Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sale Barn

Here I sit at the Okmulgee sale barn. It's the Thursday night auction
and as I drove home from Tulsa I saw all the trucks and couldn't help
but stop. It is prolly a good thing that I only have a $5 bill or I
might be tempted to bid on something which I would then have to stuff
in the back of the metro for the 2.5 hour trip home. That stank could
take a long time to work out of the car.
Anyway, to Jessica - my apologies for stopping, I couldn't resist.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dreaming of Fencing

We hit a major milestone today - I have retaken the shop. The animals have retreated and I have a firm foothold.

Ever since they started dropping offspring, we have had a mother (or two) living in the shop. Most recently, it was the shetland ewes and the cat. As of today, they are all gone. We finally got the fencing around the upper pasture goat proof (or so we think) and got all the goats moved up there with Justin (the livestock guard dog who is now old enough to be on his own, with the goats - and away from the chickens.) The goats didn't even "test" the electric portions of the fence (there are 2 "hot" wires in front of a 5-wire non-electric horse fence) but poor Justin, who had never experienced electric fence got a couple of shocks-of-a-lifetime. What with the ground being wet from recent rains, that fence is cranking out a full 5,000 volts (I measured) and since 4,000 is enough to knock you on your keister, I can understand why (both times) when he got shocked he yelped for a full 30-seconds. Anyway, the good news is that with the fence at full power, the animals can test it, get a good lesson and then once it dries out and the fence isn't as potent, they won't be anxious to test it anymore.

With the goats in the upper pasture, I turned the ewes with their kids out with the ram in the middle pasture. I consider the lower pasture an electric fence "training pasture" since the perimeter fences are strong enough on their own, but there is one section of electric for them to "learn" about fences with. After a couple of weeks with that, they should be learned enough to move up to the upper pasture too.

On an unrelated note, I took the hydraulic cylinders for the front end loader on the tractor in to "Push'n'Pull" (cool name for a hydraulic shop eh?) to have them rebuilt. My jaw about hit the floor at the price - $160 each! Dad and I had tried to find new surplus units that would work, but couldn't really get any the right size, but dad-gum, at that price, I think next time I might look harder. The good news is that with any luck, the front end loader could be fully operational by this weekend (fingers crossed.)

One last thing. A while back, I bought a small yard trailer for behind lawn tractors at a flea market for $20. It has a 4' x 4' dump bed and while old, is kinda cool. The tires were flat, but I hooked it up and hauled the kids around a bit as we did chores. They loved it and I figure it has to be more gas efficient than firing up the truck right? Maybe.....

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Slaughter

Well, a 30.06 definitely did the job. In fact, it dropped him like a sack of potatoes. I never did take the time to look to see where it hit (it was so close range that the sighting in was undoubtedly off on the rifle) but he sure didn't complain. That was good - I was a bit nervous about traumatizing the other animals if it wasn't a clean kill.
Anyway, killing him was the easy part as it turned out. We hung him off some 4X4 posts on the back of my truck to skin and dress and that took forever. By the time we moved the carcass to the shop to a board for butchering, my back was killing me from bending over all day. Anyway, it is done, the meat is cooling in icy salt water and tomorrow morning after some welding on my free smoker/BBQ, we should be in business for the party.
The only question I have is...how much could we have bought this meat for? It seems like an awful lot of trouble....

Friday, May 23, 2008

D-Day

This evening, our meat goat has an appt. with a 30.06 rifle. We are having a party for my Dallas maintenance team out at the farm and the goat is the main item on the menu. It is going to be an interesting couple of days as we slaughter, process, and then BBQ that goat. We're planning to cook him whole if we can, but I am kind of unsure of exactly how that is going to take place.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What's been going on since the 10th?

Well, here's a synopsis:

  • The ebay auctions ended and the Shetland fleece sold for $6.50 and the two Angora fleeces brought in nearly $50 together.
  • I put the Shetland sheep up for sale on craigslist so we can focus on angoras
  • I worked through a sinus infection
  • I spent 2 days working from my parents house to supervise/translate for my friend Luis as he finished the drywall mudding in a new kids-room in their house
  • I spent a couple days in Tulsa on business
  • I spent a couple days in Phoenix on business (my old HS buddy T. Romney and I reminisced and schemed until 2:00am - I left his house at 4:00am for the airport)
  • I am currently going through a mild-case of traumatic stress syndrome on account of my job which has ballooned from a high-stress-but-manageable level to a high-stress-and-I-am-pulling-my-hair-out-and-crying-myself-to-sleep level

Sorry to leave you (the loyal reader) in the dark, but things have been a bit hectic here lately.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Lunker

Yesterday I realized that since the 10th falls on Saturday, my acounts payable for work was due on Friday. It was way too late to make that, so I worked a deal with corporate to get it in today for their check run on Sunday. What a great way to start a weekend :(
We had already planned to go camping with dad, and though I considered bagging that, we went through with it. The kids were up late around the campfire (yummy smores, but the fire was really too much for an 80 degree night) and then we slept in dad's old trailer and were awaken by the kids way too early. After monkeying around in the woods, shooting some stuff, and eating breakfast, we headed out around 10. By the time we got home, I was way tired and had to take a nap, so I reallly didn't even start working till like 3 or 4. Here's the good news, I got a large portion of the AP done, but couldn't get the web-based program to work that would have allowed me to put in the other 6-8 hours of work to finish it. That's right, due to a computer problem, I got my Saturday back and proceeded to while it away fishing with keith Taylor in our lake.
The fish were biting! We were bringing in fish after fish and every time my count would catch up to his, he would land another one to best me. Then, Keith hooked into a real lunker of a bass. We caught several good sights of him and he was BIG. Unfortunately, he went into some real thick weeds and Keith ended up pulling the hook out of his mouth befoire he could get him out of the weeds. So now I have a mission - I have to catch that bad boy!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Texas Twisters

My pops called me today to warn us of a potential tornado coming through our neighborhood. We were just saddling up for a trip into town and it really was something driving into this thing. There was just a line in the sky where one side was clear blue and the other was ominous and black. We stopped basically right under the line and shot this 360 degree video. Check it:

video

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Will This Farm be Profitable?

Here's looking at you kid:

http://motors.search.ebay.com/_W0QQgotopageZ1QQsassZbuildyour4x4QQsosortorderZ1QQsosortpropertyZ1

Ebay has changed their format a bit lately, so it was a real pain, but I think I have the hang of it now. I already sold one angora fleece on Craigslist for $15 (that lady was STOKED.) We sold it so cheap because 1) I have no real idea how much it was really worth. 2) Wanted some feedback from a spinner on the quality (she was stoked) 3) Wanted some cash rather than a fleece
We also gave one shetland fleece to the lady that gave us the angora buck. It only seemed fair - a $900 buck for a $15 fleece?
Left in the field is the fleece on our ram - I guess I have just been dreading the chore of fleecing him - he is such a butt-head (lol - you get it - a ram that is a butt head? ha ha) It's late, I am going to bed.

Top Semen Donor Candidates

Since it looks like perhaps these cattle are a little older than I originally thought they were, It is definitely time to start looking here. So, without further ado, here are today's top candidates - two brindle-ish bulls and one black one (I've always admired brindle colored animals):

Bouncer:

http://www.universalsemensales.com/Bouncer.htm

Bouncer's calves average just 53.8 lbs. He produces steers with tremendous horn spread and base, many of whom have been major show winners. He passes on his brindle coloration in which the brown, black red, dun and white combine for a beautiful effect which often combines with roan faces. He passes on this extraordinary color, increased growth and moderate size with trophy quality horns.
________________________________________________________

The Shadow:
http://www.universalsemensales.com/TheShadow.htm

The Shadow's tremedous horn spread and shape make him anexcellent choice to put over white or lighter colored cows.He looks to add size and horn.

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Wanted Man

http://www.bovine-elite.com/texasepd.asp?ID=76

WANTED MAN's tremendous horn, color and gentle nature captured our hearts and earned him a role as our herd sire. You will find great names like Zigfield, Zhivago, Phenomenon and many others in this bulls impressive pedigree. After loosing approximately 3 inches of tip, this bull still measures 68.25" tip to tip and sports over 77" of total horn. Ranked second in total horn at the 2004 TLBAA Horn Showcase. Wanted Man has certainly proven that he can put the color and horn you are looking for in your pasture.


Monday, May 5, 2008

AI

We got Ol' Bessie on 11/24/07 at an age of around 3-6 months (major guesstimate here.) That means that she is approx 8-11 months old. The two longhorn heifers that we have are actually probably about 2-3 months older than Ol' Bessie. Cattle can usually be bred for the first time at around 14 months to have their first calves at 2 years of age.

What does all this mean?

It means that it is time to start shopping for sperm! I have a contact who does Artificial Insemination (AI) and who I have spoken with regarding this subject. We need to get them "synchronized" on their cycles, and then get them bred. I'm hoping to buy some championship semen online so we have some real nice babies.

Friday, May 2, 2008

4,000 Volts is Pretty Good

I've been messing with electric fence alot lately. In fact, last Saturday, I prolly got shocked like 100 times. Sterling and Ginger each learned about electric fence too (not too many tears, but they were there for sure.) I am using the old charger and portions of the fence that the previous owners left here. It seems to work OK, and seeing as it powers a fairly large area, I figured it was not too bad. The problem is that whenever it gets shorted out, I get to thinking that it is just because it is such an old charger. In fact, the other day, I couldn't get it to work at all. I decided to go down to the farm store and buy a new one. $210 later and I had a good one that would be a solid investment for years to come. Of course, then I got home and the old one was working again :( ????
So we kept the old charger and the new one has been sitting in the box until today. Today, the fence was not working (again) so I monkeyed around until I was fed up and opened the new charger and plugged it in. Well, it must be putting out more voltage because I could hear the short - that's right, hear it. The voltage was high enough that I could hear the arc as the electricity jumped through the wires I had draped over a fence onto the elec. wire (creating a short.) I fixed that and then the craziest thing happened. I could hear another short....this time, coming from the ground near the shop! The sound was coming from about 3' away from where the charger line goes under ground to get out to the livestock area. I got out a shovel and quickly found that the problem was that they had used a wirenut with no weather protection to make a connection and then buried it. Apparently, the old charger didn't have enough juice to jump that gap enough to make enough noise for it to be heard, but the new one did. Long story short, I got that fixed too.
Later, I was watering the garden when I got a real wakeup call. I accidentally backed up into a fence while I was pulling on a garden hose and that fence has an electric wire around the top to keep the horses from leaning on it. The contact occurred right on my right shoulderblade and it literally dropped me to my knees and made me involuntarily scream. Holy monkey snot! I mean that thing dropped me like a sack of potatoes! Recall that I had been shocked prolly a hunert times the week before? Those were NOTHING like this. My legs were tingly for about an hour, my head hurts, and I can still (hours later) feel the spot where my shoulder touched. [I just went and looked in the mirror - there is a welt there.]
The meter shows 4,000 volts, but the old one was registering 3,000 to 3,500, so I am not sure why the difference was so drastic. It was a good thing I was wearing shoes and standing on dry ground because it was hard to breath for a second and if I had been on wet ground or something, that stupid thing might have killed me. I guess I am going to take that thing back to the store because if the kids get hit with it like that (and they would,) that would not be good. I guess now that I have all the shorts discovered, my old one might even be shocking harder too.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Taurine - It Gives You Wings

Let me paint you a picture:

7:00am Arise and eat breakfast of champions
7:20am Drive truck to lower pasture, cut ~25 gallons of compressed grass with pocket knife, drive to upper pasture and deliver to goats
8:00am Start work day at home computer
12:30pm Drive to Durant, OK to meet with prospective (and now current) employee.
2:20pm No Starbucks is found, so end up in Arby's restaurant (now listen carefully here) where a large drink is purchased. Soda fountain contains Sobe energy drink with Taurine, guarana and who knows what else. Drink several large cups of Sobe while interviewing/discussing job
4:00pm Sit in car in Arby's parking lot listening to and responding to voicemails that arrived during interview
5:30pm Start driving home
5:45pm Stop at rest stop (hello again Sobe)
6:30pm Arrive at home and eat dinner
7:45pm Put kids in bed and start working
8:45pm Still working
9:45pm Still working
10:45pm Still working
11:45pm Still working
12:45am Still working
1:45am Still working
2:40am Post blog entry you are now reading
2:41am Still not really tired, but figure going to bed is a good idea since I have to work tomorrow and have 2 big contracts starting

Apparently the folks at Sobe have something here. I can work forever. Do I really want to wake up tomorrow though? I have a feeling this is not going to be pleasant.