Life of a Farm Blog

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Proud Dad

We’re all very excited and proud of Kaylee! She made the high school cheerleading team. Quite an accomplishment for someone her age. She just skipped right over the middle school team and headed right for the high school team. I am so thankful to have such beautiful, happy, and healthy children!

Things are very busy here in the bluegrass. Chickens are at their peak right now so it takes almost all our time just gathering the 10-11,000 eggs we are getting every day. Most days it’s 5am to 7pm or maybe a little later. I’ve tried my best to keep labor to a minimum, but everyone is getting worn down. We are still kicking around building a second set and I’m looking for the right person or persons for it and to help here. So far it’s mostly my mom and I with a couple folks part time. My friend John and his mom both help out. Bj helps when she can, but lately it seems there is always something that needs to be done involving the children and she’s been attending to that. Garett’s class went to Pigeon Forge TN on a field trip. They took in a show at The Black Bear Jamboree. He wanted one of us to go so BJ went with him. Summer is coming and I know they dread coming to the chickenhouse every day.

We have made time to get out and do things with the horses a couple times a week. I’ve finally got Thumper, the colt born here on the farm almost 2 years ago, green broke and gelded. I think he will make a fine horse. I’ve been riding him a little bit and Madison tried him some too. Madison is quite the little cowgirl. She took her first ride outside the fence this week. We just rode around on the farm, but it was a huge deal to her. She can’t even reach the stirups, but she makes the horses do what she wants them to. Of course her horse is very broke. It’s a hand me down from me. Johnny horse has been here on the farm for about 5 years now. He had some fire in him when we first bought him, but it didn’t take long for him to figure out that wasn’t going to work with me. Garett and Kaylee don’t have much desire to do the horse things, but Madison and Katie do. Katie is now bugging me for her own horse. We’ll see how long she stays interested before we buy another one.

I finally broke down and hired someone to build a tack room in the barn. I figured it was do it now or I’d wait until someone stole my saddles. Must be a sign that things are tough because there is more burglary than ever here. I’ve been lucky not to have much stolen from me in the past. What did go missing I knew who took it and took appropriate action. Some of it I got back and those folks know never to show their face here again.

This weeks project is going to have to be bird proofing the chicken houses and the well house. Can’t have wild birds anywhere around these chickens. Their immunity is not that of a domestic chicken. Bj’s cousin Jason has agreed to help me some with it and keeping the place mowed. We’re still shopping for a truck. I geuss I’ll put off buying as long as I can. Just can’t stand to let go of the money it will take to buy what I want. I don’t know why $30,000 in debt scares me when we are in as deep as we are with the chickenhouses. Kaylee is keeping her eyes open though. She points out trucks she likes pretty regularly.

Well as always lots to do and little time to do it in………………………….So I better get busy. Thanks for reading and be sure to check out all the pics I’ve added to the site.


18 Responses to “Proud Dad”

  1. Kevin Says:

    Hi Joel!

    Good to hear that the chickens are laying as well as they are. I was wondering if you had to candle all those eggs, or just weigh them before sending them to the hatchery? I was also wondering, if you candle them, what do you do with all those unfertilized eggs? Do they go out for sizing and grading to be packaged as “breakers” or do they go into commercial egg sales? (Lots of people don’t realize that a lot of eggs now a days go to food processing plants already broken, homogenized and pasteurized.)

    Many people don’t understand the necessity of gelding and castrating livestock. With horses it is a good way to limit the number of stallions and the problems associated with them. With cattle and hogs, it is a good way to eliminate the strong taste and smell that comes from the elevated testoserone levels in the animal’s processed meat.

    Glad Kaylee made it onto the cheerleading squad, and it is impressive that she is on the High School squad. Just make sure and have that Daddy talk with her about how some boys are jerks, and try to do things that they shouldn’t. I’m sure she can handle most things, but you can remember how some boys can be.

    Well, hot and humid here. It has been raining about every three or four days. The grass hay is almost ready for the first cutting. My red clover is close to two and half feet tall, and is in blossom. The brome is forming nice heads and plenty of leaves. If I wait, like we used to, until the middle of June it might be too far into making seed. For a spring that started out cold everything is doing better than I expected. Most of the corn is several weeks behind where it was last year. Right now most of it I have seen is just emerging and putting out the first two seedling leaves. It should make a good crop, if the weather cooperates.

    Well, I ran on a bit to long. Take care and have fun, when you can!

    Kevin

  2. joelw Says:

    Kevin,
    We don’t candle any eggs. The hatchery only wants the ones that weigh 52+ grams and are single yolk. Sometimes it’s a geussing game as to the number of yolks. All the double yolks and small eggs are ours to give away to neighbors to encourage them not to have chickens. It’s a biosecurity thing. You would not believe the places a disease can hitch a ride into a facility like this. We are very lucky to live were there is not much MS or MG. The more southern states like Arkansas and Alabama have a really tough time preventing disaease. Just too many chickens around. I think that’s a big reason you see more poultry companies moving north a bit.
    I’ve already had the talk with Kaylee about boys. Maybe I should rephrase that, she and I had the talk. Kids grow up fast these days and they get a lot of information at school, both good and bad. Kinda like Luke Bryant says in the song “we rode in trucks”, we learned alot about life on the bus, how to lie, how to fight, how to kiss, how to cuss, and the closer we sat to the back the smarter we got.
    Thanks for the comment!

  3. Kitty Says:

    Just wanted to say I love your blog and I am coming back more often to read about it, its great

  4. paintsmh Says:

    We’re looking for a truck too. My dad is going to take my little dodge and get me a big farm truck to replace it. Seeing as I have to have something that can haul a stock trailer. And the prices for a used one with bunches of miles scare the heck out of me! Fortunately the darned gas seems to be causing prices on the big ones I am looking at to really start dropping…

  5. joelw Says:

    Kitty,
    Thanks for the compliment! I’m glad to have you reading!

    paintsmh,
    I see alot of trucks with the high prices still sitting on the lots. Unfortunately here it seems the dealers are holding on to them instead of reducing the prices. I just couldn’t justify the money for the newer trucks, but if I was going to pull a trailer everyday I think I’d have a newer Duramax/Allison combo. Diesel here is almost $1 a gallon higher than gasoline, but once you have a diesel you can’t ever go back. Thanks for the comment, glad to see you’re still reading!

  6. paintsmh Says:

    I thought about a diesel. But it gets so cold here all my friends with them told me to stick with gas because they are a nightmare to start in the winter. And we are particularly bad because we are in the mountains.

  7. Kevin Says:

    Paintsmh, just invest in a fuel heater. Some require you to plug in to a 110 outlet, but if you look around you can find one that will run off the DC battery system. The down side of the battery operated ones is that they require your regular use of the vehicle to keep the batteries charged up, unless you get one with a interconnected battery monitor that shuts off the system when it senses a low voltage situation. My biggest bite with most dealerships is that very few of them have sales staffs that are knowledgable about working trucks. Most of them sell trucks that come equipped from the factory for the “average” buyer, some guy who lives in the suburbs who only use the truck to drive back and forth to work, and pull a boat or camper on the weekend. That’s why very few dealers have more than one or two “working” trucks on thier lots. The majority of them have pretty half ton trucks with rear ends geared for highway speeds and better gas economy, not the low gearing required for pulling heavy loads, and forget the idea of asking for a split rear end. Most salespeople have no clue how useful one can be in a two wheel drive one ton, even with an automatic transmission. So much for my rant.

    Kevin

  8. Kevin Says:

    Joel,

    I know what your saying about the bus. I used to drive one! Man, some of the stuff the kids can tell you!

    Kevin

  9. paintsmh Says:

    Kevin, we are already plugging in five tractors all winter. The added cost for a pick up isn’t worth it. And diesel is rapidly approaching 5.50 a gallon, with gas still just over 4. And we have two wonderful dealers up here that are great about finding us work trucks. Where I am is almost all farm country. So everybody needs real working pickups. The problem is more them having enough to satisfy everybody.

  10. Jim Says:

    glad to see everyone back to the blog after the break down. It must be the time to look for trucks we started looking for a beat around the farm truck and they are way hi do these folks think they have gold mines? any way went to our first hay sale today the prices where way low we only got 2.75 a bale for 75 pound average bales but i will say our bales were not very good so i think we did ok. go kayler. good to hear thing are going so good things are starting to go better hear too so to speak. well gotta eat dinner see yall later. god bless you all.

  11. Jane Says:

    I\’ve enjoyed reading your blog. The pictures amaze me. I can\’t believe yall have internet and TV and all that stuff in the houses. Pretty nice. Maybe if I did that stuff we could keep help?
    We have old houses and the equipment is crazy to upkeep. Augers make me cuss at least once a week. Our adjustments were off with the curtains and pulled our system out of the ceiling. Craziness!
    Seriously, good luck. It is a lot of work but chickens are fun at times. Our Cobbs are a trip but production is good and hatchability is even decent. Don\’t burn yourself out.

  12. joelw Says:

    paintsmh,
    How cold do the temps get at night there? Diesels today are pretty efficient at starting cold. I’ve never had a problem with any of mine, but it seldom gets below 10 here. Sure is nice when you have the truck plugged up too. Just jump in and you have warm heat right away.
    Probably the best pulling gas engines I know of are the Chevy big blocks. I would have considered a 454 or an 8.1,but they are rare here.
    Truck shopping will wear you out. I did a lot of internet shopping before deciding on a truck from Michigan.

    Jim,
    I’d say with gas prices climbing the truck prices will have to come down to sell. Then again maybe not. GM is closing truck plants and Ford has slashed production so the ones out there now may be the only ones left before long.
    I’ve had the 96 ton Chevy 3500 4 wheel drive flat bed for sale ($5000) for a week or so now and lots of tire kickers but no real offers.
    Squares here are bringing $4 to $4.50 in the field.
    I’m shopping square balers!

    Jane,
    The internet and TV aren’t helping me keep help. I can’t seem to get anyone to stay besides a good friend and my mom. The TV was put in because we wanted the kids to stay down here some and it’s cheaper than a babysitter.
    These farms are a lot to keep up with, but I enjoy it. Send us some pics of your place to musablog@yahoo.com or start a flickr page. I love looking at pics of farms! Thanks for the comment! Glad to have you reading!

  13. paintsmh Says:

    We often get into negative in the double digits in the winter. Think our coldest was -19 last year. Water lines that are in the house freeze it gets so bad.

  14. joelw Says:

    paintsmh,
    Okay now that’s cold! I won’t complain about 10 anymore. You folks probably wear a t shirt when it’s 10 outside. I can take the heat, but I can’t stand the cold.

  15. paintsmh Says:

    Up here we joke that it will only truly be cold if the Buffalo Bills win the Super Bowl, and until then it is just chilly.

  16. Sue Doe-Nim Says:

    City girl here (dressage rider – does that count for anything?) and otherwise total housewife.

    I\’ve been following you for a while now via google reader and I\’ve got a few questions if you don\’t mind.

    What\’s up with the Confederate Saddle pad? Is it not considered offensive in your area? (this is a genuine question and not meant to rile anyone up)

    Why do you have the horse on the ground? Is it part of training that I\’ve never seen before?

    When you\’re collecting chicken eggs is it back breaking labor or do you set their nests up a little higher so you aren\’t stooping all day? Would you post a picture?

    I really do enjoy your blog, our lives couldn\’t be more different and I think that\’s why I enjoy it so.

  17. joelw Says:

    The confederate flag isn’t considered offensive in my area. I’m sure we could all have a long winded discussion on that subject, but this really isn’t the place for it. That’s the great thing about the USA we all have the freedom to express ourselves.
    The horse is on the groud so the vet can perform her surgery. She is gelding him. He is sedated and could barely stand if he wanted to.
    The nests in the chickenhouses are sloped so the egg rolls to the front where there is a belt that carries them to a table. I’ll get a pic up soon.
    Glad you like the blog and thanks for the comment!

  18. Sue Doe-Nim Says:

    Ack! Surgery in your front yard.

    It’s clear that I need to say in the city. I’m a total wuss.

    Looking forward to henhouse pictures.

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