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Archive for August, 2015

Monday, Aug. 31, 2015

August 31st, 2015 Comments off

On this last day of August, we started milking at 8:00 as usual, with Darci in the kitchen and me (Allan) with our 5 lady cows.  Heidi will be on maternity leave starting today.  She is officially due in 2 weeks, but may already be producing colostrum, which may mean that she is farther along than we thought.  So, she is out of the line-up.  Fortunately, Tyra, Sunshine, and Starshine are holding the fort, and Fiona will be back to work soon.

We held a planning meeting this morning – there is sure a lot to do!  It rained last night, and was still spritzing today.  In general, Darci spent her day doing chores around home, and the rest of us worked up at East picking up rocks and harrowing the west pasture in preparation for seeding tomorrow.  We have about 1/2 done, and will probably try to get that much seeded while the ground is still a little wet.

That’s mainly the story for Woodcrest Farm today.

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Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015

August 27th, 2015 Comments off

Darci and I zipped through morning milking this AM helped by JoEtta (Brett’s Mom) and Jaryn until school intervened.  Uneventful, which we are always happy about, except that Jaryn forgot that cows are large and oblivious to what they might be stepping on, and Starshine tromped on  her foot.  Unfortunately she wasn’t wearing her steel-toed sandals, but thankfully she wasn’t injured – just a little bruised in foot and spirit, mostly that Starshine could be so inconsiderate when she (Jaryn) had been very faithful to keeping tasty grain in her feed dish.

The rest of the day was a mixture of chores and projects for everyone.  Chris and the livestock team closed in on our reseeding plan, to wit: we are going to pick up rocks in the west pasture, then move the cows back to the east pasture, harrow and seed the west pasture it with our millet, then confine the cows to the sacrifice area and do the same thing to the east pasture.  I think.  This afternoon Chris, Darci, and I started the pick-up and got quite a bit done.  We had both tractors on the job, the JD for for sticks and Big Orange for rocks.  Chris got her tractor badge renewed.

There is probably a lot more to record, but its time for bed, so that’s today at Woodcrest Farm.

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Tuesday, Aug. 25th, 2015

August 25th, 2015 Comments off

Progress was made today on several fronts.   Milking was uneventful and pretty quick due to Jaryn’s great help before she had to start school.  Darci and I were out of there by 9:30.  We (at least, I) ate a leisurely breakfast and headed for the office, only to find that our broadband connection was down.  Good old AT&T – when I called in the problem, the only information I could get was that it was going to be fixed within 24 hours, helping neither David or Brett, both of whom had work-at-home to do.  David bailed out and went to his office; Brett decided to do something else, namely get his Metro in somebody’s queue to be fixed.  Casey couldn’t work on the website so she helped Stephen in the barn and at East; I worked on offline stuff in the office for awhile and then tackled the seeder again.  With one thing and another we all kept pretty busy.  The Metro is at Sturdivant’s for diagnosis and – hopefully – repair; the seeder is working, although it still needs some “tweaking”; the pond area got mowed and cleaned up; the fence at East got tightened and debrided; Chris sold a puppy; Beth smoked a chicken and some bacon; and when the our broadband connection was restored everybody cheered.  That’s pretty much it for  Woodcrest Farm today.

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Monday, Aug. 24th, 2015

August 24th, 2015 Comments off

Today was Brett’s 1st official day at his new job and he was long gone by the time I joined Darci in the milking parlor.  Fiona is on maternity leave waiting for her calf, so it was Heidi, Tyra, Sunshine, and Starshine.  They are all in high gear at the moment so we have plenty of milk.  Due to Dot’s retirement, we only have 4 goats to milk, which is a relief.  Casey got back while we were still milking.  Welcome back, Casey! Beth is starting her fall CSA, and was working on veggies in the hoop house.  I did admin work in the AM, and then brought the seeder home from East and worked on restoring it to use.  It will be a miracle if we ever plant anything with it, but I’m trying.  We finally got some rain today, so Darci and Casey were working on various stages of marketing.  Other than that, I don’t have much else to report.  We definitely need pictures in this blog, so that will be a priority for tomorrow.  That’s the day’s highlights here at Woodcrest Farm.

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Saturday, Aug. 22d, 2015

August 22nd, 2015 Comments off

Just a brief weekend entry for today – Darci and Brett took the morning milking shift and the only news to report is that Fiona went into the maternity ward for observation.  I refilled the John Deere with oil and it seems to work fine; fixed the barn sink; remounted the seeder tire, and finished the bush-hogging up at East.  We had visitors all day and actually had time to spend talking and showing people around.  But, in general, a quiet day here at Woodcrest.

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Friday, Aug. 20th, 2015

August 21st, 2015 Comments off

We were all up early this morning to load goats for the auction at Siler City.  Last night Darci had penned up the candidates and I had the trailer ready to go, so this morning around 8:00 AM we loaded 7 of them into the little trailer and Jaryn and I set off for the auction.

We arrived around 8:45 and got our 7 unloaded, tagged, and ready to sell, then went for breakfast at the Stockyard restaurant.  After that we wandered around the stockyard walkways for an hour  seeing all the livestock for sale, and around 10 went into the auction auditorium to wait for it to start.  My plan, BTW, had been to drop the goats off and come home, but Jaryn wanted to see the actual auction, and I’m glad we did.  The sale got underway around 11 with a group of about 30 goats – none of them ours –  which took about 45 minutes to auction.  The prices were very good, and I’m hoping ours did as well.  Our goats came in with the second group around noon, and we were able to stay long enough to see two sold at good prices.  Jaryn had an afternoon activity that we had to get back for.

The most interesting(!) thing that happened this afternoon was that the oil drain plug fell out of the John Deere while Stephen was bushhogging up at East and 12 quarts of oil drained out.  He didn’t know it until the oil light came on and the tractor quit.  I went up with Big Orange to tow him home, and against all odds, found the plug in the long grass where the first spill had occurred.  I bought oil for it, and will refill it tomorrow, and am just praying that it quit because it knew it should, not because it seized up.

Beth is still pickling things.  Brett wired some outlets in the barn in their “living room”.  Stephen was bushhogging.  I was fixing things.  Keegan was – well, I don’t know.  Chris was making calls and lining up a gym membership.  But we were all busy.  I’m tired.  It has been a long day here at Woodcrest Farm.

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Wednesday, Aug. 19th, 2015

August 19th, 2015 Comments off

Morning broke today with milking as usual, with Jaryn and myself in the parlor and Darci doing the bottling.  The cows are settling down a little, particularly since we are keeping Old Ranger down in the south pasture while the ladies come up to be milked.  He is not very happy with that, but tough.  New mothers deserve at least 6 weeks off.   Sunshine emerged from quarantine, passing her mastitis test with flying colors, or more accurately, no significant color from the CMT  (California mastitis test).  That’s a relief – she has had a life-long problem with that particular quarter and it always is a worry.  Tyra is still producing some colostrum which her baby is getting 2d hand via Darci, but she should be back online in the next few days.  Bottom line:  we will have A LOT of surplus milk.  There is going to be a lot of cheese and yogurt getting made.

The rest of the day had its share of problems, but no disasters that we know of.  The Deaton’s new Geo Metro got cranky and quit on the way to town, and I don’t know if Brett has trouble-shot(?) the problem.  Yet to come.  We got a feed order.  We had a calf escape up at Woodcrest East, so I energized the bottom wire – we’ll try that for a few days.   A tip for non-farmers:  typically,  the bottom wire doesn’t need to be energized because at 10 inches off the ground, nothing important is going to go under it, and it is most susceptible to shorts from weeds.  But this little calf had evidently discovered it wasn’t hot, and was popping himself right under.   At least I’ve given him something to think about.

Beth is pickling everything in sight.  We are going to have Okra, tomatoes, and cucumber pickles of various varieties.  I love pickles.

Great dinner tonight – some sort of ground-beef stroganoff, courtesy of Darci and Brett.  And that’s today at Woodcrest Farm.

 

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Tuesday, Aug. 18th, 2015

August 18th, 2015 Comments off

It was a lo-o-o-n-g day today at Woodcrest.   We started milking, as usual, around 8:00 AM, with Heidi, Fiona, and Starshine in and out in short order.  Next up: Sunshine, complicated by the fact that she is still in our “maternity ward” due to her mastitis treatment and also our bull’s amorous and relentless attentions due to her recent delivery.  Darci brought her ove r (accompanied closely by a randy Ranger) but there were no real problems.  Sunshine in and out, with the only complication being using a dedicated pail and the quarter-milker.  Exit Sunshine.   Then Darci invited Tyra to keep her appointment with the Milkman.  Tyra decided instead to join her colleagues in the lower pasture.  Rounding up Tyra took young, agile, and speedy Brett and Keegan and old and slow yours truly to get her back up top to Darci and a bucket of food.  Even then, she was distracted by her calf in the barn stall and took a lot of convincing to come into the parlor.  Once milked, I let her out expecting to lead her back to the maternity ward with a lead rope and she took me on a Nantucket sleigh ride up and down the pasture.  Well, to make a long story short, we finally got her back where she belonged.

All was quiet until afternoon milking.  This time we were better prepared, but Tyra was not much happier – just had less options.  We were all glad of the delicious supper Chris cooked, and had a good evening.

I spent a lot of the afternoon trouble-shooting our milking machine pump.  It has been losing vacuum, but after a call to the mfg. I serviced it and it seemed to work better tonight.

Darci and Brett made progress with their transportation needs: they found a little Geo Metro that should be pretty economical for Brett’s trips back and forth to NCSU this fall.  It will be better than a motorcycle.

Other things got done, but mostly pretty much the standard chore list.  That’s the day here on Woodcrest Farm!

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Monday, Aug. 17th, 2015

August 17th, 2015 Comments off

As usual, it was a busy AND eventful day at the farm.  First, some background info since my last post (much too long ago, I know).  Chris and I went to the Maryland shore from July 24 – Aug. 3d, so not much got noted in our absence.  We have had some personnel changes:  Darci and Brett Deaton arrived on August 2d, Darci to assume livestock intern duties, and Brett to keep Darci happy.  Brett is working this year at NCSU while Darci tends cows, goats, etc.  Casey King has come aboard to assume Marketing and Comm. intern duties, a position that we hope will become permanent.  When I mention them in future posts, they will not be strangers.

It was a busy weekend – we have beef again, not a lot, but it was selling well.  I had 3 for my blacksmithing class, and many other visitors.  Today we got started on milking, with Sunshine still recovering from post-partum mastitis.  We are reserving her milk, so we don’t have a lot of surplus.  At 11 Chris, Casey, and I met with the OC Ag Econ. Devl agent to discuss our WIP application for an Ag Econ.  Devl.  grant.   Darci and Brett spent all afternoon with the NC DMV (Ouch!), while I made calls, and so forth until about 3:3o when multiple balloons went up.  Beth called from East to tell me that cows out of hay, were outside the fence and the fence was off; Keegan came in with the news that the freezer alarm was going off; and time was getting short to get to the bank.  Keegan and took a quick look at the freezer, enough to realize that the problem was probably transient, and he headed back to East along with Stephen to round up cows.  By the time I arrived with the tractor, the escapees were back inside, so I fed them, fixed the charging problem, and came back home to get to the bank.  So, everything ended well, and in the midst of all this, Tyra had her calf, making the second one delivered this week.  We haven’t had time to get the calf into the barn yet, so it will be one of our challenges tomorrow.

Whew!  This is not an atypical day, just sort of a normal Woodcrest Farm today.

 

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