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Archive for November, 2006

Snow and Turkeys

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

The first snow of the year has come and gone here. The kids were so disappointed to see it melt. They wanted to build a snowman. We only got about a half inch so it would have been difficult even if it hadn’t melted by the time they got home from school.

The snow did make us finally start feeding out some hay. I’ve put out 4 rolls total for the goats and horses. The goats also get some squares along the way that got baled too green. I am afraid to feed this to the horses due to the likelyhood of some mold being in it. The goats sure don’t mind it though. They gobble it down and don’t waste a bit like they do with the rolls.

Today the family is off to Mamaw Staley’s for Thanksgiving dinner. The Staley’s live just a few miles north of us and they have a small farmstead the kids like to visit. They raise their own honey as well as milk. They make buttermilk and fresh butter too.

Temps today are forecasted to be in the 60s and that’s a welcome change. Our wood splitter has been torn up so we’ve been only burning the round stuff. I braved the cold long enough to take it apart. Now I’ve got to order some parts. The goats helped me with it by eating the spark plug wire. I’ll never understand why they eat some of the things they do.

We have decided on rough lumber to side one of the old chickenhouses since we are out of the stone shingles that were on it originally, and several of them are broken. I made a trip to an old friend’s sawmill to see about the wood. It will be a couple weeks, but fortunately he will saw the 1×6′s I will need. He told me he has a really hard time getting pine to saw since the pine beetle hit us so hard. There just doesn’t seem to be much pine left here, and what little there is won’t get cut because folks are hoping the trees will reseed themselves. On this property there are hundreds of downed dead pines that would have fetched a pretty penny in their prime. At the time, the estate of my great uncle was being litigated so no one could do anything with them. I bet it cost the parties involved over $100,000 in timber sales on the whole 125 acres. If I thought the lumber would be salvagable, I would skid them out with the 6000 4wd and either take them to be sawed or buy a band mill and do it myself.

The next few months will bring big changes here on the farm. We have borrowed the money to clear some more of our land and do some improvements. Now we are searching for the most economical way to do this. Our choices are hiring someone to do it all, versus renting (or buying) a dozer and doing it ourselves.

Well check back soon I’ll be posting more with some pics as time allows……Everyone have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Rain Rain, Go Away

Friday, November 10th, 2006

After a couple nights and days of unseasonably cold weather, the rain has set in and doesn’t seem to be going away. I did get one fairly dry, but overcast day to haul some more cross ties from the railroad. Other than that and work it’s been a week of taking care of the animals and hanging out with the kids. We have been to a couple local farms to look at cattle. I believe we have decided on a 600 lb simmental bull calf from a neighbor for our next beef. He’s a tad big to steer, but I like a challenge. We’ve planned a trip to the stockyard to buy some pigs for week after next. I will have to borrow our friend and neighbor Joe Phillips’ trailer. I sold mine a few months back and have never replaced it.

Another neighbor, Mr. Wisham, called and needs hay set out for his cows starting Monday. This will be a weekly chore for the Mahindra 6000 this winter. Sure wish I could swing that 7010 Cab. The colt born on Garett’s birthday (6/30) “Thumper” will soon be separated from his mother. I’ll make a place in the barn for him. If we don’t put him somewhere that is impossible for him to escape he will find a way to get back to his mother. Then we will begin the long process of breaking him.

We had to take time this week to do something none of us enjoy doing. A long time friend of the family passed away and we attended his services. Mr. Travis Bryant was a retired logger. He resided here just about a mile and a half from the farm for several years. I grew up around and have remained friends with his sons and daughter.

The goats the kids raised on a bottle are now big enough to put them in with the rest of the herd. Only problem is, they are so tame they keep finding a way out of the fence and coming to the porch. I thought I had seen every way a goat could get itself into trouble until the other day. One of the horned dams had reached as far into the middle of a roll of hay as it could only to get it’s horns caught in the hay. It was stuck there with it’s head in the hay. I just happened to look out there and see it struggling. She was so grateful when I finally dug enough hay away she could get loose.

On a positive note, while looking for something in the attic I found a box of old picture negatives. Just from looking at them through the light I can tell that they are my great uncle Norman in various places both here and overseas – I would assume during WWII. We have tons of pictures that he took during the war of friends of his, but we have no way of identifying them. Someday I hope to scan them and post them on a website for folks to help me identify them. I have taken about half of them to have them developed and hopefully I can afford to get the rest soon.

Well I should go for now…….feel free to drop a comment anytime.

Trick or Treat

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

Last week it was back to warm, dry fall weather. This week it’s going to be back into the 20′s. The warmth provided us with the incentive to get out and do lots of the things we’d been putting off. I took advantage of the temps and got a good coat of stain and preservative on the logs of the house. My buddy Mike came up and helped. It took us most of the day, but we were able to get it all done in one day. Well almost all, I still need to do a little on the porch. I underestimated the amount I would need or I would have gotten it all done. It’s a constant battle to keep up a house this old. I don’t know what we could do to save the house if just one of the logs started to rot.

I had promised a neighbor that I would cut a field of hay for him earlier in the year, but had never gotten to it. He took advantage of the warm weather too. First he just wanted to borrow a couple pieces of equipment to cut it himself. Where he wanted to cut is very steep, so it didn’t take long for him to come back and say his John Deere just wasn’t going to be able to do it. I was up to my armpits in stain – so I loaned him the 6000. I usually don’t loan equipment, but this neighbor has helped me in the past and he is an accomplished operator. I could tell he was impressed with both the Mahindra and the Vermeer roller. He just kept saying “it uses a little more fuel than mine, but man that’s a tractor”. Most people don’t understand just how much 4wd and a loader is capable of until they get to use it. Then they say they’ll never have another 2wd tractor… and wonder how they got by without a loader.

It wasn’t all work this week though. The whole family (kids, mom, dad, grandma, aunt, uncle, and cousin) took a ride on the Big South Fork Railway. We rode the trick or treat train for tots. The kids had a blast. After the train ride they trick or treated all over the town of Stearns.

My Mahindra merchandise came this week too. Now I don’t have to drink my morning coffee from a green JD cup. The t-shirts are great too. They have the “lift spot” advertisement on the back with the Deere and the Kubota tractors hoisted up by the Mahindra on the front loader and the 3 point. It proudly proclaims that the Deere and the Kubota names aren’t the only ones that carry a lot of weight. Here’s one pic of it I found online.
I was able to find some interesting things this week too. I found an old Tombstone Junction (the long gone, but once widely known amusement park just a few miles from me) advertisement flyer. Another interesting thing I found this week was an issue of Grit. I remember as a kid peddling Grit to all our neighbors. Don’t think I ever made a dime selling the paper, but it was fun taking it to all the neighbors. I hadn’t seen an issue in I bet 20 years.

Well, temps are supposed to be in the 20′s tonight, so I better go put a fire in the woodstove and bring in Mattie’s potty garden. Feel free to drop me a line anytime…. I really enjoy reading and responding to everyone’s comments, so thanks.

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