Life of a Farm Blog

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Archive for July, 2008

Where has summer gone?

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

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!

Here We Go Again

Friday, July 4th, 2008

As usual the chickehouses are absorbing 90% of my time. My friend John who was helping us a few days a week quit. That has meant even more time here for me. Finding help for these houses is going to be a real hurdle. Nobody wants to work weekends or holidays. Thing is the chickens don’t take days off. I’ve found lots of folks who would work for cash, but I don’t want to get into that trap. Lots of people here are “disabled” and receive SSI, but still work a job for cash. Entitlements are draining this country and robbing our economy of employees. Why work for $7 or $8 an hour when the government will give you that much so you can “live”. For years I have seen my neighbors live better than me because they manipulate the system. It’s tough to know you have to work everyday while your neighbor who is “disabled” is pulling his boat all over creation to fish. At any rate holding fast to my belief that hard work and determination will get you through most things we have decided to build the second set of houses. That’s a tough pill to swallow because now we are able to do all the work ourselves whereas with 2 sets we will be dependant upon someone for help. I have always felt that immigrants took work away from US citizens, but am beginning to see that there are indeed some jobs folks won’t do. I find this especially in the agricultural world.

The rest of my time has been taken up rolling hay for folks. I finally broke down and took the twine tie box off the 6000 and installed it in the 7010 cab. That is a huge relief. No more coming home covered in hay dust and sneezing my head off. I get to ride around in the air conditioning instead of burning up too. I really don’t mind the heat, but I certainly don’t mind the air either. In this part of the country there are lots of hills. I’m finding the turbo on the 7010 especially pleasing. When the engine gets a good load on it you here the turbo whistle and away she goes. I’ve gotten nothing but compliments on the performance of the 7010. Unlike when I bought the 6000 people here are a bit more familiar with the Mahindra brand.

Looks like most of the kidding is done. We ended up with 4 babies to bottle feed. 2 of them are from a set of quads. That’s the first time I remember a set of quads being born. I’ve seen a few sets of triplets, but never quads. We took 2 of them as soon as we knew they got colostrum. I made the mistake of leaving a set of triplets with their mother too long and one died. Overall this has been a good kidding season though. We ended up losing 2 of 23. 1 of those was stillborn. That leaves us 21 to add to our herd, eat, or sell. I know atleast 2 will go for us to eat. There is nothing better than goat and noodles. A neighbor stopped and wants a young billy when they are weaned for her grandson. I’d rather sell them like that than have to take them to a sale.

Finally got my oak logs sawed into inch lumber. Now I have to find time to go pick up the lumber. There is over 750 board feet. Then I will need to find time to replace the weathered boards on my corrall. I put poplar on to start and that was a mistake. Poplar just doesn’t hold up out in the weather. I never seem to catch up on the farm work, but I am fast realizing that I have to step away from time to time if for no other reason than to refocus.

Well surely there is something I should be doing that’s a little more productive so I’ll go for now. Be sure to check out the new pics we’e added to the site and check back often to follow us through yet another journey down the twisty turny road of life here on the farm!

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