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Archive for October, 2006

Cold is here

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

fall display.jpg view from porch.jpg JT on the 6000.jpg

Another week has come and gone. Fall is undoubtedly here and winter is approaching. Temps fell below freezing for the first time this year. It has been a chore bringing in the potted plants and putting them back out when the temps allow. Mattie had made a “potty garden” from an old toilet and all we can do is cover it for the cold nights. She made me promise if the cold is here to stay we will put it in the basement. We abandoned our plans to add to the run in shelter we built for the goats in favor of just giving them space in the barn. They were so grateful. They now have a whole end of the barn, about 15′x35′. I set out a couple of weedy rolls for them too. We have been using them to clean up a space we intend to convert to pasture so they jumped right on some hay. Goats seem to love hay, but they just don’t do as well on it as they do on leaves, briars, and weedy browse. The chickens have slowed their laying from a continuous 20 eggs a day to 10-13. I don’t believe they care for the cold either.

We had a fire in the woodstove for the first time this year a few nights back. I do not look forward to bringing in wood this winter. I have let the cold slip up on us and not cut enough wood. I have lengths cut and drying, but very little split. I tried to start the woodsplitter yesterday, but it wouldn’t budge. I believe the engine is locked up. I’ll tinker with it and try to get another year from it, but it is time to buy a new one. Actually has been for a year or two. I can’t decide whether I want one that has a gasoline engine or should just get one to run off the Mahindra 6000′s PTO.

As I said a few posts back, we have been discussing contract growing with Cobb poultry. I have looked for ways to make this farm profitable. They are offering a good package, but frankly we are not sure about the money involved to get started. It would be very expensive to build our own houses. I’m not sure it would be setting the best example for the children either. Most large-scale animal growing facilities are borderline inhumane. At any rate the reprensentatives have been to the farm and seem to be enthusiastic about bringing us on board. I, on the other hand, keep coming back to the idea of the pumpkin patch. It sets all the right examples and in time I believe it could be profitable.

I don’t know if it is the change in the weather, but we have been seeing lots of turkeys in the fields. It could be that we were always so busy in the past we just never noticed them. Deer are also beginning to show up. I have seen them most all year. They seem to be really curious about what you are doing with loud machines like tractors, saws, and mowers.

With the change in seasons comes allergies for the children. They really suffer until they build up a little immunity to the pollens. Today Garett had some allergy testing done that confirmed he is severely asthmatic and allergic to pollen, mold, grass, and dust. That presents lots of challenges for the little guy on the farm.

I have ruined my Mahindra hat, so I had to order a new one. While I was at it I got some keychains, pens, and koozies for gifts for friends. I also picked up a couple Mahindra t-shirts and some Mahindra coffee mugs. Click here if you want to check ‘em out.
Got tons to do, so I better go ………………. drop me a comment and check out our pics.

What a view

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

For the first time in a while I actually took some time to sit on the porch this week and reflect on a full summer. It would seem summer is definitely over for this part of the country. More and more leaves turn and fall, temperatures are only rising into the low 60s and some days are in the 40s. It is time to clean the chimney and stack a tractor bucket of wood by the basement door. The huge oaks and hickorys that keep the place cool in the summer also cool it in the fall and winter. They certainly make it hard to heat. Being outside a lot, I like to keep the inside temperature awfully close to what’s outside, and sometimes I get overruled by the children as to how warm we keep it in the winter. I suspect it will not be long until they will start telling me it’s time to build a fire. In the winter, the children like to heat water on the wood stove for their hot cocoa. Lots of evenings after dark I’m sure will find us with the door open on the wood stove or fireplace watching the fire crack and pop and them enjoying their hot cocoa.

We hope to stain and waterproof the logs and porch on the house this week. I bought the stain a couple weeks ago – just haven’t had the weather to get it put on. We took a few hours on Sunday to spray the logs and porch down with clorox from a garden sprayer to clean them. Then we rinsed them with the garden hose. Now it will take a couple warm days to get them dry enough to stain.

Back in June we had a “rental dwelling” damaged by fire and we have slowly been removing anything we thought could be used again. When I decided we weren’t getting anything worth saving anymore, I used the Mahindra 6000 4WD to tear it down. It was pretty neat. I told the kids I had read about lots of people using their tractor to build their homes, but never one to tear it down. I pushed all the side walls and end walls in first, leaving the corners for support. Then I went back and clipped the corners one by one and then mashed it on over with the loader. After that, I took the loader and dug out one whole end of the foundation to get it to draw the air away from the chicken house and set it on fire.

Well lots to do, better run…… hey – if you have any comments or questions on anything click on “Leave A Response” and drop me a note!

Winter is on the way

Thursday, October 12th, 2006

If you can put any faith in weather forecasts, it would seem winter is on the way. They are giving lows at night below freezing. It finally got dry enough for the leaves to turn and now they are beginning to fall. When you have the number of trees we do, that can make a mess. We’ve tried bagging, burning, mulching, and everything else you can imagine over the years – and to be honest none of it is very fun. The kids like the piles to play and hide in. This week they pitched in and helped build a fall display for the front yard. They proudly placed all kinds of the mini gourds they have grown all around it.

Today I turn 33 years old. Birthdays have never meant a lot to me, just another year older and I am definitely much too young to feel this dang old. I got a surprise this morning though, a tractor birthday cake. Their mother had taken them and picked me up a new cab tractor. Red, just like I wanted. Too bad I can only eat this one. With it turning cooler, I sure would have liked to have been riding around in that 7010 Cab I’ve been wanting.

We built a run in shelter for the goats – made it out of livestock panels and a tarp, but it is going to be too small to fit all the goats. We’re going to have to double the size of it. I plan to put rolls of hay at the ends to block the wind. I figure the goats will drag enough of the hay inside the shelter to line the bottom and give them some insulation against the cold ground. We’ll take the Mom’s out and into the barn as they show signs of being close to kidding.

The Big South Fork Scenic Railway (www.bsfsry.com) has given us a bunch of cross ties to use as fence posts. I spent the whole day Monday loading ties with the 6000 and hauling them back to the farm. We still have a long way to go. The deal was I had to take all of them, not just some of them. There must be 2,000 of them. Another neighbor has been helping me using his older Deere tractor to unload them here at the place.

On Monday, we meet with a representative of Cobb poultry to further discuss the possibility of becoming a contract grower. The children have mixed feelings about this. They like the idea of raising chickens, but they don’t like not being able to own any other avian species. That means no more farm fresh brown eggs. We have always wanted a pumpkin patch here where kids could come and visit. We want a petting zoo with a milk cow, a bottle calf, ducks, chickens, pigs, alpacas, a donkey, just all kinds of farm animals, horseback rides, corn maze, hay rides, a small bale maze, and of course every size and color of pumpkins. I see these poppping up all across the state. To raise chickens commercially, we most likely would have to drain our ponds – due to the likelihood of mosquitos. That would mean no ducks and no more fishing. At a farm we visited a few falls ago, they had trained ducks to climb a slide to get food and then slide down into the pond. The smile on all the children’s faces was priceless.

Well I guess I’d better go drag out the long johns….until next time……stay warm…

One Long Week

Friday, October 6th, 2006

This week has been one of the busiest I can remember. The 6000 has really gotten a workout this week. We have been doing something with the hay everyday. On days that it rained, we moved hay rolls from the field. When there was no rain we were either cutting, raking, or baling. This is one of those times when I don’t know how I am getting it all done. I thought I was done for the year, but as I was picking up the last rolls from a small field I leased, a neighbor approached me about cutting more. The lack of rain has us wondering if we will have enough hay, so I told him I would cut and bale if he could find someone to rake. In return we get half the hay. We plan to buy at least a few cows this fall or winter, so we’ll need the extra hay. It doesn’t help that I have sold every square bale we had. I believe I could sell another 1,000 if I had them.

We finally got shoes on the horses this week too. Now if I can only find time to ride. While we had the colt’s mom (Buttercup) getting her shoes on, the colt couldn’t stand it any longer and broke through the fence to get to her. We had to stop mid process and take another mare over to him and lead him to his mom. I kept thinking “why me man, why me”. I was lucky that he didn’t hurt himself or run in front of a car.

Yesterday after work I went up to a neighbors to move a refrigeration unit for him. He runs a trucking company, Wisham Transportation. “Wisham” and his family moved here from Arizona. He has bought a little over 100 rolls from us this year to feed his Texas Longhorns.

Hopefully I’ll get the time to change the oil in all the vehicles around here this week. The tractor is ready for an oil change and fuel filter replacement too. While I’m at it, I guess I’ll go ahead and change the hydraulic fluid and filter too. That stuff gets kind of dirty with all the implement changes. I was pleasantly surprised to see diesel prices down about 50 cents a gallon. Hopefully oil prices will come down a little too.

Well there is tons to do, so until next time……

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