Archive for January, 2011

Monday, Jan. 17, 2011

January 17th, 2011 Comments off

A week has passed since the last post and much has happened in the last week. The household has “officially” added a new member, Dillon, a friend of grandson Chris, who needs a family and a place to live for the time being. Dillon has been staying on a day-to-day basis, but we have decided to admit the obvious and let him have some stability for a few months. Projects have been moving along as well.

This is a view of the reinforced barn roof, a prerequisite for the solar panel installation. The job is finished except for restoring all the wiring and closing up the boxes, etc.
We also had two lambs born last week, conveniently, the night after we managed to round the sheep up and get them penned. I am astounded that we (a) managed to get the sheep penned (b) the lambs were dropped inside under cover instead of out in the wettest, muddiest part of the pasture in the middle of an ice storm and subsequently eaten by predators or harassed by our mule.
Farm-related problems that have had to be solved this week are: firewood – we’re running low, and the barn water supply quit Saturday night sometime. Turned out to be a blown fuse, but I am suspicious that that was just a symptom. Pete says the expansion tank is waterlogged and needs to be drained, which we’ll tackle this week.

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Monday, Jan. 10th, 2010

January 10th, 2011 Comments off

Cold day today with schools canceled and nobody interested in doing much outside work – but we did get the milk-house wired and completed. Kathryn is happily milking Red while Carnation is waiting for her treat (she will calve any day now).

Chris and I spent much of the afternoon on farm admin – me, interviewing for the Breeze Mentor Farmer position, Chris following up on getting a high-tunnel grant from the USDA. Our experience so far with the USDA grants has been pretty dismal, but we continue to hope. It is a good idea to have Chris applying for these grants because she is so much nicer than I am about it.

The boys got all the wood spit and under cover so we won’t be trying to burn wet icy wood if we get the ice storm. Not much work on the solar barn-reinforcement work because of impending storm. Oh well, we are warm, the generator is set to go, and we have plenty of food if it comes.

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Jan. 8-9th, 2010

January 9th, 2011 Comments off

Very Cold the last two days, so working inside has been our choice whenever possible. We are being warned about an ice storm, so I cranked up the generator to make sure it works if the power goes out.

I have been working on YE bookkeeping for farm, business, and our personal accounts to get ready for taxes. Without taking into account depreciation, the farm took in $22.5K in income, and had a net profit of $2.3K, which may be our best year yet, amazingly. Bulk beef sales were a big part of that, as well as farm services, but the bottom line is that we made money, at least on paper.

Chris is still starting seeds – we are going to have to keep them all inside until the greenhouse is a little warmer.
The milking parlor is not quite finished, but it is in use. Katherine has been glad to be out of the wind.

That’s it for the farm, today.

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Jan. 6-7th, 2011

January 8th, 2011 Comments off

This will have to be a combined post for Thursday and Friday. Thursday was a red-letter day around here. The milking parlor is nearing completion and we had both Red and Carny come in, use the stanchion, get a little grain, and walk out. Only the lights and some fixtures need to be completed. Also, Dewey received an acceptance letter from Carolina for the Fall 2011 term! Congratulations Dewey! There is lots yet to be accomplished on the road to graduation, but any great accomplishment is a comprised of a series of small steps, and this is an important milestone. But in a surfeit of blessings, we finally gave up on the idea of finding a cheap replacement for Dewey’s Saturn, and with Steve W.’s encouragement, decided to try to fix it with a used engine. I found one at a local junkyard, bought it, and Steve, Dewey, and Christopher worked until 12:30AM this morning to install it, and Dewey drove it home. A miracle. Let’s hope it lasts.

Work on reinforcing the barn for the solar installation is moving along slowly but inexorably. It should be finished early next week and I can start installing panels. It is quite a project.

No progress on the chicken palace other than to buy tin roofing for the 1st cage yesterday, but it is almost ready for that.

Moving forward to Friday, Christopher finished mulching and spreading manure on the garden. It smells, ahem, wonderful! So pungent! So nutritious! It ought to grow stuff like mad.

Among my accomplishments: Install step-rungs in the elf-tree so that little elves can climb to the top for a look around. I also fixed the starter cord for the wood splitter so that it can be started. Also spent untold hours working on books, letters, etc. Chris is hard at work getting seeds started for the various gardens. That’s it.

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Jan 5th, 2011

January 6th, 2011 Comments off

Obviously, since it has been about a year since I made my last post, nothing has happened on the farm. But, it has been a busy week around here so I will try to be more current. And disciplined. OK.
Major happenings at Woodcrest are:
Dairy happenings: Little Red had a heifer calf on 12/26, and is now a real, live milking Dexter. Carnation has succeeded Elderberry (who is no more, alas) and should be calving soon. We will soon have two cows in milk, and the milkhouse is finally getting finished. Pictures, maybe, to follow.

Work on the solar project is coming along – lots of prep work to do on supports, rafters, and headers to take the weight of the array. This is an expensive but necessary (I believe) pre-requisite.

Work on the chicken palace is nearing completion. Pete Seidel has been working steadily on it; he rust proofed it today.

I attended my first meeting of the OC Parks and Recreation Committee (PARC). Should be interesting.
And, I finally ran to the ground and solved the database problem that has been preventing me from making posts to this blog.

For the moment, our Woodcrest Boot Camp seems to be working. Christopher has been exercising, studying, and working on schedule and per contract. This obviously needs explanation, but it would turn this post into a book.

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