Life of a Farm Blog

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What A Year

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

I apoligize for my long absence. It just seems I never have time to write anymore. It’s been a good year for life on the farm! Looking back I have to say I spent way too much time working though. I like to work, especially on the farm, and it’s very difficult for me to put that aside to tend to other more personal things. We have accomplished so much this past year. Garett and Madison are now the proud owners of a tree mansion. It’s an 8×8 house with a 10×10 deck built around a tree. It turned out absolutely marvelous. We have planned for a year now to start a small rabbit operation. I built a 8×12 concrete floored building that we intend to fill with Bass Stack-A-Hutches. I designed it so we can take all the droppings from the pans and dump them into a wheelbarrow and wheel them right out either to a compost pile or to our next venture, a night crawler bed. Somehow we found the time and money to get woven wire fencing up all around the kudzu patch we have been trying to control since we bought the farm. My great uncle Pete set kudzu, or as we affectionately call it foot a day vine, out to control erosion. I’m currently in the process of getting woven wire up around an area of the farm that has a big rock shelter in the center of it. My hope is to keep the underbrush down with goats so my kids can play there like I did when I was a child. It will also serve as a great place for the goats to retreat to on both hot summer days and cold windy winter days. A natural barn of sorts. We finally got a few fruit trees out this year too!

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I have also turned my attention to the inside of the log house. We layed creek rock over the existing brick on the fireplace and the chimney in the kitchen. I love the rustic look it’s given the cabin. I’ve put in a field stone walkway to the back deck also and put creek rock on the blocks that form the foundation of the front porch. It seems at one time my great uncle was trying to take the old place in a more modern direction. Not me, I’m going back to 1939 and using as much from that era as possible. Hopefully soon I will be able to find an old barn in need of a different life. When I do I would like to put weathered barn siding on the interior walls.

Back to the farm, our 4 cows all calved this year with beautiful black calves. Unfortunately we lost 1 calf early on. I think the cow has mastitis. I’m very happy with the Angus bull we purchased young and waited for him to grow into our operation. Hopefully this year I can add atleast 5 more cows to the herd. We didn’t have a very good year with the goats. My herd is getting old and we plan to replace some of them when we can get some more fencing done. Being so busy this year we haven’t been able to find time to ride the horses one single time. That’s very depressing. Madison loves her horse and has a burning desire to ride. I’ve kicked around building her a round pen as a Christmas gift. That would give her a place I feel safe about letting her ride without being right there with her. She has a real nack for riding and is by no means a novice. I don’t want to see her lose the skill she has already developed.

I’m glad to report that I’m still having very very few problems with the tractors. I did have a 4wd issue with the 7010 but the dealer fixed it under warranty at no charge. Seems the gear in the transmission that engages 4wd ground the teeth off. They had the tractor about a week, but it’s as good as new now. I’ve kicked around buying a new 8560 cab but I just really don’t have a need for one. I think my next purchases will be a square baler and some hay wagons. I’d also like to pick up a Keulavator hiller and cultivator setup from Agri Supply to use with the 3316 HST. Hopefully this is the year we get the market garden going. I’d also like to find a decently priced disc and 2 bottom plow.

Lately I’ve become addicted to Facebook. I’ve caught up with a bunch of old buddies and I set up a page for the farm. It’s so convenient to keep in touch with friends and family, especially now that I’ve lept into the tech age with an andriod powered cell phone. I have everything linked right to my phone. The whole world is now literally at my fingertips. I also setup a You Tube account where I will be adding video from the farm. I’ve thought about starting a twitter account too.

Well I’ve run long and won’t keep you any longer. Be sure to take a peek at our new pics and check back soon. I promise I won’t wait so long to post again! Here’s hoping everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thanks so much for reading!

Life Happens

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

It seems every time I sit down to write something goes awry. Hopefully things will lighten up a bit now that the farm is full of chickens. It’s always the hardest through the cleanouts. There is continuosly something to repair or replace. Our wash crew certainly doesn’t help matters either. They do not care about your equipment. They are just here to get their job done and get out. 2 years in a row now I have had terribly high water bills due to them leaving the water on and driving away. They break things and walk away. I honestly believe my kids could do a more respectable job.

Life hasn’t exactly been a peach away from the farm either. My mother was awakened one evening by a young woman claiming to be her granddaughter. I can only imagine how my mother must have felt when the girl proclaimed “you are my grandma”. The young woman is 15 and her mother had just recently told her that I am her father. Why anyone would keep a secret like that for 15 years is hard to comprehend. I remember casually dating the mother all those years ago, but never dreamed anything like this was in the cards. I worked away then and only came home every other weekend or so and the relationship just never took off. She married a complete loser while I was still away and everyone was always told he was the father. Now I find myself dealing with this young woman, who may or may not be my child; her crazy mother; and the thug husband. Throw into the mix that the mother and husbands family both are nuts and you have yourself one hoot of a good time. Destiny is the childs name and as I’m sure you can imagine by now she has some issues she’s having a tough time dealing with. She’s a very rebellious child and she does not want to attend school. The truancy and the fact that her mother isn’t, well for the lack of better words, stable, has landed her in the custody of the state. The local district judge has ordered a dna test, but months into this mess it still has not been performed. It’s almost like they have the child and plan to keep her until she is able to take care of herself. I’m not sure what my plan of action is for this mess just yet, but as of right now there seems to be very little I can do.

Aside from all the bickering and fighting we’ve found time to accomplish a few things. Kaylee’s cheer squad competed in the Can Am Nationals in Myrtle Beach S.C.. That was a welcome break for almost a week. The kids and I played on the beach and in the pool most of the time. My favorite part though is eating at all the good restaraunts and visiting the shops. Bj, Garett, Madison, Katie, and I took in Ripley’s Aquarium and ate at Joe’s Crab Shack at Broadway on the Beach. After 5 days though I’ll admit I was glad to be back home.

  

Seems like it completely skipped spring again and went straight to summer. I have run from spot to spot tilling with the 7010. I took the backhoe off the 3316 HST and put my layoff plow on it. It puts the rows at just the right distance apart and keeps them a lot straighter than when I use a hoe or tiller. We’ve been busy as beavers getting things planted. The kids want to try their hand at selling vegetables at the farmers market this summer. If the farmers market is going to be something we do every year I am going to pick up a Keulavator hiller and cultivator setup from Agri Supply. I got their catalog in the mail last week and have not been able to put it down. So far we have over 200 pounds of potatoes planted along with cabbage, brocolli, peppers, tomatoes, and onions. Some time soon we’ll get the green beans in the ground. Madison is really getting on to me about a horse trailer. She does not want to be sidelined another summer. The kid loves horses and I have got to find time to get her out and on the trails. Garett has decided to play little league baseball this summer so he’s been busy practicing almost every night. Katie has decided she wants me to take her grandmother back to court for custody of her. So we’ll start that process shortly. On her last visit to the dentist they referred her to have her wisdom teeth cut out. She ran around for a few days looking like a chipmunk but all went well. Now she is getting braces. Last month she got the top ones installed and this month she’ll get the bottoms.

 

One morning this week I had a flat on my truck so I had to come out of the chicken houses and plug it. While I was out I heard chainsaws running toward the back side of the property. Knowing all to well how easily someone else can rob you of timber I made my way around the property line to find pink ribbons tied in the trees about 1000 yards across my property line. The timber cutters had not crossed my line so I took all the pink ribbons down and showed them the red paint that marks the line. I’m sure a day or 2 later and I would have had a real problem on my hands. Just one more thing I have to get done, freshen up the paint on the property lines.This Easter was an absolutely beautiful one. The whole family attended church at Bethel Baptist Church. I got to see some of my relatives I haven’t seen in a while. Most notably my cousin Johnathan and his son Jackson. I don’t see Johnathan, or Smith, as my great uncle Pete used to call him much. He was Smith and I was Jones. I’ll never forget how we used to run this farm with our sticks and pocket knives. Ready for whatever great adventure found us next. Whatever it was we could climb it, shake it, skin it, or chase it. Well atleast we thought we could. Smith and Jones 2 great pioneers. I never knew why uncle Pete called us Smith and Jones and I guess now I never will. I do know that I was truly blessed to have the childhood I had here and I pray my kids look back as fondly as I do.

Well I’ve taken enough of your time. Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoy the pics! God bless!     

 

 

 

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!

Where do I start?

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

So much has transpired since my last post I don’t know where to start. Probably the best place to start is with pictures. It has been too long for me to get everything we’ve had happen in a post. I’ll try to hit the most important parts and you can feel free to ask questions. I’ll even promise to do my best to answer them.

Bj is doing alot better, but I’m afraid she probably won’t ever be back to gathering eggs. She has lost a significant amount of the grip in her left hand. Other than that she seems to be pretty much back to normal. Unfortunately normal hasn’t been too good since her first accident at 14. She is trying to find a pain management doctor that will help her with her pain, but at the same time not pump her full of medicine she doesn’t need. I can only imagine what it must be like for people with chronic pain to walk the tightrope between help and addiction.

We all have worked non stop to get the second set of houses ready for chickens, but most importantly to start getting paid. Our hard work seems to be paying off. We now have around 30,000 clucking chickens here on the farm. Really since the birds came for the second set I have been able to relax just a bit. With the contract signed and the loan out of the way I can concentrate more on running the business and less on making sure everything that has to be done is done to suit me. The most difficult thing in all this is getting everyone to do what they are supposed to.

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School will be out for the summer in just a week or so. The kids can’t wait! I think they plan to go to the McCreary County Museum’s Learning Center quite a bit this summer. Don’t know if that’s to get out of working in the chickenhouses and garden or not. Who am I kidding of course it is! So long as they learn something I geuss it’s okay. They have helped me quite a bit around the place since Bjs accident and really deserve a break. Kaylee made the high school cheer team for the second year in a row so it won’t be too long til her days will be filled with cheer and dance routines. Garett is becoming really interested in all different types of things from the paranormal to ATVs. This afternoon he is watching a program on The Discovery Channel about how long things would last after man was gone. Madison and I are seriously shopping horse trailers. I just can’t find what I want used so I’ll most likely buy a new 16 ft Ponderosa horse/stock combo. I’ve promised her we will do more horseback riding this summer. I didn’t realize it until Bj brought it to my attention just the other day, but Katie (my oldest) has been living with us for over a year now. BJ has been urging me to go to court and try to get custody of her again, but I just hate to spend the money on an attorney. On the other hand I don’t think it’s right to pay $385 a month child support for a child who lives with me either.

I’ve had a chance to put almost 100 hours on the 3316HST. I really like the little tractor. I’m really surprised at what it will lift. The backhoe isn’t too shabby either. It’s not going to dig like a commercial hoe but heck for $6000 it was well worth it. We joke all the time about how a shovel doesn’t fit my hands anymore. I seem to find a way to use the backhoe for everything I had to use a shovel for before. So far my only problem with it has been a weeping cylinder that was replaced under warranty. I’ve been having a bit of trouble with the 7010 and it’s wheels. So far I have cracked 4. All have been replaced under warranty, but it’s still an inconvenience. My dad and I had some collars built and put them on the wheels in hopes of stopping any that may crack in the future. Still no problems with the 6000. While working on the new rebranded TYM Mahindra we both commented to each other about how well the “pink” tractor has held up. Aside from the clutch job the 6000 has not seen the dealer for going on 6 years. It’s also obvious looking at the 2 tractors how much heavier built the 6000 is than the 7010. The wheels on the 6000 are 8 lug and over 10 mm thick on alot bigger axle while the 7010 wheels are only 6 lug, 8 mm thick, and on a much smaller axle. The two tractors weigh in roughly the same. I love the size of the 7010 and it’s done everything I have asked of it. For some reason I just long for a bit bigger tractor with more horsepower and would even like to see a few more creature comforts in the cab. Some cool t shirts to wear to show my Mahindra pride would be good too!

I geuss it’s official that we are a farm. The highway department came and put up a tractor sign on the side of the road leading to the farm. We’ve all made jokes about how we’ve hit the big time now with a farm sign. It may be the only farm sign in this whole county! Good to know I’m getting a little bit of my tax money back in a round about way.

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Well by now you know I always have tons to do so I better get at it! Be sure to check back and feel free to comment on the pics I’ve added!

Stretched Thin

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Wow, can’t believe it’s been so long since I last posted. I’m sure those of you who follow regularly have wondered how BJ is doing. First off I want to thank all of you who said a prayer and sent well wishes. She’s getting better slowly. At her last doctors appointment she was finally allowed to get out of her braces for a few hours at a time. I’m very grateful to the doctors at the University of Kentucky for all their skill and compassion. I’m sure Bj would agree with me when I say she couldn’t have been treated better. The last couple months have been awfully rough on all of us, but more so on BJ. She has had to have on a back brace and a cervical collar any time she was out of the bed at all. I am now thoroughly convinced that she’s a lot tougher than me.

Seems when it rains it pours. As if Bj’s accident wasn’t enough to slow us down. We’ve had a bit of tractor trouble. One of the wheels supplied to Mahindra by Titan for the 7010 developed cracks all around the lug holes. I was going to be without the 7010 for about a week so I had a neighbor weld in the cracks so we could keep going until the replacement came. Good thing too, because I had finally put the 6000 in the shop to have the clutch replaced and the next day the loader curl cylinder started leaking on the 3316 HST. Without the 7010 in limp mode I would have had no tractors. I loaned the 6000 to a friend when it had about 200 hours on it and he ruined the clutch pushing trees down. Through adjustment and being careful I was able to make it last almost another 800 hours, but during the chickenhouse cleanout it got used a lot and it was getting bad. I’m still waiting on a replacement cylinder or a repair kit for the 3316 HST. Hopefully Mahindra will get me one soon.

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The second set of chickenhouses seems to have sprung up from the ground like a spring flower. I know it’s been a couple of months, but it seems like just yesterday we started the actual building. Now the builders are finishing up and the equipment and electrical has started. Cobb is pushing for a disinfect date of April 20. I feel confident my part will be done, but the equipment install is going to be too close to call. The 7010 has found itself in the role of a forklift just about everyday as the equipment shows up. The more I use it the more I like the fact that it is so compact for a 70+ hp tractor. It fits my needs perfectly! Some of the equipment installers mentioned to me that they were considering a Mahindra for their farm and that using the 7010 has removed any doubt they might have had about the quality of these tractors.

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Spring has sprung, leaving us baby goats and thunderstorms. The goats are cute as can be, but I can do without storms like the one we had a couple weeks back that blew off part of the barn roof and took out 3 or 4 large oaks. Somehow during all the madness here we found time to get to a special cow sale up in Somerset Ky.. I picked up 4 more bred cows. 3 of those have 200-300 pound calves by their side. All are black except one and she’s a big red cow. The heifer we had from the last red cow is just so beautiful I couldn’t resist buying another. The steer born to our hereford cross cow last year is set for a date with the butcher on May 20th. The pigs are growing by leaps and bounds and they too will soon meet the butcher or find a new home. They have done a wonderful job of making all our scraps, feed spills, and broken eggs disappear. Part of our spring seed order arrived today and the rest is scheduled to ship on the 20th. Everyone here thinks I’ve gone a bit overboard this time. I have strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, rasberries, grapes, and apple, pear, peach, and mulberry trees all on the way.

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Well like always there is lots of work to do so I’ll get to it. Be sure to check back, I think this is going to be an exciting year here on the farm. Don’t forget to take a peak at the pics I’ve added and thanks for reading!

Upside Down

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

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.

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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.

Cold and Rainy

Monday, November 17th, 2008

The weather can’t seem to decide what season it is here in the bluegrass state. We’ve been bouncing around from highs near 80 on beautiful sunshine filled days to near 30 and drizzly like today. I can handle either I just wish it was one or the other. We’ve finally gotten started on building the second set of poultry houses. Just barely though. The contractor got the footers dug and almost all of one house of footers poured and then just like last time, here came the rain. It has rained atleast part of the day every day for a week. Everything here is a soppy mess. I figure it will take until atleast Wenesday or maybe even later to dry out enough to do anything on the buildings.

107_3632 by you.

We’ve used the breaks in the rain to do some fence mending and add a transfer tank and toolbox to the new truck. I made the mistake of leaving hay too close to the fence and the horses rode the fence down eating the hay. Initially I put up corrall panels in the place of the now knee high fence, but the horses just rode those down too. I never realized how destructive horses were. They will stand on anything to reach across the fence and eat. Now mind you, they get hay inside the fence and even sweet feed every day, but that same hay on the other side of the fence is what they desire. One good thing came out of the fiasco. I figured out that I can dig post holes much deeper in this sandstone when I use the loader on the 7010 to put down pressure on the post hole digger. Having 2 tractors really comes in handy at times. It will be cleanout time before you know it and I’m kind of bummed about it because as things look now we will either be renting a skid steer or trading the 6000 in on a smaller HST tractor. I know I don’t really have a use for 3 tractors, but I just hate to see the 6000 go. It has been bulletproof and everything is so simple about it. I suppose I could rent a skid steer, but I’m the type who believes in buying tools and using them until you can recoup your investment, not renting.

107_3631 by you.

Madison finally got her little pigs this week. We got a total of eight. I’ll probably have more in them than I could buy them for by the time they get butchering size, but atleast I’ll know what they are fed. I ended up getting them from the RECC lineman who took the logs. It took him a while, but he finally came back around and I just took the pigs instead of money for the logs.

107_3628 by you.

This past week has been modern gun season for deer here. That’s meant no horseback riding for fear of being mistaken for a deer. Madison is about to crack. Every day I hear “can we go horseback riding yet?” Madison and I have a new favorite song too. Cowgirls don’t cry by Brooks and Dunn. It just plain fits us. The other kids have their own thing, Katie and Garett are bookworms, Kaylee is my cheerleader, but Mattie is my cowgirl! I know I have said it many times before, but I am so proud of my children! All of them! They have what it takes to make it in this world. When you are young you don’t realize the foundation that is being built in you. I still remember my oldest brother Paul’s wedding rehersal dinner. Paul married a girl from a pretty well to do family. All her family showed up in fancy cars and brought fine wine. I commented to my dad that it must be nice to have money. I will never forget his response. He simply said “son when times get rough we’ll make it, but will they”? That’s when I realized money and things don’t make you who you are.

Well I should close, there is tons to do here, literally. I have about 250 tons of rock to spread, trees to trim, fence to fix, christmas shopping to do, and a cleanout plan to configure so I best go for now. Be sure to take a peek at the pics I’ve added and check back soon to follow our progress on the farm! Thanks for reading!

Princess Cornblossom

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

Things are calming down a bit in the chickenhouses and allowing me just a little time to work on other things on the farm. It’s turned winter on us skipping straight through fall. One morning this week we had a dusting of snow on the ground. Just a few days ago it was 70 and sunny. Once again I find myself under the gun to get firewood cut for the winter. I had the electric company cut two huge oaks that had died and have started cutting them into lengths to be split. One of the RECC guys wanted the logs so I agreed to split the money from their sale with him. Little did I know I wouldn’t be seeing a dime. He hauled off 11 large logs. Even loaded them with the RECC pole truck onto his log truck. He came back a few days later, but not to pay me, to take the poles I had paid to have set for the double wide before it’s move. Sometimes things like this make me want to stop trusting anyone.

Garett, Katie, Kaylee, BJ and I got away for the majority of the day last Saturday to attend a native american pow wow. It was called The Princess Cornblossom Festival. They had lots of cool stuff. There were demonstrations with bows and blowguns, dancing, drumming, and lots of artifacts and crafts. I think the kids had a good time and they learned something. This trip kind of killed three birds with one stone. The festival was held at the old 4H camp here in the county. It was one of the first camps built in this area. It’s been a lot of years since it was used for a 4H camp, but there is a ton of history there. Today it’s mostly used just for it’s shelter, but in previous years it had a huge barbecue pit and alot of families had their reunions there. Bj’s folks still have their reunions there. It was a trip down memory lane for BJ. In the 70s the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company donated the lumber from the old Stearns Hotel to the 4H camp and they built a big shelter and bunkhouse. Since then her family has had their reunions there. Before the new shelter there was an older smaller shelter which had a barbecue pit in the middle. Bj says she still remembers her papaw roasting a pig every year in that pit when she was a kid. It’s things like that which I hold dear. Noone can ever take away the stories you can share nor the memories you hold so close.

108_0914 by you.

108_0911 by you.

Construction should be starting any day on the second set of chicken houses. We will be using a group of mennonite builders this time. I hope to keep as much of the money from construction in this area as possible. I had 6 loads of rock delivered and spread on the roads around the building pad. Sometime today I hope to get the time to even them out a bit with the bucket on the 7010. I had to make a warranty claim on one of the wheels last week. I don’t know how I never noticed the wheel was bent. The center disc of the wheel had an obvious bend in it, but I hadn’t hit anything and there was no mark anywhere else on the tire or rim. The only thing the dealer and I could figure is the crate of wheels was dropped somewhere in shipment and no damage noticed. Everyone I talk to says they have never seen the center of one bent.

Well I have promised Madison a horseback ride this evening so I better end for now. I’ve added some new pics so feel free to browse around them. Thanks for reading and check back soon!

All Is Well

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Wow, I didn’t realize it had been so long since I last posted. Geuss the old saying time flies when you’re having fun is true. We’ve been having lots of fun here. Last month I kept a diary for Farm and Ranch Living Magazine so I kind of intentionally didn’t post. I don’t have much of an excuse for the rest of the time though. Everything has been crazy here. We don’t have any full time help with the chickens now. That’s meant a lot of time in the houses for me. Most days it’s been a 5am to 5pm schedule. That doesn’t leave time for much when you throw in feeding the animals and doing the other farm chores. To add to the burden Cobb has decided since our flock has done so well they will keep them a couple extra weeks. Now our sell date is December 7th. Thank goodness it has slowed enough we are able to handle it. I don’t know how we would make it during the peak time without some full time help. I’m still looking for the right people for the next flock and the second set of houses. I have had a few people interested, but don’t know how it will turn out. Most seem to run when they find out it’s a little bit of work. The rest don’t want to work weekends or holidays.

Chicken House  by you.

Coyotes have suddenly become a problem here. A few days ago a neighbor warned me that he had seen a dog or coyote chasing the goats. A day or so later I noticed a young goat missing. Then one morning at 5:00 I saw a coyote in the field by the chickenhouse. We never had this before. I wonder if the chicken noises have lured them into this area. I don’t think there is any way they could get in the chickenhouses, but I am going to have to figure out something to protect the goats and calves.

Joel feeding goats  by you.

All is well with the kids. Kaylee cheered her last home football game this past week. I’m awfully proud of her. It’s a real accomplishment to be cheering on the high school team at 11 years old. She is very committed. They practice 4 days a week for 2 hours each day. That’s quite a load on top of her school work and helping aroud the farm. Garett has his own accomplishments too. He is on the academic team this year. It’s his first year in a new school and he seems to be doing well. His grades are all A’s and he loves the library at the new school. Madison is her usual cowgirl self. She loves to ride her horse “Johnny”. She’s doing good in school too. She says she doesn’t like school as much as in previous years, but she still has all A’s.

Well I’ll close for now and try to get some work done. Sorry for the long break. I’ll be posting more soon. Thanks for reading!

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