Wednesday, May 25, 2011

View from house... wet but green!

Living a Childhood Dream

Both Jeremy and I dreamed of farming and living on a farm from a young age.  I played with tractors and loved all animals as a young child.  My family moved to a small farm when I was in elementary school.  I have always referred to it as a 4-H farm.  We had sheep, a horse, dogs, chickens, rabbits, apple trees and a huge garden. 

Jeremy was an avid reader of anything outdoors related and was also a 4-H member.  In 1986 his family bought a farm to grow Christmas trees and hunt and fish, but they rented the house out.  He worked at a local agriculture machine shop and began producing hay on the family farm when he was in high school.

We met at at Purdue University while pursuing Agriculture degrees.  Jeremy was able to complete his masters by research that was completed at his family's farm.  After we received our degrees in 2003 we moved to his family's farm.  Now we are living both of our dreams of farming.  We would both admit it has been much more difficult than we expected.  I taught our first year on the farm and was able to help Jeremy in the summers.  He raises cash crop hay and a few row crops when a field needs rotated.  He also mows hay with his 2 self-propelled swathers for local farmers.  Paul joined us in May of 2006, Ruth in December of 2008.  We began raising the dairy heifers in 2008.  We also sell fencing supplies and forage crop seed.  In the winters Jeremy has hired himself out as everything from a mechanic, to truck driver, to a log skidder.  Making ends meet seems to be more and more difficult but we are determined to stick out these hard times, and continue living our childhood dreams until God directs us elsewhere.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Where were one year ago....and today

Last year the dairy heifers (heifers are female dairy cattle that have never calved) we raise had been grazing for over month!  We were busy with 24 bucket calves, they need fed twice daily as close to 12 hours apart as possible, milk must be warmed enough to dissolve the powder milk but not too much to make the calves sick.  Jeremy had well over half of our hay crop had been harvested thanks to our Claas Uniwrap Baler.  We were debating selling one of our self-propelled swathers due to an iffy mowing contract.  I was working out of the house as an agronomist (I helped farmers with their crops) and was about 8 weeks pregnant with our third child, Amy.  We were comfortable as we could be with the uncertainty of the economy and were stockpiling basic grocery supplies.  We went to church every Sunday when not working. 

Today we have no bucket calves due to the dairy we were raising for selling out last August, of course before buying the heifers we had on contract with them.  The remaining heifers and repossessed Jersey cows have been grazing for only about 10 days and are nearly out of forage.  Jeremy is desperately watching the weather for a break so we can make silage hay for our own use and also to sell.  We have found a niche market in selling cull heifers as freezer beef.  I have taken a job in town and the kids go to a sitter every week day.  Amy arrived safe and sound on December 28, 2010 and is nearly paid off.  We are now eating from our stockpile and not adding much to it.  Most of the bills are paid but we live pay day to pay day.  However despite all of that we look forwards to attending church every Sunday and are growing closer to Christ each and every day!  Jeremy has been on 2 mission trips this spring and went to Brethren Way of Christ!

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