Archive for June, 2015

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

June 25th, 2015 Comments off

This morning the milking team was on the job by 8:00 and pretty much did the whole thing by themselves.  I started working on fixing the bush-hog.  My plan was to weld the broken tail-wheel bracket back on and while it was up in the air, to sharpen the blades.  It didn’t work out as well as I hoped.  I have the tools to get those blades loose, but couldn’t budge them, and ran out of time to do anything.  Chris and I had an appointment to get all our immunizations for the Africa trip, and it took an unbelievable amount of time.  We got back at around 2:00.  Stephen was turning the soil bank, Syd was hunting squash bugs, Noah was mowing.  Chris and I had an interview with a marketing prospect, and about 3:00 PM our new Kubota MX5800 tractor showed up.  I spent the next hour + getting all the directions for its use.   Now would be a good time to include a picture, but that will have to wait.

Noah and Syd were on evening milking tonight, which took them awhile.   They both had a long day.  Stephen was called in for an early start, so the day wound down with everybody grateful for the rest.

Chris and I will be leaving early in the morning for New York to see new grandson Sawyer and his Mom and Dad.  We will be gone 5 days, and are grateful for the Woodcrest staff who are holding the fort.  I don’t know how many posts I’ll get done not being here, but I’ll try to update what I know.

So, for now, that’s Woodcrest Farm today.

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Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

June 24th, 2015 Comments off

Picture 004I had an unusual case of hyper-nocturnalism this morning and by the time I got to the barn Syd and Keegan already had Heidi in and underway.  They seemed to be doing so well I left them to it and worked on other things.  I had a pre-travel physical this AM to make sure I am healthy enough to be immunized for our planned Africa trip in September  (I passed) so I missed the morning activities.  By the time I got home, Stephen, Noah, and Beth were up at East weeding;  Sydney and Keegan were standing by to take delivery of our feed order.  I thought this was overkill – neither one of  them were going to unload a ton of 50 lb bags,  so I took Keegan up to East to finish grading the water line trench.  Syd stayed to supervise the feed delivery and keep off her foot.  The rest of my afternoon was a trip to Burlington to find a replacement for the tractor’s hydraulic line, which turned out to be a not-simple matter.  I finally got back by 5:00 and replaced the line.

Chris decided to get her shoulder injury checked out and found she has a torn rotator cuff – painful, but not life threatening.   Our young people all went swimming at the quarry again.  Turns out our Sunday excursion was a hit.  I went to the gym.   And that’s the day here at the Woodcrest Farm

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June 23rd, 2015 Comments off

We had a quick start this morning.  Sydney, Keegan, and Noah were the official milking team with me providing genial advice and encouragement when needed.   As it turned out, I did – nothing, except wash some dishes.   She did so well this morning that she decided to go it solo this evening even though she wasn’t on the schedule.   After milking and chores, we got breakfast and then began work on the day’s projects.  Noah and Stephen went up to East to keep at the weeding.  I finished admin work;  Sydney went to the Woodcrest clinic to  fix up her toe (injured while scaling the Eno quarry bank)   Feet are precious resources around here and we don’t want her to take any chances, so hopefully staying out of her boots today was helpful.  If you can’t walk, you have to drive – a tractor.  I wanted to get the water line into the trench we dug over the weekend, so I worked all afternoon digging it out to a uniform depth and laying in the water line while Sydney used the tractor bucket to backfill it.  Until one of the hydraulic lines sprung a leak, that is.   That finished the tractor for the next few days.

Around 5:30 Chris and I stated our odyssey to bring Big Joe to Woodcrest Farm.  We ran into trouble right away.  I was changing tags to make our trailer legal, accidentally dropped my glasses, and stepped on them.  Best pair of reading glasses – gone.  I guess I was flustered by that, because as we were heading out, the trailer jumped the hitch – I hadn’t tightened the hitch enough.  No damage, thank God, except that all the wires ripped out.  Oh well, no problem – I just had to pick up tools and connectors at Auto Zone and repair the lights, while Chris was getting cash from our bank to pay for Big Joe.  I finished, and in a hurry to test the lights just turned the key on, put the clutch in, and started the truck. Then I let the clutch out so I could go back and check the lights, forgetting that the truck was in gear.  It jumped forward just as I caught sight of Chris half in the passenger side and knocked her to the ground.  Horrified I got the truck stopped and braked, and ran around to see if I had run over her and was relieved to find her alive but very sore, in every way.   She felt like quitting and coming home, but there was a goat to get, so she rallied and we got to Thomasville by 8:00, picked up the goat, and got back home by 10:00 .   Tomorrow she will be very sore, but we have our new billy goat safely home.  He deserves the name Big Joe.

That’s enough for one day here at Woodcrest Farm.

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Monday, June 22d, 2015

June 22nd, 2015 Comments off

This morning started bright and early for me because I had to have the trencher 🙁 back to Sun Belt Rental by 8:00AM.  Since I needed to be milking at 8:00, that meant getting the trencher back by 7:00.  Back home, Syd was already up and we got going (and got Noah going!) on milking.  She is getting pretty good at this – she just needs to be a little more authoritative when trying to get the cows out of the parlor.  She says, “OK, Fiona, time to go” and Fiona just keeps eating.  Since Syd weighs maybe 120, and Fiona weighs about 6 times that much, she’s not going to drag Fiona out before she’s ready.  The trick is to have them run out of feed about the time they are done.

After milking we ate breakfast and held our Monday meeting about what to do for the day and the week.  Stephen and Noah worked on maintenance, mostly stall cleaning ( the stalls look beautiful now) and other main farm maintenance.  I went to East to weed, along with Keegan.  Syd and Beth worked in the main garden, weeding and chasing down squash bugs.  I wish there were something organic we could spray on the plants that would kill squash bugs.  BT, Spinosad, Kaolin, Insectisidal soap – that’s about it.  Meanwhile, Chris went to town to get parts to complete the water line up at East – we’ll tackle that tomorrow.

It was pretty hot today, so those of us who spent a large part of the day in the sun appreciated our evening and a great dinner cooked by Beth.  That was our Monday here at the farm.

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Sunday, June 21st, 2015

June 21st, 2015 Comments off

Our day started with me up at East by 7:00 AM resuming the trenching for the water line.   I believe Noah and Beth were milking, probably with Syd assisting.  I was trying to get enough of the trench dug to take time out for church, which I did.  Thoughts from church: “I have known the Father’s love for me, He’s been good, He’s been good!  Through it all He’s always there for me, He’s been good to me”  Through the storm, through the night, Come what may, Everything is going to be all right – I have known the Father’s love for me, He’s been good to me!”.  The problem with this chorus is that I have a hard time separating who I’m talking about, my heavenly Father, or my earthly one, so its a double whammy.  Happy Father’s Day, Dad.  You still are always there for me.

After church it was back to the trenches for me.   David,  Stephen, and Noah  came up to lend a hand and by 4:00 we were done – enough.  Done with the trencher, and with enough pipe in the ground and backfiilled so that the cows could get to their water without breaking a leg.

With the work done, we got down to the serious business of Father’s day!  My choice for the day was a family hike on the Eno and a swim at the Quarry.  Noah, Stephen, Syd, Keegan, Chris and I headed out for the park and they all headed for the quarry to swim while Chris took me to a trail head so I could hike back to the quarry.  It was a great day for hiking and swimming.  Unfortunately Syd forgot to tell us that she doesn’t really swim all that well, and I forgot to tell her that quarries are DEEP!  No nice beaches and shallow water at a quarry.  But, I think she had fun anyway.

Chris cooked me a wonderful diner, although it was a little disorganized because it was a little late.  Along with diner came some wonderful cards and presents, which really put the day over the top.  A good day for this father – and grand-father – on Woodcrest Farm.


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Saturday, June 20th, 2015

June 20th, 2015 Comments off

This is a two day entry, resulting from skipping yesterday’s journal.  So, yesterday was somewhat more interesting than today.    Syd, Noah, and I were milking, and we were greeted by a cow/goat break-in into the milking parlor.  (They know where the food is!)  We don’t know if a latch was not secured, or the cows have learned how to get in the door, but it is always a mess when they do.  Syd is coming along, getting to know our ladies and becoming more confident in what she is doing.  After breakfast, Beth and Syd spent a lot of time hunting for squash bugs and Japanese beetles, gleefully popping them into soapy water in justified punishment for their malefic intent.  For my part, Keegan, Stephen, Noah, and I went up to East to weed corn, for them, most of the afternoon, for me until about 3:00 when I had to leave to pick up the supplies for today’s activities.  Chris and Sandy were organizing the sewing room, I think, and we ended up getting Hibachi meals for dinner.  Tasty.

Today was more of the same this morning.  Syd did most of the milking by herself with me just kind of assisting, and we finished up fairly quickly.  Last night I brought home a trencher to dig a trench for the water line to the East pasture, and David went up early to start digging.  By the time I got there, he had dug about 75 feet, but it was very hard going.  Stephen and David began working on actually installing the line in the trench when David accidentally hit his head with the mattock and had to leave to get stitches.  This was at 11:00 am or so.  Over the next 7 hours, I managed to trench about 200 feet more, leaving perhaps 50 feet to go.  I’m not looking forward to resuming this job tomorrow.  Oh well, that’s farming.   David’s head is fine, although he has staples in his skull and a very sore spot.

But, we all did get some rec time this evening.  Hopefully it will be continued tomorrow on Father’s day.   That’s the day here on the Farm.

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Thursday, June 18th, 2015

June 18th, 2015 Comments off

We started out the day in the milking parlor: Sydney, Keegan, and I with the cows, Noah and Chris in the kitchen.  Sydney is getting the hang of lock and load milking, but the cows have a bad case of “Jersey Flu” (probably protesting having to work in this heat) and milk production is ‘way down.  The goats are hanging in so we have some milk to sell.

After getting morning chores done we broke for breakfast and phase 2 of our day.  Stephen, Keegan and Noah worked on chicken maintenance, I was doing A/C redux on the leaking Air Conditioners, Syd and Beth were hunting squash bugs and weeding.   Having given the A/C units my best shot and not seeing any leaking for an hour or so of operation, I decided to return the window unit Chris had bought to solve the leaking problem along with the defective multi-meter.  Home Depot has been unlucky with us recently.  I picked up the insulated fence wire for the weekend trenching job, and joined Sportsplex in an attempt to keep my cardiac program moving along.  So that’s done.

We did get some rain this evening, which we badly need.  Maybe it will cool things down a little for the weekend.  That’s Woodcrest Farm today.


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Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

June 17th, 2015 Comments off

Picture 002Another hot day on the farm, not quite as bad as yesterday, but still up there.  I promised a picture of new WWOOFer Sydney and here she is.  Today Sydney began milking for real, and says she enjoys all of our ladies.  We also had help from a family that has been visiting us and so milking was slow but instructive for everybody.  After milking, Syd spent time working on her tan, Stephen and Noah finished the fences up at East, Keegan had a little tea party (manure tea!) for the corn, and I spent a lot of time on the phone, before breaking free for a Girl Scout tour at 3:00.  The girls got to help feed goats, toured chickens, hogs, rabbits, the gardens, and the forge, and wrapped up with a cheese and butter making session with Chris.  I spent the rest of the afternoon fixing leaking air conditioners in the barn.  I jury rigged drainage tubes for both bunkhouse A/C units, and am keeping my fingers crossed that it will stop the leaks.

Chris made a shrimp dish that she told us we wouldn’t like, but of course it was delicious and we ate all of it.  A quiet evening finished out the day.  And that’s Woodcrest Farm for Today.

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Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

June 16th, 2015 Comments off

It was a HOT day on the farm.    We started out this morning with another FREEZER EMERGENCY!!!!!!!  Noah and I were on the milking schedule so I was on my way to the barn when Beth came in to tell me that the alarm was beeping.  I wasn’t too worried because the defrost cycle is scheduled for 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM so I figured it was just the aftermath of that.  But, after checking voltages and various indicators, I had no clues.  So, what else to do than call Pete Seidel, up in the UP (pronounced You-Pee) shoveling snow off his porch.  Pete IMG_0892listened to my tale of woe and asked me “Are the fans running?”  Of course, I didn’t know, but went back out to check and found that, sure enough, they weren’t.  With that clue, I started checking voltages to the fans, and found that a  wire to one of the relays (see picture) was burnt off.  This is not good.  I fixed it, and Voila!  the freezer is operating again.   For the moment.

Noah, Keegan, and Stephen worked on fences and gates up at East.  I began trying to compact and re-burn the massive piles of stumps.   I had some partial success, but may have to accept that I just need to hire someone.

On the bright side, Sydney Rimmer arrived around dinner time to begin her WWOOFing stay with us.  She will be here at least 3 weeks, hopefully longer.  I’ll get a picture of her posted tomorrow.   That’s Woodcrest Farm for today

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Monday, June 15th, 2015

June 15th, 2015 Comments off

Woodcrest Farm is celebrating the birth of Sawyer SKG_2015-06-15Kinsley Green this evening at 9:20pm in Westchester County Hospital (New York) to Mom and Dad Julie and Benjamin Green.  Sawyer weighed in at 8 lbs even, but Julie had a pretty quick and uncomplicated delivery, one day before her predicted due date, just in time for Father’s day.  Ben is unlikely to forget this birthday!  Grandpa and Grandma Green are overjoyed, grateful, and awestruck – again – at the blessings their family enjoys.

Less celebratory, but still important, Stephen and Noah were joined by Keegan Huntington our new Junior Intern for milking, animal chores, and some fence work at East.   As hot as it was (98), Beth was still outside in the gardens weeding most of the day.  Chris did provisioning for fence supplies; Allan worked on boring administrative tasks too much of the day, finally breaking free to till the corn at East late in the afternoon.  Our second Muslim family in as many days arrived to buy a goat for Ramadan, and slaughtered it according to Halal practices here at the farm.   Evidently the word is out.

On the negative side, our grand-dog Toby found something dead and decayed that to his nose was better than Brut’ and anointed himself thoroughly.  David has washed him a number of times, but Toby’s cologne  is persistent.

The freezer is still working fine.  And that’s today on Woodcrest Farm!


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