Life of a Farm Blog

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Volunteer

Not a lot going on here on the farm this week. With the holiday (July 4th) we all spent a little time away from the farm. The children volunteered at the McCreary County Museum selling lemonade, hot dogs, pies, and sodas to the folks attending the Independence Day Celebration. We had a good time checking out the old (and new) cars and watching the fireworks display. We also picked up a few things at the silent auction held by the museum. Now we’ll have to find the time to visit Barthell, the replica mining town in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. We’ll have to find time to get over to the Stearns Restaurant for dinner too since we have certificates for free daily specials. It was pretty neat to hang out in historic Stearns. They have been having an Independence Day celebration there since 1903. This year was the 100th anniversary of the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company office building that now houses the McCreary County Museum.

The excavation continues here on the farm. We are rapidly approaching a time when we will have to make a definite decision about the poultry houses. I’m still on the fence about this venture. My hunch is it would be profitable. It is a huge risk though. I finally got a copy of the contract we would be signing and I can tell you it’s certainly not a great contract. Cobb is paying for a lot of things that other companies aren’t, but it’s still a huge risk. The pay can be adjusted at any time and they can cancel your contract for a number of reasons. I guess the biggest reason I am having trouble making a definitive decision has to do with what is right for the land. I have such a bond with the land here. It’s beautiful land that could be used for so many other things it just seems a waste to put a commercial chicken house on it.

I believe I finally have the rental trailer we purchased in pretty fair shape. We haven’t found any more water leaks. I had to pick up an electric range and a new refrigerator. The old appliances were gas and I wanted to get away from gas since I know nothing about it. At least with electric I can do any maintenence myself. Shouldn’t be anything like that for a while though. We got the range and fridge for $725 new at a local appliance dealer. Right now it seems like the trailer was a bad idea with all the work and money I’ve had to put in it. I’ve changed all the plumbing to CPVC, wired in the electric range, and cleaned up the yard. I’d have spent a small fortune if I had hired someone to do it. I used the 6000 to take out some fence along the road that the previous owner had concreted about 3 ft in the ground. I believe the guy spent way more on concrete than on fence because these things were 4x4s in 10 inch holes poured full of concrete 3 ft in the ground. I couldn’t pull them with the loader because the chain kept sliding up, so I had to take the corner of the bucket and curl them up out of the ground at the concrete.

We had the vet out to the farm this week. Precious, Kaylee’s mare, had a rope burn on her leg that got infected and spread up her leg. Everyday I have to run the hose on it for about 10 minutes and then flush it good with iodine and wrap it good to keep the flies out. While Dr. Burress was here we got the dogs all their vaccines and had her check out a couple goats that have fly larvae on them. We’ve always called the fly larvae wolves or wolf worms. They are pretty easy to deal with, but have been a pain this year because of the dry weather. We finally are getting some rain though. It’s been over a month since we got anything but a brief shower, but it rained most of the night last night and is still drizzling a little at 11 this morning. It does not look as though there will be much, if any, of a second cutting of hay. I would have enough hay to feed through the winter even without the second cutting, but I am already having to feed a roll a week.

With the drought it seems farmers are finally getting some coverage in the local papers. Their were a couple good articles in the Lexington Herald Leader Monday (7-9) about “Farming into the retirement years” and “Beekeepers, other farmers need government help”. Also good to see unions getting a little positive publicity too. See the links below:

http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=doc&p_docid=11A52242402990A0&p_docnum=1

http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=doc&p_docid=11A5224290D14470&p_docnum=1

http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=doc&p_docid=11A5224369463150&p_docnum=1

http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=doc&p_docid=11A52242A6F58E78&p_docnum=2

Well it’s almost time to make the charcoal so I better go. Be sure to check out the pics I’ve added. Thanks for reading and check back soon!


10 Responses to “Volunteer”

  1. Steve Carver Says:

    Joel maybe you can help me.I also have a International model 47 small square baler with a bent needle if you find someone who has them or can order them please let me know. My implement store here says 500.00 for one needle but i don’t trust this guy.
    Thank you Steve

  2. Kevin Says:

    Steve,
    Check and see if you can find a used implement salvage yard in your area. We have some in our area, and normally thier prices are much lower than the dealers, and if you don’t mind using a used part you can come out ahead. You can also check and see if there are any internet parts dealers who stock needles for the IHC 47 baler (they made tons of them, and other models that use some of the same parts.) Other wise, watch the auction sales and see if you can spot a junk baler with compatible parts coming up for sale.

    Joel, too bad you haven’t gotten a good rain or two this past month. Some of us are getting more than enough, wish I could send you some of ours.

    Kevin

  3. joelw Says:

    Steve,
    I put a parts wanted request on tractorhouse.com for the needle I needed. Got a couple of responses. I believe the needles are the same on most of the old IH balers.
    Good to have you reading!

    Kevin,
    Send some of that rain my way! We sure could use it.

  4. Evan Says:

    I think some important part of your subconscious really doesn’t want to do this chicken thing; with all that newly available land, you may be able to think of something else that will bring in some money AND make you feel better about it. Just something to think about – it’s never a bad idea to trust your instincts.

    Good luck,
    -Evan

  5. Christy O Says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever commented but I enjoy reading your blog. I don’t know you or your land but I will say that the poultry house thing makes me very nervous! I’ve read a lot about farmers with poultry houses that have never recouped what they put into them. I’ve read about the companies paying very little for the grown chickens, sometimes not even enough to cover the feed. I’ve seen so many farms for sale with chicken houses on them. I have to assume it didn’t work out for them and they are trying to get whatever they can back.

    It isn’t my business but I’d hate to see someone get screwed. Have you talked to anyone that has poultry houses for the company you are looking at getting into a contract with? Do they generally treat their growers fairly?

  6. joelw Says:

    Evan,
    True instincts aren’t a bad thing, but really for me it’s the thought of all that money/debt.
    Glad to have you reading!

    Christy O,
    Anyone who would not be nervous about being tied to something like the chicken business and being in debt so much must be crazy. My contract calls for Cobb to pay for all feed. I would be raising hens on a per square foot basis. I have talked to a few growers who grow for Cobb and all seem to be content. From what I am told Cobb is one of the very best to grow for.
    Glad to have you reading! Check back soon!

  7. Tim Says:

    I agree that you should follow your instincts on the poultry house. Seems everyone down here in Georgia has them. We are going to raise pastured broilers and grass fed beef (http://www.naturesharmonyfarm.com) for the same reason that you’re on the fence…it just felt like the right decision for us, and for returning fertility and organic matter to the soil.

    Good luck with your decision.

    Tim

  8. Mustard Seed Mom Says:

    Hi Joel,
    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. Your family sounds delightful and I’m sure you’re really proud of your kids!

    I’ve been reading about your ongoing saga about the poultry house and feel very nervous for you-even though I don’t know you! You have been blessed with incredible land and I would hate to see anything bad happen to you and the land.
    I agree with all the previous posts about following your instincts.

    If you have a moment, perhaps you could check out this website http://www.polyfacefarms.com/. They raise pastured broilers/beef. It may be more in line with your dream of having pasture!
    God bless

  9. janet Says:

    i have a international 47 baler..we finally got it to tie but the twine breaks on both knots about 4″ past the knot….any suggestions?

  10. joelw Says:

    Janet,
    Some suggestions I have are bigger twine, lots of lube (wd 40, etc), greasing, looking for rough edges around knotters. Sounds to me like something is fraying your twine, most likely a rough edge. It would seem the knotters are fine. Could the needles have a burr on them? Rust and time sitting is a balers worst enemy. Hope I helped. Comment me anytime with more specifics ad I’ll try to help. Thanks for reading!

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