Life of a Farm Blog

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Spring Flowers

Another week has come and gone here on the farm. Madison has had me out digging flowers. Now that the truck is fixed and it’s warmer, we’ve been driving down to the creek a couple miles past the farm so the kids can skip rocks and that’s where Madison found her flowers. There are old home places along the banks of the creek and lots of them have flowers growing abundantly. The kids call it Lilly Valley. That means Dad gets the shovel those that we need at our house. Garett doesn’t get too into the flowers, so he browses around for other treasures or picks up trash. Kind of strange to pick up trash, but he does. He says people are littering and destroying the earth. Hard to argue with that. So usually we come home with flowers and trash. It’s good for the kids to get out in the woods.

It’s time for garden tilling to get busy. I tilled 3 on Friday afternoon. Don’t make a lot of money at it, but at least it helps buy fuel. At $2.60 a gallon I can use the help. I thought I would have some trouble starting the 6000 after running it out of fuel, but all I had to do was loosen the fuel prime pump and pump a few times and it took right off.

The kids and I volunteered for the museum in Stearns this weekend. The Stearns Coal & Lumber Company owned the local school building and had given the school district free rent since about 1925. A couple years ago the school board decided to restructure and close 3 of the older schools and build new and bigger schools. Problem is they closed the small schools that were achieving the higher test scores. I’m convinced schools are a business and it’s not about teachers or kids anymore. Things have certainly changed here since my grandmother taught for over 30 years. At any rate the Coal company didn’t want the building anymore since it’s in such bad shape so they donated it to the McCreary County Heritage Foundation. The museum is part of that foundation, so they got anything left in the building that they could use. We spent 2 days moving shelves, tables, books, and trophy cases that were all left behind to be thrown in the landfill. As they say- one man’s junk, another man’s treasure. In this case it’s one school’s junk, a museum’s treasure. I’m disgusted with the vandalism that has been done to the old schools here. Somebody has stolen almost all the copper wire and broken countless windows. It’s a shame we don’t have better law enforcement here. That and that people don’t have morals enough not to destroy others property. Hopefully the Heritage Foundation will do something with the building, but I have my doubts. It would take millions to renovate the place and I know they don’t have that kind of money.

I’ve spent countless hours on the phone and in the bush with contractors talking about and getting bids for the poultry houses. I have never felt so much pressure in my life. Farm Credit wants a general contractor to be hired to do it all. Problem is the total job bids are coming out way higher than the total of the individual bids. I could save probably $50,000 over the scope of the project by being my own general contractor. The excavation costs that the general contractors are throwing at me are over $15,000 more than the excavators bid. I see why it costs so much to build now. It’s not just a simple matter of hiring it done. You have to hire someone to hire it done and they want to inflate everything about 15%. In a project with a scope of $700,000 it can get out of hand quick. I can see where this whole deal could go sour very very quickly.

On a high note, I see there are going to be some changes to the UK basketball program. I can’t help but believe Tubby was told it was time to go. I just can’t see a guy leave the best job in college ball for Minnesota. I just hope we can lure either Bruce Pearl up from Tennessee or John Calipari from Memphis. I’d be happy if Pat Riley wanted to come back to his alma mater too.

Well tons to do so I’ll close for now………be sure to check out the pics I’m adding to the site.

9 Responses to “Spring Flowers”

  1. stefanie Says:

    Hi there,

    It is so nice to hear you talk about spending time with your kids and it sounds like they are already smarter than some grown ups that I know….
    I hope you can get a good general contractor that can give you a good bid. I can imagine that the whole thing is very scary. Hang in there, I always say”It all happens the way it’s supossed to”
    Anyway. Good luck.

  2. Kevin Says:

    Joel, Family & Friends,
    I know how it goes with lenders, they are afraid that if you act as general contractor, and either fail to have something done properly or don’t have something done at all, then they will possibly end up with a lot of headaches later. What they don’t see is they are actually saving themselves money, as well as you. If an individual builds a monstrosity on his property, so be it, especially if there are county planning and zoning officials to oversee the entire process. (But that doesn’t always work. We had one local builder site his house too close to the front of the lot, and the city building inspector did not point it out until he did the final inspection. I’m sorry but if the inspector came out to inspect the footings, which he did, that was the time to determine if the structure would meet set back requirements.)

  3. David Says:

    Have you looked into any other lenders besides farm credit? When we built the 3 new chickenhouses at my dad’s a year ago we tried going thru farm credit. But we spent over 6 months doing this and that “JUNK” that they wanted/had to have done. And the whole time the prices to do everything were going up. So our fieldman put us in touch with a banker in Gainsville, Ga and in a week and a half we signed papers. With none of the BS that we had to go thru with farm credit. And we did all of the hiring,excavation, building, equipment. Their crazy to want a general contractor, because your right you’ll save at least 50k by contracting it out yourself. Are you going to raise broilers, pullets, or layers? We raise broilers for Koch Foods out of Chattanooga, Tn.

  4. Barbara Peterson Says:

    I got a kick of learning that your son picks up garbage…so do I here in Virginia. Of course I”m 45 and he’s just a young kid, but hopefully it will start a trend. I bike a great deal and hate seeing my favorite biking paths defiled by garbage – so I pick it up. The fact that there’s more garbage on the path the next day is just a sad commentary on the world we live in.

    Anyway, nice, interesting blog!

  5. Jennifer Says:

    Hi Joel – Just came across your site, as there is a link posted on my Web site — Not sure why it is there, must be something my company decided to put on there. I work for Farm Progress, more specifically, Michigan Farmer magazine. Good luck on your new hen building — sounds like a project! I know what you mean about a general contractor… I would certainly look for other options, especially since you seem so handy and maybe able to do quite a bit of the labor yourself.
    I had to laugh when you mentioned BJ checking with you about borrowing the truck… out of respect. Yeah, seems me and my ex get along better and have more respect for each other now that we’re divorced than we did in the eight years we were married. I think we make better friends than we every did as husband and wife.
    Keep your focus on work, kids and God and life will be good to you!!!
    – Jennifer

  6. Darlene Says:

    I just came across your site today and read it from beginning to end. I am just negotiating a real estate deal in Virginia and believe you are really blessed to be as far down the road of farming as you are. I want to put alpaca and livestock on the land and am at the preschool level. It was encouraging to learn about what you all do and the support you have in your family and friends. I will be moving down with my 8 yr. old to a house, 38 flat acres and outbuildings that need repair and am looking for grants and funding. I’m looking into Agritourism and various streams of income. I don’t think it is wise to put up your farm as collaterol.

  7. Jan Says:

    It is great to be outside and enjoy nature, however, I learned in one of my classes to become a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener that it was a BIG no-no to dig up flowers from the wild. If they don’t make it being transplanted or in a different location then they ate lost forever. Also, If you enjoy seeing them in the wild, so do others. Kudos on picking up the trash – that is something that should be removed.

  8. Niki Says:

    I agree with Darlene..must be some funding without putting up the farm. Hang in there. You have a dream. It’s April 1st and I’ve been busy too. Check it out at my site.

    Your kids sound wonderful. You’re a good dad to spend time with them. It makes a difference and I can’t help feeling like this country wouldn’t be swarmed by meth monkeys ripping off copper all over if there had been more attention paid to them as kids. Keep up the good work (blog).

  9. Kevin Says:

    Joel, Family & Friends,
    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I had problems getting to the blog over the weekend when Mahindra changed the home page at thier site. (I like the new format, and they do list implements now!)
    Jan, Joel was talking about removing plants at old abandoned home sites. When I was a Park Ranger we had a lot of these in the parks, and while they were nice, they were not native to the area. I do agree with you though about not trying to transplant native species, particularly rare or endangered ones.
    I went by the cemetary this afternoon to see if my brother had any markers put up since our mother’s death. (She died 7/9/2006, and was buried five days later, next to our father and sisters.) So far, none has been erected for any of them. I talked to one of the men with the grounds crew about putting up a planter, he told me they charge a $25.00 fee to mark a permissible location, and require that I put in a footing at least 24″ deep by the dimensions of whatever is going to be on top of it. I figure a couple hundred dollars in concrete, and labor to put up a thirty dollar concrete planter! You talk about bureaucracy gone wild, there is one more example for you.
    Hope everyone is doing well. The weather has warmed up nicely here, but we are having seasonal rains and storms. Nothing serious so far, but we usually have some tornadoes and wind/hail storms before they are over. Take care and have a great week!

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