Life of a Farm Blog

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On The Nest

Wow! What a crazy couple weeks. We have absolutely been covered in floor eggs. It seems like it may be easing up a little finally. You don’t know what a relief it is to see hens on the nest. After a couple weeks of walking the floor constantly picking up eggs maybe we are seeing some change. The majority of the floor eggs we are getting now seem to be the smaller “commercial eggs” instead of the “hatching eggs” we desire. That usually means a hen that has just started laying. We get a bonus based on hatching eggs sent to the hatchery. Our hatching eggs have to weigh atleast 52 grams. The thought behind walking the floor is the hen will find somewhere safer to lay her egg next time if she sees someone move it. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this will work and we’ll have very few eggs in the floor in just a couple more weeks. The chickenhouses are taking all my time now. The lights are on for 15 hours every day now. Soon it will be 16 hours a day and then finally 17 hours a day. That doesn’t leave much time for anything else.

We got the 7010 back from the dealer with it’s new tie rod mount installed. It appears they have redesigned the mount to be much sturdier. I’m just wondering if the other side shouldn’t be changed. I was glad to see it back! Just in time for this last little cold snap. It has been in the 40′s and raining for several days now. It’s much nicer to put out hay for the cows in that nasty weather when you’ve got the cab. I’m already spoiled by the heat. I don’t like the air conditioning as much as I like the heat. I must just be cold blooded. As soon as summer gets here I’ll probably spend just as much time on the 6000 as I do the 7010.

We finally got the land we cleared last fall run over a couple times with the disc and sewn with grass seed. Now let’s all keep our fingers crossed that it comes up and gets enough rain to grow this summer. I’m hoping this is the last cold snap. This morning there was a heavy frost on my windshield at 5 am. That would not have been good for a young stand of grass. Hopefully everyone had their plants covered here. I haven’t got anything to cover for the first time in years. If I can find the time that will change. I’m hoping for sunny weather to dry out the dirt so I can till a garden spot. Several people have come by wanting gardens tilled, I just have not had the time to do it. I’m chomping at the bit to get the tiller on the 7010 with it’s low low range. It should do a really nice job.

My uncle Ralph sent us several hundred white pine trees. Somehow I have got to find the time to get them planted. I want to use them as a buffer between the log house and the chickenhouse. Well as always I’m getting nothing done sitting here so I better go. Be sure to check out the pics I’ve added.


Getting Better All The Time

Things are looking up for the farm. It’s not nearly as crazy here. The chickens have kind of settled into a routine. All the equipment has cooperated since I last posted too. Eggs are starting to pick up. Yesterday we gathered about 600 from both houses. Still a far cry from the 12,000 that should come at about 30 weeks, but atleast we are getting some. Lots of the eggs are being layed on the slats or in the shavings right now since the chickens are young. Hopefully as they get older they will make their way to the nest. We have tenatively agreed to keep a diary for Farm and Ranch Living magazine in September so sometime after then you can look for us in the magazine.

We took some time off on Sunday to attend Bethel Baptist Church for Easter services. I hadn’t been to church in a while and I really enjoyed it. The kids got to hunt Easter eggs and go to “lil church”. They have a special kids church in the back. It’s great that emphasis is being put on the little ones and teaching on their level. Gives the adults a break too. You don’t have to worry with fidgeting children you can relax and enjoy the sermon. Easter is one of my favorite holidays. Not only the spring time weather and coloring eggs, but the real significance of the holiday. It seems to be less tainted than some of the other holidays. You can still say Happy Easter without offending anyone, I think. My brother Paul and his wife came to visit and eat dinner Sunday too. It was good to see him. It had been a while. I’m hoping since he got a new car he will come visit more often. Then maybe I can trick him into helping me out around the farm.

Monday morning BJ had a chiropractic appointment and I needed to get grass seed so I offered to drive her. I got up at regular time and did all the feeding as usual and then we spent the rest of the morning bouncing around Somerset. We stopped at Tractor Supply Company and amazingly I only spent $20. Maybe I should leave the kids behind more often. Who am I kidding I’m worse than they are about spending money on toys. My toys usually consist of tools and tractor stuff so they’re way more expensive. We stopped at Southern States Cooperative and picked up all the grass seed we’re going to need for the acreage we cleared last fall. We’re putting it in an orchard grass/clover mix. That way it should be good pasture for anything we want to put on it and should be high quality hay if we decide to use it for hay. Then we made our way up to Valley Farm Equipment to see Wes for a FEL hose for the 7010. We stopped and got a bite to eat, but as always we couldn’t agree where we wanted to eat so we ended up sitting in the truck with drive thru from Hardee’s and Burger King. Bj is big on Hardee’s ham and cheese sandwiches. I don’t particularly care for Hardee’s except at breakfast then it’s my favorite. I’m fond of the new BBQ Bacon Tendercrisp sandwich at Burger King.

Seems like a lot of people are following this presidential election closer than usual. I agree with a lot of the people who are saying this country is at crossroads. This next president has a lot of work to do. Myself I am still undecided. I am a registered Republican because almost all the local elections are decided at the primary and the majority of the candidates are Republican. I have strong ties to Democratic values and come from a long line of Democrats. It’s so much more difficult than Democrat or Republican though. As a farmer I see the need for immigration and migrant labor, but know companies abuse it. From a tax standpoint I’d be much better off to vote Republican. Democrats are much more friendly to labor unions and I have strong beliefs in rights to organize. I believe in our 2nd ammendment rights to own a gun as do Republicans. So I geuss I’ll follow this thing all the way to the end before I decide.

Yesterday was shaping up to be a good day. My dad came down and spent some time helping me trace down a short in a fan at the chickenhouse. That gave us an opportunity to talk and for him to see how much time I’m spending busting my backside here. I think we both came away from it with a better understanding of what we expect from each other. We’ve agreed on a salary that is a minimum I will receive plus a bonus if we get any egg bonus. The money for the grass seed came from the farm account too. We both want this farm to build some operating capital and to be self sufficient. We have talked about building a second set of these houses and bringing my older brother in to run them if he wants to.

I say yesterday was shaping up to be a good day because everything was clicking right along until we broke the tie rod mount on the 7010. My dad and I headed off to disc the 20 acres we cleared in the fall with discs on the 7010 and the 6000. I was getting all the rough and tight spots with the 6000 and the lift disc while he was doing the main part with the pull type disc on the 7010. I’d forgotten how much I like the 6000 and it’s sheer bulletproof simplicity. I noticed I hadn’t seen my dad in a while. Then I saw him walking toward me. I thought “this can’t be good”. He said we got trouble and I thought he had turned it over because a part of it is steep. Turned out that he had turned a tight left and the tie rod mount broke loose from the axle. It took him a few minutes to figure out what had happened. This will be the second trip to Valley Farm Equipment in less than a week. Earlier in the week I had to get a FEL hose replaced on the 7010.

Well as always lots to do here so I better get busy. We have set up a yahoo! mail account for those of you who wish to contact us in a less public way. Just send mail to musablog@yahoo.com and be sure to check out all the pics I’ve added to the site! Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy!

 

 


Life with chickens!

Wow! That’s all I know to say. It’s been 7 days a week, 10-16 hours a day since the 28th. Seems something is always amiss. Every time I tell myself I’m going to take a little break today, something happens. This is the quietest it has been here at the farm in months. I’m hoping things are finally slowing down a little before the eggs start coming from daylight to dark. Still alot to do, but atleast now they are small things. Hopefully nothing else breaks!

I expected there to be problems initially with this new equipment, but I wasn’t sure really how much to expect. I certainly didn’t expect to come in and find the inlet machine had pulled itself off the wall. That was a real pain. Literally, I might add. Somehow I managed to mash the fire out of my finger putting it back up. The motor on these things is really strong. It pulled 6-4 inch lag bolts out of the wall. I told the service tech I was going to bolt it more securely this time and he was quick to discourage me from that. Seems another farm bolted it to the wall and it just pulled the wall in about 6 to 8 inches. Think I’ll settle for making sure I’ve got it adjusted properly and secured with the lag bolts again.

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Feed spills have been another hurdle. I’ve had to duct tape, screw, and plain reassemble some of the feed systems. The chickens will peck anywhere they can see feed. That means if they see it below the slats they peck until they injure themselves even though there is no way they can reach it. In turn that means it all has to be cleaned up. We’ve either been taking a shop vac and sucking it up or I have literally crawled under the slats and used a dustpan as a shovel. Then we carry it out in 5 gallon buckets. Just yesterday the feeder came apart where the auger runs into it and spilled about 300 – 350 pounds. The contractor who installed the equipment (4 State Poultry) has not been back to fix the small things they were supposed to. Luckily the service tech came yesterday and I got him to help me put it all back together. He’s new at this too so we are learning together. I told him yesterday I feel like I’ve been thrown out of a boat in the middle of the ocean and now I have 2 choices, sink or swim.

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I spent about 5 hours yesterday trying to get the drives in shape with the 7010. Temps got up into the 70s and it got hot in the cab so I tried out the air conditioning. I moved 52 tons of #3 gravels and smoothed them out as well as drug the rest of the drives. I just don’t like the bucket on it as good as the 6000 for this type work. Maybe it because it’s new and I just don’t want to get it all scratched up. My brother borrowed the 6000 2 weeks ago and I still haven’t gotten it back. I’ve lost my lease on 40 acres of hay field. The neighbor who I loaned my equipment to all last summer cut my throat on it. Lifes lessons, no good deed goes unpunished. I simply did not have time to roll his hay for him last year so I loaned him my equipment and in return he goes behind my back and undercuts me. He had the nerve to ask me would I roll it for him. What’s wrong with people? Oh well, let him get rich cutting hay!

The chickenhouse has put a real strain on time I get to spend with the kids. We did get away for a few hours Sunday to go shopping. Mattie picked out a new bicycle since she’s outgrown her old one. She is growing up on me. It’s hard to believe that she is riding a bicycle all by herself. Seems like just yesterday she was born. Garett is more into computers and games so he picked up a game for his Nintendo DS. Drawn to Life I believe was the name of it. He is becoming interested in art. Every time I turn around he’s doodling something. Kaylee got clothes and we got a new basketball goal and wiffle ball set to share. Kaylee is becoming less and less interested in the farm. She’d much rather live in a subdivision somewhere around all her friends. She says she is embarrased by old blue and wants me to get a truck that’s not a diesel. One of her friends moms is dating a guy who lets her drive around in his Hummer. Now the race is on in Kaylees mind to one up her friend. She has asked me a couple times in the past few weeks when I was going to buy a truck or if I was going to buy another Trans Am like I wanted. How do I make her understand life isn’t about things like cars and houses?

I geuss the chickenhouses have put a strain on the entire family. My dad and I are partners in this. We had not uttered an ill word toward one another in 15-20 years until this, but we sure have now.  He has chosen the book keeper against my wishes and now they can’t agree on what salary I should receive. Just happens to be my brothers wife. I didn’t know that book keepers set salaries, but in this case I geuss they do. My hands are tied because the contract is in both our names and the money goes directly into a checking account that requires 2 signatures. I’m working for free as of now and have been since November. I’ve exhausted my 401k and savings and can’t hold out much longer. If they can’t agree on something soon I’ll have to find a real job and let the chips fall where they may. I’m really discouraged because this was supposed to be my way to stay home on the farm and it may turn out to be my way off the farm. I have asked both of them to sign a check to get grass seed for the land we had cleared and as of yet neither have been willing to. I’m used to taking money out of my pocket to do these things with and now I have to ask permission from someone else before I can spend the money I am rightfully earning.

Well need to be working on those little things so I’ll go! Be sure to check out all the pics I’ve added and check back soon!


Sea of White

Well folks it’s official, we are chicken farmers. We got our first delivery of birds from Cobb yesterday. 7032 females and 610 males. More are coming today. I already have mixed emotions about this venture. I am a little bit intimidated by the complexity of the equipment. Absolutely everything is automatic. There is very little work involved. Basically the only manual labor will be walking the floors, picking the eggs up from the tables, and disposing of the dead. I feel for the birds. While they are loose in the houses and have quite a bit of room to move around freely, it just isn’t natural. They have shavings to scratch through, but no dirt. I’m used to chickens scratching for bugs and other critters. I geuss I’ll just get used to it. The birds really do seem content. I was glad that 4 State Poultry finally came through for us. When I started this project their rep, Vance Gates, convinced me to use them. In the end it was him who finally got this whole thing running. My hats off to him! Without his help we would not have birds today. I sincerely hope that 4 state knows what an asset he is to their operation! While I’m saying thanks to people, I need to recognize what an important part of this whole deal BJ has been too. Our relationship has been odd, strained, and downright bad a lot of this time, but she has always put her best foot forward to help me! I hope she knows she is appreciated!

             

Still no calf from the cow we bought that was obviously very pregnant. There has been so much to do at the chickenhouse I have barely had time to eat and sleep. Madison and Garett came running when the first truck of birds showed up. I made them stay outside because of the dust from the shavings. They were very excited though and can’t wait to get inside with the birds. It has been good to be close to the kids. It’s a relief just knowing that I am a stones throw away from them most all the time. My dad came and stayed with us the 2 nights prior to getting birds so he could help get everything ready. It was good to have him around and he was a big help too. He constatly amazes me with his knowledge of things electrical and mechanical, not to mention about life in general.

I was glad to get the 7010 back in action. Just a day or so after I last posted I got a package from both KMW and Mahindra. I now have the entire O ring kit for the loader valve as well as an extra load check plug and the internals. I’ve found the best way not to need a part is to have it on hand. You never need the parts you have. Turns out the 7010 was my transportation to the chickenhouse a couple days this week. Okay, I could’ve walked since it’s only a few hundred yards through the feild, but it’s just easier to drive. We got our first and probably only real snow of the year. It was only a couple inches, but underneath it was a layer of ice. I sent my truck home with our friend Kenny so I knew he would be able to make it back here to finish up the construction and plumbing of the wellhouse. Old Blue (my truck) isn’t doing too well these days. I’m seriously considering trading. Only thing is I’m not sure what I want if I trade. I’ve always been a GM guy, but this 6.5 litre turbo deisel has really turned me against GM. I’m really fond of the Cummins engine in the Dodges, but want an automatic transmission. Dodge automatics don’t have a great reputation. GM has the Allison automatic transmission which is awesome. I geuss the Fords are okay. My younger brother is a Ford technician. I just have always had GMs and can’t bring myself to go the Ford route. I hear Mahindra is bringing a truck to the US in a year or so maybe I can make “old blue” last until I get a peek at them.

BJ and the older girls have brought me into the technical age. They have convinced me that the farm needs a my space page. So with their help we’ll be adding to it all the time. We’re also going to try to set up our own website when we get time. I think it’s neat to have so many ways to share everything with the world. The internet is a great thing!

As always there is a whole pile of things to do and I don’t seem to be getting them done so I better get up from here and do something. Thanks for reading and be sure to check out the pics we have added!

 


Daylight to Dark

Trying to wrap up all that needs to be done at the chickenhouses has kept me very busy. Disinfecting is set for the 18th and chickens are coming the 28th. There is tons to do before then. Seems there is time to sleep and work, that is all. Between the weather and the flu the kids have been home quite a bit so atleast I am getting to see them. They have been lucky not to get down too bad with the flu that is going around. Illness has caused the schools to close twice in the last two weeks. Garett and Madison have been hanging out with me at the chickenhouses quite a bit. We have internet and are in the process of getting Dish Network so they won’t be too bored. Hopefully I can make the chickenhouses a home away from home since I’ll be spending so much time there.

I did take time to spend the day at the Lake Cumberland Livestock Auction a couple Saturdays ago. We picked up 3 bred cows. Madison has named them all. There is a young black cow that is 1-3 months which Madison promptly named Oprah. There is an older red and white faced hereford cow that’s 7-9 she named Dixie. Then there is a younger solid red cow that’s 4-6 she has named Rosie. I was hoping to buy cows with calves at side or trios, but there didn’t seem to be too many head cows. There were lots of feeders, but I’m hoping to build a herd fairly quickly so I’ve been opting for older cows. I’ve heard lots of horror stories about first calf heifers. My mom wants to buy some younger cattle so maybe we’ll end up with some of both. Feeder prices are rising steadily, but head cows seem to be rising a little slower. One highlight of our day was I ran into a friend I had worked with for the last several years. Melvin is an older fellow who I respect immensely. He was raised through the school of hard knocks. He has virtually no formal education, but has made a decent life for himself and can fix almost anything.

We fixed our transportation problem. I picked up another 98 Pontiac Grand Prix GT. This one has less miles and a sunroof. The kids love the sunroof. My thinking on this was that I have all the parts to fix anything that might go wrong with this one. So far everything works good though. I found this one on Ebay of all places. I was a little hesitant to go this route, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a fellow kentuckian with what I needed. Ebay is one of those places where you meet both the best and the worst people out there.

 

Mom and Dad have a place in Owenton,Ky. Mom had gone back with dad for a few days, but started missing the grandchildren so we met them in Lexington, Ky and brought her back. While we were there we visited with my brother Paul. We had dinner at Chili’s and spent about an hour talking. Hopefully this spring and summer Paul will come and swap me some help in the garden for fresh vegetables. On our trip I noticed they are tearing down the stockyard in Garrard county. That stockyard is famous around here because John Michael Montgomery shot the video to his song “Sold” there. I thought it was pretty cool someone had spray painted RIP Garrard Stockyards on the front gates.

The 7010 has a leaking O ring on the loader valve so it’s out of commission for the moment. I’ve been in touch with the dealer and KMW. Both have promised an O ring is on the way, but it has yet to materialize. I can’t find one local that is the correct size. While at the dealer I picked up a couple of balls for the 3 point hitch arms. For the first time I found an unreasonable price on a Mahindra part. These balls are like $35 a peice. I’m checking with TYM to see what their price is. Since this is a TYM sourced part that may be the cause. Wouldn’t you know the weather would turn cold just when I need a tractor. Good thing I got the 6000 all spruced up. We took about 6 hours one day and greased every fitting on it, gave it a bath, and adjusted the brakes. It wouldn’t have taken so long, but neglect had set in on the loader pins. I ended up driving 4 or 5 of them out, sanding them down, and changing the grease fittings. Now every one of them is taking grease like it’s supposed to.

 

My neighbor Dennis Troxell called one evening last week with a cow down. She had trouble calving and cannot stand. We were able to get her in the bucket of the 6000 and take her to the barn where she won’t freeze to death. According to the vet she’s swollen inside and that’s causing temporary paralysis when she tries to stand.

The weather here is different every day. Today there is snow on the ground and a forecasted high in the 20′s. Yesterday it was 68 degrees. I’m ready for spring! I don’t mind the cold nearly as bad when it just stays cold. Well I better get some work done! Be sure to check out the pics I’ve added!

 


January

Spare time has been virtually non existent for me lately. Both BJ and Madison celebrated birthday’s this month. The work on the chickenhouses continues. A different problem arises everyday. My mom called me from Owen county to tell me that my late brother’s dog was sick. She told me that if Rebel stood a chance I needed to come take him to a vet. Of course I went to get him. Rebel was just a cute little boxer pup when Josh brought him home. He’s 8 or 9 in people years now. He’s developed skin cancers and now testicular cancer. This last round he had to have a 3 pound tumor and both testicles removed. I just couldn’t stand to see him put down. He’s all we have left besides the memories of Josh. He seems to be doing real good here on the farm.

Madison didn’t have such a good birthday this year. BJ was taking her to pick out a cake when she lost control of the car on slick roads. Thank goodness noone was hurt seriously. Mattie ended up with seat belt burn on her belly and BJ bumped her head. Makayla is a little sore. She took a pretty bad fall at cheerleading practice last week and now the car accident. The car didn’t fare so well. I believe it’s a total loss. We’re trying to decide what to do for transportation next. We still have “old blue” (the Chevy truck) and the Trans Am, but neither have very much room in them. I’m leaning toward finding another Pontiac Grand Prix like the one we had and keeping the wreck for a parts car.

 

The weather has been brutal. We’ve seen lows in the single digits twice now. Several nights have been in the teens as well. That’s just too cold for me. Makes me ache all over when I come in and finally get warm. Got lots of wood split to keep warm though. With the move of the double-wide we’ve yet to get the underpinning back up. Bj called this morning to tell me the water was frozen there. Took it until almost noon to thaw out. After not paying the rent for the last 3 months the folks renting our rental trailer finally moved out. That’s a huge relief! It will mean more work, but maybe I can get someone in there that is willing to work on the farm to pay their rent.

Even in the winter weather, rain, and snow feeding hay to the animals has not seemed like work. The cab is great! I don’t know how I made it all this time without it. The loader on the new 7010 has the skid steer quick attach and that makes changing between the bucket, bale spear, and pallet forks a breeze. These new pallet forks are so much better than the old floating ones I have for the 6000. I like them so much I doubt the bale spear will get much use. I’ve only put a little over 20 hours on the 7010, but I absolutely love it. If the new 8560 is as nice as the 7010 I’d say Mahindra has a real winner on their hands. Hopefully I’ll get to see it at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville Ky. next month.

Well as always I have so much to do it’s ridiculous so I’ll stop typing and get to work on something. Thanks for reading and come back soon. Be sure to check out the pics I’ve added to the site.


New Arrival

Still terribly busy here on the farm. There is so much to do I don’t know where to start. For the first time ever I am overwhelmed by all that needs to be done. I’m starting to lose sleep at night knowing all that needs to be done. The movers came and moved the double-wide. That means all that’s involved with the move goes right to the top of the list. Atleast we’ve had great weather for the move. Temps today were in the  70′s . That’s a far cry from the 9 degree low we experienced last week. Tonight the forecast is for 50 mph winds and thunderstorms. I never remember thunderstorms in January. I geuss I shouldn’t be surprised though since snow is forecast for the weekend.

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The poultry house project has ground to a halt. Everyone left just before christmas and noone has returned. I was warned this would happen. The contractor we are using is 4 State Poultry. They are based in Arkansas. They have completely dropped the ball. Noone is set to return until this Saturday. That’s almost 3 weeks with no work being done. To me that’s unacceptable. Cobb begins paying upon completion of the houses regardless of the when they place birds. So there is no way around the fact that 4 State is costing us money. Cobb has started bringing signs and locks. The kids think that it’s really cool to have our farm name on a sign.

On a bright note, I must have been an awfully good boy this year. I say that because shortly after christmas I got one of the neatest gifts ever. After 2 years of kicking the tires on the 7010 cab I finally got one. BJ got together with my dad and made a deal we could all live with. I’ve only had time to put a few hours on it, but in what little time I’ve spent on it I’m impressed. It’s got lots of power and some great features. I can’t wait to get it in the hay field! I also got the ML170 loader, bale spear, and pallet forks. The dealer forgot my pallet forks when he delivered so I’m going to have to make a trip to pick them up.

Be sure to check back soon and check out the pics I’ve added. I’ll be posting pictures of all the work that’s going on and pics of the 7010 as I get time.


Christmas 2007

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Wow what a difference just a few days makes. The chickenhouses are dang near done. The guys have been busy daylight to dark hanging curtains and installing equipment. I still have a long list of things that need to be done before the chickens come, but I’m much closer than I was. The 6000 is still a muddy mess. I can’t count the buckets of mud, muck, gravel, and trash I’ve hauled. Just as soon as the weather warms up enough so I won’t catch pneumonia I’m going to give it a bath and a good greasing. I’d hoped to use the skid steer the contractors have rented for more of the cleanup, but with all the mud I kept finding myself sitting there spinning. The concrete trucks had left some huge ruts where we had’nt put down gravel yet. One peice of equipment I’ve been glad to have around is the trackhoe the excavating crew left behind. I was hesitant to use it even though they told me to, but after waiting almost 2 weeks on them to come back to clean up and get things ready for the feed bin pads I had to get things ready. The concrete crew was due back in town around noon so I arranged for a truck and my buddy Kenny and I got the feed bin pads ready for concrete. While we were at it we got all the culverts ready to pour headwalls on.

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The weather is still crazy here. One day we have snow on the ground and a couple days later it’s highs in the 60s. I geuss the old saying “if you don’t like the weather in Kentucky just stick around it’s going to change” is more true than ever. This week has been full of Christmas parties. Bj and I attended the parties for both Cobb and the McCreary County Museum. Bj won a new digital camera at the Cobb party. We also went to school to eat Christmas dinner with Garett and Mattie this week. It’s good to get together and see everybody and enjoy a meal, but I am always exhausted after these things.

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We were lucky enough to get a local drilling rig working on drilling us a water well for the chickenhouses. Water is an expensive utility here. I can’t figure out why water is 3 times more expensive here than in surrounding counties. At any rate the drill is at 165 feet deep and we have some water. The driller says it would be more than enough for a residence, but he’s unsure about capacity for chickenhouses. I’m told the water needs can reach 3500 gallons a day in the summer. Now we must decide whether to go deeper and hope for more water while taking a chance on losing what we have or holding where we are at. Another possibility is that if we go deeper we could get unusable water. Over the years there has been a lot of mining in this area resulting in water heavy in iron and sulfur. I believe we’ll hold what we got and see if it’s enough.

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While Kenny was around I got him to help me replace the porch posts on the log house. I gotta say they look much better than the rotten pine posts. I chose the cedar for it’s rustic look. I was planning on leaving the majority of the short limbs on the posts, but decided to saw them off after realizing the kids run and play on the porch a lot and it wouldn’t take but one slip for them to get hurt. As soon as we got the post up Nana asked us to start on a hand rail and rails between the posts.  That meant walking all over the farm trying to find the right size cedar trees. I’ve found the trees and as soon as I can get away from the chicken houses I will finish it up for her.

As always thanks for reading and take a look at the new pics I’ve added. Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!

 


Crazy Weather

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!


Thanksgiving

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We had plenty to eat and it was good to take a day and reflect on all we have to be thankful for. The poultry houses are coming along nicely. Once the contractors started they haven’t left except for one day. They did take Thanksgiving day off. They have both buildings under roof now so the rain shouldn’t be too much of an obstacle. Surprisingly little left to do in the actual construction of the buildings. The electrical, the construction of the office, and the equipment installation will take a little while, but it’s looking like we may actually be done around the first of the year. I wish I had a dollar for every person who has driven by here slowly trying to figure out exactly what was going on here. The contractors being around provided me with the opportunity to use a skid steer to clean out the barn. I got the majority of it with the 6000 and the loader, but couldn’t get into some tight places.

Today I finally started building the rabbit cages. I’m figuring out quickly that I’m not much of a carpenter. Hopefully I can follow the plans in the book good enough that they will hold rabbits and keep water and wind out. It’s almost as if the rabbits are laughing at me. I see them over in the corner hiding their faces with their little paws. I figure they have to be laughing at me. Maybe I’ll get the rabbit cages built and get my tack room built in the other barn before we get the poultry houses finished.

We had scheduled the double-wide to be moved last weekend, but had to postpone it due to not having everything packed. The next available date is December. I’m just hoping BJ and the kids can have the things that have to be out packed by then. I know BJ is not thrilled about living so close to the poultry houses when they get birds in them.

I spent a little more time pressuring my local Mahindra dealer for his absolute best deal on a 7010 cab last week. We keep getting closer! I hate the thought of another winter out in the cold and snow feeding the animals. It doesn’t hurt that we could certainly use the tax deduction this year either. I’ll give him another jab one day this week and hopefully close the deal.

Well as always tons to do here so I will go for now. Be sure to check out the pics I’ve added and check back soon. Until next time stay safe!


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