Archive for November, 2014

Saturday, Nov 29th, 2014

November 29th, 2014 Comments off

Saturdays start out like every other day, so it was milking, feeding the hogs, chickens, calves, goats, and everything else that needs attention.  But after that we got to spend a few hours saying goodbye to Gwen, Julie, and Ben and Sherrill and Don.  The rest of my afternoon was spent doing blacksmithing with Jacques and James, and Chase.  They made their 1st hooks and hopefully enjoyed themselves.  Chase made a stiletto-dagger (go figure – he’s a teen-age male) and made a nice job of it.

The farm is still a mud-pit but at least it wasn’t raining today.   Next week we have to try to clean things up a bit and start getting the mess dealt with.

Things are getting back to normal bit by bit.  Beth came back yesterday, and Madison is back home after her weekend.  Its been a wonderful family time and a little sad to have everyone gone, but its nice to just sit here and do nothing for a few minutes.   A quiet end to the day at Woodcrest Farm.

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Thursday, Nov. 27th, 2014

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Thanksgiving Day, 2014.  We are very thankful today, even though it meant starting the day milking instead of lying around in bed.   With almost no staff on hand, Chris and I, and various Ollers had to do all the chores.  Madison is off to Greensboro for a few days too excited about the prospect of spending a day or two with a certain young man and his family to remember where the barn is.  But, everything got done that absolutely needed to get done.

It has been raining for the past week, so we are ankle-deep in mud whenever we venture into the barnyard.   So too are all our ladies, and when they come into the milking parlor it takes 3 times as long to clean their udders as normal.   I dream of cement, high-pressure wash hoses, floor drains, all sorts of things like that.

Julie and Ben arrived with Gwen in the morning and brought wonderful news:  Julie is expecting!  I am floored by the multiple blessings for our family, and the promises God is fulfilling for Ben and Julie.

Thanksgiving dinner was over the top, as usual.  We had the whole menu: creamed onions, scalloped oysters, lemon jello, cranberryts mashed and sweet potatoes, smoked (Woodcrest ham), and of course, turkey(s), plus rolls, black olives, broccoli, and dishes I have forgotten.  Some of us saved room for the 7 different kinds of pies.

That’s what I remember of Thanksgiving day here at Woodcrest Farm.   The blessing for the day is pretty well summed up by Psalm 128:

Blessed is every one who fears the Lord,
Who walks in His ways.

When you eat the labor of your hands,
You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
In the very heart of your house,
Your children like olive plants
All around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
Who fears the Lord.

The Lord bless you out of Zion,
And may you see the good of Jerusalem
All the days of your life.
Yes, may you see your children’s children.

Peace be upon Israel!

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Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014

November 27th, 2014 Comments off

As a special holiday treat, I (Julia) am guest blogging for the day. We arrived safely from Ohio last night, and I resumed my farm duties this morning and milked with Grandpa at 8 sharp. Luckily my memory hasn’t depleted as much as my muscle mass, and I had no major fiascos. Madison finished up the chores while Grandpa did administrative work and I joined the kitchen crew. We baked pies and made stuffing, Chex-Mix and the famous lemon jello. Grandma then ran to the store for a turkey while Grandpa ran errands to get freezer parts and random groceries from Walmart. We also welcomed Uncle Danny and Aunt Liza and Aunt Sherrill and Uncle Don with rabbit pot pie and pumpkin cheescake for dinner.

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Tuesday, Nov. 25th, 2014

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I was a delinquent blogger last night, so did not report that Clay Scoggins made a service call and fixed our freezer yesterday morning.  This was the most significant thing that happened Monday, and leaves us with some decisions to make regarding our cooler.  But that’s yesterday’s news.

Today was our debut in the Thanksgiving Turkey business.  It began like most other days with 5 cows and 3 goats to milk.  The girls were all a little  muddy this morning, which makes hygiene a challenge.  I really can’t fault them much – there aren’t any dry places to take a cow nap out in the pasture.  But Madison and I got milking done, and after a quick breakfast I headed down to Bear Creek to pick up our Turkeys.   When I arrived, Roberto (the processor) was still processing, so I got a chance to see a turkey artist in action.  He did 5 turkeys in about 10 minutes – it was amazing!   Once washed and bagged, I loaded them into coolers and headed home, where Madison and I weighed and labeled them.

We had orders for 8 of the 10 I bought, and our customers  started arriving right about 1:00.  By 3, we had sold all of them.   Julia Sendor and Nancy Kelly were among our buyers and we had a nice visit with them.

Steve Griffin was on hand today to feed the rabbits, which is great because we are short-staffed.   Madison is a trooper, but has her hands full.

The Ollers arrived around 5:30 and we had a wonderful reunion and a good chili dinner.  It has been a full day, and we are looking forward to lots of visitors tomorrow.


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Sunday, Nov. 23d, 2014

November 23rd, 2014 Comments off

There’s not too much to write about tonight – nothing much of interest has happened in the last two days.  Because of being short-staffed, Beth and I milked yesterday morning.  Chores got done; I put a new window in the milking parlor; Chris and I went over to see Sue and Gil in the afternoon.  This morning I took Beth to the bus station for her Thanksgiving vacation in Asheville while Madison and Noah did the morning milking and Chris got the days milk orders labeled.  We went to church, fed cows, had choir practice, and made sure chores got done.  That’s pretty much it.  The freezer is still broken, but hopefully will get attention tomorrow.  That’s about it for the weekend.

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Friday, Nov. 21st, 2014

November 21st, 2014 Comments off

Beth and I were milking this morning – again.    Bonnie tested positive for mastitis in one quarter, so we are back in the barrel on that.   (From what I learned this evening, we are probably being ultra-conservative in our handling of mastitis, but I’d rather be safe than sorry).  In general, we did chores and kept warm.  I spent some time up at Woodcrest East pulling firewood out of the piles to have it ready to cut.  Chris did errands.

I’m not trying to be pessimistic, but yesterday we had escaped cows and a broken shed post.  Today the freezer quit.  It won’t even get looked at until tomorrow at the earliest, so its a good thing its cold.  I’d like a day when something doesn’t break.

But there is good news.  Our fledgling turkey business has 7 orders (out of 10 turkeys), and I have 3 more inquiries.  Hopefully all 10 will sell.

At 5:30 Chris and I were due at the Waddells for their annual Christmas? Thanksgiving? party, which is where I learned about mastitis detection from one of the other guests.  Madison and Beth had to milk.  But, at least we’re warm and well fed, this Friday on the Farm.

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Thursday, Nov. 20th, 2014

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At 7:15 this morning Chris and I were rudely awakened by Beth shouting, “The cows are out! The cows are out!  I vaulted out of bed, threw on jeans and a shirt, and ran  downstairs buttoning, zipping, buckling, hunting for my boots, racing outside to cows moo-ing, and dogs running madly around barking their fool heads off.  Most of the dairy herd was up in our front yard, having escaped through the milking parlor.  By this time Madison and Chris had joined Beth and me – I circled around from the road and headed the cows back towards the barn while Chris tried to get the dogs to stop barking.  Finally we managed to close all the gates and start cleaning up the milking parlor.  Part of the cleanup was to  fix the sliding door, which might have been the source of the security breach in the first place.

Today was home-school day, so Mykah and Jaryn showed up at 8:30.  We finished milking, breakfast, admin work, during which Madison came in to tell me that she had accidentally driven the tractor into the corner post of the equipment shed and broken it.  Bless her heart, she was mortified, but I’ve had some similar accidents.  But it meant a run to Home Depot to get a new 6×6.  When I got home, I thought I had entered a time-warp – cows running around the front yard, crazed dogs running around barking at them, and I was circling around to head them off from going into the road – all the result of a gate falling down because of the broken corner post I was getting the lumber to fix. Despite the dogs, we managed to get the herd back in the fences.  Then Madison and I finished replacing the post, which took the rest of the afternoon.

So today was mostly a lesson in “don’t make plans for your day that you can’t afford to change – you may have to”.  I had to work pretty hard just to stay even, and I’m not even sure I did that.

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Tuesday, Nov. 20th, 2014

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This morning was c-c-cold, and I had to milk.  The first order of business was to make sure the water was still running, then to get the fire burning, then to convince the cows to come in and get milked (maybe they were anticipating those c-c-cold shells), but without a lot of fuss, that got done.  Then we did chores as usual. Tammy and Wilson started their rabbit care and feeding project this morning.  Wilson is very serious about it at this point.

After chores and admin work, Chris organized a Woodcrest East cleanup. We took tractor and truck up there, harrowed the garden, picked up debris,  and cut up some wood for the stove.  The cows at East seem to be contented.  I can see the advantage of having a decent phone camera – I always have my phone with me but its camera is lousy.  I rarely have my camera with me and a picture or two for the blog would be nice.

We’re trying to stay warm today on the farm.  Glad we’re not in upstate NY.

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Monday, Nov. 17th, 2014

November 17th, 2014 Comments off

I don’t have much to report about the farm today.   Beth and I were milking partners and I zipped through the 5 cows and 3 goats as quickly as possible because I had an Ag Summit planning meeting to go to at 10:00.  About the time I was leaving, Noah showed up complaining of a sharp pain in his lower right abdomen, nausea, and difficulty in moving around.  So, my plans quickly evolved to taking him to the ER, where he was quickly examined and they made a preliminary diagnosis of appendicitis and scheduled him for more tests.  So, he and I spent the rest of the day in the ER.   By the time we left, acute appendicitis had been ruled out, but nothing else was found.   So, Noah is home.  If the pain reoccurs, we will go back to the ER; otherwise, we’ll chalk it up to some sort of intestinal disturbance.

Here at home, Chris spent most of her free time getting prepared for the deep freeze tomorrow.  All of our outside hoses and hydrants have to be disconnected if temps drop to 18 as forecasted.

We’re glad to have Noah – and his appendix – home.

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Saturday, Nov. 15th, 2014

November 16th, 2014 Comments off

Today was an event day at Woodcrest Farm.   I left early for our regional ABANA meeting at Peter Ross’ shop.  Erin Huntington hosted our Farm Fresh Cheese class this morning, scheduled for 10 am – 1:00 pm, but which was still lingering on at 3 pm when I finally got home.   We had 7 students, and a few more auditing the class as well, and according to Chris, it was a great success.  I managed to salvage some of the leftovers, and they were delicious.

While the cheese class was in progress, I was getting inspired to attempt some new blacksmithing challenges.  Peter made a “blacksmith’s helper”, a floor stand to hold steel  that is too long for the forge or anvil.  It could, of course, be made fairly easily with an arc welder, drill press, and purchased hardware.  Peter fabricated the whole thing using forge welding, punched or drifted holes, and finished up by making the necessary bolts and wing nuts.  I am determined to make one for my shop.

Our evening was devoted to Bob and Hope’s reception for local contacts. Hope made chili, augmented by lots of delicious sides.  It was a nice evening with some old and new friends from our common past.  I am finishing up with today’s news now at midnight – a long today at Woodcrest farm.

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