Life of a Farm Blog

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Upside Down

I’m sure many of you have wondered just where I have gone and why I have not posted. Life here on the farm, well life in general, has been turned upside down. We just completed our first cleanout and got our second flock of birds. Generally farms get around 7 weeks to do their cleanout, but due to high demand for Cobb birds because of their good feed conversion, we only got about 4 weeks to get through the whole process. Cleanout was a real inconvenience mostly because our original equipment installer used a very light duty S hook to support our nests. Once the weight of the nests was winched up the S hooks failed sending the nests right back to the ground in a crumpled mess. Lots of hard work and hundreds of pop rivots later we have the nests back in fairly good shape. The only real high point of the whole cleanout happened at the very start. We were finally able to strike a deal with our local Mahindra dealer and pick up a 3316 HST with the ML 111 loader and 3710 backhoe. It is a real little workhorse and I absolutely love the HST transmission. Haven’t put the backhoe to much use yet, but I’m looking forward to summer and improving all the drains and ditches around the farm with it.

100_0158 by you.

As if being rushed to get 6 weeks work done in 4 wasn’t enough Bj was very seriously injured in an automobile accident. She was returning home during a winter storm and slid off the road and over an embankment. Fortunately she was alone. She has multiple fractures in her back, a fracture at the base of her neck, cracked ribs, a collapsed lung, multiple breaks and serious lacerations in her left arm, and a cracked pelvis. Looking at her car I’d say she is very lucky to be alive. Her car overturned and she was partially ejected and the car pinned her left arm underneath. She was airlifted to The University of Kentucky Hospital where she has undergone 2 surgeries to date.

Even with all the hard work and a bit of bad luck things are clucking along here just at a bit slower pace. All the children are happy and healthy and we are very fortunate to have that. Katie is spending 99% of her time here on the farm with us and that is a real blessing. Makayla is doing very well in her cheerleading endeavors and will be attending the national competition in Myrtle Beach, S.C.. Garett is still being his bookworm self and doing extremely well in school. Madison trudges behind me most evey step looking for any opportunity to ride horses. We are all looking forward to warmer weather and the fun and work it brings. For now though we need lots of prayers for Bj’s speedy recovery.100_0025 by you.

 

Construction on our second set of houses is progressing slowly and I will be adding pics to the site as time allows and I will make time to keep everyone up to speed as much as possible on the goings on of the farm and Bj’s recovery. Thanks for reading and remember us in your prayers.


9 Responses to “Upside Down”

  1. Jay Says:

    Joel,
    Sorry to hear about Bj. You all are certainly in our prayers.
    I have found your blog and have been following your \”adventures\” in the poultry industry. My wife and I raised breeders for a firm called Hudson Foods (who was bought out by Tyson) on the Eastern Shore of Maryland for 5 years. Like you we could not find any help willing to work unless it was \”under the table.\” We also got tired of being jerked around by the poultry company. They love to pull the 4 week turn around or if business is slow the six weeks will be 8 or 10 weeks. They know this in advance because of the pullet placements but do not be bothered to tell you until the last minute so you cannot plan for much, $$$. I also hope you are putting some money aside for when they start requiring you to \”upgrade\” your chicken houses. They will threaten to not put a flock back in until you spend alot of money, even if you do have a guarantee income.
    On the other hand my Dad and Mom raised breeders for twenty years. They started with Perdue then went to Hudson then Tyson. My Dad was \”retired\” from another job and looking for something to keep him \”busy.\” He started picking up eggs by hand for the first 10 years then got an automatic gathering system. His first system was by JD Manufacturing and lasted all of three years before it literally rusted out. He then bought a Shenandoah system that lasted seven years. The only problem was with the egg belt. They would only last about one flock. My Dad was able to find some help in his area, about 30 miles from us and he found that for those that picked up eggs it worked best to pay them so much per flat they picked up. He found if he gave the egg gatherers per/hour they \”milked it.\” The per flat got them to move. He paid the workers in the house and grounds per hour because it was hard to measure their productivity. (My Dad\’s job before retirement was in human resources.He would sit down and figure all these things out.) Needless to say at the young age of 80 he grew his last flock and has enjoyed his second retirement these past two years.
    I find it surprising that you are going ahead with the next group of houses. Be careful about working with family. As you found with the first group of houses you have to have an understanding by ALL parties involved of who is going to what and more importantly what each job or contribution is worth. By the way, be very careful about Farm Credit Services. Nice people and a good company but as you stated they want everything for collateral. My Dad found out after about ten years, to buy the nesting system he went with a leasing company that had numerous tax advantages. Consult with your tax advisor and if you don\’t have one GET one and make sure they know farming and poultry housing.
    The problem with shoddy workmenship is universal. We had a male feeder system installed and just like you the first flock we winched it up and half way up the cables snapped and the auger bent. The company of course stated that all warranty written and implied had expired. An expensive lesson learned the hard way.
    I wish you all the best in your adventure. I am glad you are not forcing your children to work in the chicken houses. I think children should work and caring for animals is a great way to teach responsibility but the chicken houses are not the best for them health wise. The goats are a much better way to get children involved. In fact I bet there are days when you wonder why you didn\’t go with the pumpkin patch and meat goats. (My Dad now raises hair sheep and goats for the local ethnic market.He was amazed by the demand. He can\’t keep up with it.)
    Best wishes and I hope Bj has a speedy recovery.

  2. Jim Says:

    Hey man, I am so sorry to here about Bj But Im sure she will be ok. Sorry to hear that you have had so much trouble getting things going with the clean out and all. If you ned to talk man my number is on my web site.Call anytime. Ill keep yall in our prayers hope all goes well im still off work and trying to cope with being a stay at home dad.My wife has been working hard to keep things going good.so Im very greatfull for that. glad to here your kids are doing so well the cheer event should be fun. our schools cheerleaders got to performe at the gator bowl half time show that was real cool my little girl has been doing some cheer clinics and cheering some basketball games she loves it. I know it must be hard for them having there mom in the hospital but they seem tough and I know you will help them through it. Well our birds are doing very nice we had one with christmas dinner and it was great we all loved it.The eggs have been comming along nice to. the pigs are doing good getting ready to butcher some of them so that will be nice .The calvs are doing real well WE are going to have the first ready around easter and the secound by the 4th of July. we are looking at buying some more now wanting to stay with holestines we have a good maket for them here no matter the sex so we are trying to get in to breeding them. If it works out it should come out real nice. well man like I say hope all goes well and if you need to talk im here man I know how hard this sort of thing is but shell be ok man well later man god bless.

  3. Kevin Says:

    Hi Joel,
    Sorry to hear about BJ, she, and all of the family, will be in my thoughts. My eldest sister broke her back many years ago in an auto accident. We didn’t know she had also broken her hip until years later when she went to see the Dr. about pain and other problems. It was too late for her to get anything done to correct the problem. She lived with it until she died from cancer about ten years later.
    How did all of you fair with the ice storm that came through a little while ago (last week)? I haven’t heard anything from my cousin who lives in SW MO, near AR. His dad lives on the SE side of the state, and his daughter, who lives in the central part of the state, said that Uncle Gene was fairing well. He had some ice on his drive (a pretty good degree of slope on it from the house to the road) and that he (at 82!) had been out chipping a little of it off everyday. She had been worried about him, because he took a fall shortly after New Year’s. Didn’t hurt himself too badly, just split the skin on his head (I guess our family has naturally rock hard heads!). So she has been worried about him.
    Hopefully you can get the company (either the contractor or the equipment manufacturer) to cover the repair costs. I know how it might go; the contractor will claim that they used and followed the manufacturer’s directions and parts, and the manufacturer will claim that the contractor did not follow thier directions or parts or that you failed to follow thier directions when raising the nest boxes. In the end it might end up being a situation where you’ll have to carry the costs for repairs/replacement.
    I’m trying to find another job. My employer and I are at odds with each other. After 13 years I feel like I’ve reached the end of the line with them. They let my hours get cut at the end of the summer, and did not ask me if I would be interested in picking up another route, or changing to another one. (They have hired people for another route (twice!), with more time, and completed in a straight instead of split shift. Plus they gave another driver, with less seniority and experience, additional hours to cover another route.) I’m looking to get out of driving anyway. The last DoT physical I had showed some problems, which will probably disqualify me after awhile. (Diabetes related.)
    Well, take care, and hopefully everyone will thaw out this week! God bless!
    Kevin

  4. paintsmh Says:

    Oh poor BJ!! I pray she will recover totally!!! That is so horrible. I am so so sorry!

    Glad things are working out with the new birds, and the kids. Hope everything will turn around for the best soon!

  5. Rick King Says:

    Joel -

    This is Rick King, I was with Dave Hoyt when we came up and filmed you for a day two decembers ago. Man, really sorry to hear about BJ. I\’ve been thinking about you hearing about all the ice in KY. Those roads near your place are serious business. I hope you guys are okay and she will make a complete recovery. I lost a sister in a car wreck many years ago…so I understand. You are in my prayers.

    Stay warm. Spring will be here soon!

    Rick

  6. tee Says:

    my thoughts and prayers are with bj…and well wishes for you and your kids, too…may the new year bring you all much health and happiness…

  7. Kevin Says:

    Hi Joel,
    I haven’t seen anything new posted to the blog, so I thought I would ask how things have been going.
    I am still trying to find a new job, not much luck so far. I missed out on getting a job by a few days. One of the other contractors picked up a new route. It would have given me double the amount of hours, but it would have meant that I would be away from home 14 – 16 hours each day. (It would have had a 4 hour layover between the turn around.) I’ll keep on looking, I’ve got to get something better.
    My brother might have sold one of his acreages. He had a lady approach him on whether or not he would be interested in selling. He told her he would take $2000.00 per acre for one twenty acre place he has. It would make a nice small home place. It has a little bit of timber on a hillside that comes down to a small creek. The majority of it is fenced in pasture. It doesn’t have any buildings, but it did have a house there several years ago. Now if he can just sell his house in town. He and his wife bought another one, and have been getting the one they moved out of ready to go on the market, but the real estate market here is pretty lousy right now.
    Tell BJ I hope she is on the mend and doing better. I also hope the kids are all doing well, and that you aren’t working too hard. I know it is hard not to when you’re a farmer.

  8. Gidget Says:

    I hope all is well with you and your family. You are all in our prayers!

  9. Nick Says:

    Hey Guy, Lost my previous posting. But wanted to say how great things look both in your life and on the farm. I don\’t know how I found your blog, but glad I did. I am an advocate of environmental education, which very much is an extension of 4/H and incorporating environmentally sound practices. Most importantly it provides an opportunity for people to create partnerships/business opportunities with local school districts to use their farm/land and resources to provide educational opportunities for children, create family opportunities for fellowship,and most important aide in the development of providing workforce initiatives for people who are in need of work. I know of two examples of where people have utilized their farm land to create either environmentally educational experiences as retreats or as theraputic services for children with varying disabiliites. I don\’t know what the employment situation is in Kentucky but I assume as bad as it is everywhere. Just an idea for you my friend, if you with someone who has an educational background, with an interest in the outdoors/nature could create a partnership with farm community, business leaders, schools, and government, there are resources to create opportunities for people to work, which would aide any struggling economy, especially the heartland of Kentucky. Not a bad idea, and at the same time, enjoying life with family, friends and your personal interests. What a wonderful opportunity to witness and receive blessings in return. Good day

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