Making Hay

Remember those hot dry days that we had last week? Those are great days for making hay! And we did. First we mowed the field and then let the hay sit for several days to dry.

Next we used the rake to turn the hay over to make sure the underside was also dry. This also gathered it together more into a row.

And finally we baled the hay, threw it on a wagon and stacked it in the barn. Do you notice different colors from the front and the back? The hay in the back is from last year and the hay in the front is this year’s.

Here you can see the color difference better. The back is golden-brown and the front is green. We do this to get ready for feeding hay to the cows and sheep in the winter when we no longer have grass.


Grass is grass is grass, right? Well, not exactly.

Here is my front flower bed all overgrown with grass. Looking at it more closely, I saw that it has a variety of grasses. Some have thin seed heads, others are thicker. And Timothy grass, one of the more well-known ones, hasn’t gone to seed yet.

As far as putting our cows on pasture, we are glad for any kind of grass. But this demonstrates that grass is not grass is not grass. There are differences.

Eggs – how can I use them?

‘Tis the season to have an abundance of eggs. What should I do with them?

  • Bake with them. Once I had a customer who loved to have my eggs put into cookies. The cookies rose better and tasted better than store bought eggs.
  • Mix an egg with oatmeal or granola. Dressing up oatmeal this way also involves adding some variation of oil and butter, dried fruit, seeds, nuts, applesauce, and yogurt. It makes a deluxe breakfast!
  • Fry the eggs with bacon or sausage.
  • Serve the fried egg as a sandwich with a slice of cheese, lettuce, mayonnaise, or tomatoes on bread or tortilla. Lightly grill the bread for a toasted sandwich.
  • Hard boil the eggs. OR steam boil the eggs. Eat them with a little bit of salt.
    • Chop up, mix with mayo, mustard, cottage cheese, chopped onions, chopped pickles, or chopped olives. Add tuna for extra protein. Serve on bread or over lettuce.
    • Mix with cooked potatoes for potato salad.
    • Mix with cooked pasta for pasta salad.
  • Make fried rice. OR make the egg pancake from the fried rice recipe and make sauteed veggies and add cut up egg pancake as the protein.
  • Magic quiche was our go-to winter egg recipe for years. Or lightly saute veggies in a skillet, sprinkle with cheese, top with 4-6 blended eggs with a little bit of milk. Bake at 375F until the eggs are set.

Lots of things you can do with eggs.

Passing of a Fellow Farmer – John Klein

“The first load of hay is here!” comes the cry. John Klein has turned in the driveway and brought the first of 10-12 loads of hay for the season. It would be a hot day because that is the best kind for making hay.

Someone would go out to meet John and help block the tires so that he could unhook the wagon from his truck. Then he would bring down another 1-2 loads that evening. We would unload the wagon that night or early the next morning and he would pick the wagon up when it was convenient. The same thing would happen several more times throughout the summer.

John Klein lived around the big block from us. We met him sometime in the early 2000s. Over the years he had supplemented his income by raising veggies for market, but by the time we knew him he was primarily making hay. He had several nice fields that he would mow, rake and bale. Then he would sell the hay off the field to several customers, including us, and sell from the barn to several other customers.

Making hay is hot, hard work, but John enjoyed it. He was good at it, too! He was glad to help those who needed hay for their animals and was glad to work the land.

John had a small field near his house, about an acre or two. He would mow, rake and bale this section first to make sure everything was working like it should. The tractors that pulled the equipment needed to work properly, the mowers teeth needed to cut, the rake needed to rake right, and the baler needed to pack the hay the right way and string the bales the right way. The small field was the right size to confirm everything was working. It was also near enough to the house and barn that, if he needed to fix something, he could go get parts and make the necessary repairs.

In recent years our sons have been able to mow and rake our hay field. But as we didn’t have a baler, John would come and bale the hay for us. They worked out some sort of trade that then let us have our own hay to feed our cows in the winter.

About 3 1/2 years ago John was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. “And you know what that means?” he said when he told us. “It means you have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel!” Over the past 3 1/2 years John had several rounds of chemo and several surgeries. He also became more vocal about his faith. He reminded us that he was trusting Christ in the whole cancer business whether it meant him being healed or him getting to his real home, heaven, sooner. A few times he was without any evidence of cancer. For that spell he felt that God had healed him. And then the cancer came back. And finally he had no more treatment options and was put on hospice. Being extremely independent he lived on his own until the last week of his life. Finally he passed on to his real home and was healed permanently.

In our early interactions, John was just a fellow farmer, the neighbor man that we got our hay from. And we primarily had a business relationship with him. But as time progressed, we would take more time to visit. And in the last 3 1/2 years we would catch up with long telephone calls every few months. This included friendships with my sons. John cared about them and what they were doing in their lives.

John was a good man, had a good work ethic, and had a good sense of how things should be. Of course we will miss the hay from our “backyard neighbor.” But even more we will miss John, our friend. Be at peace.

Market Research for Food Waste Collection Business

Occasionally we will bring your attention to other enterprises that are working towards the same goals as we are. Here is info about Food Waste Collection Business that is thinking of starting in the Syracuse area.

Greetings! I’m excited to be doing market research about creating a residential food waste collection business. The structure of this service is simple:

  • Receive a bucket/welcome packet
  • Put out the bucket weekly for pickup of food waste, including: Fruit, beans, bones, bread, coffee grounds, coffee filters, eggs, dairy, fish, grains, meat, paper cups, paper napkins, paper towels, tea bags, and vegetables.
  • After we pick up your bucket and drop off a clean one, your food waste goes to a composting site. This keeps it out of the trash, landfills and in the case of fats/oils your drain.

The cost of this service covers transportation cost, drop off fees and hourly wage for workers. Our mission is to keep costs affordable because we believe in supporting our community. Payment would be a monthly subscription model. As we get info from our survey, possible perks or other benefits could be created.  

Please take 5 mins to fill out this survey in order to help us know how to support the community better.  Market Research Survey – Click Here

It’s a simple idea. But the benefits could be felt for years to come.

  • When it is trapped in a landfill, food waste decomposes slowly, and without oxygen. This process produces methane, which is a greenhouse gas 84 times more powerful than CO2 over a 20-year period.
  • Food scraps contain valuable nutrients that are good for the soil. Finished compost can be used in gardens, farms, and landscaping.  
  • Generating less trash conserves landfill/incinerator space.
  • Composting puts your waste to work supporting composters, local farmers, and food scrap haulers. 
  • Without food scraps in it, garbage is cleaner and less smelly.
  • Less garbage can mean a lower fee depending on your service options. 

Thank you for taking the time to help us as we try to recapture food waste. Please reach out with any questions or comments. Aaron Southwick –

Misconception 2 – Do cows produce milk all the time?

Our second misconception is that cows produce milk all the time.

(Disclaimer: we are not a dairy farm and we do not sell milk; however, we do have a milk cow that provides milk for the family, so we do have a little bit of experience in the field. Also our cows are Angus/Holstein/Jersey crosses. The Holstein/Jersey provides the milkfat, and the Angus helps keep it in a smaller quantity.)

Anybody with any sort of experience with (mammal) pregnancy and childbirth knows that this is not the case – it is after a baby is born that milk is produced to feed the baby.

Basically, the cow gets pregnant, gives birth nine months later, and (here on Southwick Family Farm), once the calf is big enough to eat grass and hay, we milk the mother to provide some milk for the family. Her milk production will gradually decrease, and she will stop lactating until she gives birth again.

But wait! Aren’t you missing an important step?

That’s right! How are the baby calves made here at Southwick Family Farm? For those of you unaware, there have been many human babies and children running around on the farm, and it’s not really safe for us kids to be around a bull.

Welcome to the world that we refer to as the AI guys. Whenever we notice a cow in heat, we’ll ring up our friends at Genex, and they send a worker out with a large pot of liquid nitrogen in the back of their vehicle that contains tubes of semen. The worker will pull out a tube of cheap angus, put on a glove, and go breed our cow in a process called artificial insemination.

It was practically a family tradition for all the kids to go out and sit on hay bales to watch. Terribly exciting stuff we got to do. Hopefully the semen would take, the cow would be pregnant, and we’d have a new calf after nine months. Then we would have milk again.

And there you have it – animal sex ed part 2.

~ Parmenides

Misconception 1 – Do hens need roosters to lay eggs?

Behold, friends! A new blog series, all about common misconceptions about farmers, farming, and other related things. written by the Farmer’s three youngest children under pseudonyms. Brownie points to anybody who can guess the real identity behind the writers!

The first (very common) misconception is that hens need roosters to lay eggs.

Not true, y’all. If we think about life (as we know it) in the larger scheme of things, it becomes blatantly obvious that every female organism ovulates without being sexually active, and chickens aren’t the exception. Hens (female chickens) will lay eggs even if there isn’t a rooster hanging around the coop.

So what happens if a rooster is with the egg-laying hens and there’s some baby-making action going on? That means there might be fertilized eggs, which have the potential to become baby chicks if the hen sits on the eggs long enough for chick development. We currently have four roosters with our layers, so the vast majority of the eggs we sell are probably fertilized. But our hens don’t sit on the eggs and so the chicks don’t develop.

So there you have it – animal sex ed part 1. ~ Parmenides