Views From The Farm – September/October 2023

One of the great pleasures in life is observing the beauty all around us. Occasionally, we even manage to snap a good picture of it. Here are some from the last six weeks of our farming life.

September was the last rotation through our pastures. The dry weather limited pasture growth this year. We are grateful that our long-term rotational grazing and soil health practices have created pastures that still produced enough grass to feed our dairy cows and steers for all of the summer. Pictured below are some of our dairy cows and heifers on pasture.’

The beginning of September also blessed us with two new Brown Swiss heifer calves out of two of our cows (including this little cutie pictured below).

She also provided a moment of amusement when she escaped from the calving pen and found her way into the pit of the milking parlor while we were bringing her mother in to be milked!

September was also a good month for large bird sightings. We are not too much into symbology, but we will take a bald eagle (upper left) landing on our grain leg before harvest as a good sign. John had a young red tailed hawk friend (lower right) that waited for him on the fence post each day when he went out to feed sows. John also caught a picture of the apparently flourishing wild turkey population on his way out to the sows (lower left). Another red tailed hawk visited us at the dairy farm and perched on a chimney (upper right).

Our harvest season started out with chopping corn silage and placing it in a bag to feed our steers and cows this winter.

We then moved to combining corn. After we had finished with a field, we moved our steers up the road from the pastures to graze on a hay field and corn stalks.

Around this same time, John went to Minnesota to get some more young calves from our friends the Sachs, including the half-Brahma, half-Brown Swiss calf with the glorious ears pictured below.

Our sows have started having pigs (farrowing) as well. More cute little pig pictures to come!

We have also been cleaning out the garden and harvesting the last of the produce, including some potatoes and peppers, pictured below. Sarah has also enjoyed learning about and growing a variety of flowers this year and has been experimenting with arrangements and bouquets.

We love to catch photos of cool things in nature. We feel like part of our role as farmers is to provide space and habitat for all of life and to assist the functions of the natural ecosystem in every way we can. We found this fun-looking praying mantis flying around the farm a few weeks ago.

And then yesterday, our neighbor shared a picture with us from one of the trail cameras that he has set up on our property. This picture is one of the more exciting ones we’ve seen in a while. The trail camera caught a bobcat running along our waterway, and if you look close in the shade, you can also see what is likely her kitten from this year.

We hope these pictures bring you a little of the enjoyment that we experience from being part of them firsthand.

John and Sarah Gilbert farm with their family in North Central Iowa. They care for pigs, cows, and the land to bring you beef and pork you can love. They have a passion for cooking and helping others develop the skills they need to put healthy and delicious home-cooked meals on the table. They can be contacted by email and through Facebook and Instagram.