Life of a Farm Blog

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Archive for January, 2011

Hello 2011

Friday, January 21st, 2011

I know I must sound like a broken record. Where does time go? It seems like just yesterday that I last posted. Once I stop and look around it’s easy to see where time goes. I’m really proud of all we have accomplished this past few months. I think everyone here on the farm is tickled with how things are too. I know Madison really is. We’ve put off buying a trailer to transport our horses for 2 years. I’m glad to say we finally pulled the trigger and bought a nice trailer. I think it was worth the wait. We were able to find a like new Ponderosa gooseneck for a lot less than I would have paid for a new one. In the process we met some nice folks from the western part of the bluegrass state. The trailers previous owners Kim and Bev Braun own a Buffalo farm.  I was very intrigued by these animals. Madison and I were all ears and seriously entertaining the idea of getting a few until we found out they don’t mix well with other livestock. We just aren’t willing to give up our cows, goats, and horses.

We are rolling right along on the fencing. We have been able to get up a board fence around the treehouse, making a fenced in area for the kids to play without having to dodge droppings. I’m really happy with how it turned out. We even added a small paddock were we can hold the horses when we are waiting to load them. We’ve also started the field fence around the rock shelters we plan to fence in for the goats. Madison decided her big Christmas present this year should be an investment. She chose to buy rabbit cages, feeders, and waterers. I fronted her the money to buy 4 New Zealand Red rabbits. As soon as she pays me back she owns the rabbits and gets any money from selling their future offspring.

Old man winter has set in on us much more than most years in the past few. To date we have had 4 6+ inch snows and several days with temps in the single digits. I can handle the snow a lot better than the cold. The snow does make it very tough to make any progress toward cleaning out the chicken houses. The chickens at farm 2 sold Jan 2. It only took us 2 days to get all the slats out and get the litter ready to load. We are getting a lot smarter about how we move the slats. In the past we have done the majority of the moving things by hand. This time around we used the 3316 to stack the slats in stacks 3 high, then double stacked the stacks of 3 and moved 6 at a time with the 6000. As soon as I can get another set of pallet forks to fit the skid steer quick attack I plan to use the 7010 instead of the 6000 to move the stacks of 6. That’s as far as we’ve been able to go though because of snow and sloppy weather.

While things are going good with the family and in general on the farm I find myself becoming more and more unhappy with my arrangement with Cobb. This years “State of Cobb” meeting really opened my eyes to the plight that contract poultry growers face. In particular we were told how Tyson had a good year and how Tyson and Cobb were investing in several complexes. There was a lot of talk about costs, specifically about the cost of oil. It seemed to me everyone understood costs were going up. They did, atleast until someone in the crowd asked if there would be a cost of living raise this year. At that point we were told we needed to prove our costs were going up. To me that is just another example of the folks with the money doing anything they can to hold onto it. Cobb is in the chicken business. They have chicken houses. They incur the same costs we incur. Afterall we are all raising Cobb chickens. For some reason they need us to prove our costs. It seems certain that they could simply look at their costs and tell that our costs are or are not increasing. They feel the need to make us prove what they already know. I guess what irks me the most is that I’m asked to do this by someone who most likely sees chickens and chicken houses on a very limited basis. Furthermore I’d say it’s been a long time since they worked a week with as many hours in it as me. I get up every morning and work until after dark. I haven’t played golf since I started the chicken houses 3 years ago, can they say the same? I’ve missed so many important functions. Academic team meets. Cheer competitons. Basketball games. Even simple dinners at night. All because I’m doing something on the farm. Somehow though I’m supposed to take more time away from my family and my personal life to prove my costs are going up! Just doesn’t seem fair to me. As far as I’m concerned Cobb can keep their raise. I’m not taking one more minute away from my family to prove anything. It will be very interesting to see how the proposed agriculture law changes shake out.

The kids are doing great. They’re growing by leaps and bounds. I cannot believe Katie will be 16 in September. It makes me feel so old to have a child that will be driving. Since this summer we have been talking college choices and possible majors. Somehow she thinks her UK wildcat fan dad is supposed to think it’s okay for her to attend Louisville. The only thing that could be worse would be her wanting to attend Tennessee or Arkansas. Kaylee is cheering yet again this year and will be heading to the Can Am Nationals in Myrtle Beach South Carolina in March for cheer competition. Garett is still being a little bookworm. He captained the quick recall portion of his academic team and medaled in Science. He is really becoming intrigued by art. He is strating to pick up sketch pads and charcoal pencils. It seems like he teaches me something every day. Madison is as energetic as ever. She played basketball this year and wants to play again next year and cheer. We are hoping to get her and Kaylee some extra gymnastics lessons.

I’ve added a few more pics and will be adding more as time allows. Be sure to check them out. For those of you who wish to follow along on a more frequent basis send us a friend request on facebook to get our daily news feed. Thanks for reading!

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