High Grove Farm Journal – June 2022
Jul 06, 2022 (Westby, WI)
By Jessica Rogers
Hi, I’m Jessica and welcome to High Grove Farm! Each month, I write a small journal entry documenting life on our farm – and share pictures too. We are Westby Creamery farmer-owners and have enjoyed sharing our life with you each month.
My husband Drew and our three children, Carter, Caleb, Laney and myself, have spent the month of June in awe at the amazing abundance and growth of everything around us. The month started out with our first hay harvest. Drew is a stickler for timing with hay cutting and always works hard to get the highest quality feed put up for our cows. We made some small square bales of hay as well as all the large round bales. If you have ever done haying and made small squares you know how hard this work is and what it all involves.
We all have to work as a team and each person has their own task to get it done. Drew drove the tractor that pulls the small square baler and a hay wagon behind that. Most of the bales get thrown into the air and into the wagon, but on sharp corners or steep slopes it misses some. The kids and I drove around with the truck, and Caleb and Carter had to throw the missed bales into the back of the truck. Once we got a full load we drove back to the barn, and they had to unload and stack them. Most of the time they go right up into the haymow, but we are not setup yet on this new farm for that. Later that night after evening chores were done Drew, Carter and I headed out with the tractor and a hay wagon to pick up all the small squares from the field water ways. And let me tell you that was a very full load, and I was tired when we were finished stacking!
Soon after first crop we got some heavy rain, and everything in the fields and gardens just grew like crazy! The cows grazing pastures were lush and full of sweet new growth and the corn grew better too. With the rain came some cooler weather that allowed me to get several painting jobs done around the farm. We also had a few family pick-up days where we cleaned up around buildings and did a handful of projects.
Mowing the yard, weed trimming and gardening continue to take up a lot of my time and I am thankful for my kids’ help whenever I can wrangle it out of them. I am still not fully done with planting my gardens, but it is mostly just succession plantings left. The gardens have given us many meals with fresh spinach, lettuce, kale and herbs, and the woods are producing large amounts of wild mulberries that I’ve made into jam.
We have had many calves born and I sure enjoy taking care of them. Each calf has its own personality. Some of them are super inquisitive and others more bashful. We have one right now that escapes at night, and we don’t know how! And we have another one who the cats love and let lick their fur. We even have one calf who comes when I call, “Hey buddy, buddy!” He is a bull calf we are keeping to one day be a herd bull.
Towards the end of June we harvested our second crop of hay and are happy with how well the crops are growing. We are still getting used to this farm, but I think all of Drew’s hard work in building soil health is really starting to pay off. We are already seeing more earth worms in our soil in the fields and gardens. Earth worms are a big sign of soil health or lack of – if you don’t have very many. So are spider webs. If you walk your land in the early morning and see dew covered spider webs low to the ground on the grass blades, that is also good sign of a happy, healthy ecosystem, which starts in the soil. Good soil health produces good crops, which make good feed that keeps cows healthy and producing lots of excellent milk.
Summer can slow down now if you ask me. It’s so enjoyable being able to drink morning coffee out on the porch swing or end the long day with supper on the patio looking at the view. We are soaking up as much of this beautiful summer as we can, and I hope you are too!
Well, we are off to the swimming hole. Thanks for stopping by!