Growing Green Fodder for Livestock

For some years I’ve been interested in growing fodder as a way to feed livestock cheaply & to save space. Hay takes up so much room. I’d see those ads where the farmer is pulling a grassy mat out of a tray & feeding it to cattle. Most of these ads were for the large systems that are housed in a building or trailer where the temperature is controlled & watering is automated. They came … Continue reading

Nifty Little Slippers

Sorry no pattern this time. I made these from patterns in my favorite felting book, Knit One, Felt Too. I used yarn from my feltiest Shetland and modified the slippers by needle felting layers of dyed locks. The needle felting made the slipper substantial, almost like a shoe. The bottom is coated with bright yellow plastic coating as explained in a previous post. It has a sort of hippie look…

Embellished with needle felting
Coated with plasti-dip

 
The plain Jane before dressing her up a little


Next I made a pair of slippers for my daughter. This is a different pattern from the same book. It is so easy and works up quickly. It is the felted version of a pattern that was popular in the ’50s. Theirs was done in a cute checkerboard fashion with little felted balls for decoration. I just knit it from natural colored Shetland wool. I then knit a big square with yarn from a dye job gone wrong, felted it & cut soles to add to the bottoms. We know how fast the bottoms wear thin. Plus the additional sole makes them cushy & warmer on our cold floors.

Side view

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The Fodder Fix to Exorbitant Hay Prices

Drought is the biggest enemy to livestock owners. It causes a scarcity of feed & prices rise to the point that farmers cut way back on how many animals they can carry through the winter. We had a bad year in Michigan & decent hay is going for $8/bale. Who can afford that? There is a way to cut your hay consumption in half and feed livestock cheaply.

Fodder is grass grown from oats, wheat, barley or rye seeds. It only takes 7-8 days from seed to maturity & requires no soil to grow. It is easily grown in the house; mine is in my basement. I buy non GMO seeds from a local farmer and pay $8.25/50# of oats & wheat. This will yield about 250# of fodder costing roughly $0.03/pound compared to $0.16/pound for hay at current prices. I can grow enough to feed 6 Shetland ewes, 8 butcher lambs, and a colony of 5 adult rabbits (2 of which are nursing litters) plus 3 fryer bunnies. A bucket of sprouted oats is fed to 15 chickens. We raised 5 pot belly pigs almost exclusively on oat fodder & they taste amazing.

Fodder & oat sprouts ready to feed

Our fodder growing system is simple and requires twice daily maintenance.

Related Posts
Growing Green Fodder for Livestock

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FarmTek Fodder Pro 2.0 Feed Systems

How Two Ladies Fixed Their Refrigerator Themselves

Our refrigerator was becoming unpredictable. It seemed that the automatic defrost was not shutting off thereby making the whole unit too warm. Of course, we called a repairman who had to come from another city to our rural area. A large trip charge was added to the bill. He could not tell what was wrong & left a monitor in it for a week. Murphy’s Law says that the fridge would not act up during this week. Old Murphy was correct. Now we had a big bill & still no fridge.
It seemed, from picking the repairman’s brain & doing some reading, that it might be the motherboard. This is a $200 part according to the repairman and not to be entered into lightly. So, we substituted with  coolers and 2 liter soda bottles that we filled with water & then froze in our freezer. That worked remarkably well & we managed for six months with this method. The biggest hassle was changing out the bottles and no longer having things like mayo. The prospect of a $300 repair bill offset the inconvenience.
Amazon.com to the rescue! We did a little checking & realized that we could ave about $100 by ordering the control board through Amazon. But we weren’t confident in our ability to change it out ourselves. Enter a PartSelect youtube tutorial  that walked us through the whole process. We Came, We Saw, We Conquered! Good to know that PartSelect has over 600 videos. I took a quick look & noticed repair videos for washers, dryers & refrigerators. Next time something breaks, I know the direction to head.
I have learned how to do so many things through info on the Internet & especially youtube. What we saved on the fridge repair will fund what we spend for Internet service for some months.

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Knit Pattern for the Best Winter Socks

Recently, I knit a couple of pairs of women’s winter socks. These are the warmest socks I’ve ever worn.

The secret is the thrums which are the white, fuzzy things inside the sock. Thrums are pieces of wool roving that are folded & knit into the sock. They provide an extra cushiony layer of warmth. Thrummed socks aren’t more difficult to knit than regular tube socks, but they do take more time.
To make your own pair of warm winter socks you will need:

  • Worsted weight wool yarn
  • Set of #3 double point needles
  • Set of #5 double point needles
  • Wool roving
  • Large eye needle 

Gauge – 20 stitches on #5 needles = 4 inches

Ribbing
Using #3 needles, cast on 48 stitches. Distribute stitches evenly so there are 16 stitches on each needle. Mark the beginning of the first round & join. Work 20 rounds in *twisted rib.

Tube
Change to #5 needles & knit 3 rows.
You will now begin to add the **thrums. I added one thrum into every 3rd stitch with 3 plain rounds between every thrummed row. For a sock that comes about mid-calf, I repeated this pattern until the entire sock measured 12″ & then began decreasing for the toe. My foot is 9″ long. If your foot is longer or shorter, just add/subtract an inch or two.
Shaping the toe
Needle 1: K to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1.
Needle 2: k1, sl 1, k1, pass slip stitch over, knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1.
Needle 3: k1, sl 1, k1, pass slip stitch over.
Round 2: Knit even.
Repeat the above pattern until you have 24 stitches on your needles. Leave a 12″ tail to graft the toe.

Graft the Toe
Place 12 stitches on each of two needles. Using a large-eyed needle:
1.  Place the needle into first the stitch on the front needle as if to knit and slip the stitch off needle.
2.  Put the needle in the next stitch on the  needle as if to purl and leave on the needle, let yarn go under the first needle and working on the back needle, insert needle into the first stitch on the back needle as if to purl and remove from the needle.
3.  Insert the needle into the next stitch as if to knit and leave on the needle. Go under the needles and back to the front.
Repeat from these steps until you have one stitch left and secure in place.

*Twisted Rib – K1, P1. Knit into the back of each knit stitch.
**How to make thrums & knit them into the socks http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/thrumfaq.html

Tips
For extra warmth, add more thrums to the toes.
Even though these are thick winter socks, the bottoms will wear thin if you walk around in stocking feet like I do. Put a pair of footlets/Peds over the socks when walking around without shoes/slippers on.

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