the apples that bruised upon landing.
The corn will be chopped soon, and the vegetable gardens are bursting with produce. I can tell both are loving the rain showers we are getting every four or five days. This morning we raced to get our freshly baled, small square bales into the pole shed and out of the rain. That would be the second surprise rain we had this week!
Our children, Carter, Caleb and Laney, have started school and are loving it. Especially the boys who are in flag and regular football right now. It’s hard to leave the freedom of summer behind, but I like being on a schedule with them again – even if it means interrupting chore time to drive them to practices, which can be tough.
It’s been a challenging last few weeks on the farm as several pieces of equipment have broken parts. There seems to be at least one flat tire a month… I think we’ve had three this month, and the yard work hasn’t slowed down all summer. However, we did get a chance to sneak away from the farm to go visit a grazing farm near Madison, Wis. That was a refreshing day full of farm talk and laughter with a fellow dairy farmer.
The barn was whitewashed this month. It’s one of my favorite days of the year, but it is always a busy morning trying to get all the usual work done and cows out early so that we can clear everything out of the Whitewashers’ way. We do that so they can move around easily and avoid spraying anything we don’t want them too. The cleanup is also a lot of work, but the result is a bright white, clean barn again!
The cows are still being moved every 12 hours to graze fresh sections of pasture and fields of summer annual mixes – yay! I remember some hot and dry late summers where we didn’t have much for them to graze at all. We’ve really come into our own with grazing and found what perfectly fits for our farm. We’ve always loved having our cows out on pasture, but this year we fell in love with REAL grazing. Drew worked so hard and took some big leaps of faith by trying new things and coming up with some very innovative plantings to provide lush, fresh forage for all the milk cows to eat throughout the spring, summer and now fall.
These practices vastly improve cow and soil health and helps cut down equipment usage. I am so proud of him and all the hard work he’s put into learning and growing this farm for his family and the animals this year!
Well, I better go get the far row of tomatoes picked for another batch of canned salsa. It won’t can itself!
Thanks for stopping by,
–Jessica Rogers is a Westby Creamery farmer-owner who is sharing glimpses of farm life with us.