Archive for October, 2014

Friday, Oct. 31st, 2014

October 31st, 2014 Comments off

My day started in the milking parlor at 8:00, with Beth handling the bottling in the kitchen.  The cows were all pretty calm, and we may have  solved the field-nursing problem we have been having with Heidi and Fiona.  They both are wearing Wean-Safe nose rings, which look awful, but the girls don’t seem to mind them – until one of them tries to nurse the other and then I can only assume the nursee gets pricked and kicks the nurser.  Whatever, we are seeing full udders again.

After finishing up breakfast, admin work, and prep for Pioneers class, I left for Gold Park and David, Michael, and Emma headed for Woodcrest East to finish up the fence.   By the time I got home, they had pulled the  last of the wires and we ought to be able to finish tomorrow or Monday.

This evening Tammy and Steve Griffin invited two families for an All Hallowed Eve campfire out in the side yard.  Chris and I spent an enjoyable evening hearing love stories.

Quiet day today on Woodcrest Farm.


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Thursday, October 30th, 2014

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We got out to the barn this morning to find that Amber had had 5 puppies last night.  They were 3 days early by Chris’ count so they weren’t born in the customary puppy box.  I guess it was touch and go for one of them, but they are apparently all fine now.

Today was moving day for our 6 new Dexters from Liza Williams herd.  After milking, I hooked up the stock trailer, collected Madison, and off we went to Liza’s house north of Mebane.  Once there, we had a bit of trouble convincing the bull an 3 cos to load, but finally got them in the trailer.  That left two calves, but it seemed a lot easier – and more importantly, safer for the calves – to make two trips.

I was concerned that our calf pasture wouldn’t be tight enough for the new cows, but they walked right in and stayed there.  Then I switched trailers and beat it back up to Liza’s for the calves.  I was back home by about 4:30 and they unloaded easily and walked right in to the calf pasture to see their friends.   All in all, the only unhappy animal is Ranger, our herd bull, who resents the encroachment of his territory.  We’re keeping him with the dairy cows to give him something to occupy himself while Sir Guy tends to the cows he came with.

So, a milestone day.  Lets hope it bears fruit.

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Tuesday, Oct. 27th, 2014

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It has been far too long since I have added anything to our blog.  I do have some excuse – I was at the NC  State Fair blacksmithing several nights until 10:30 pm  and when I got home I wasn’t thinking about blogging.   So, to recap, Wednesday was Wesley Pope’s funeral, Thursday I was at the fair all day, Friday was Pioneers class, Saturday was “Say goodbye to Tim and Jaimie, the kids, and Pete and Patti” day; Sunday I was back at the fair all afternoon and evening with Chris and Maddy; and in between all those events the work of the farm had to get done.   Yesterday and today we spent most of the afternoon working on the fence at WC East and have 3 sides pretty well finished.  We are under some time pressure because we have to pick up our new Dexter herd on Thursday.

For those interested, I have posted some pictures from Ben and Julie’s wedding on our website here.

That’s it for Woodcrest Farm Today (and yesterday, and the day before that, and …..)


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Wednesday, October 22d, 2014

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I was up with David, Maddy, and Emma at 8:00 to milk.  Heidi has a sore teat and is a bit touchy about being milked, so I helped with her.  Once she was done,  I had breakfast and changed into my suit so Chris and I could start for Erwin and Wesley Pope’s funeral service.  It was a sad but very sweet goodbye for his family and friends.  We got back home around 3:30.

Meanwhile, David and the crew spent their time nailing insulators on the fence posts we set at WC East.  They finished most of one side, so we are well on the way to getting that pasture ready for cows.

Other than that, it was a normal busy day here at Woodcrest Farm.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Today’s entry has to cover two days.  Yesterday morning we had a visit from the Triangle Presbyterian School – approximately 35  five-yr olds (and assorted siblings) and their parents + teachers.  They arrived around  9:30, and we got everyone organized and touring by 10:00.  I had sent their teacher name tags that divided them into 6 groups.  Each group got a chance to see Chris milking goats;  Kelly/ Michael milking cows;  David showing pigs, image2calves, and chickens; Beth supervising sweet-potato digging and showing the garden; Emma with the rabbits, chicks, pigeons; and me in the forge. 6 groups, 6 activities, 6 20-minute time-slots.  Everyone seemed to have a great time – lots of positive feedback from parents and teachers, and smiles from the kids.

In the afternoon we went back up to WC East to set more fence posts.  Emma drove the tractor and ran the auger; Michael and David (shown in picture) were chief post setters and tampers.  Monday afternoon we were most of the way around.  That’s pretty much it for yesterday.

image6Today was another busy day. In the morning Beth and co. worked pulling sweet potato vines up and stripping off the plastic mulch and drip tape.   We’ll dig the sweets in the next few days.   For the afternoon it was back up to east to finish the fence posts.

The line shown in the picture goes all the way back to trees on the stream buffer – straight as an arrow.  Next comes insulators, wire, tensioners, and gates.   A good day’s work here at the farm.

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Sunday, October 19th, 2014

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It was a quiet day on the farm.  After milking and chores, Chris and I headed for church, and in the afternoon I attended the Mountains-to-the-Sea dedication of the newest Eno River section.  Part of the festivities was to facilitate hikes of the new section by shuttling hikers to the trail heads and so we could hike back to the start.  I did about 4 mile  or so.

Chris spent the afternoon receiving visitors.  David, Emma, Michael, and Beth pretty much relaxed as far as I know.

Yesterday (Saturday)  we finished up chores, after which I scraped the stalls.  Noah did and dump trip and then went to Piedmont for shavings to put in the stalls, which happened this morning.  Around 2:00 I headed for the fairgrounds to do my first stint blacksmithing  at the ABANA exhibit.

Meanwhile, Chris was left alone with nothing to do so she went out and bought some turkeys.  Sadly, she says these are for breeding, not for Thanksgiving dinner.  We’ll see.

That’s today (and yesterday) at Woodcrest Farm!

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Friday, Oct. 17th, 2014

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I was entangled in the bowels of our health care system for most of the day, so progress(?) on the farm was in other hands.  Specifically, Beth, Chris, and probably Madison and Emma, spent a lot of time in the kitchen making applesauce, cheese, cookies, and ultimately cookies.  David tackled the hog pen, no mean feat.  By the time I got home, it was almost time for dinner.

The other big event for today was a new Great Pyrenees puppy, Birch II, who is down in the barn trying to stay invisible.  That is a real trick since he is pure white, and BIG (for a puppy). IMG_0976[1]  How did this come about?   As all blog readers will remember, we are working as fast as possible to fence the property, in preparation for our beef herd taking up residence there.   When that happens, we will need security forces on the job, so Chris has been on the alert for another Great Pyr.  Birch II is hopefully the answer.  Right now I don’t think he would scare a paranoid rabbit, but maybe he’ll grow into the job.

That’s the day at Woodcrest Farm!

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Thursday, October 16th, 2014

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Mandy and Emma took the morning shift in the milking parlor while the rest of us got the chores done and prepared for a busy day at WC East.   Ronnie Cobb from Cobb Sales and Service showed up early to get our wood stove set for the winter, which it now is.  New gaskets, anti-corrosion treatment, and leak check.    Emma, Beth, and Madison went up to WC East,  picked up all the plastic mulch, drip tape, and trellis wire from the garden pull-out and Christopher and Dillan helped them load it into the truck for disposal.  David and I set fence posts all afternoon, and by 5:00 we had 3 sides of the north pasture finished.   After teaching sewing class all afternoon, Chris managed to make a great dinner which we all enjoyed.

That’s the day!


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Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

October 15th, 2014 Comments off

We’re getting back to normal around here.  Yesterday the day started out with a “washer explosion” in the barn and a resulting flood.  Actually, nothing exploded.  The drain hose fell out of the drain and all I had to do was put it back and secure it.  Kelly (a gift to us during her spring break) and David were on the job milking, with Madison, Emma, and Michael lending a hand with the chores.  The morning progressed with things we could do despite the rain, like (for me) catching up the books, and for Noah, getting last week’s smelly trash to the dump.

The rain stopped in the afternoon so David, Emma, Michael and I headed up to WC East to set fence posts.  This involves measuring 50′ intervals (Emma), positioning the tractor auger to dig the post-hole (Emma), steering the auger so it digs straight down (David), digging out the hole with the post-hole digger (me, usually), dropping the post in the hole (Michael), plumbing it straight up and down (David and me), filling and tamping the hole to keep the post rigid (David, Michael, and me).  While we were doing that, Emma was getting the tractor into position for the next hole.  We sank quite a few posts, but ended with the auger stuck.  We had to leave it in the field for the night, along with the problem of how to free it.

This morning we started out – surprise! – with milking at 8:00 as usual.   Kelly was here again,  but it quickly became obvious we did not have enough dairy feed to get all the cows milked, so I had to make an emergency trip down to Piedmont feeds for a few bags to tide us over until our normal Wednesday delivery.  Chores done, David and I tackled the problem of the stuck auger.  Pulling it out with the tractor’s front loader didn’t work.  We had to disconnect the auger from the digger, put a pipe wrench on the auger shaft, and “unscrew” it from the hole it was stuck in.  Then we had to go to Home Depot for new bolts (we had sheared them all on yesterday).  By the time we returned, Hurdle Mills had delivered our feed.  Getting that stowed, Emma, David, Madison, and I went back up to WC East to set more posts, which kept us busy until dinner time, courtesy of Cane Creek Church.
And that’s the day at Woodcrest Farm

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October 13th, 2014

October 13th, 2014 Comments off

I have two reports for the past weekend – one short – what actually happened on the farm, and one long- Chris and my weekend in NY.  I’ll start with the short version.

The major challenge around here was simply to keep all the livestock alive and cared for – milk cows, feed hogs, bunnies, chickens, dogs, goats – and to harvest and keep the gardens productive.  From all I can tell, it was a highly successful weekend in that regard.   Best of all, nothing broke or went really wrong.BenJulie 001

The other report is much longer, with pictures.   As you can see, Chris was altogether lovely, BenJulie 017the bride and groom (and mother of the bride) were elegant, the venue was breathtaking, and seeing so many of our family all in one place was a once in a lifetime experience.  Ben and Julie worked hard to give their family and friends a priceless gift, and it was a special time.  We were able to see our very own Julia Oller, keeper of the Farm Blog this summer, along with her Mom, Dad, and  siblings Drew and Grace who were the wedding musicians.  When I get it, I will update this post with a link to all of the wedding pictures.

Tomorrow we will be back to normal, with Woodcrest East to finish tilling, seeding, and fence to build.   And that’s the weekend on the farm.


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