Life of a Farm Blog

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Where has summer gone?

Sorry I’ve been away for so long. Things have been hectic on the farm so we’ve been trying to do as many things as we can to keep up with the kids. We’ve made it a point to get away atleast once a week and see to it the kids have some fun. In return they have been helping some at the chickenhouse. School will be starting back in just a couple weeks. Where has summer break gone? Soon it will be back to the daily bus and homework rituals.

As usual we attended the 4th of July celebration in downtown Stearns and stayed for the fireworks. The kids like it because they close off the street for the car show and that means they can run free and check out all the old cars. Every year the museum has a silent auction on the porch. The kids always find something they want to bid on. This year it was webkins and coins. Madison won a horse webkin and Garett won several collectable coins. There are amusement rides all week around the 4th so the next night they got to ride all the rides. They always have a blast. It will be county fair time here in just a few days and I’m sure we’ll be doing it all again.

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It’s not been a very good week on the farm. Katies baby goat Thomas died as did one of the grown goats. I’m not surprised about the old goat. She was very old and it’s been a hot summer. Thomas has me puzzled though he was fine when he got his bottle at 8 the night before, but when Katie went to feed them the next morning she found him. It’s hard to make children understand about death, but atleast on the farm they realize it’s finality. Too many children don’t understand it can’t be undone with another quarter or by starting the game over.


Progress on the pad for the second set of chicken houses is nearing completion. The headaches are already begining. Finding a builder that can do the job for the money involved and that suits Farm Credit Services is a task in itself. It appears we will have 2 choices. Wait on the traditional Mennonite builders for about 3 months or pay more to a new builder. Costs are rising every day. Every contractor I talk to is afraid to bid the job because the costs are rising so fast.

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Not much happening with the tractors lately. I have used the 7010 to load several loads of topsoil, but that’s about it. Sit out the ocasional bale of hay to the animals or move this or that for myself or a neighbor. It will be time to cut the second cutting of hay soon so I’m sure that will change. Anytime there is hay being cut I’m usually rolling for someone. I bought hay this year for the first time since I started cutting and rolling my own. There simply isn’t enough time in the day to do all I need to do. I did get the oil changed on the 7010. Now if I can just get 12 gallons of Penzoil Hydra Trans I’ll do the hydraulic oil and filter and grease everything. Then I think I’ll give it a bath and clean all my tea bottles out of the cab. The 6000 is still visiting my brother. He’s done with it, but I can’t get him to bring it home. I just hate it when people don’t return the things they borrow. It’s getting close to time to start talking seriously about trading to a smaller tractor for cleanout. Hopefully I can demo a HST with the 3710 backhoe soon.

Well lots to do so I better get at it. Be sure to check back. I’m hoping to post atleast weekly as things slow down a bit with the chickens and summer. Until then be sure to check out the pics I’ve added! Thanks for reading and check back soon!

8 Responses to “Where has summer gone?”

  1. Kevin Says:

    Hi Joel,

    Glad to hear that you have had some opportunities to enjoy with the kids. A fair is always a good way to spend some time with the family and take a break from the daily grind.

    Our county fair was back during the second week of July, the state fair will be the second week of August. I didn’t get to go to the county fair this year. I didn’t notice if they had a carnival or not this time. They did have truck and tractor pulls, a demolition derby and the 4×4 mud run, along with all of the livestock and home economics exhibits for 4-H’ers. We used to have a horse show, but I don’t think they have held one during the county fair for some time. They had a local Rodeo a week after the fair, but not during it this time. We have a local rancher who holds state sanctioned team penning competitions at least once a month. (My boss and her husband have gone to it a few times, and she doesn’t care much for his facility. It is a very large metal building and for at least the first year he didn’t have adequate ventilation or shade/rain awnings for waiting competitors. She said it got so hot in the barn that some of the calves went down due to the heat, and that you either had to wait in the sun or the rain until your turn to compete came up.) He uses his own place, which is about ten miles from the fair grounds. Close enough you could go to both places in the same afternoon.

    This past week I noticed that some of the corn had started to “fire”. Fortunately it is only up to the bottom leaves, and it appears to be worst on fields where the edges have been kept cut/mowed. Usually by late August most of the corn around here has matured and is being harvested around Labor Day. this year, due to late planting, I don’t know if they will be on schedule or not.
    The soybeans are looking okay, but most of them are short and they don’t appear to have blossomed yet. This next month will determine how good a crop they make. If we get enough rain, and it stays fairly cool they should fair alright.

    Right now we are waiting on the remains of hurricane Dolly to finish up. It started clouding up last night/this morning but we haven’t seen any rain yet today. We had some yesterday, but it was out of a different weather system. It is nice to see everything still green in late July, but it rotten to have all this humidity.

    Well, everyone take care, and try to enjoy your day!


  2. Mike Says:

    Hello Joel,

    Glad you found the time to post again. I have been checking often because I so enjoy reading about your day to day happenings around the farm. I am currently in Iraq with over 20 years of service in the US Army and find myself dreaming of owning a farm similar to yours in KY. My son is eight years old and it is not too late to get him out to the country where I can raise him like I was brought up many years ago in WV. Your blog touches more people than you will ever know.

    Thank you so much,


  3. paintsmh Says:

    I SO know what you are talking about! I have less than a month til my county fair. And my girls are really not ready for it. I have all of one of the show calves clipped. I am just grateful that I dont have to go back to school. So glad for that!

  4. Kevin Says:


    Thought I would let you know, thanks for your service to our country! We need good men and women in our armed forces, and are proud of all of those who choose to serve.

    My nephew served in the National Guard and served a year in Tikrit. I loved the picture he brought back of him standing in a captured Iraqi one man tank. Jason stands around 7 feet tall, and with him in the tank, his thighs were just about even with the top of the turret! He didn’t go off base much, he was a ground air traffic controller so he was pretty much stuck at the air field.

    My cousin’s had a couple of sons who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of them, a Marine, had three postings in Iraq and Afghanistan before he got his discharge from the military. Fortunatly he never was wounded, but I am sure that he had a number of friends and comrades who were.

    I hope you get to enjoy your dream of owning a farm after your retirement. If anything your military career has done is acustomed you to hard work, and a daily grind.

    Good luck!

  5. Jim Says:

    Mike, my hats off to ya i was 4f when i tred to get in the marine corp. I have two cousins in now will probly be going to iraq soon or afgan.we will see what goes on stay safe your family and country need you.And thanx for all you have done.

    Joelw, sorry to hear about the goat my 10 year old bought a pigmy goat on tuesday for a dollar at the live stock sale and it died yesterday it had bloat real bad its stomach took up almost all of his body cavity i opened it up to try to find out why it died luckely my boys in ga with my wife on the truck and did not have to see it all though he might have seen it was having problems and told me i might have been able to save it but who knows. glad to hear you can still have some time with the kids and to go do some fun stuff too we are planing to on going to the home coming and tractor pulls in our town its a real small deal but we live in a real small town the only thing in town is a dozen houses the volenteer fire department the town hall one church and the backersville new holland dealer and it takes up all of the mainstreet in town on bouth sides the town hall and fire dept set in front of there shop and the post office is inside the tractor shop,lol . well we took the plung and got some hogs at last weeks sale we bought 7 4 sows and 3 castrated boars then wendsday i was up there and the maneger gave my an uncut boar hes got a rupture on his hind end and noone would buy him and the owner did not want it back so now we got eight. we also bought another steer calf. we are looking into a round baler for the h and a guy was telling me away to make square bales in the barn with my square baler and just pitchforking the round bales into the baler. so we may give it a try.we been stringing some more fences and such but i can only work a little a day then i gotta stop and let my back rest till the next day some times i end up resting two days and i realy dont get much done then. we had a realscare last sunday our oldest went for a walk in the woods and got lost for 3 hrs by time we caled the sherif about it he found his way home and the cop picked him up about 100 yards from our drive way boy i was sure glad to see him.well hope u all are well and biz is good to ya have fun and be safe.

  6. Mike Says:

    Jim & Kevin,
    Thanks for your words of support. I don’t know of any other job that receives as much appreciation from the average American. It does get tough sometimes but your work does as well. The show of support from everyone regardless of their political opinion helps me and my Soldiers get through our days.

    Thanks again,

  7. Kevin Says:


    Sounds like you’ve been adding stock, and having some problems with them. Just a part of farm life. If that boar isn’t too big you might want to consider either getting him scheduled to go in for processing, or have the vet look him over and castrate him. A lot of the time you can feed a ruptured boar, and do fine. But if the intestines get strangulated you end up with a dead hog. Until you figure out which way to go, just keep him seperated from the rest of the hogs so that he isn’t further injured by fighting for feed or dominance. You might as well cull him as a breeder. If you don’t repair the rupture his sperm count might be too low due to the additional heat from the blood vessels in the tissues protruding into the scrotum.

    I guess your oldest got a life lesson about getting lost in the woods. See if you can pick up a couple of the FRS radios at one of the bigger retailers. They have a little more power than the old “walkie-talkies” from back when we were kids, then instruct the kids to take one with them whenever they are going for a walk in the woods, plus they need to let you know when they are going and about how long they are also going to be gone. Besides the FRS radios pick up a couple of simple compasses and draw up a general map of the area then stick these into or on the FRS radios. This away the kids should be able to either find their way to the house, a neighbors, or a road. (I used to be a Park Ranger, so I’ve had some experience with looking for lost people. Usually they aren’t too far off track, but the problems most of them have are a lack of familiarity with the area, lack of planning, and a lack of basic supplies. A compass and an FRS radio can make the difference between a couple of extra hours out in the woods and a night out in the woods.)


  8. joelw Says:

    Sorry it took me so long to get around to posting a reply, but life on the farm is very busy. Thank You very much for your service to this great country of ours! I’m glad I can give you guys and gals a little piece of home to brighten your day. Hang in there, before you know you’ll be back here looking for that little piece of heaven on earth you’ve been dreaming about. Thanks for your comment and service! Glad to have you reading!

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