Life of a Farm Blog

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Crazy Weather

Well folks it’s official, I’m unemployed. With so much to do here on the farm I decided to quit the off the farm job and get some stuff done before the chickens arrive. Busy as a bee! I’m having so much fun being at home on the farm and with the kids instead of in the factory. I gotta say it’s a lot of work though. I’ve worked almost every day on something. I cut cedar posts for the log house porch and skidded them with the 6000. I’ve cut and split firewood. I finally finished the rabbit cages. I’ve burned brush. I’ve detached the front porch on the double wide and set it on the trailer to move. All the under pinning is now removed. Chainsaws have been sharpened. Now I’m ready to start fencing or working on my tack room in the barn.

I cannot figure this crazy weather out. Just a few days ago there was a dusting of snow on the ground and today temps are right at 70. What preciptation we missed this summer we must be getting now. It seems like every day there is rain. The 6000 is a muddy mess. I’ve been using it to try to keep the drives around the chickenhouses passable. The concrete trucks leave ruts everywhere they go. This building project has been crazy. Every day it’s something. Unfortunately I haven’t taken the time to get back to the local Mahindra dealer and try to hammer out a final deal on a 7010. With all the buzz about a new bigger cab tractor coming in 2008, I’m wondering if I should wait.

The trucks keep rolling in with more peices. Most of the truck drivers are really nice people who don’t want to put you out, but some have been impossible to please. Really it’s not my place to unload them considering this was supposed to be a turn key job, but I’m not the type to rest on my laurels while someone else needs to get going. I’m generally the nicest guy you’ll ever meet, but one truck driver really brought out the bad side of me. I get up early and ready the kids for school and then deliver them because they don’t like to ride the bus. One morning a driver arrived very early and I politely told him I had to take the kids to school, but I would be right back. That didn’t set well with him, but I just smiled and went on. When I got back he flung his truck doors open and said “It’s all yours, I’m not touching a thing”. Half the load wasn’t even on pallets. It was peices of the feed bins and such. I started to climb in and get to work when it hit me. I thought this guy’s a jerk, he needs some of his own medicine. I just stopped and said “you know what, I own this farm and I’ve contracted this job to someone else, they’ll be here soon and they can unload you”. He grumbled his way back to his truck and waited from 7:45 until after 10:30. The contractor finally showed up and unloaded him.

Well the kids are home now and tugging at me to get out and do something with them while it’s not raining. Be sure to check out the pics I’ve added to the site and check back soon! I know we’ve still got a few days to go, but Merry Christmas to all!


15 Responses to “Crazy Weather”

  1. Kevin Says:

    Joel,
    Sorry to hear you ran into a few sour apples making the deliveries. You handled that one the right way though. Most of the over the road truckers get paid by the mile, so they hate delays in loading/unloading. They figure every minute they spend waiting is more money out of thier pocket. If they are a company driver the ones that they should be upset with is thier dispatcher for not arranging a specific delivery time so that the contractor would be present to unload him. It wasn’t your problem that he showed up when no one was at the jobsite.

    I bought one of those tractor cake pans too!!! They did a nice job on it, and I am only hoping that mine turns out that nice when I try to make one.

    Don’t believe all of the news you heard about the ice storm in Missouri. I am about 50 miles east of Kansas City, and while I do have ice here, it really hasn’t been that bad. The temps didn’t drop down low enough for the state to get behind on clearing the highways, and I didn’t lose power. It went to the north of me on Monday/Tuesday and was to the south of me on Sunday. If we get one or two days above freezing most of it will melt off before we get a snow over the weekend. So that is how our winters go here, from one storm to another, or else we end up with cold overcast or clear days.

    It looks like from your fencing supplies your are going to have your hands full. Lots of barbed wire there (about two miles of four strand?) and maybe a half of woven wire with a barbed wire topper. I need to get some fencing done on my place, but the price of wire is outrageous! (I know, it isn’t going to get cheaper.)

    Take care, and just keep on keepin’ at it!
    Kevin

  2. joelw Says:

    Kevin,
    Good to kow you didn’t get the brunt of the ice. We had a pretty good ice storm here a few years back. I know that it’s an inconvienence being without power for a lot of folks, but honestly I kind of enjoyed it.
    I read a lot, took lots of hot baths wth water heated on the wood stove, and cooked good real food on the stove too. The electricity being out caused us to lose some freezer stuff, but it really needed cleaned out anyway.
    Those tractor cake pans were just too cool to pass up. Cost $18 and then the next trip the kids wanted an icing bag that was $12. So I got a total of $30 invested. Good investment since BJ has already baked 2 delicous cakes.
    Lots of fencing to do. I’m figuring on a 4 strand barbed wire around what we recently cleared and the woven wire will extend the goats area. There are some rock shelters that I want to fence the goats around and let them clean the underbrush up. Make them earn their keep so to speak.

  3. sunnyacres Says:

    I grew up here in Maine in the heyday of the chicken industry in this area. Lots of broiler barns, and cage layer houses. Broiler barns were usually 3 or 4 stories tall, with about the same footprint as your barns. We used shavings for litter, and just pushed everything down for cleanout (every flock), and loaded out with tractor. How do you cleanout with the grate system, and how often?
    I am in the process of building a new hay / livestock barn, and had to be carefull to keep a ceiling high enough to get in with my 7520.

    Tom

  4. joelw Says:

    Tom,
    My cleanouts will be roughly once a year. This will be what they call a breeder house. My chickens will roam free in the house and the eggs they lay in the nests will be gathered for hatching more chicks. Cleanout will be with a skid steer or small tractor and loader. Haven\’t decided which yet. The plastic grates/slats are mounted to 2×6\’s and can be lifted right out. The slats are sitting on a wooden box built from 2×4\’s and 1×6\’s. I\’ll post some more pics so you can understand more about what I\’m saying.The houses have concrete pads at the catch end with push walls on them. The litter is supposed to go there and be loaded and taken away. Right now Ky is doing cost shares on poultry litter sheds. I\’m planning on applying as soon as my houses are done.
    There used to be quite a few chicken houses here in my area. I think most were built in the late 50\’s and 60\’s. My grandparents had layers and my great uncle had broilers. For some reason everyone quit all at once. I have been told they were tied to Purina in some way. Almost all of them were left to rot down. The 2 on my farm are in good shape now, but that wasn\’t the case when I took over. One was in such bad shape when we refurbished we had to jack up the roof while pulling the sides back together. It was a real mess.

    How you liking that 7520? I hear they are a real work horse of a tractor. Maybe they\’ll have them available with a cab soon.
    Thanks for reading and for the comment. Check back soon and I\’ll post those pics. Merry Christmas!
    Joel

  5. David Says:

    Joel you need to apply for the stack house grant NOW, the longer you wait the less they will potentially pay. We have been on the list here in Georgia for over a year. During that time the ammount they will help with has steadily declined. Some individuals who apply get theirs right away, while others have been on the waiting list for 1 or 2 years. We raise broilers and clean out with 2 Lewis Brothers Poultry Housekeepers. If you can afford it a skid steer loader will run circles around any tractor in cleaning out the houses and will have the reach to load a spreader truck. Another thing we have learned the hard way is if you invest in a spreader truck get a diesel truck with a 2 speed rear end, and hydrolic spreader body. We bought a gas burner with a single speed rear end and pto spreader body. Talk about a gas hog and no power when climbing hills loaded. Hope this little bit of info is helpful. My family has been in the broiler bussiness since the mid 60′s. Merry Christmas David

  6. joelw Says:

    The cost share here has remained the same for atleast 2 years now. 80% is pretty good, but your right I need to get on it before it gets away. A skid steer will run circles around a small tractor, but the tractor would have all year use whereas the skid steer would be strictly for cleanout, on average once a year. I don’t have to worry about reaching the truck or buggy. My 6000 will reach higher than a skid steer. I could be loading with the 6000 as fast as someone else cleaned it out or vice versa. I would like to have a litter buggy or two instead of a truck. That way I can load it and they can spread it with their tractor or I could spread for a fee with mine. I would rather them take the responsibility for where it is being spread. Thanks for the comment! Glad to have you reading! Check back regularly, I’m sure I’m going to have lots of questions about this poultry business. Merry Christmas!
    Joel

  7. Niki Says:

    Congratulations on your bold action. Good luck and Merry Christmas.

  8. joelw Says:

    Niki,
    Thanks for the comment. I hope you enjoy the blog. It would seem to me you’ve taken quite a bold action yourself. I’ll be checking in on your blog from time to time. Make sure you check back. Good luck on your projects and Merry Christmas to you and yours!
    Joel

  9. Kevin Says:

    Joel,
    I think you have the right idea about the manure/litter spreaders. Our feed delivery man used to have a turkey operation and used a large manure spreader on the back of his 7000 Ford. (Sort of dates how long ago that was!) Plus he used a smaller tractor with a loader for getting the litter and manure out of his sheds. (Turkeys around here were raised in open fronted barns, more like machine or hay storage sheds, and were put on open range for part of thier grow out. His breeding operation was done in a low enclosed building, due to the size of some of his tom turkeys part of his system included semen collection and arificial insemmination.) You might want to invest in an older state or municipal dump truck or two ton with a hoist. Whatever excess litter you have, you might want to compost and then sell by the ton or truckload. It can add a little extra income to what you might have normally just given away to get rid of. You might want to look at some of the websites for skid steer loaders to get an idea of the different implements you can use with it. I know that they offer rough cut and finish mowers, post hole diggers, tree spades, tree/brush shears, backhoes, etc. If you could find one at a reasonable price you might be able to use it mow the lawn, plus do other jobs both on the farm and as a contractor.

    Hope you and the family have a great Christmas!
    Kevin

  10. joelw Says:

    I like the idea of a spreader behind the tractor because I can load it and let someone else deal with it. I was thinking small tractor because I’d like to have a small tractor with a backhoe. I’m on the lookout for a smaller dump truck too. My fear of the skid steer is it would only get used at cleanout.
    Hope you and yours have a Merry Christmas!

  11. Kyle Says:

    Hi Joel!

    I am 12 years old and I live on a small hobby farm in MD. I have been following your blog for a while and I think it is great that kids still get to grow up on farms. Although we only have about 35 acres, I wish to have a farm like yours one day! Good luck and Merry Christmas!

    Kyle

    PS

    Check out freewebs.com/comptonfarms which is our farm website that I run!

  12. joelw Says:

    Kyle,
    Glad to have you reading! Hope you enjoy the blog. I hope you can achieve your goal of owning a big farm someday. Pretty cool web site you got there!
    Joel

  13. ann Says:

    I hope everything is going better for you sorry to hear what has happen to you but thing will get better for you and your kids god has a plane for your family everything will work out

  14. joelw Says:

    Ann,
    We are hanging in there. We’re pretty tough and just generally take things as they come. Thanks for the comment!

  15. Sue Says:

    Hi!! I also grew up on a farm–a dairy farm in Ohio. My husband farmed with his Dad–also on a dairy farm where we raised our children. I really enjoyed reading your blog. Due to having 2 back surgeries and now being on disability, my husband and I have opened up a website store–http://www.ugottaluvem.com where we sell many different designs of wind spinners, which are made of stainless steel and guaranteed never to rust. We have tractors, farm animals, dogs, wildlife, and many others–please check us out.

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