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Archive for December, 2009

State of Cobb

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Had the opportunity to get away from the farm a bit this week and attend a Christmas dinner provided by Cobb. They have this every year and it’s called “State of Cobb”. Growers gather to hear about the business; how it’s doing, what to expect, and where we’re heading. It was good to hear that in a bad economy business has stayed pretty flat. Cobb hasn’t lost any business and in this economy that’s a plus. To stay flat the company had to gain market share and that we have done. Hopefully when everything starts picking up that market share will translate into sales gains. The leaders of this company are pretty ambitous and I for one like that. There are some pretty lofty goals set. Plans for a new complex in Tennessee are moving forward as scheduled. There is talk of building a feed mill that will be company owned and operated to supply some or all of the complexes. Expansion in Kentucky is on the way with Cobb building a new QA facility in western Ky.. At one point there were plans to build some more farms here at this complex, now all that’s kind of up in the air waiting to see how growers develop in Tennessee. The Tennessee hatchery will be close enough that we could see some building of farms here to supply that hatchery if growers don’t develop in Tennessee. There were some negative things this year. The biggest of which was loss of birds to disease. We lost a substantial amount of money and production, but contrary to reports there are plenty of Cobb chicks to go around. Cobb is begining to offer some training to growers. Next year Dr. Anthony Pescatore from The University of Kentucky will be hosting classes in everything from Embryology to Industry Facts and Infastructure. I found it really interesting we got a letter in the mail fom Cobb telling us we could not take pictures of Cobb birds or inside or outside our houses. I feel like this was directed right at me. The best part is a few weeks later Cobb had it’s own company farm on America’s Heartland.

The kids are all doing good. Kaylees’ cheer team qualified to go to nationals in Myrtle Beach S.C. again this year. They actually had the highest score of the whole competition even edging out the Coed team from here. Garett is really taking to shooting his bow. I hope he stays interested in things outdoors. I was afraid he was gonna be an inside person. Madison won her division in the Miss Snowflake pagaent she entered. I think these pagaents really boost her self confidence. Katie is kind of struggling with school this year. She’s a freshman and it’s a whole new world for her. I’m trying to take a laid back approach for now. Her math is what’s really getting her. She has the same teacher that BJ had in college. They both say she’s not much of a teacher. More like show you once, give you the assignment, and you’re on your own. I remember my grandmother telling me that when she taught she felt like if the kids didn’t learn it wasn’t their fault it was hers. Sure wish we had more teachers like “Granny Ball”.

Just as soon as I said the weather wasn’t much like winter we got a nice little blanket of snow. It got kind of nippy too. I had to scramble and get some of the fans covered with plastic at the chickenhouse. We cover about 6 of the fans in the coldest part of winter to regulate the temperature. I noticed during this little cold spell that one of the cows is getting really slow. I knew she was getting old, but hoped to get one more calf from her. If she calves before spring I’m moving her on. I should have about 5 calves to sell this spring. My plan is to sell the calves and buy back cows. Hopefully in a couple years I can have about 15 or 20. I would also like to get back into the rabbits. I’m looking for New Zealand Reds. Madison and Benji (our help) have been trying to get me to get some more pigs. This time around they want to raise piglets. My objection has always been you feed them more than you can sell feeder pigs for, but maybe with cull eggs and spilled chicken feed to supplement we can make a go of it. As fast as the colder weather came it’s gone. That meant high winds and rain. The wind blew the top off “the pig mansion”. The kids named it “the pig mansion” because they said it was too nice to be called a pig pen. Farm I is back together now. They disinfected this week and will be placing shavings soon. Chickens come December 23rd. Guess that’s my present. We made a few improvements to the older houses. We added doors to access the feed bins, reinforced the slats, replaced any slats that were damaged, and added a drain in the scalehouse of house 1.

 

While traveling to watch Kaylee’s cheer competition we ran across a Druther’s restaraunt. I haven’t seen one of these in years. Bj and I reminisced about the old Druther’s here in town and it’s Andy Dandytale Meal we used to get as kids. The one here started as a Burger Queen, then became a Druther’s, followed by a Dairy Queen, and finally a Long John Silvers and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Sometimes I wish time would have just stood still so I could go back to all the things that made my little world go round when I was a kid. Life was so simple then. No responsibilities, no bills to pay, no kids to hurry here or there, grandparents that adored me. Of all that I miss my grandparents the most. They were truly spectacular people who I try to model my life after today. Katie was the only one of my children who was old enough to remember Granny and Pap. Garett was just a little guy when they passed.

Well I’ve written longer than I had planned. Lot’s to do and not as many hours to work with these short days so I better close. Check out the pics I’ve added here. As always thanks for reading!

Time Flies

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

I guess the old adage “time flies when your having fun” is true. Hard to believe it has been so long since I last posted here. So much has happened I have no idea where to start. We are currently finishing up our second cleanout at Farm I. Farm II’s birds will be selling around the first of February. This time we haven’t seen the little inconveniences pop up like the first go around. The nests are the big improvement. So far the bigger S hooks have made the difference. I replaced all the old hooks with larger, stronger S hooks. We seem to have developed a much better strategy for the litter removal too. Instead of piling it and moving it again, this time we put it directly on a truck or in the spreader and sent it where it needed to be. I will say we need to be a little more careful loading though. We just need to be sure all the litter is getting in the truck or spreader not on the ground. We have enough trouble keeping weeds and grass under control as it is so no need to fertilize them.

 

Fall is definitely upon us here in Kentucky. Seems only at night though. Most days have been in the 50s and 60s. I’ve heard a lot of talk about a bad winter this year, but things are going to have to change drastically. I started replying to folks saying this toward the beginning of this month with a “we will see”, but lately I have been saying “you do realize this is the end of November”. Heck it’s December now and it’s forecasted to be 50+ degrees. Not that I am complaining. I’ll do my complaining this summer when there are tons of bugs if it doesn’t get cold enough to thin them out. At any rate we have a good stock pile of firewood and papaw John (my Dad) replaced all the fire brick in the old fisher stove. Papaw as we call him around here is always working on something. My mom tells me frequently I’m just like him, I always say “nothing wrong with that”!

We’ve had a lot of firsts this year. The farm has paid it’s way entirely; Garett has his first gun, and his first bow; Garett and I have taken our first hunting trip, we were featured in a national publication, and the list just keeps going. All the children are growing like weeds! Madison has become my little beauty queen all of a sudden. She was first runner up in the Winterfest pageant and won best dress. Kaylee is still cheering for the local high school team. She sure doesn’t have time for much else. Katie is with me full time now. She only goes to visit her moms side of the family.

Bj is recovering from yet another back surgery. We thought everything was good from the car accident in January, but she was troubled by the hardware they had put in. The doctors x rayed and said all was good, she could have the hardware removed. 4 weeks after the surgery to remove the hardware she was in terrible pain and knew something was wrong. X rays revealed her back was still broken. So the last surgery was to fix yet another break. The doctors went all out this time, burring her spine to get the bone they removed from her hips to fuse to the break. Please let this be the last surgery!

We finally got around to getting an equipment shed built . We also made some big improvements in the old broiler house we use as a barn. Hopefully this summer I can either build stalls in the barn or build a shed type series of independent stalls for the horses. Unfortunately with all that’s been going on Madison and I haven’t been riding off the farm a single time this year. We did pick up a new trailer. Although not what I really wanted for the animals I bought a new 16ft tandem axle utility trailer with stock racks. Atleast now I’m not depending on someone else to haul whatever I may want to buy. I still plan to pick up a 16 or 18 foot stock/horse combination gooseneck trailer as soon as I can afford it.

 

 

 

The tractors are all holding up fairly well. I say fairly well only because the 3316 HST developed a crack in the engine block. Mahindra was right there on the warranty though. They replaced the entire engine, not just the short block. While it was in the shop I had everything serviced on it. The 7010 cab has broken the loader cable and they don’t sell just the cable. Luckily for me KMW is sending me the whole unit and my dealer had a used cable to get me through til then. That will mean I’ll have an extra cable. Looking at the future of the farm I just don’t see how I will not be able to trade for a larger tractor soon. The 7010 is more of a compact tractor and it’s just more than it can safely handle when you put 8 or 10 tons of litter or lime behind it and try to spread in this hilly landscape. Word is the 8560 cab will be available real soon. I’ll make the 7010 work until they get the new model blues worked through. The 6000 is still the “proverbial bull in the china shop”. It’s always there to do anything that needs done, but is just too big to be much help in the poultry houses.  

Well as always there is tons to do here and I’m not getting it done sitting in front of the computer so I’ll close. Be sure to check out the pics I have added. Check back frequently, I’ll be adding more pics as time allows. Thanks for reading!

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