Life of a Farm Blog

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Archive for September, 2006

Playing in the mud

Monday, September 25th, 2006

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Today we set the rest of the culverts on the road leading into the pasture. It was a muddy mess. I tried standing on the edges, but quickly figured out that wasn’t going to happen, so I just waded in the mud. We almost never figured out how to get them all pulled together. We finally decided that the best way was to run a chain through the culvert and hook one end onto the Mahindra, and one end onto a 4×4 block that couldn’t go through the culvert. After that I just backed up and my buddy Mike rocked them into place. It sure is a lot easier with a little help. The kids thought it looked like fun to play in the mud so they came to “help”. Once they got good and dirty and wet they ran to change clothes and finish playing in the hay.

The weather forecast says we will have 3 days of dry weather this week, so hopefully I’ll get to finish the hay. I had cut some hay Tuesday when the forecast was calling for 3 dry days – only to have it rain the next day. Luckily my neighbor Joe bailed me out, literally. While I was at work he came and hooked up the roller and rolled the hay for me. I had wanted to get a lot of squares, but it’s beginning to look like we’ll roll it or lose it.

This Friday, Garett’s school is having “doughnuts with dads”. He’s pretty excited. He told me last night that he wanted to “go to the orphanage and get him a brother”. It’s rough being the only son I guess. I wouldn’t know, I had 3 brothers.

We responded to an ad in the local newspaper seeking individuals to become owner/operator poultry producers. We may soon have some more chickens and I mean a lot of them. It’s been a goal of ours for quite some time to find a way to make this place pay for itself. Over the last few years we’ve tried cows, goats, selling eggs and hay, and done custom work, but never really made much, if any money.

I found a neat plan for a run in shelter for the goats that uses livestock panels and a tarp. We’ll be heading to Tractor Supply Company for the materials to build it Tuesday. Temperatures here are getting down into the 40s some nights, so it can’t be long until the goats will need some type of shelter and we’ll be building a fire in the wood stove at night. I took time to sharpen 2 of the 5 saw chains hanging on the hook downstairs. It takes me about 20 minutes to get one good, but it saves $5. I can take them to the local hardware for $5, but it’s been raining so much there was really nothing else I could be doing.

Mattie says all the rain must be rusting the leaves since they are turning brown. Fall is my favorite season. This part of the country is most beautiful as the leaves change and fall off. Anyone who can should come visit Kentucky. In particular, the Big South Fork River and Recreation Area. A big part of it is here in McCreary County. A visit to the area wouldn’t be complete without a trip on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway and some time at the McCreary County Museum. Kaylee volunteers there regularly. She had 67 hours last year. There is a ton of memorabilia at the museum – from trains and coal mining to quilts and antiques. A visit here is a trip back in time.

I’ll close for now and add some pictures – you can take a look at them all by clicking here. Thanks for reading!

Turning 500

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006

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**To see these pics and more, click here.
Got started with the second cutting of hay this week. I had forgotten how labor intensive square baling is. I can certainly understand why so many have gone to rolls. I did give in and roll the 10 acre field here closest to the house. We moved all those rolls into the chickenhouse across the road. I’ve found that, if you can keep them dry, small rolls are almost as good as squares. Almost everyone here has gone away from squares. That leaves a market for them. The old IH baler did pretty good once I got it set. If the weather will hold out for us we’ll do okay on the hay this year.

My dad came down from Owenton, KY for the day to help us in the hay. I usually get the job of baling, but not yesterday. I sure appreciate the help even if it means I have to do more work. Sometime while my dad was baling, the Mahindra 6000 turned over 500 hours. Since we cleaned out the chickenhouse we have room to keep the 6000 in the dry. We are going to have to invest some money in both a building to store machinery/rolled hay and a square baler.

The kids have picked all the small gourds they grew this year and are ready to build a fottershock from corn stalks. That’s kind of a tradition here. We do a fall display of sorts. We have talked about starting an agribuisness venture for the kids. We want to do a pumpkin patch. We’d have a corn maze, hay rides, a petting zoo, and horseback rides. I see these popping up in surrounding counties. We’ve also thought of a U-pick orchard and strawberry patch.

The rain arrived just as the kids got on the porch from the school bus. It was raining in the distance and they were amazed to watch it slowly make it’s way to us. Mattie is almost always sleepy after school and heads for the bedroom for a nap. Garett is usually wild from being tied down all day. Today he headed for the barn to play in the square bales of hay. Kaylee went with her mom to deliver eggs.

We have thinned our goat herd down to 19 grown females. We will be buying another registered male shortly. We’re thinking of getting back in the cattle business too. The children still have their small goats. The 2 they raised on a bottle and the one they saved from the dogs. They named the 2 newest ones Daisy and Duke and settled on Mr. Beveledear on the one we saved from the dogs. They were going to name him belvedear, but changed it to beveledear since the dogs had chewed one of his ears off and really mangled the other.

Well… on that unfortunate note… until next time.

Time well spent

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

Still very cool for this time of year here in KY. Seems to rain almost everyday too. If you can put any faith in weather forecasts, it seems we will be getting a few days of dry 80-degree weather toward the end of the week. Sure hope so. I need to cut hay in the worst way.

My son Garett has been having asthma attacks more frequently with the cooler more humid allergen filled air. Today he had a doctors appointment to refill his medicines and his mother could not take him, so I played hooky from work and we spent the whole day together. After his appointment we drove on up to Science Hill to the Mahindra Dealer I bought my 6000 from. I picked up the parts I needed to fix my disc mower. $72 just for the pin that broke, ouch. Garett looked over all the tractors there – and like me, he liked the 7010 Cab the best. He was especially impressed with the sunroof. I believe the two youngest kids will want to hold on to this land and way of life. When we finally made it home Garett watched curiously as we put the new U joint in the disc mower shaft. He just couldn’t hold out to bolt the pin up though. When I came back in the house from that, he was sound asleep on the couch.

On Sunday – Garett, Madison and I went on a horseshoe hunt. We walk through the fields after the horses have thrown some of their shoes and it’s a game to see who can find the most. All 4 of the horses have thrown at least 2, but we only found 1. The farrier will be coming sometime next week. He usually trades his work for hay. After the hay is done, we should have some free time to ride the horses. All the kids are looking forward to that.

What a day

Monday, September 11th, 2006

Today has been one of those days. Everything I touch today breaks. A month or so ago I had asked a friend with a backhoe to dig a trench for me to set some culverts in on the drive leading into the pasture. Just my luck, he would show up and dig up the only entrance to where I keep my equipment during the only weather we’ve had to get the second cutting of hay going. I raced around this morning after working until 11 last night trying to get the culverts set in so I could get in to my equipment. I was able to get enough set, so I could drive across there by about 1:00. So I hooked up the disc mower to try to get at least one feild of hay down. Made about 2 rounds around the field and a pin broke, allowing the mower to overextend backward. Before I could get it shut off, it had eaten another u joint. Usually that means I’ll have to replace the yoke too – because it destroys the groove that the retaining ring goes in. That is the only fault I can find to Fort First Choice Disc Mowers. Seems to be a bad design on the shaft.

This week has been very cool for this time of year. Highs were in the low 70s and one day it didn’t even get out of the 60s. Not exactly what I was hoping for. I had hoped it would stay warm and the hay could grow a little more. Doesn’t look like that’s happening. I have always been told that once the daylight hours start getting shorter again, things are done growing.

One high note was that the second crop of corn got enough sun and rain to do pretty good. That’s one of my favorite things about summer, fresh corn on the cob. The garden is almost done. The only thing left is a little corn and a few tomatoes. Mattie has picked all the watermelons. They didn’t get too big, but they sure are sweet. Must be her touch.

Mattie and Garett have had the hatchery catalog out trying to decide what they need. They want to show some birds at the fair next year. So that means horse shows, basketball, cheerleading, and now showing animals at the fair. We’re going to be busy.

I was glad to finally get some Mahindra merchandise this week. I picked up a hat, some keyrings, pens, a couple ponchos and a few koozies. Of course all with the Mahindra logo. Now if I can just get some t-shirts.

While cruising around on the Mahindra website I noticed they have a new offering.
They added the 5520 to the line up. Looks awesome and adds a little performance too.
Would make a good solid second tractor for a farm of good size.

Check back — we’ll be adding pictures of the haying soon.

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