Quilting, Farming, Variety

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Is It Time to Just Give Up?

We've just come through one of the worst summers we can remember; hot days, dry days, no grass for the cattle.  The haying equipment has stayed in the shed since May; we bought hay for the first time in our lives.  We sold the calves which were big enough and kept on with the others, hoping each day for rain and a chance to cut hay one last time before winter.  And each time the radar showed rain coming our way, the clouds parted, like the Red Sea, and went north or south, east or west of us, and the grass browned and died.  We began feeding grain, and the dust almost hid the cattle as the hungry herd rushed to the troughs.

To make the hay go farther, we bought a grinder-mixer, grain, hay, troughs, tubs; the list went on and on.  When the ponds went dry we bought water for the cattle and had the big pond cleaned out.

The little rains finally came, first from tropical storm Isaac and later from a cold front moving through.  Not a great deal of rain, but it fell slowly, and the parched earth drank it in.  We were hopeful again; would the meadows have time for the grass to grow?  Would the cattle have grass to graze on until frost?  To help replace the lost grasses, Popa bought grass seeds and planted for two days until...

They came: army worms, the larvae of  small, brownish gray moths who had slipped in under cover of darkness and laid their eggs on the grass stems.  We know what the worms can do: we've seen them strip an area clean in a matter of days, and when they finished with that area, they moved in hordes, or "armies", eating and destroying vegetation as they moved.  Their meals are taken at night or on cloudy days and since they hide under the grass the damage can be done before being discovered.  Insecticides applied to nearly mature larva that have completed their feeding is a waste of time and money.

So discouraging; maybe it is time to just give up, or take the attitude of "Que sera, sera".



  1. Where we're army worms? We haven't seen any yet (knock on wood).

    This makes me think of Laura Ingalls Wilder and The First Four Years. How could so many things go wrong?

    At least chickens don't eat grass.....

  2. Oh my goodness, I'm so very sorry for for what you and others have had to go through.. I'm not in a position to give advice but I would probably be saying the smae thing.. I'm praying really hard for everyone that God will send the rain you all need and get rid of these pests quickly.. Blessings my friend.

  3. So very sorry for your state of being. I was not able to get hay for my horse this year. We are going to use some very low grade of field bales and hope for a mild winter.

  4. Charlotte, so sorry too hear this bad news. Discouragement is understandable during these hard times. I am certainly not experienced in farm living so I have no advice to give, but I can pray for your circumstances to improve. You're on my prayer list!

  5. I thought of the Little House books too, Charlotte.
    I am so sorry. I'll be praying for you - for grace and strength; for wisdom to know what to do.

  6. Charlotte, I hope that things improve soon. I think that we don't realize how everyting is interconnected, especially if you're a farmer.
    Blessings to you and your family.

  7. Oh, Charlotte, I'm so sorry. It must be so discouraging. Praying for you that things will turn around soon, and you'll have some GOOD things happen!

  8. So sorry for your very hard year. Praying for wisdom for all of you.

  9. a very hard year for you, no wonder you are discouraged - I hope for the best for you

  10. I'm so sorry, Charlotte... if I was there I would give you a big hug.
    James and I were just talking the other night about how many people fuss and complain about the price of food but they forget there are farmers and livestock producers who have an even harder time because they are so dependent on the weather.
    Praying you all have better days just around the corner!

  11. Oh, how I know your plight. We are sitting in the middle of drought too and no rain has come. We have had a grinder-mixer for some years because we feed yearlings through the winter. It's a great tool and saves a lot of waste when feeding livestock.

    We've been laying water lines here to different pastures. The grass isn't good, but there's a little bit out there and so if we can pipe water from the big reservoir, it makes it well worthwhile.

    No army worms here. The only time I see something like that is when they come on the tomatoes or the vines, but it's rare.

    I'm hoping we all get some fall rains. At this point, even snow would be refreshing.