By Stephanie Strothmann
August is almost finished, the cicadas are announcing the coming of fall and the last group of meat chickens were just installed in their brooder a few days ago.
I’m feeling what a lot of farmers are feeling this time of year: Tired.
The hope for a successful harvest of either livestock or crops keeps the momentum going, but on the horizon, there is the promise of a few months of rest from the physical demands of the farm running at full capacity during the warmer months.
Unless you are a dairy farmer, your herds or flocks will likely be smaller and you start to prepare for the months when the winds will blow frigid air and the lush green landscape turns to shades of brown and black as the earth rests.
I noticed the other day that this time of year comes with interesting dangers, as well. One definitely doesn’t want to run through the field without some sort of foot covering as the sandburs decide this time of the season is the perfect time to create the razor-sharp burs that hold the promise of more sandbur plants in the future.
The bees become a bit more stressed as the landscape experiences what is called a pollen dearth, meaning there are not enough pollinating plants available to keep the bees satisfied with their honey making process.
To help ease this stress, pollen patties or a sugar water feeder can be placed into the beehive to help “feed” the bees until the next round of pollinating vegetation starts. When everything pollen-wise has gone to sleep for the winter, the bees will turn to the honey in their hive they have been busy tending to for food. You didn’t think they made that wonderfully delicious substance just for us, did you?
As the days get shorter and nights longer, I’m also noticing the animals of the farm are showing a need for more rest. The roosters don’t crow quite as early, and it takes a few minutes more for the flocks to amble gently out of their coop instead of the usual explosion of activity I see on a late spring, early summer morning.
We are all ready for a bit of slowdown in activity. Enjoy the sunrises and sunsets a bit more.
It has been a very productive, busy growing season this year, and in spite of the pandemic still gripping our world, we’ve managed to survive our fifth year on the farm. Time flies when you’re having fun.
Until next time…