Thursday, July 9th, 2015

July 9th, 2015 Comments off

A lot was happening at Woodcrest Farm today!  Noah, Jaryn, and I were milking and ripped through it in pretty short order.  Jaryn (8) is actually a good help in the setup and gets to work on time better than some, ahem, more mature workers.  I got buried in the office for a couple of hours completing paperwork for Woodcrest East, doing email, and the like.  Syd, Noah,  and Stephen were working on chores and spiffing up the farm.  We also had a bunch of visitors, and around 2:30,  and I was waiting for the Wood-Maxx delivery by 3:00.  I was setting up the tractor to unload the delivery when Chris noticed that Bonnie had just had her calf!  So, right around 3:00 we had a new calf to take care of, a freight delivery, and a few other complications, like I had errands to run that needed to be done by 5:00.  But, we got everything all sorted out eventually, and we had a good evening.   I’ll get a picture of the new calf in tomorrow.  Bonnie’s calf’s  tentative name is Ocean.  I think it has the grand-daughter imprimatur but we’ll find out.

And that’s the day at Woodcrest Farm!  Whew.

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Monday, July 6th, 2015

July 6th, 2015 Comments off

Today on the farm was, for me, pretty much milking and then drowned in the office.  Others had more fun.  After chores, Syd, Stephen, and Noah worked on pasture maintenance (mostly bush-hogging) and snake wrangling.  That’s right folks.   Stephen arrested a black racer (like a common black snake except that it is thinner and faster) in the barn and was preparing to dispatch it, when Syd – evidently opposed to capital punishment even for snakes – intervened and ran madly down to the woods to release it.  At that point Chris – who has no love for chick and baby rabbit eating snakes – convinced Syd to bring the snake to justice, and it was summarily executed by machete and thrown to the hogs.  This place is better than Blue Bloods.

Meanwhile,  I had been in conference with the Duke Engineer about the new power line easements at East.   Apparently we are going to be applying for a building permit sooner than we thought.   Also, another time consuming task was submitting last year’s W2’s for the farm, which I had evidently prepared and sent out to our employees, but hadn’t actually submitted to SSA.  Busted.

Every day is exciting here at Woodcrest Farm.


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Sunday, July 5th, 2015

July 5th, 2015 Comments off

Welcome back if you have been FullSizeRenderlooking for posts for the past week+.  I have been attending to Grandpa duties in NY for much of that time, and swamped since our return. So, my grandpa report is shown =>=>, son Benjamin and grandson Sawyer.  Ben looks pretty happy, and he should be.  His son is beautiful, and Ben is going to be a wonderful dad.

Back on the farm, things went along pretty well with no real crises.  A huge storm felled several trees nearby, but nothing hit our fences.  There still is a lot of mud and debris to clean up, but nothing we can’t handle.  Chris predicted that as soon as we left, our Border Collie female, Amber, would whelp, and she did – we have 5 little B&W male puppies, and one little red female.   Bonnie and Sunshine are still holding out on calving, but Bonnie is very close – any day now.

As promised, we finally have a picture of Syd on the tractor – she is bush-hogging the maternity ward – too bad I couldn’t get Bonnie into the picture too.   This was yesterday, July 4th, and we weren’t really working much other than on essential chores, but I had just fixed the bush hog so she decided it was a good chance to confirm to everyone that she really can drive the tractor.  Beside the bush hog, I spent a little time hooking up the new water line at East, and we now have water to the new pasture we were working on.  Lots of tidy up work to do, but progress is being made.   Last evening, Stephen took Syd along for an evening flight, and rumor has it that she got to fly the plane for a little bit.  Hopefully, it wasn’t when they were buzzing the farm!  There also was a bonfire down at the pond for the under 30-set; Chris and I decided to go see Jurassic World – good fun, implausible to say the least, but nicely done.

Today we are mostly relaxing.  Milking and chores are getting done, but other than that, we are all resting up for the women’s FIFA match tonight, when there will be a FIFA-Championship party here.  Its a tough life here on Woodcrest Farm Today.

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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

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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

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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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