Thursday, November 29, 2007

Flying Cow Puckey

Neil gave Sterling an old black felt Resistol cowboy hat, which he
wears w/ pride.

Last night, Winter pegged me in the face w/ a big ol' petrified horse turd.

Ginger loves to go out w/ the big kids to feed the calf each night.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Close to Home

Yep, carpet was installed today. It was the catalyst that allowed us
to start to actually live in our home. Heretofore, we've been doing
something that more closely resembles camping out. Tonight, we're all
in our assigned rooms (with N. Rugg as a guest in the spare room) and
some of us are even sleeping in beds!
In other news, we got some feed for the calf and got her eating to the
point where she actually started to look like she had hit the point
where she was satisfied. Hopefully, we got her the grubbin' in time
so we won't have stunted her growth or anything.

A Little Bit of Cute

We now interrupt our normal programming for a brief cute:

SBF Seeking Muscular SBM

Single dark-skinned, blond, 185 lbs, 3' 11", seeking male for companionship, sharing meals and frolicking in the field.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Love is in the air

I had been starting to wonder if my ram was gay or something. He
really hadn't shown much interest in the ewes...until yesterday....
Let's just say this - it looks like we'll be having spring lambs.
Yep, I think it is 140 or 150 days from today, and we should seeing
fleece-balls bounding around the field.
On another note, the calf seemed to not be showing much interest in
the hay, so we brought out some feed that the previous owners had left
(not sure if it is horse food or what) and the calf tore into it like
she was starved. Seeing as how she looks like she is starved too, we
figure we need to buy some feed for her tomorrow. We don't know how
old she is, but maybe she isn't ready for a 100 percent pasture diet
just yet. Hopefully she makes it through...weaning is a tough time in
a calf's life. Heck, she was even nosing around our legs looking for
udders till we pushed her off (which she accepteed as very cow-like
behavior and immediately ceased the aggressive nosing.)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Holy Cow II

It's on! Winter & I picked up a "Brown Swiss" heifer calf today. She
came from the herd of some guy who died, so it looks like she may be
half Angus, but there is no telling for sure. She resembles the cow
we photoed in Switzerland (long bangs and round ears) but the coloring
is more brown and black. She is destined to be our milk cow if all
goes well. Pics to come soon...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Fun Pics

We still don't have internet at the farm (except via my mobile phone) and we still live in a single room of the house, so it has been tough to get images posted to the blog, but here a few of my favorite from the last week or two:

Click for full-size images

Sorry they are so dark, but when I tried to lighten them in Photoshop, it kinda ruined the effect....

Grandma Mows

I guess I was kinda hoping mom would not find out about this, but apparently Grandma told just about everyone, so the cat is out of the bag. While Aunt Sue was visiting the farm a week or so ago, we invited her to drive the tractor. She declined, but Grandma immediately chimed in that she would like to try it. Surprise Surprise!

She was totally awesome and we took it out and actually did some mowing on the back pasture. She said it was the first time she had been on a tractor and she was excited to finally be back behind the wheel (of any motorized vehicle) since she doesn't drive any more. It was good times. Oh yeah, and Catherine B. was there with her kids and thought it would be a good idea for Max to ride on the mower, so there he is. We finally got her convinced it was a bad idea shortly after this pic was taken and luckily he never fell off or anything. The pic to the left is Grandma headed out to pasture.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Green Snitch

No, it's not a new tree-huggin' Harry Potter book - it's me. I have mixed emotions about what I did today. I responded to a CL ad to pickup some free 55 gallon drums and when I got there they were all partially full w/ various industrial chemicals - up to 4-5 gallons in one. None were labeled. I figured the only possible outcome to this situation is someone dumps these unknown chemicals into the storm drains.
So, I got on the EPA website & reported them. On one hand, I feel bad for crucifying the one who offered the free stuff, but on the other, it's a dirty trick to foist toxic
waste on people looking for an empty drum or two.

Everyone's Favorite Rugg

As of around 6:30am this morning, Neil and I have entered a business enterprise together. I funded the purchase of a 1994 Pontiac Grand Prix with just shy of 190,000 miles on it for $500. I actually told him if he could get it for less than the $500, then he could keep the difference. Anyway, it is in pretty good shape with a good interior and a decent exterior. It drives pretty good and has a blown headgasket. The plan is to have Neil fix the headgasket (he has been dabbling in auto mechanics for years) and then use his mega-supa-amazing sales skillz to sell it for an otherworldly profit (which we would then split.) Hopefully Neil can get the headgasket done in less than 3 months (how long it took me to change the one on my Toyota) and hopefully, he can make the headgasket actually seal (something my 3 months of labor failed to do to the Toyota.)
If we manage to successfully navigate the wide world of financial investment in used cars without someone getting screwed or losing all the money to the whims of the moment, the plan is to reinvest the profits into the next big project and continue on towards the quest to worldwide domination of the used car market.

Wish us luck.

Monday, November 19, 2007

More Than Manure

Country living sure has its upsides, but there are negatives too. Aside from the longer drives for just about anything, and contrary to what might seem logical, rural US cities have a significant problem with drugs and other societal ills. It's kind of hard to imagine, but I guess it makes sense that the country is an ideal place to get away from prying neighbors (who might report you) and it is cheap to live, so it kind of attracts some evildoers. You don't really see it, but the folks who live here know it is going on and casually mention the problems in conversations.
Yesterday our new bishop mentioned how he knows all this is out there, but it never affects him. We also have some members of our ward who are obvious reformed lawbreakers, so that is a small reminder too. Yesterday on the way home from church, we drove up a gravel road near our home and unfortunately, there were some homes back in there that seemed like they were the types of place where that sort of thing might take place. You don't want to paint with too broad a brush, but I believe there is some validity in the stereotype attached to the mobile home in the front yard of the old mobile home which is in the front yard of the older mobile home which is in front of the old-older mobile home and surrounded by a wagon-circle of trash and inoperable vehicles and assorted trash.
I guess it is just a lesson to be learned for when we get the compound going - either buy a large-enough tract that you can completely isolate yourself, or pony up to get into a nicer neighborhood where the neighbors isolate you from it. It's also making me rethink the issue of whether we need a gigantic big mean dog to keep around our place. I am not a big fan of steaming dooky piles left akimbo throughout the yard, but they might make me feel more comfortable leaving the family out there alone. Plus, my brother Mark seems to think that stinky dog poo is a product of the cheap processed dog food folks buy these days. Maybe a dog which were to eat purely chicken/fish and assorted table scraps would produce a more olfactory neutral offal?

PS - you might want to reread this entire post pronouncing "dog" with an sharp and hard Scottish "o" so it sounds more like "doeg" - it will make the reading more enjoyable and will serve to preserve the true essence of my intentions.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Minus One Cat - Plus One Truck

Well, since one of the kittens is (apparently) coyote poop right about now, and since I got my "new" truck I figured I'd update the numbers:

Total cats = 2
Total sheep = 4
Total cattle = 0
Total horses = 0
Total goats = 0
Total foul = 0 (well actually, every morning there is a huge flock of ducks and cormorants on the lake, but they don't really count till I shoot one of them I figure.)
Beehives = 2
Wasp stings = 2
Trucks = 1

My New Favorite Country Song

"I Got It Honest" by Aaron Tippin

" It ain't nothin' but a small frame house on an acre lot
It ain't that much diff'rent from any other house on the block
And it may not look like we got all our share of the promise
But at least one thing's for sure, I got it honest

Roll out of the sack every mornin', head on down to the mill
Give 'em all I got for eight, 'cause that's the deal
If you'll check out my paycheck
Well, you'll see that there ain't that much on it
But ev'ry single penny I'm paid, I got it honest

I never had to hang my head in shame
For puttin' a price tag on my name
Never turned my back on what I believe
Or let my heart be ruled by greed
'Cause buddy if I didn't earn it, I don't want it
That way I can always say, I got it honest

Now you ain't looking at some dude
That was born with a Silver spoon in his mouth

And I might seem like some kind of low-life
To that high-falutin' crowd
But I'm plain spoken, straight talkin'
And damn proud of what I have acomplished
Some folks appreciate that and some don't
But, I got it honest

Now when I die, I may not leave my kids a fortune
But I hope they know'd my life stood for things that were important
And I'll hand out the same sturdy old values of my daddy and my momma
It made me every ounce of what I am and I got it honest

I never had to hang my head in shame
For puttin' a price tag on my name
Never turned my back on what I believe
Or let my heart be ruled by greed
'Cause brother if I didn't earn it, I don't want it
That way I can always say, I got it honest
Friend there ain't no doubt about it, I got it honest"

It really rings true with me since as a maintenance contractor, I am right down there with used car salesman as far as being in an industry full of liars and cheats.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Battering Rams

It was late last night and I was typing on my cellphone to make that post, but I thought I'd speak a bit more on the battering ram action we had at the farm last night. It really was amazing. The power, the speed, the precision....I wish you could have seen it. At first, it was comical, they just kept doing it over and over and over...then it got to be a bit worrisome....they just wouldn't quit and were starting to ruin the fence. I tried to stop them, but they could have cared less about me. As soon as I released them, they would get right back to it.
The precision was amazing. They really had to time it just right so that the collision was coordinated so that they each approached the fence at the exact same moment so they could really hit each other. They were (for the most part) always right on with it even in the low light. Of course, on the few occasions when one or the other arrived early/late, the fence took up the brunt of the collision.
Anyway, it looks like the one with the gash on his head made it through the night. Hopefully, I'll get some decent pics of em today so y'all can see the damage.

The Sheep That Got My Goat

I drove way over to the far side of Ft Worth tonight and bought an
ex-drilling rig Dodge diesel pickup (not 4wd, not manual
and then proceeded directly to the tractor supply store to buy the
fixins for a sheep pen for the bed. I built the pen in their parking
lot and then picked up the sheep I bought last week which happened to
be within a few miles of where the truck was at.
I got the sheep home and introduced the best ram to the two ewes. He
made no fuss about sniffing them over and then immediately proceeding
to bash the living snot out of his former buddy (the other ram) so now
the other ram has a 1.5" gash down to the bone on his forehead. They
were ramming each other through the fence (which just barely eeked
through still standing) and on one of their hits, the morons aligned
right on a "T-post" (steel fence post w/ a cross-section like a "T")
and you can imagine that the one on the pointy end of the "T" got the
short end of the stick, while the one hitting the flat of the "T" was
relatively unscathed. 1 of owning land maggots....

Monday, November 12, 2007

Moved in

We're finally room.

We are officially living there, but it is kinda like camping since we
can't really 'move in' until we get the paint done. Catherine & Matt
came out and helped a ton w/ the painting over the weekend, so that
was great. Aunt Sue also is out visiting G-ma, so she came out for a
short visit too.
We also went to church in our new ward for the first time. It was
very friendly and Jessica was excited to find a couple with kids that
match our kids ages just down the street. Good times.
Total cats = 3
Beehives = 2
Wasp stings = 2
Trucks = 0

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Hauling Bees

So dad cut out a huge hive tonight and I agreed to drive out to the farm with him to deposit them near his other hive. Yikes! They were crawling/flying all over the Jeep and my skin was crawling while my nerves were balking the whole way out there. Luckily it went without incident, but I was not very comfortable. Dad drove out to place the hive while I got to work on some drywall. He scared up a skunk and then came in and installed some LED permanent nightlight receptacle replacement thingies in the hallway for the kids. As we were leaving, we drove his Jeep around the lake (or is it a tank, or a pond, or a reservoir? I dunno...) for the first time checking the fence and gate situation. Good times :)

Read about my new truck

You must read this all the way through:

Craigslist ad

Don't forget to read the whole ad! It really describes the full beauty of this truck.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Did you know that you can click on images in Blogger and see the fullsize versions? I just found that out today.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Better Pics

There have been a few requests for better pics, so here are a few from Saturday:

I'm not really sure what to take pics of...pasture is, if you have any special requests, just let them be known...

Wool for Kelly

Jessica's been running all over town picking up stray kittens for the farm so I figured I'd jump on the band wagon. I just bought a set of 2 unrelated rams and 2 unrelated ewes of the Shetland variety. I'm pretty excited about having the start of a small herd of woolies. For those who don't know much about the Shetland sheep, Wikipedia has this to say about them:

"The Shetland is one of the smallest British breeds. The ewes are usually hornless (polled) but the rams usually, but not always, have horns. The breed is noted for its fine, soft wool and the quality of its meat. They are small bodied animals with no wool on the face and nose, bright eyes and small erect ears. The legs are of medium length and finely boned. A distinguishing feature is the fluke-shaped tail, broad at the base and tapering to the point."

This is another quote from a breeder's site:

"Shetlands are one of the smallest of the British sheep. Rams usually weigh 90 to 125 pounds and ewes about 75 to 100 pounds. Rams usually have beautiful spiral horns, whereas the ewes are typically polled. They are fine-boned and agile and their naturally short, fluke-shaped tails do not require docking.
They are a calm, docile and easy-to-manage breed. Most respond well to attention and some even wag their tails when petted!
Although Shetlands are small and relatively slow growing, they maintain natural hardiness, thriftiness, easy lambing, adaptability and longevity. Shetlands survived for centuries under harsh conditions and on a meager diet, although they do very well under less rigorous conditions. Having retained many of their primitive survival instincts, they are easier to care for than many of today's commercial breeds."

Here's some actual pics of the new additions:

Kelly, you better get your knitters warmed up cause there is gonna be some fleece baby!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Used Car Salesman

I found a place in Bonham that has several Dodge Diesel trucks in my price range so we went out there tonight. I guess I had forgotten how much I hate used car dealers. This one was a bit different, but there were still things that show through that are classic used car salesman tactics:

1. The answer to any question is whatever they think you want to hear
2. They have no respect for your time and will try to keep you sitting around as long as possible
3. They always have to bring out their manager to "meet" you before you can leave

Anyway, when we were ready to leave Ginger was having a meltdown so I think they cracked out of their cockroach shells and realized I needed to leave and got their spiel over quickly, but I still have the taste of crusty underwear in my mouth from the whole experience.
They do have a 2000 4x4 3/4 diesel that I really liked, and if they will knock a grand or so off the price I will prolly buy it. Anyway, stay tuned.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Ruth's Brant

I had the pleasure of meeting him for the first time this morning. He
seems like a good guy with a great sense of humor. Nice work Ruth!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Fish On!

I'm in the hot tub right now, so this will be short. Sterling, Ginger & I spent Fri. night @ the farm. We got a lot done, but most importantly, Sterling caught 4 fish! He was on fire! He caught a big crappy, a small bass, an 18" catfish and a small 10" perch. I couldn't hardly get them to bite. Yes, there was time for a tractor ride. Dad hooked up the brush hog and cut down the weeds around his beehives.

We're exhausted, but it has been a fun day. Visitors included:
Grandma (mom) & G-pa (dad)
Great Grandma
Aunt Ruth
Marty & Keith Taylor

PS - thanks to ma/Ruth for bringing dinner.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Holy Cow

This is a cow we photoed in Switzer-land. Where can I get me one of these?