Thursday, March 31, 2011

Garden Tractor Envy

So if you have been following along since last fall, you may remember that when the parents visited in October they enjoyed riding the various tractors, 4 wheeler etc. And apparently over the winter visions of garden tractors danced in thier heads instead of sugar plumbs because they got a new Craftsman 24 hp hydrostatic transmission lawn tractor (mines bigger). Of course they still have snow and ice (it snowed a few inches there today) and their summers last about 3 weeks but its not too bad looking (mines bigger). It has the 24 hp Briggs and Stratton engine (mines bigger) with a 52" deck (mines bigger) and looks pretty slick.

Now they need to get a trailer, maybe a cultivator, bagger, lawn roller...all the goodies. But for now they are frustrated and have to be content driving it around their semi-snow free driveway waiting for spring that will surely pop up by the end of May.

The biggest problem I see is that they only have one of them so there will be inevitable conflicts over who gets to ride and mow.

Dad wanted a Harley but I have ridden with him in his truck and I am thinking this is way safer...for everyone!! I like the color but it would be petty for me to point out my mower has 2 mor hp and 2 more inches in the cutting deck so I wont mention that.

Mom wants to get it pin striped and add some ground effects LED lighting but I am thinking

The date on this is wrong but they do have big deer at their place.

Oldest son Jay on our mower last summer..I could point out we have bigger rear tires but I dont want to brag.

Yes for all you safety Nazis I know he shouldnt be wearing flip flops..he is 30...must take after his ma...

In all seriousness I think it was a good purchase on the parents part. We use our garden tractor to tow a trailer, some gardening and plowing, and it sure makes the mowing less onerous. But these things are addictive and just like a potato cant just have one....

Monday, March 28, 2011

An Unexpected Calf

We were in the middle of repairing our perimeter fence for the two weaned calves we have coming at the end of the week when we got a call from a farmer Judy knows who wanted to know if we wanted a free Simmental 3 day old calf that had been orphaned. WE got the weaned calves because we didnt want to mess with bottle babies but its hard to turn down "free" and its hard to face Judy's sad face.

So we hurridly re-directed our energies and prepped the barnyard corral, built a stall in the barn, layed in some hay, bought 50lbs of milk replacer and a couple of 2 quart bottles, a water trough and then went to pick her up. Once we caught her we hogtied her and Judy rode with her back to our farm in the back of the pickup. So we now have a Simmental and two Angus calves...all heifers. We dont know if the Simmental will be able to breed because she was an orphaned twin but she is red and the other twin is black so we are hoping she is not a freemartin.

Just a couple of pics for now. She took a bottle and nestled in the hay for the night.

She has scours but we gave her a Scours Bolus and we will check her again in a couple days and give her another one if needed.

last time I did this I was in High School.

She is very friendly and once she got over the trauma of getting caught, transported, hogtied etc. she calmed down and seems to be fine.

She is a good looking claf and well porportioned. I didnt find any issues with her joints.

We have her in the barn because after a week of 70 and 80 degree temps we had snow last night and expect more in the next two days. Then back to the 70s for the weeked. We also have a lot of coyotes around right now.

It took a bit of effort but she finally took to the bottle.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Project Update

We were busy last week putting in new windows and doors in Judy's mobile home, installing wainscoating in her bathroom, staining her porch and finishing up our house windows and doing more painting in the kitchen..we also bought a couple of calfs, hauled a load of mulch, hauled hay and feed for the neighbors, tilled the garden, planted potatoes, stocked more fish in the pond, finished the cattle gate from the pasture to the barn, did some electrical work at Judy's place, and even managed to squeeze in recertification in one and two man CPR, Infant CPR, AED operation and certification as an NOAA Weather Spotter. Just a normal retirement week. We arent through with the windows as we still need to install the two on the side of the house garage, the two in the stone garage and the windows for the well house but here is the progress so far.

The cattle gate from the pasture to the barn is finally done...still lots of fencing to go but we are making progress.

This kind of gives a view of what we had to do. The perimeter fence in the pasture is done and just needs a couple of areas to be tightened up but we had no way to get the animals from the pasture to the barn if we do.

We still found time to relax a bit at the pond.

I like!!

Bandit and Rose the Farm dog love the pond and wade into the water to eat the fish food when we feed the fish.

The neighbors cows keep eyeing our orchard.

We stopped at a saw mill down the road to see if we could get some mulch from their bark peeler..$20.00 for a heaping full sized 3/4 ton pickup full.

These two geese have been hanging out in our pond and then flying low over the barnyard making a racket.

Lots of rocks but the tiller did a great job.

We did this mostly by hand last year

We greatly expanded our main garden area and I still need to till the corn and sorghum fields along with the pumpkin and gourd pacth which will be in another area.

We stocked the pond with two grass carp to keep the weeds in check...

And 100 three inch hybrid blue gills

Of course now we have something else to feed.

The Forsythia is finally in full bloom..definitely spring.

Just the start of our potato plantings.

This is a terrible picture as it was dark but these are our two calfs (on the right).

The new windows in the kitchen bay window. We are still painting the bottom trim but they sure look better than the old drafty windows we had before. We could feel the air coming through and they would actually whistle when it was we have no drafts and its sooo quiet.

Replaced the window over the coffee maker stand in the kitchen...

Along with the window over the sink.

Replacing the old leaky single pane picture window in the living room was probably the most dramatic as far as eliminating drafts and really made a noticeable difference.

We replaced all of Judy's windows and doors with the same windows we used on the house. Pella low thermal Argon gas double paned vinyl clad double hung. Also a dramatic difference in the mobile home as far as drafts and noise. The old windows were single pane cheapo aluminum framed and the doors were badly fitting thin aluminum with no windows.

We also added a storm door for the back door on the deck.

Still need to touch up the trim paint from the install and of course paint the Hardi Plank but we really like the look of the new windows.

The new windows and door look so much better (I still need to add trim to the window on the left) and we stained the porch with Olympic Cedar Deck stain...came out nice.

So much brighter and warmer.

The wainscoating came out nice in one of Judy's bathrooms but the walls on a mobile home are thin and this one was full of electrical lines so it was more compolicated than initially thought.

The old door didnt fit well so it let in lots of cold air and it had no windows.

Its hard to show the difference in brightness but it is very noticeable.

Judy's new cat we got her..Wiskers. He is a great cat who loves the dogs and just hangs out everywhere you go...very affectionate.

And finally, we are not through installing windows. We still need to install the two in the house garage, the two in the rock garage and the windows in the well house.

Next projects..the vehicle gate from the pasture to the barn, reroofing Judy's trailer with a steel roof, installing the rest of the windows, getting the calfs home, more fencing, prepping for the pole barn build, more electrical work, building the stalls inside the barn......and lots of planting.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Garden Update

Just some shots from our ever increasing global warming trend in Missouri we call spring.

The Forsythia ia blooming finally. Not a mile down the road they are in full bloom and have been for about a week...not sure why ours are taking so long.

Just a small representation of our Narcissus (Daffodills). We have them everywhere even some in the pasture and since they grow from bulbs we have no idea where some of them came from. A little known factoid on Narcissus, they arent native to North America but were brought over as far back as the Pilgrims. If you remember Narcissus was told to be modest and never look at himself but temptation got to him and he looked into a pond and was turned into this flower. They have been cultivated as far back as Roman times.

We have identified three different types so far, yellow with an orange bell...

Light yellow with a dark yellow bell...

and my favorite white with a yellow bell

These we found out are called Naked Ladies around here but are actually the Autumn Crocus we mentioned in a post last fall (the leaves die back during the summer and in the fall we get the pink etheral flowers with no leaves). We werent here last year at this time so we didnt even know these existed since they die back quickly when it gets hot. We are mapping all this stuff for future reference.

They sure seem healthy and we enjoyed their fall flowers.

We found this Flowering Quince along one of our fence lines, we had missed it last year.

This is a terrible picture but we found two mature and large grape vines along one fence line.

The rhubarb we got from Carol down the road is doing well.

The winter wheat experiment is doing nicely, too bad we need to plow it under soon.

The new property we acquired is to the right from the Black Walnut tree to the T-post in the middle of the photo and then it goes at an angle to the right of the cedars in the background and then up the pasture past the pond.

We got a chunck of woods we will clean up along with a huge patch of blackberries..

And another pasture in this picture up past the pond...yet another fencing project.

The greenhouse is smoking right along.

And I just liked this photo..the fencing has been very rewarding because not only does it increase the usefullness of the place...we get to see visible results.