Life of a Farm Blog

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Archive for the 'Tractors' Category

Crazy Weather

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Well folks it’s official, I’m unemployed. With so much to do here on the farm I decided to quit the off the farm job and get some stuff done before the chickens arrive. Busy as a bee! I’m having so much fun being at home on the farm and with the kids instead of in the factory. I gotta say it’s a lot of work though. I’ve worked almost every day on something. I cut cedar posts for the log house porch and skidded them with the 6000. I’ve cut and split firewood. I finally finished the rabbit cages. I’ve burned brush. I’ve detached the front porch on the double wide and set it on the trailer to move. All the under pinning is now removed. Chainsaws have been sharpened. Now I’m ready to start fencing or working on my tack room in the barn.

I cannot figure this crazy weather out. Just a few days ago there was a dusting of snow on the ground and today temps are right at 70. What preciptation we missed this summer we must be getting now. It seems like every day there is rain. The 6000 is a muddy mess. I’ve been using it to try to keep the drives around the chickenhouses passable. The concrete trucks leave ruts everywhere they go. This building project has been crazy. Every day it’s something. Unfortunately I haven’t taken the time to get back to the local Mahindra dealer and try to hammer out a final deal on a 7010. With all the buzz about a new bigger cab tractor coming in 2008, I’m wondering if I should wait.

The trucks keep rolling in with more peices. Most of the truck drivers are really nice people who don’t want to put you out, but some have been impossible to please. Really it’s not my place to unload them considering this was supposed to be a turn key job, but I’m not the type to rest on my laurels while someone else needs to get going. I’m generally the nicest guy you’ll ever meet, but one truck driver really brought out the bad side of me. I get up early and ready the kids for school and then deliver them because they don’t like to ride the bus. One morning a driver arrived very early and I politely told him I had to take the kids to school, but I would be right back. That didn’t set well with him, but I just smiled and went on. When I got back he flung his truck doors open and said “It’s all yours, I’m not touching a thing”. Half the load wasn’t even on pallets. It was peices of the feed bins and such. I started to climb in and get to work when it hit me. I thought this guy’s a jerk, he needs some of his own medicine. I just stopped and said “you know what, I own this farm and I’ve contracted this job to someone else, they’ll be here soon and they can unload you”. He grumbled his way back to his truck and waited from 7:45 until after 10:30. The contractor finally showed up and unloaded him.

Well the kids are home now and tugging at me to get out and do something with them while it’s not raining. Be sure to check out the pics I’ve added to the site and check back soon! I know we’ve still got a few days to go, but Merry Christmas to all!

Garden Bounty

Sunday, August 19th, 2007
The garden vegetables have finally reached their peak here on the farm. Madison, Garett, and Nana (my mom) have been busy stewing tomatoes, making spaghetti sauce, freezing peppers, and processing corn. It’s become a daily ritual to gather the ripe produce from the garden and deposit it on the log house porch for Nana and her little helpers. I stay so busy I haven’t been much help with the preserving this year. At least I’ve been able to help pick and dispose of the scraps to the goats. It’s pretty neat to watch them fight over corn shucks and watermelon rinds. They really will eat anything.

I’ve had the brush hog on the 6000 the past couple days clipping the pastures and getting the hay field edges. We’re planning to do a bunch of re-seeding this fall so the grasses will all have to be short. I’ve moved the goats, calves, and a few horses to a different pasture to keep it short. We’ve been working with Thumper a little this week to get him broken to lead. He’s now out in the pasture with other horses and he is much happier. My friend and neighbor Wade borrowed the Mahindra and the Vermeer roller to put up some hay this week. It will soon be time to start cutting mine. My dad picked up a used disc a few days ago. I haven’t seen it yet, he is supposed to bring it down to the farm in a week or two.

Madison is having a terrible time with her thumb sucking device. One side has come loose and she is slobbering like a rabid dog. The dentist doesn’t have an emergency number so we will have to hold on until Monday. I feel so sorry for her. I suppose I will leave work early and take her to have it glued back in.

Kaylee hurt her wrist at cheerleading practice Wednesday night. Luckily it’s not broken. It is sprained though and very sore. She has been keeping it wrapped with an ace bandage. Someone told her vinegar takes the swelling out so she has been stinking like vinegar a lot.

The children started school this week. Garett and Kaylee wanted to ride the bus, but Madison wanted me to take her. Needless to say I took her and spent a little while getting her accustomed to her new teacher. We made sure to go check on Garett. I got a cute picture of her giving him a hug that morning. They seem to be fine with school. The heat is hard on them though.

My heart has been very heavy this week. I am so very sorry for the Utah coal miners and their families. My prayers include them. I have lots of memories of coal mining. My dad worked in the mines for many years in SE KY. Actually he even owned a mine at one time. I myself have my mining card and still consider going to work in the mines from time to time. It is terribly sad that miners put there lives on the line every day. I cannot help but think mining would be a much safer occupation if more miners were represented by the United Mine Workers of America. I know that here in McCreary county there was a horrible strike over safety. It started shortly after the Scotia mining disaster in Oven Fork Ky.. Both mines were owned by Blue Diamond Coal Company and the miners here felt unsafe enough they organized with the UMWA asking for a safety committee with authority to shut down parts of the mine. The miners were already making close to union scale all they wanted was a safer working environment, but the company didn’t want them to have that. The strike was bad for everybody and eventually the Justus mine closed.

Well there is lots to do so I better get at it……………….Be sure to check out the pics I’ve added to the site and check back soon!


Enjoying the Madness

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Yet another week has come and gone here in KY. What a crazy week it’s been too. I can never remember it being so warm in December. Forecasts call for 60 degree temps all week. Don’t take me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’ll take these temps over the single digits we had for a couple nights last week.

The contractor we ended up hiring for our project has almost demolished the addition my uncle had built on the house. As with almost any project you start, this one has opened our eyes to other problems we have here. In particular the electricity. It’s a mess. I knew it was nowhere near code, but I didn’t think it was as bad as it is. Lots of the circuits have double 30 and double 60 amp breakers for simple 110 volt plugs and lights. There’s no way they could trip if they needed to. I guess they used what they had laying around. That or the right breakers were tripping so they just put in bigger breakers. At any rate we are going to try to correct the problem if we can. The first night the contractor started his tear down we kept smelling something burning, but couldn’t find anything until 1 in the morning. A baseboard heater in the addition had caught some insulation and carpet on fire. Luckily my mother was here and just happened to see it. I ran out and grabbed a hose I had stretched to the corrall to put it out. Wasn’t very much of a fire, but any fire around the house is too big.

With my mom spending more and more time with us and my dad talking of retiring for the second time, we decided to buy a new double wide mobile home. This will give everybody the space they need and should help Garett with his asthma. We went small, but nice. We ended up with a Giles 28 x 52. It’s a little over 1200 square feet. We’ll have the best of all worlds. We still have the house and will have my family close some of the time. Now we can convert the upstairs to a farm office. My great uncle left us about 100 books on agriculture and I buy more all the time, so now we’ll have plenty of space for the books. The patio room and deck will still be available to us anytime we want plus we’ll have a big deck on the back of our mobile home. I got out voted on using the big window in the patio room we are building. The rest of the family wants to opt for 4 vinyl windows instead of the big window. I gave in easy, so they figured I had to be up to something to give up so easy. That coupled with the fact that I’ve been going around saving every piece of lumber I can salvage… gave me away. I’m building a small cabin in the woods.

We’ve made arrangements with a friend of ours to rent the equipment for clearing the land and have him do the work. We want to put a dam in one of the hollers and create a small lake. If everything works out I’ll put the cabin by the lake.

Just my luck, Thursday when it was cold and snowy they brought the doublewide. It was too big to go down the drive so they had to go through the field. Well, the trucks weren’t made to go off road- so one got stuck. I was out putting hay in to the horses, so I took the 6000 over and pulled the truck and half the doublewide up where they needed to go.

I got quite a scare one day last week too. Went to start the 6000 and nothing. Just a click. Of course I thought the worst. Turned out to be a dead battery. I’d left the key on and the brake lights ran it down. I just knew it would be shot but after a few hours on charge it’s working again. Keep your fingers crossed that it lasts.

My cows and pigs are doing okay. Eating a lot, but that’s to be expected for growing pigs. I’ve given each of the cows a round of penicillin just in case. I also moved them over to the other field where they can get into the barn and gave them hay and grain.

Monday and Tuesday my friend John Bryant and I spent all day trenching. We dug trenches for water spickets all over the place. As soon as I can get the water line in we’ll have water at both barns, where we plan to build the pig lot, and at the corrall. We’ll also have direct burial wire to the barn for electricity. We had been using extension cords.

It’s crazy here, but I know it will be so much better when everything is finished. That’s what keeps me plugging along. well I’m sure there is some work that needs to be done around here so I better go……….check back soon.

Peddling pigs

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

This week I finally made it to the livestock market. I’ve been wanting to go for a while but something always comes up. I’m amazed at how low prices have gotten. I can’t figure if it’s because it’s close to Christmas or the price of feed that has the price low. I had only planned to buy 2 or 3 pigs and a calf. My budget allowed $800 for this purchase. A few months ago that’s what it would have cost to buy what I was looking for. With prices surpressed like they are my $800 got me 13 40-50 lb pigs and 3 calves that weighed a respectable 250#, 515#, and 550#. The guys at work were kind of making fun of me for buying all those pigs, but I just couldn’t pass up such a deal. I only want 4, so I’ll need to unload some on somebody. I talked with my grandfather Delbert Gay at the sale for a while. I’m amazed at how well he gets around for his age. He made me promise that I’d be bringing those children to see him soon. Madison and Garett were very disappointed that they didn’t get to go. Garett made me promise next time he can go to try and find some rabbits. Madison says next time she gets a new billygoat. This time they had to settle for a bushel of apples.

Tonight I worked until after dark getting everything situated. I almost always give the cattle that I buy at a sale a shot of penicillin and worm them. It’s a lot easier to deal with cattle since we built a pen to work them in. I’ll worm the pigs tomorrow and get some turpentine so we can castrate the males. Then I’ll set out some more rolls for the horses with the 6000. It’s time to worm the goats again too. Of course with all this needing to be done, it will be turning bitter cold. Forecasts for tonight show lows of teens and snow tomorrow. Today’s high was 54. I still have not managed to get my wood splitter back together, but I do have the parts. I have so much to do and the days are short, that I have been thinking of switching shifts to swing shift or nights so I would have more daylight hours to work on the farm. I’d hate to though, I finally have the seniority to have a decent job on day shift.

Today I did a little comparison shopping. I was already in Somerset for a meeting with some union guys on a problem we are experiencing so I stopped at the John Deere dealer. I am particularly interested in a 70 to 80 hp cab tractor. I’ve driven the Mahindra 7010 Cab around the parking lot, and had been told by other folks that the Deere cab was pretty nice, so I thought I’d see. I looked at 2 different cab models and I can’t see how they are any nicer than the Mahindra. I did not get a price on the Deere models, but have seen comparable used tractors with 1000 hours in that lineup priced at more than a new Mahindra 7010 Cab. That’s with no warranty. Throw in the fact that I’ve done business with my Mahindra Dealer for about 10 years… and the reliabilty of my 6000 4wd… I just could not justify going green.

Well tons to do so I better scoot………… Check back I’ll be adding some more soon.


Sunday, July 30th, 2006

Hello! Greetings from Pine Knot Kentucky. We are in the rolling hills of Kentucky where the plateau meets the mountains. It is a truly beautiful place to live. My name is Joel Combs and I am the 10th generation to farm the 170 acres that we call home. I have 3 children – Kaylee, Garett, and Mattie, ages 5, 7, and 9. We live in an authentic log home built by my grandfather and his brothers shortly before WWII.
Our little farm consists of 5 horses, 40 or so registered Boer goats, and Red Star chickens. I do custom hay work, till gardens, & mow with my 03′ Mahindra 6000 4×4. We sell Farm Fresh Brown Eggs & Hay in Rolls and Square bales. We also raise much of our own pork, beef, chicken, and garden vegetables.

Most folks wonder why anyone would do something like this blog. For us the answer is a simple one. Too many kids today don’t know where the things we eat truly come from. Our kids have seen how our food was raised and how the process works.
Life’s lessons are plentiful on a farm.

This whole concept is to show all about our way of life. The amount of work that goes into it, the tools we use to do the work, the lessons we all learn, and the smiles and tears we all share. Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll check back here frequently as we’ll be posting pictures and stories of what’s happening in our neck of the woods.

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