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Archive for August, 2006

Mahindra’s Constant PTO HP Bales Me Out

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Wet has been the word for us the past few days. Couldn’t buy the rain when we needed it for the second cutting of hay. Now that it is too late to do much good, we get downpours. Only 2 dry days this week. One of them I spent moving dirt for my neighbor. He’s a retired union machinist that was born and raised here before going to Ohio for work. He’s truly a wealth of knowledge about my descendants. We had been working on the second poultry barn when he came by to visit. He told us a good story about my great Uncle Norman (Pete as we called him). Seems he decided to go into the chicken business. Between him and my Grandpa Virgil, they amassed about 2,000 fryers. It was winter and the only heat in the poultry houses was wood stoves. It got really cold one night, and even with the stoves going full blast the chickens piled on each other in a corner to stay warm. Naturally, several of them suffocated. Pete hired boys in the neighborhood to help him dress all of those birds. Since he was single and knew he wouldn’t need all those birds – he and the boys went door to door giving them away.

I have had several calls this week wanting to know about buying hay. I’ve just had to tell them we’ll see how much there is. To get the most of what little is there, we’ve decided to square bale everything this cutting. That means lots of work and time.
I sure hope my old IH 46 baler holds up. Old square balers can be trouble. I was ready to junk this one until I bought the Mahindra 6000 4WD. Before, I ran it with a MF 135 and it mistied a lot of bales. With the Mahindra it has done great. I attribute it to the constant pto hp. I believe the 135 was not supplying enough hp constantly and causing the misties. We are looking at buying a new square baler this year.
Most likely a MF 1835 or 1837. I like the inline design.

Didn’t get a chance this week to go to the local Mahindra dealer like I wanted. I am afraid I will keep putting off trading tractors until I let the good interest rates get away. My thinking was I’d wait until after the season was over and maybe get a better deal. I’ve always been told you can buy cheaper in the winter.

The children are ready to place their order for some new laying chickens. Eggs seem to be the only thing on the place that consistently makes money. About 8 years ago we were introduced to the Red Star/Golden Comet sex link chicken and they have really performed well. They start laying at only 22 weeks and don’t stop, on half the feed we were feeding other brown egg laying chickens. Mattie and Garett say we need ducks, guineas, and pheasants this time too!

The 2 little baby goats the kids adopted are growing and doing fine. We have put them in a dog kennel in the high grass at the edge of the fence during the days. During one of the downpours this week, Mattie came running to tell me her goats were getting wet. Needless to say I got suckered into going out in the rain to put them back in the barn. In exchange she would help me make peach preserves. I’ll give her credit — although she’s not much help at 5, she hung in there and watched the whole process.

Well, lots to do! Have fun and be safe! Until next time…..

Tractors on Trailer

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

Well, we are still getting rain here – the rain we have needed all summer. I’m afraid it’s so late it won’t do us much good though. I have noticed several of my neighbors have started cutting their hay already. What little hay there is. I am going to try to wait as long as I can on mine.

This week we worked on cleaning up the pastures a little more. The pine beetle ravaged this part of the country a few years back and we are still dealing with the mess it left behind. I had pushed pine limbs, logs, and stumps into piles with the loader on the Mahindra. We have been trying to take the pallet forks now and sort them into piles that we can burn. Sure wish I had the forks all along. We also have several white pines that seem to be dying now and we are afraid they will fall on the fences. We have slowly been cutting them and skidding them with the tractor up to where I can load them on my ton truck. Now I have to find someone willing to saw them into lumber for me.

We are still doing lots of preserving of the garden vegetables. The second bunch of corn should be ready in a week or so. For now it’s mostly squash and tomatoes.
Too bad everything isn’t as easy as squash. I was up until 2 am canning tomatoes.
I believe we made 29 quarts. Today or tomorrow we’re going to pickle some cucumbers. Madison and Garett found a watermelon that was ripe while we were picking tomatoes, so we all sat on the porch after supper and had watermelon while talking about the farm. We have been trying to develop a business plan of sorts.

On my way home from Kingsford one day this week I saw a whole tractor trailer load of Mahindra tractors going north on US 27. One looked like a 7010 Cab – like I have been wanting to buy. Must have been 5 or 6 tractors on the truck. Maybe I’ll go see the Mahindra Dealer and work on a price a little more. It would be so nice to have air and heat, not to mention being able to put out rolls of hay even if it was raining.
Well I’m sure there is something I need to be doing… so I better go. Check back soon!

Finally some rain

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

We finally got some rain here this week. Unfortunately lots of wind and lightning with it. We fared okay through the storms except it blew over a lot of our late corn and almost all our tomato plants. We got out right after the storm while the ground was still good and wet to stand the tomato cages back up. When they didn’t want to stay we drove t-posts in the ground inside the cages with the bucket on the Mahindra. Some of our neighbors didn’t do so well. Lots of trees were blown over and a barn
lost it’s roof.

While mowing the pasture that most of the horses are in, I found a ground rod from the old oil pumping station sticking up out of the ground. I mow that field 2 or 3 times a year and don’t know how I haven’t hit it with the tractor tire. When I dug around the rod to get it up, I also discovered a broken off utility pole. I guess over the years some of the dirt had washed away around them and they were just starting to show.
I took the tractor bucket and dug down a couple feet around them. Then I hooked a chain around them and pulled them right out.

We didn’t get to go to the livestock market this week like we wanted because school finally started. The kids did pick up 2 new babies from the neighbor though. Pretty little white goats. A boy and a girl. The mother had mastitis and could not provide them with the milk they needed, so we adopted them. The kids feed them every morning and every afternoon with a baby bottle full of Sav-A-Kid. It’s funny to see them running around the yard with baby goats chasing them.

I spent some time the last couple of weeks working on the old poultry barn. My grandfather worked for a company in Cincinnati called Phillip Carry. He brought home the materials to build the barn – or chickenhouse as they are commonly referred to. Luckily he got extra siding, because over the years many of those pieces have been broken. I can’t imagine they still make those stone pieces. Finally got tired of looking at the broken pieces and replaced them. Then gave the barn a nice coat of chocolate chip brown paint and started on the white trim. The kids wanted to join in and I figured it was as good a place as any for them to learn a little about painting. Once I made sure they had old clothes on they each got a brush and some white paint and took off. They got it all over the brown and the ground, but everybody starts somewhere.

Found a little time to dig all our potatoes out of the ground too. I plow them out with the Mahindra and the kids race to see who can get the most in their basket. We have been busy preserving countless tomatoes, beans, corn, squash, apples and berries. Now we have cucumbers, so I guess we’ll make some pickles. Shouldn’t be long until the melons are ripe. The kids are keeping a close eye on them. When we go to water and feed the chickens they walk through the melon patch pecking the biggest ones to see if they’re ripe yet.

Lot’s of work to do, so until next time, stay safe!

August Heat

Monday, August 7th, 2006

Good evening all! Not a lot happening on the farm this week. I guess it’s just too hot. So hot actually, they delayed the start of school for a few days. Haven’t seen rain here in seems like months. We get plenty of clouds and even lightning and thunder, but no rain. During my grandfather’s younger farming years he and the ASCS folks built a spring fed concrete watering trough and until recently I had never seen it dry. Our horses sure seemed happy to see us putting in a poly tub by the water spicket. They were delighted to have all the fresh cool water they wanted for a change. It was funny seeing them swish it around in their mouths and stick their heads down under the water. It is a shot of encouragement to see the animals happy. We had to move our mare and colt to another section of pasture and add some livestock panels by the pond to keep her from being able to walk the edge of the pond to freedom. I used the loader on the Mahindra to drive all the posts. I was so dissapointed today when on my way back from Kingsford, it rained the whole way until about 5 miles from home.

I did take some time one evening to dig up a big oak stump that had been at the corner of the house for a couple years and plant a rose bush in it’s place. I don’t even want to imagine the work the tractor saved on that project. We had decided that the tree had to go due to it’s proximity to the house. It sure brought up some interesting stories. My great uncle Norman used to remove all the stumps he wanted rid of with dynamite. We all chuckled when we recalled the times he had stumps in treetops and all the neighbors ducking for cover. I guess they’d put one in jail for that these days.

Friday my ex-wife asked that I accompany her to her 10-year high school reunion and I obliged. Actually had a pretty nice time. After the reunion which was at Cumberland Falls State Park, we were headed back, when for some reason I felt compelled to stop by Hwy 90 where as kids we used to watch the great train robberies of Tombstone Junction. We talked about our childhood memories of the long gone and forgotten, but once world renowned amusement park. It was great! They used to have gunfights, a steam locomotive, and the best country music acts of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. We both remembered seeing Conway Twitty on the old stage. When we passed the entrance we noticed that it wasn’t blocked as usual so we drove back into the park. It is in ruins, but brought back so many memories.

Saturday my youngest Mattie wanted to go to the horse show put on by the South KY Horseman’s Association. They have a nice outdoor lighted arena in Strunk, KY. We shared a cherry snow cone and watched some friends show their horses. Now Mattie has decided that she should show her horses. So I guess I’m in the market for a good horse trailer.

On Tuesday we plan to go to the livestock market in London, KY. The kids are hoping school will be delayed longer so they can go. We usually meet my only living grandfather Delbert Gay there. We started that purely by fate. The children and I were there one day and he showed up out of the blue. Said he came to watch the horses sell. He hadn’t been on a horse in years – he just wanted to see them sell. When we started talking he decided that we’d just see each other there when I was coming that way. I wish that times were simple like they used to be and families could have each other close, but it just doesn’t seem to be that way anymore. Maybe that’s what they call progress.

I’m hoping to add pictures to the site as time progresses. I’m sure it would help to have faces to put with the stories. Until next time God Bless!

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