Friday, January 30, 2009

My Man Card....Revoked?

I was on a call with a customer today and she asked me who I was rooting for (in the Superbowl.)  Yikes, I had to admit that while I actually do know who is playing this year (thank you Jay Leno) I have not watched a single game this year.  So, in an attempt to retain my man card, I shall now describe my manly activities:
  • Last night I hotwired my tractor (can't find the key doggone it) and used the front end loader to flip my bushog (PTO-operated field mower) over so I could use my grinder to sharpen the blades.  You see, in traditional farming, the winter is the time to work on the implements to get them prepped for the summer season.)
  • Today I spent the day flipping between my binoculars and the scope on my 30.06 trying to coordinate with a coyote so that he would stop for a moment while he was on my property and I had my rifle up with him sighted in the scope.  At the end of the day, he had only stepped onto one small corner of our lot for a brief moment - I had no shot.  But I do have a call and I will get him one day.
  • Tomorrow I am going to buy an (almost antique) sickle-bar mower.  It is essentially a gigantic (7-foot wide) set of clippers like your barber uses.  It mounts on the tractor and cuts hay in a hedgetrimming-type of fashion.  Since it just cuts each blade once (rather than beating each piece into a million pieces like my rotary bushhog mower) that grass can then be gathered up and saved as hay.  I have been wanting to do this for some time now.  
Is that enough?  Should I go spit or something?

OK, one final thing, this video is just plain hilarious - I found it while surfing Youtube looking for video about coyote hunting.  This is the "best shot ever" taken:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ol' Betsy

Great news from a study in England, our milk cow Betsy is predestined for greatness.  Observe:

The researchers found that farmers who named their cows Betsy or Gertrude or Daisy improved their overall milk yield by almost 500 pints (284 liters) annually.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fixing the Nation's Financial Crisis

I'm not sure of what Obama plans to do, but this guy Joseph E. Stiglitz pretty much has me convinced. His article on how to fix the financial crisis can be summarized with this one single quote:

To be sure, shareholders and bondholders will lose out, but their gains under the current regime come at the expense of taxpayers. In the good years, they were rewarded for their risk taking. Ownership cannot be a one-sided bet.

In farming-related news, I made a bad judgement call today.  Let me set the scene:
  • I had a gun in my hand
  • I have been wanting to shoot some coyote
  • I saw two coyotes on the neighbors pasture (it is leased to a guy who runs cattle on it)
I guess you can surmise the rest.  Anyhoo...I figure one of these days I'll get my call and lure one of them out in the open on our land and lay into him.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Welding

This has been a week of welding.  My dad brought his utility trailer over and we tore off a ton of old wood to reveal a rickety under-built frame.  We have been reinforcing, rebuilding, and replacing metal on the thing all week.  Every night I work on it for hours and hours and dad has come out to help several times as well.  It has been fun and I have been getting some serious welding time in (which is good because I can use the practice.)  

Unfortunately, I am starting to wonder if we mightn't rather should have just taken the axle off the thing and started from scratch.  It has been a lot of work and much of it was shoring up around where the old one was weak.  Anyway, tonight we pretty much got it finished (from a welding persepctive) so now it is on to paint and installing flooring (wood) and lights.  I think Jessica will be glad when it is done because we have been spending a LOT of time in the shop this week.

Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that the goose bailed the very next day.  We should have fricasee'd him before he had a chance.  Next time, we'll know what to do.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Improving the Tone

OK, I repent for the negative tone of my last post.  Unfortunately, as I felt guilty about it and decided to make a concilliatory post to undo the negativity and as I thought about positive things that have happened since then, the first thing that popped into my mind is that "he hasn't gotten us into a war yet."  OK....that is not really positive.  I'm not doing so well here.  So, here is some positive stuff and while it wasn't the first thing that popped into my head, it did eventually pop in there:

  • "O" froze admin salaries in the white house over $100,000
  • "O" took the oath over again to ensure that there would be no problems - a preemptive strike that was well-reasoned and implemented without fanfare
  • "O" talks like he means well (I'm sure this is why he has received international support)
  • The whitehouse new website looks great
How do ya like me now?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The "White Man"

First of all, I did not get the national poet's poem.  In fact, the prayer was far more of a poem to my untrained eye than the poet's was.  And speaking of the closing prayer, can I ask why (without being accused of being a racist - as I was by my wife) it is that the red man gets "ahead man," the yella man can get "mella," etc., but the white man has to "get right?"  Is it too much to ask to not get slammed during the closing prayer to our nation's inauguration?  

Monday, January 19, 2009

Gaggles

I've been talking recently to some buddies about how I find it strange that the Canada geese that we frequently see flying over us never stop at our lake like the migratory ducks do.  I have also thought about getting some domesticated geese just for the effect (and for a Christmas goose and an occasional goosegg.)


This morning, we have a very unexpected visitor and I (being a modified redneck) am at a quandry.  Do I kill him or feed him?

video

For killing:
Guaranteed goose for dinner
Yum
No goose poo 
One less animal to feed
He is very loud
Might attack the kids

For feeding:
Maybe he/she will stick around and be our new pet
It's cool to have a goose hanging around

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Louisiana

I packed up my truck with all Josh's stuff last night (all his possessions that had been shipped by the Navy from Guam were stored in my shop.)  Jessica spent the night at my parents house (mega shopping trip) so I was all alone with nothing to do.  I took the opportunity to clear up a bunch of junk in the shop that has been obstucting floor space for the past year and I even off-loaded a big shelf that had been stored out there on him.  I parked the truck in the shop for the night (in case of rain) and that is going down in the history books as the first time I have ever had a spot clear enough in that shop to park my truck in it for the night.  After the hunters left this morning, I headed to Plano to renddezvous with Josh and start out to Louisiana.  He filled his truck with his regular possessions (clothes, computer, etc - stuff he has been using on a daily basis) as well as some donated new furniture, while my truck was full (really only half-full) with all his other stuff that had never been unpacked since Guam (kitchen stuff, extra shoes, stereo, weedwacker, etc.)  We (Sterling, Winter, Josh and myself) headed out around 1 or 2 pm and made it to Lafayette by around 9:00pm.  We spent an hour getting the trucks unpacked and then Josh took off to get a few groceries while I unpacked a few things and got some church-work done for tomorrow.  
Tomorrow, Sterling and Winter and I will head back home and leave Josh here on his own to get his new "regular" life going.  His apartment is very nice and very spacious.  He has a great start on his furnishings and I think he will really be able to feel like he has a
 good "home" to live in.

View from entry into kitchen area


The front living room (notice the big mess and also unkygiash half-buried by the air-mattress)  The kids immediately set out with serrated steak knives to build a "house" out of a cardboard box.

At one point Josh saw blood on Winter's finger and asked her if she cut herself.  She said, "no."  He asked her how she got blood on her finger and she said she didn't know.  We are calling in Sherlock Holmes to attempt to solve this mystery....(meanwhile we got her bandaged up and took away the knives.)


Roast Duck

I got a wild hare the other day and made a quick ad on Craigslist to the effect of:

Duck Hunting Lease - $50 per gun per day - no fee if you don't get to take a shot. Hunters must be licensed and stamped with steel shot please
Last night a couple of hunters came out at around 4:30pm and scared off all the ducks as they walked down to the hunting spot.  They hastily flung out a few decoys and waited around for about 2 hours without seeing any ducks come in.  The kids and I walked ar
ound to a few neighboring ponds to try to scare up some ducks, but they were nowhere to be found.  They left without paying (because that was the deal.)

This morning, I woke up around 7:00am to a full volley of what sounded like machine-gun fire (music to my ears.)  The guy who is here hunting this morning is a real professional - in fact, apparently a few years back (before he had to get a real job) he was a full-time duck guide.  Then he lost his 2,200 acre lease and now he is just looking to find a good spot again.  Anyway, they came out for keeps.  He brought a TON of decoys, one of which is motorized with flapping wings and they brought a really well-trained labrador retreiver (for....retreiving.)  


It has been fun to sit here this morning (from the comfort and warmth of our home) and watch these guys doing their thing.  I have to say it may almost be as fun as actually being out there doing it.  The fact that they just paid me $150 in cash makes it that much better.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

That didn't last long

One of my bro's Holstein calves died last night.  They had all been hit with a case of shipping fever (the stress of transporting them weakens them till they catch something) and were all starting to show pneumonia so on Saturday night we did an emergency call to a vet and picked up a ton of medications.  They seemed to work and knocked the cough and fever out fast, but things have been going down hill for both the holsteins since then.  I don't know if the other one will pull through or not.  The jerseys seem to be doing much better.  

It sure is hard seeing them pass on though - that much I can tell you.  It ain't fun.  We did a lot for them, but it wasn't enough.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A new Year as Cattlemen

We had a very nice New Years celebration starting off with a good-sized bonfire attended by Nancy and kids, my parents, and the Morphis family.  After it petered out, the parents took Nancy's kids home to bed, we put all the other kids to bed here and then we (the remaining adults) had a quiet dinner of "gourmeten" (where we each cook our own food over a little raclette grill.)  The grub was top notch and just when we thought our tummies had had enough, we broke out a fondue pot and totally stuffed ourselves on fresh fruit and chocolate.  The eating took most of the night and we couldn't even finish a single game of Het Kolonisten van Catan before we had to break for sparkling cider, toasts, kisses and fireworks.  Good times.  Of course, we weren't smart enough to end it there and proceeded to stay up chatting till around 3:00 in the morning, which really puts a damper on getting an early start the next day.


(Picture from the seller)

Unkigiash has some extra spending money, and somehow, we decided that it might be a good idea to invest it in some calves to raise up for slaughter.  Yesterday, while the Morphis family was still here, we decided to all head down to Canton Trade Days (where a whole city in the middle of nowhere turns into a gigantic flea-market/garage sale for one weekend.)  In the next town over, there was a guy selling a couple of bull dairy calves.  (At a dairy, the milk cows have to have babies on a periodic basis to "freshen" their milk supplies - these little bull-calves are the undesirable by-products of that operation and the dairies get rid of them cheap.)  Josh bought 2 Holstein bulls and 2 Jersey bulls.  They are supposedly 5-6 months old, but I question whether that is actually true.  They are in very marginal health so it was a bit of a risky investment, but we are hoping they will all pull through and get healthy.  We gave them each a dose of pro-bios (a yogurt medication to get their stomachs working right),  some fresh water and feed, a bit of hay, and locked them up in stalls to keep them from contaminating each other (if they haven't already.)