Sunday, June 26

Ahh! .... AHHHH!


I was weed eating a fence line I hadn't trimmed in a while.  I was watching closely for some poison ivy I didn't want to trim and fling all over me when a mouse darted out of the brush and startled me.  It was then immediately followed by a black snake striking and wrapping it up.

Over the hum of the trimmer engine I believe I sounded something like the title of the post!

Monday, April 25

Greenhouse is open


The greenhouse is now open.  Jennifer has partnered this year with a neighbor and friend of ours.  Sherry wanted to learn about the greenhouse and how to raise plants.  She's done a fine job and we've got over a dozen different varieties of heirloom tomato plants for sale along with some eggplant, artichoke, herbs, and even some ornamentals and flowers.

Unfortunately someone else liked our greenhouse sign at the end of the drive well enough that they just took it home...  So we'll have to get another one to put out by the highway.

Run ahead of the pack

Pictured here is our new tractor!  We've been on the farm now for 5 years and have managed so far by begging and borrowing time from neighbors and friends when tractor work was needed.  It's nice to have folks to help out but it's even better to be able to do things on your own.

The photo above is from right after it was unloaded.  It's a DK40SE made by Kioti.  I did my homework including my usual spreadsheet analysis and learned you get more features, more power, more weight, and more lifting capacity for the money than the other orange tractor brand (or any other compact utility tractor).  Plus it comes with a 4 year/unlimited hour warranty, an important feature for a first time tractor owner.  We had a very pleasurable sales experience through S&H Farm Supply and salesman Mark will be seeing us again the future for sure!



In the short few weeks we've already tackled several projects with the tractor.  It's primary use most days is moving round bales as Jennifer is doing in the photo above.  I do find it necessary to counterbalance the load on the front end loader (FEL) with the box blade on the rear.

The box blade too has been put through it's paces. I finally got the guts to work on the drive and I was very pleased with the results.  I was timid at first as I thought I would make it worse, to which a neighbor replied that it couldn't possibly get worse (that's how badly rutted it was).  I just took the advice of a more experienced neighbor and just went slow.  It took several passes up and down the 1/4 mile drive but it's a huge improvement.  I didn't even need to add additional material to get a nice smooth finish.

We've mowed the pasture with the rotary cutter and moved mulch with the FEL bucket.  I've even used it to pull against to stretch some fence.  I plan on welding some grab hooks on to the bucket to make it easier to lift things with a chain.  All in all I'm very pleased with the tractor.  It's been a long time coming and theres a huge list of projects that will be easier to complete now that we aren't burdening our neighbors for tractor time!

Spring!


We had a beautiful run of weather a few days ago, now we're looking at flooding all around us.  During the nice weather Jennifer and her band of WWOOFers took to doing some yardwork.  I snapped this photo of Jennifer in one of the flower beds they weeded.  Near her is our newest bottle baby (and current resident of the master bath tub) Gidget.  Haley, Sue, and Gelleon aren't far either.

Tuesday, February 1

SNOMG!

 

I was just saying how the Explorer seems to do quite well in the snow.  It hadn't seen anything like this before though.  Luckily I made it all the way home to the end of the drive before I became stuck.  The photo above is the snow up over the bottom edge of the Explorer, I had to push snow out of the way to get out and immediately sunk up over my thighs in the drift that is our driveway.

I think a conservative estimate of our snow accumulation would be 18 to 20" with drifts well over 2 to 3 feet.  The goats aren't going to get out in snow that deep so Jennifer and Kyle spent the day moving water tanks and heaters into their barns.  Trudging around in this stuff is not easy, I had to stop three or four times to catch my breath on the 1/4 mile walk up the drive (hey, I was carrying a bag full of clothes in case I got stranded plus my laptop case and some paperwork).  Moving from barn to barn carrying bales of hay or pales of water wasn't a picnic either.

I'll try to take some photos tomorrow.  When you're not working it in or avoiding other cars on the road it's actually quite pretty.

Sunday, January 16

Some new photos

 I hadn't taken any photos around the farm lately.  I never seem to devote time to lugging the camera around and cell-phone camera images just don't cut it for me most of the time.  I went out midday today and snapped a few shots:

Molly is one of our 4 LGDs (livestock guard dogs).  She's getting a little face rubbing action in this photo.

I walked out to the front pasture and of course was greated by Bear.  After some attention he went back to work.  Here he is on the look-out.

Bulldog, one of our wethers from the 2010 fall kidding season, was curious about the camera I was carrying around.  I finally got him to hold still long enough and stay far enough away that I could get a photo of him in focus.  He's quite the little man and is destined for the show ring.

I moved to the Nubian pasture where Jack was on patrol.  Good old reliable Jack-Jack keeps the dariy goats safe 24/7.

In the Nubian pasture everyone was crowding around to see, smell, or get a nibble of the curious device around my neck.  I snapped this one shooting almost directly into the sun with Harmony between me and the sky.  I rather like this shot.

Saturday, January 15

Winter Update


True to form, my lovely wife Jennifer, continues to diversify the farm "portfolio."  We're raising seven feeder pigs that we purchased from a local Amish guy.  We agreed we would raise one for ourselves to butcher and maybe one or two to raise and sell.  Jennifer sent out a quick e-mail to people we thought might be interested and now we've got 7 little piggies.

I had no idea pigs were so strong!  They're little power-packed balls of muscle.  These little piggies did in fact "squeal all the way home" in goat tote in the back of the truck.  They obviously were not handled extensively as they're quite excitable.  I had read that it takes solid fence and some hot wire to contain them so we fixed up one of our smaller pens (about 1/4 acre maybe) as the new pig lot.  It has good solid fence around it and now has one strand of electric fence about 4 inches off the ground all along the perimeter.  Pigs like to root up things and can easily root right under a fence.  And there's a reason that some rodeo's have a pig catching event: if you're not a participant it's hilarious to watch, because it's really hard to catch a loose piglet!  I want no part of pig catching outside this pen...

The piggies picture above are going to town on some slop, quite a sight to see.  They are finally getting to the point where they realize that we're not a threat.  When we first got them the slightest sight of us would momentarily stop them in their tracks with a quick "snort" before they would bolt the opposite direction.  Now they recognize and associate us with the slop bucket.  Jennifer and our latest WWOOFER volunteer, Kyle, have a hesitation with the pigs coming so close to them when feeding.  They're both, perhaps rightly so, nervous that the little piggies will start to nibble on them.  I guess they won't be little piggies for very long.  Kyle blames Jennifer for corrupting him with the idea that they might like to eat him.

Speaking of Kyle, he's been great to have on the farm.  He and Jennifer have been very productive while I'm away at the day job.  Our involvement with the WWOOFER has been nothing but positive so far.  It's been great meeting new people from all over, making new friends, and sharing ideas all while working together on the farm towards a common goal.  I highly recommend it.