Saturday, June 27, 2009

New Baler

We have been mulling over a small square baler. We have had a number of people request a few small square bales, well today we brought home a "new" John Deere 24T. I say new, for this was likely new in 1964! No matter, it looks really good. We got it from George Booth, the other Scottish Highland producer that we buy some cattle from . I tried to pay him for it today, he said, "no, wait to see if you like it." Well, that is going to be sort of hard, I have nothing to compare it to! He even went as far as to come over and show us how to use it! They are going to be extra work, but it will be nice to have a few on hand. Now to get cutting hay tomorrow.

Friday, June 26, 2009

New Arrivals

Made the trip to Blomkest, MN, just south of Willmar, Wednesday night to pick up my red tri Aussie male pup, Chief. He sure is cute! I think he's going to fit in just fine and hopefully he and Daisy will have a nice litter next spring.

One of our yellow cows had a red calf about five days ago so we're enjoying a new little heifer calf as well. Dave rotated them to new pasture this a.m. so they're enjoying grass over knee high today. He just calls them and they come running!

Dave let Rodeo, the black and white shetland we have on loan for the summer (thanks Jim and Shari!), out for some grass this a.m. and he must of gotten untied because I noticed him heading down the driveway like he had somewhere to be. Dave and Daisy took the 4-wheeler after him and Daisy did her job and brought him back home. Dave is home today getting the equipment ready to start haying this weekend.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fat Steers

Today we moved the rest of the steers off of the place. Father in law, Spike, has room for them in Pine River. They will be so happy to get on fresh grass, they will really start to put the weight on now. His friend, Jim Ellem, came down with his truck and trailer to haul them up for us. Wife Chris, neighbor Keith, Daisy the dog and I started moving them in. It went really well, neighbor Keith and Daisy are turning into real cow hands. We had to cut one steer out, he is going to market this week, the rest are all on fresh grass as of tonight. The one that was left somehow managed to get out. So, I let him run around the yard for a while. When it was time to put him back in, he was a little skittish. I tried a couple of times to move him in, no luck. Well, it was time to get Daisy. Boom, just like that she had him in and man, that saved me a lot of work! She is really starting to earn her keep around here. Unfortunately, with her doing all of the running I am likely going to start putting on a few!

The truck is ALIVE!

Well, today was the day to reconstruct the green dump truck. We were going to get started at 6 am, but neighbor Keith was LATE! I was amazed, he is never late, maybe Mrs. Keith needed a little of his time... Well, Keith, I and son Hunter started putting it together, wow, did it go together nice. It helps when you have neighbors like John who know how to make nice parts! No one got crushed under the box, so it was a good day. Now to get the rest of that dirt hauled.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Moving Day

A late post from Last Wednesday. Brought home 15 more 100% grass fed steers from George Booth. Before we bring them home I tag all animals with ID tags to keep track of who is who. The easiest way to do this is in the trailer. Being in the trailer with animals that one, don't want to be in there, two, are hot and smelly and three have never been handled is an "exciting" experience. George thought I was crazy, but I have found out that cattle are less nervous when they are together then when they are apart. The only one that gave me trouble with a little heifer that felt cornered, she actually tried to run me over! I ended up NOT bringing her home. The others are up in the barn getting used to the new place. We are going to sort a few out for butchering this week, the others are going to be on fresh grass soon. Thanks to father Spike, the will have fresh grass soon.

The Fence is still growing

Spent all day Sunday at the Thomas place working on the fence. Progress was again slow, spent a good part of the day clearing more area for the fence. Next time we are going to get a dozer in there and clear it out BEFORE HAND! Spending so much time cutting and moving brush can be annoying. It was good to have Kevin back from his mini-vacation. I already chewed him out for leaving I and vegetable farmer Dave without held during our most critical time of the year! When it comes to young love, few things get in the way. Today, Scott and Kevin will be working on the fence, it is amazing how big of strides they have made. Soon they won't need me to do the fencing, that would free up a lot of my time. Now if we could only teach Scott how to run a chainsaw.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The truck, continued.

Well, with a neighbor like Keith, I will never have a project unfinished. We tore into the truck and found out what happened, the mounting brackets to the frame broke. Yes they were getting old and rusty, that is no excuse for me getting it too full. When one works with old equipment on a regular basis you have to really take it easy on it. A couple of less dumps with the skidloader would have saved us a LOT of time!

Keith, being the good neighbor he is, offered to help me fix it. We took the brackets out and decided to go see Neighbor John. John is a machinist and welder by trade and a damn good one at that. We were only going to hit John up for some steel, well, being John he decided that we needed help fixing it. Our 30 minute excursion ended three hours later. New pieces in hand, we could now fix the truck. We really had a good time in Johns shop. Keith and John worked together like some crack assembly team from some reality show. The experience and wisdom of them both showed in fabricating the parts.

Now we have to put them back into the truck. Keith is going to have a Hog Roast and party this Saturday, so we are going to wait until after the party. Neighbor Keith wanted me to make sure to invite EVERY and ANYONE. For those of you in Cyber Space, this is your chance to meet our neighbors in the farming community of Fort Ripley. Free BEER and Free PORK sandwiches, YUMMY!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Gravity takes hold

Last week Neighbor Keith brought home an excavator from work, a Cat 315. What a big toy! He used it to move the concrete from the old barn site. The same site that we moved the barn roof from . He lined up a end dump truck and got permission to move the busted up concrete to the pit at Tri-City. They will use the concrete in the crushing program recycling it for use on roads, asphalt and driveways. In the process of moving the concrete there ended up being a lot of extra gravel fill, likely 300+ yards. We need more fill in front of our shop so it was agreed that we would take the fill and use it over here. Time to start up the old Ford F-600. Not the most enviromentally friendly vehicle at 6 miles per gallon, but effective at moving lots of material. The box holds about 16 yards. Hunter and I (my son) started hauling the morning. When it was time for me to go to the office and he to school, we suspended for the afternoon. Two loads hauled and a good start to the project. The truck is desinged to haul grain so you cannot fill it to the top. Being careful we had no problems dumping the load. That afternoon we restarted hauling. First load over Neighbor Keith was kind enough to fill us up and fill us up he did. The truck creaked and ached on the drive over. I was glad it was only a 1 mile trip. Well, time to dump it, but it would not dump. TOO MUCH WEIGHT! Time to get Chris (my wife) and take plan "B". Two shovels and a little work and we had the load a little smaller. Time to try lifting it again. I had her run the hydraulics while I used a plank to give it a little lift. Slowly up it went, slowly... finally it was half way up and just getting ready to dump when BAM! Down it came, breaking my tamrack plank and making one hell of a noise. The ram or someting associated with it had broken. Now what? Time to get the shovels and begin unloading by hand. It was about this time that Neighbor Keith called to see where I was. I explained the situation to him and being the good neigbor he is he came over and helped us begin unloading by hand. Mind you, I don't mind running a "number 2" digger but it gets real frustrating when you are hitting rocks with each scoop full. So, the unloading process began, about 15 minutes into it Neighbor Keith decided it was time to call for his backup, Wife Mary. It was a good thing too for the crew of Chris, I and Neighbor Keith was starting to run out of steam. With Mary's help we got it unloaded. While unloading my son Hunter found a unique rock in the load. The inside of the rock was hollowed out like it was some ancient crushing/mixing bowl. A fun find in a load of overly heavy sand. With free excerise by all and a another project to fix we won't fill it so full next time.

Back to reality

It was an interesting week of adjustment. Last week was spent working on the fence at the Thomas place, this week was mostly dedicated to working at the office. I am part owner of an insurance agency in Brainerd, Fiducia Benefits Group. My business partner, Gary, teases me about my "cows" and asks if I have petted them today. He asks when I am going to take a "real" vacation. He doesn't understand that for me "playing" with my cows is a vacation for me. The ability to start a project and work on it all day uninterrupted is quite relaxing. He likely understands, but still loves to tease me. I cannot complain much for we are both flexible and understanding of each others time off. I farm on my time off and he travels.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hunter gets a haircut

Our little guy, Hunter who is almost 4, hates to get his haircut. That's especially frustrating because his grandpa is a barber! Dad does a good job getting him through it but I've found sometimes it's just easier to do it myself, especially during woodtick season like this. We've heard how awful it is to get one of the tick borne diseases so we are especially careful and short hair is very helpful in finding the pesky critters.

Had the Pierz vet, Gordy, out on Tuesday to float the horses teeth and do Coggins tests. Wilbur is 12 and let's us do pretty much anything we need with him, but Karl is 21 and gets a little cranky with these procedures. Our neighbor Rick Flicek is a farrier and trimmed them up a week ago and put front shoes on Wilbur to help relieve his lameness. We're not sure but he may have a navicular disorder and the shoes have seemed to help. We're hoping to go on a couple trail rides over the summer and fall.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bookkeeping today

Just sitting down to get caught up on some of our bookkeeping and thought I'd write a few lines. Last night we turned the steers and cows out into new paddocks so they're knee high in fresh new grass and loving it! Our new calf is thriving and we're awaiting the arrival of another any day.
Last night our neighbor Mary and her daughters Kate and Hannah, showed Hunter and I a wood duck nest with about 10 eggs in it. Mary was trapping gophers in our hay field and found it about a week ago. She marked it so we won't run over it with the tractor as we're out spreading manure, picking rocks, etc. I didn't realize they nest in a field like that and we're all surprised something hasn't eaten her eggs. We walked within about five feet of the nest and she flew up, surprising all of us! She was so well camoflauged we couldn't even see her. Hunter really got a kick out of it and keeps wanting me to retell the "egg" story. He didn't go to bed until about ten p.m. and was up bright eyed at six this morning. I think he heard Dave hauling gravel from the neighbors and he hates being left behind if there's any equipment being used. Holly was her usual cheerful self this morning even though she's getting four top teeth at the same time! Ouch. She's tough like me. ha ha!