I spent some time mowing a little over on the Massey yesterday evening; I hope you don't mind another photo dump. I'll get caught up some soon and won't post so much....until we get cameras up anyway.
Loaded up and ready to head out...
Here's the easement heading into our 80; we're not in a drought, the farmer sprayed when he put the corn in the ground. It's a new operator this year, he's planning to no-till most everything in the future.
If you look close, you can see why I'm mowing; this is last fall's brassica plot -- flowering turnips. I didn't want the turnips to go to seed, so I did a throw and mow with oats and berseem clover a month and a half ago, I thought that would be the end of the turnips, but I was wrong. Unfortunately, cool season grass took over and the oats and clover are non-existent. Next year, I'll probably spray the cool season grass early then the throw in mow. I don't mind working ground, but it's tough in the spring between rains.
We have about 2.5 acres of what used to be ag ground that we converted to food plot space when we bought the farm. Each fall I try to plant around a third of an acre of cereal grain/clover mix. We'll also plant a third of an acre of brassicas late summer; which will be the new cereal grain spot the following year. The rest of the area is clover in various stages of age. I'm going to begin broadcasting in the clover each fall and maybe spring to get some more soil building properties out of it -- per your guy's advice.
This is last fall's cereal grain/clover. As you can see it's coming along okay, but not as good as normal. This year I refrained from spraying clethodim in the spring; wanting the awnless wheat to fully mature. As a result, the cool season grasses are much more prevalent and completely outcompeted everything in some places (second pic), and they will be going to seed soon. So the dilemma I'm facing for next year is to spray in spring, or let the wheat mature. If the deer don't hit the mature wheat heads this summer, I'll go back to spraying for sure.
Here's some of the older established clovers. As you can see, the deer are staying after it.
The farmer, actually it's a partnership, the guy who cash rents our ground has a full-time job outside of farming. He sharecrops his ground. I believe his plan is to get all of the land paid off, then he'll retire early and farm full-time. So, for now he has operators, some aren't good, as you'll soon see.
He has a new operator this year and they put corn in for the first time since 2012, before we owned the place. On the plus side, that means there will be wheat here next winter. On the minus side, there will be no soybeans on our farm for the first time since we've owned it too. Also, we very much enjoy deer watching out of our old barn in the summer; that will be a no-go this year after the corn reaches mature height. You can see the corn peeking up in the distance out of the sprayed mess of Italian rye (not sure if that's what it really is, farmers around here call it that, it's invasive and moved into our country from the south about 5 years ago, and it's really hurt wheat production). Rains kept the farmer and corn out of the ground too long and the Italian rye was too mature when sprayed to really nail it. Also, it rained 2 inches HARD on pretty saturated ground right after planting, so some of the corn never had a chance to get out going.
Mowing finished, this will be next fall's cereal grain/clover spot.
A few other random pictures from the Massey:
Ecos pear from Oikos, I'm hoping this isn't simply a callery pear, if it is, we'll have some strong trees to graft to one day. We planted 9 of them after growing them in pots one year.
One of this spring's dcos we planted from wildlife group. I'm a big fan of these shrubs, they're tough as nails so far for us.
You can see why we have to protect everything; one of the many beds on the hillside below the barnyard.
Our old deer watching quansit (sp?) barn. We can enter/exit the barn because of topography while deer are already in the plots and fields without them having a clue. I'm REALLY going to miss deer watching from it this summer.
A look inside the barn. I push the platform back further into the barn to keep it out of the weather after an evening of deer watching.
One of the little Allegheny chinquapins we got from Wildlife group this spring. We planted 30 of these in various places on the Massey, I have big hopes for them and hope they are at least half as tough as the dcos.
The waterway running north from the barn. We planted some cedars in it 4 years ago. We more recently planted some dcos and American plums too, but didn't have the gear to protect them, so not sure how they will do.
If you've noticed some dead looking trees along the field edges in the some of the pictures, you have a good eye. The old, now FIRED, operator used airplane spraying, even when instructed not to by the farmer. The results just about make me sick...
Here's a stunted burr English oak in the barnyard. It's counterparts in other parts of the farm untouched by spray are over twice this size. You can also see a dead cottonless cottonwood we planted in the background years ago.
This one makes me want to throw up. We hope to build on the place in 15-20 years and there were two old giant pecan trees in what will on day be part of the yard. They have endured 2 years since the plane spraying, but I believe this year will do them in.
At least we have a good number of years to continue to plant trees in what will be the yard. The farmer promised me there would never be any plane spraying again.
Speaking of building one day, if it happens, the house will be right about where the tractor is sitting.
Here's some of the Northern Whitetail crabs we put in the ground a little over a month ago.