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Sonlit Acres

Encouraging sustainable living

On The Homestead.

Haying season has ended, and since we have had frost all except our carrots have been harvested.  The time to plant next years garlic is upon us and we are waiting for the ground to dry a little after the fall rains have soaked us.

I always look forward to bringing the haying equipment home, it marks another milestone in the summer season of something accomplished. Now comes the preparing for storage and the maintenance list of things that need to be fixed or parts replaced for next season. As I have said in the past, all of our equipment is old and is 1940's to 1950's machines. Though it is old to modern standards it runs well and is in good working order. I know of folks with newer machines that spend more time being fixed than ours has.

Not that I think mine are better, I would love the speed that these folks can get it done in, and maybe that's some of the problem. the older machines are slower and don't wear as fast as the speedier ones do. Our fix before next season list is another reason. If we pay attention to the coming needs of the machine it can be repaired before it breaks, and if it's a need that's coming and will be costly it can be planned for well in advance.

When buying machines for the homestead, never be afraid of an older machine that has been well cared for.  The farm machines of that era were designed and built to last a life time. The new imported machines are no match to the old American iron of that time, it was made of good quality steel and no corners were cut to increase profit margins. The fact that most parts that wear out on these machines are still manufactured and that adds to the service life of these machines. Being handy with a wrench and a welder is a plus when you have old equipment, but I haven't noticed that I have had to do too much welding on the machines we use. Though welding on this type of equipment is common, even on the newer ones.

Older equipment is the perfect choice for the homestead because one can normally purchase it without having to borrow the money, even though we do the same kind of work that the commercial farmer does, we just don't do as much of it as he does. Therefore we can keep an old machine in operation for many more years.

This year it seems to have struck me, our children have grown and all are on there own except our youngest. Things came a little harder this year with only Abraham and I at the helm. The work seems to get done now a little slower. Things sure have changed since our first garden thirty years ago. We no longer need to produce as much as we did and it was a big adjustment this canning season. I kept thinking this is strange I normally have so much more, then I would have to remind myself, that the garden is only half what it was last year. After twenty nine years of huge gardens it seems difficult to get used to the idea of only half of one. But like learning to cook smaller meals, I’m sure we’ll get used to it.

We still have some unfinished summer projects to catch up on mostly because I fell behind a couple years ago when I went through cancer and surgery. The recovery from the esophagectomy prevented allot of things getting done that year and I have been behind on many things since we probably won't get them all done at this point, we will do the most pressing ones first. We have a whole in the barn wall that needs to be closed up as the bull decided he would like a bigger window this past spring. The boards have been cut for that as well as for fixing the floor in the old horse stall.

There are still a few loads of wood up in the wood lot that need to be hauled to the shed, now that the tractors will be home this will get done soon. When haying season begins all other projects take a back seat, until it is done. Then it is a mad rush to get the pressing things done before snow comes. All in all, that is life on a homestead or any other farm as that goes, and we will get it done and enjoy doing as we have always done, just a bit slower. I look forward to the slower winter months and hope to spend more time here and catching up.

I know I often fall behind here, but a full-blown feed yourself homestead is a very busy place, even when you have cut back in many areas, I guess maybe recovering from cancer and being close to sixty means the work gets done a little slower.


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