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Finally March

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All is well here on the farm. Everything is growing and I can see the grass starting to green as every day goes by. March seems to always be when you know you’ve made it through the winter. That’s good because I am down to only 4 rolls and about 40 square bales of hay. I wouldn’t want any of the animals to get hungry. I have increased the amount of grain I’m feeding and cut back on the hay. It’s almost time to start spreading fertilizer on the hay fields. I like to spread as early as the weather allows to take advantage of all the spring rains. Usually around Valentines Day, but it was just too cold for me this year. Now if it will dry up I can spread. Hopefully the old saying “If March comes in like a lion it will go out like a lamb” holds true.

We had lots of rain and high winds all day and night. I like the rain, it makes good reading weather. Mom got me a great book – Into The Wild. I highly recommend it. It will really make you think about life. I spent most of my off time inside going over all the literature I picked up at the NFMS. The kids got me a subscription to Farm & Ranch Living. I’m usually not much on things if they aren’t informative. However I like this magazine because of its diaries from folks like me and all the great pictures. Not to mention I love the historical stuff in it. How could you not enjoy something you’ve seen your kids save their nickels and dimes for though.

The children seem to be getting bigger before my very eyes. This shift I work has me away from them more than I anticipated. I’ve worked late a lot on Mondays and Tuesdays and only see them for a few minutes on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. That’s 4 days a week and I feel so bad on Saturday from being up all night that I know I’m hard to get along with. Garett seems to miss me more than the others. He made me promise I would watch Open Season with him tonight. We’re making plans to go to Finley’s Fun Center at least one Sunday a month too. They like to play all the games and get Dad out on roller skates. Last Sunday I was so tired all I wanted to do was sleep. I did let them drag me out to get them a hamburger and go to the book store. While we were out they wanted to drive around and look at how low the lake was. When it warms up we’re gonna go walk in the lake bed. It’s real interesting, things are uncovered that haven’t been seen in a very long time. I read in the newspaper that the river in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area here in the county is at levels not seen since impounding the lake.

Won’t be too much longer until the pigs will be ready to eat. Someone asked me a few days ago did I not feel bad about killing these animals. I tried to explain that I do the very best I can by them for the time they have here. I see to it that they aren’t hungry, thirsty, or unhappy and that they have a warm dry place to sleep. I think that’s a whole lot more than you can say for the animals that have been raised commercially. So I bet my hamburger had a happier life than their hamburger. Also there are some animals on the farm that don’t have to worry about life ending anytime soon if I have my way about it.

I got a call at work the other night from BJ. Her grandparents needed hay moved again and she used the 6000 to move it for them. I asked her why she didn’t just go ahead and not worry about calling. Her reply was she was calling out of respect, it wasn’t right just to do it without talking to me first. I kidded her that she sounded crazy and that scared me because she never respected me when we were married. She says that’s not true, but I think it is. I think Papaw Staley might have changed his mind about not ever needing 4wd. When I told him I was buying a 4wd tractor, he told me he’d never buy a 4wd because if it was that bad he’d hire a bulldozer to clean it up for him. With all the freeze and thaw this year I think he sees how handy 4wd is.

We’ve made the decision on the poultry houses. Drumroll please……We have applied for the loan to try it. A cool million in all. I don’t know if we’ll get the money, but we’re going to try it. We talked and talked about it and it finally came down to try it, but leave ourselves an out. By that I mean, leave ourselves a way to sell out without selling the whole place. We’ve found a distant ridge that is almost perfect for them. When we sold the timber the loggers flattened it and used it for a skid yard. It’s at the end of a county road so it won’t intefere with this part of the farm at all. I’m not overly enthusiastic about it, but my dad wants to partner up and do something when he retires for good. I want to be home on the farm with the kids evenings. Both my mom and BJ have pledged to help. I had made the decision not to do it if it was going to be in my back yard or front yard. The site played a huge role in the decision for me. I’ve talked to lots of people who both recommend it and don’t and from everything I can gather it’s good for me. I’m young, hence not taking too big a risk with health insurance, retirement, and just plain dying broke. I’m a hard worker and most of all I want to be here on the farm 7 days a week 24 hours a day. I think that’s the biggest asset of this whole venture. I have a burning desire to farm and make this place profitable so my children don’t have to work in a charcoal factory. Add that to the support I’m receiving from my folks and I honestly believe we can make this thing work.

The log house is absolutely amazing with the new windows. Replacement windows are worth every penny. We’re almost done with all the improvements to it. All that’s left is a little hemlock siding on it and the barn, and some finish work inside. We’ve spent just over $20,000, but I bet the place will appraise $60,000 higher. The best part is my mom is so happy with the house. I haven’t seen her happy since we lost my youngest brother. He’s buried here at Bethel Baptist Church and I know she is grateful to finally be close to him. It really bothered her being in Owen County and him being here.

Kenny (the contractor) is starting the front deck on the double-wide as I write. I’m sure the kids will be happy. Every morning when the bus comes they’ve been hopping out the front about 3 feet to the ground like paratroopers. Madison has the most trouble with it. For her it’s like jumping from above her head.

Well lots to do……Be sure to check out the pics I’ve added here……Hope to hear from you…..Check back soon!

15 Responses to “Finally March”

  1. Tanya Says:

    Your daughter sleeping with the puppy is adorable.

  2. David Says:

    Hey Joel, get the truck fixed? Glad to hear that your going into the chicken buss. Are you going to raise broilers, layers, or pullets?

  3. Kevin Says:

    Joel, Family and Friends
    Glad to hear that you made a decision, and I hope that it works out the best. Sometimes the best decisions are the hardest ones to make.
    I’m glad that you and BJ are getting along fairly well. It is too bad that the two of you are no longer together, but sometimes you have to part for one or both of you to see how much good the other person has and how much pain you caused. Hopefully things will continue to improve between the two of you, and even if you two are not together as a couple, at least you will be very close friends.
    Things here are still brown, not much greening up yet. I need to transplant some pin oak trees but it has been too mucky to get out and dig them. I lost five large oaks in the backyard of the rental house due to the sudden oak death bacteria, I’m hopeful that these young trees haven’t been infected by it. I also need to start some seeds for tomatoes and peppers. I can’t turn the ground yet for a garden, although my neighbor tried to turn some today with his 4wd JD. It still looks too wet to me.
    Well, just keep at it, and everything will work out.

  4. joelw Says:

    Thanks! She’s not camera shy either. She also is the most involved with the farm of all the children.

    It’s not fixed yet. I ordered the PMD relocation kit from SS diesel supply last night. Should be here Thursday. I’ll keep you posted.

    BJ and I get along good in small doses. We certainly get along better than we used to though. I heard something is beginning to kill the oaks here also. If that happens there won’t be anything left but the poplar. We got garden stuff at Lowes Sunday. I got the tiller hooked up this evening. Think I’ll turn some dirt tommorrow.

  5. abrar Says:

    hey i just came across your blog, i am really enjoying it. i was wondering if that 22 acre plot is still for sale and if it is could i possibly get some contact info of the realtor or the family. thanks and good luck

  6. joelw Says:

    Click on the link to the pics and you should be able to read the sign. It is for sale by the family, not listed with a realtor. Last I heard they were asking $200,000.00. That’s ridiculously high for this area. Sure would love to have it though!

  7. joelw Says:

    Telephone contacts are visible after you “show all sizes” on the flickr pics and the area code here is (606).

  8. grace Says:

    I love this blog.

  9. Kevin Says:

    Joel, Family & Friends
    I just spent sometime this AM looking at a couple of hatcheries websites. I’m thinking about ordering some chicks for eggs and meat. I was also thinking about getting some rabbits (a couple of does and a buck). How are Garrett’s bunnies doing? I remember you saying you were thinking about getting some a few months back, but haven’t seen anything on them. You are right about getting over populated with rabbits quickly, but with restricted breeding and butchering and selling young rabbits for pets you can keep ahead of them. A lot of folks from the city don’t understand that animals have a purpose on this planet. Whether it be as pets, or meat, milk or egg producers we have a duty to provide them with kind, safe and healthy care while they are with us. Most small farmers are kinder hearter than what many city dwellers would think. I have seen them cry when they have to send on old cow or sow to slaughter, especially ones they raised and had around for several years. Well, take care and keep at it!

  10. Caroline Says:

    Hi Joel,

    I sit in a grey suit in a grey office in a concrete jungle five days a week. I can\’t tell you what a great escape your blog is. You\’re enthusiasm for the life of a farmer and descriptions make for wonderful reading and I feel like I really get a taste of \”life on the other side\”. Thanks for blogging and I look forward to hearing how the chicken business goes (I\’ll be crossing my fingers for you)!

  11. joelw Says:

    Garett’s rabbits are fine. They should be old enough now to have more bunnies. I haven’t gotten cages built for them yet. Too many people out there criticize farm folks for killing their animals and then run to McDonalds for a hamburger. Go figure. Several years ago Bj and I raised our first beef. After it was processed and grilled she pushed it away from the table and said I just can’t do it. She said I fed that baby with a bottle as she cried and I hate that he had to go.

    Thanks for reading, I’m glad you enjoy it! Hopefully someday you’ll get out of the rat race and find you a nice quiet place in the country. Until then I hope this keeps you going. If you’ve ever got any questions, I’m just a click away!

  12. Melissa Says:

    Hi Joel,
    I just discovered your blog as well, and will be checking back often. I was raised in the country, and now live in town, and boy, do I miss it!
    Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  13. Hillbilly Willy Says:

    If this posts twice – sorry. The pictures of the kids with the goats are great. Brings up my adventure this week visiting friends showing goats at the Houston Livestock show. Read the funny story by visiting the link with my name.

    10-4 Willy

  14. Jan M Says:

    Just stumbled across your site and found it wonderful. I can’t wait to read all your earlier posts and learn more about you, your family, your farm, and your life. Thanks for sharin with the rest of us!


  15. Tammy Says:

    Your blog is really refreshing. I too grew up in the country as so many of your readers. I am currently looking to purchase some land so that my children can experience all the rewarding hardwork that owning a farm can bring. There’s nothing like living on a farm.

    You seem to be a very kind and caring man. Your children are very lucky to have such a devoted father.

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