High Grove Farm Journal – June 2023
Jul 05, 2023 (Westby, WI)
By Jessica Rogers
It has been a month full of house and farm projects with a whole lot of praying for rain. Hi, I am Jessica and I’m glad you stopped by. Each month I share a glimpse into farm life as a Westby Cooperative Creamery dairy farmer, along with my husband Drew and our three children, Carter, Caleb and Laney. The usually fair month of June has had its share of troubles as so many farmers crops are in desperate need of rain. The lack of moisture and high heat did a toll on our grazing pastures and for two weeks we had to pull our cows off them to protect the plants. Thankfully things are looking better since then!
We are back to grazing again after the blessing of two rain showers, which also probably saved our corn crop that we put in late. We were getting worried that the small plants couldn’t take much more of the drought-like conditions. The rain also germinated all our annual summer planting of sorghum Sudan we seeded in some of the rye fields that waited weeks for a rain shower. Going through five plus weeks of no rain sure made us realize how often we take good weather for granted.
Life on the farm has been more relaxed and very rewarding lately with grazing easing up on the amount of daily farm chores. It leaves extra time for all my “spring cleaning” projects that need to be done. I’ve been busy pressure washing the porches, decks, house siding, outside barn walls and all the machinery that needed a good cleaning up. Garden and yard work have been very manageable with no rain to germinate the weed seeds and cause trouble in my gardens. The yard didn’t need to be mowed for a few weeks and the normally giant task of weed trimming around all the buildings and trees in our yard has only had to be done a few times.
Currently, I am staining the front deck and working on washing windows on the house. I also finally tried mixing up a batch of homemade whitewash using hydrated lime, salt and warm water to “fix” walls and doors in the barn that looked messy and needed a good fresh coat. It worked AMAZINGLY well, and I am now scraping and whitewashing sections of barn walls weekly.
The boys have been keeping busy with some extra projects as well like washing equipment. They got the first layer of manure off the spreader for me, and I finished the big job before chores the other day. We had to take care of a wasp nest in the hand hold of the wheel fender before continuing though. The wasps sure enjoy the dry, high heat.
Drew has been busy with field work and fixing all the things that break, which is a constant on a farm. Carter helped Drew harvest second crop of hay – and even with the lack of rain – it was a decent crop to store away for winter feeding. The kids and I have enjoyed the swimming hole and going to the pool in town, and we’re hoping to plan a few day trips off the farm soon. Our group of heifers has been calving nicely and we have been enjoying milking the “new girls” so much!
It has been an odd spring and early summer in terms of weather. It has not been easy on nature, and you can certainly see the signs of it. Some plants are thriving, like the roses along my house and our alfalfa fields with their long deep roots. Others are more stressed like the apple trees, which won’t have much to harvest at our place this year.
Milk prices are very low again and I see a lot of dairy farmers quitting and talking about it online in the farming groups I am a part of. Others are asking what everyone else does to cut costs and save pennies to navigate the low milk prices. Meanwhile, the cost of living rises continually for all. As always, we carry on thankful for the daily blessings we see in our family and on our farm, do the best we can and remind ourselves that nature and so many other things are out of our control.
Thank you for stopping by! And as always THANK YOU for your support. 💗
-Jessica Rogers is a Westby Creamery farmer-owner who is sharing glimpses of farm life with us.
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