Thursday, April 27, 2006

Getting a Better Fence

My neighbors Randy and Jamie Loch have finished up with the maple syrup season and though they are still lambing they had some time to come over and start driving posts for me. If you want to see what their operation is all about look at their website at Seamus and I spent a lot of last winter cutting, hauling, and splitting locust fence posts and last week began laying them out where they would go. We started on this fence on the run that goes along the road, as I figure that is the most important place to have a good fence. The rest of the farm at least has a rusty 43 strand barbed wire fence. The old tradition is to just keep adding barbed wire and fence posts as needed, so after 100 years you end up lots of strands of barbed wire in varying states of decay as well as the old posts which rotted off at the ground levitating next to their replacement posts.
Anyhow, this picture is of Randy driving the first post for this fence. His wife Jamie is driving the tractor. The post pounder is a heavy I beam that is hydraulically lifted, then free falls onto the top of the post. The ground is a little dry right now but the pounder still drives the posts all of 2 feet into the ground. They really go in solidly too. I wouldn't want to hit one on my sled.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Valley Fog

Friday, April 14, 2006

First Chicks of 2006

The first batch of chicks arrived on Wednesday evening. We got a call at about 6pm that they had come into the post office in Montrose, which is about 10 miles north of here. The postmaster said he'd leave them out on the dock and I ran up and got them. Just before chicks hatch they absorb the rest of the yolk, which makes it possible for them to go the first 3 days without any food or water. That makes it pretty convenient for them to get sent in the mail. Most of our chicks come from Quakertown, Pa and always arrive the day after they are sent. So far they have always arrived in great shape. These chicks go into a brooder for about 3 weeks before they are ready to go out on pasture in the field pens. Once they are out on pasture they get moved to fresh grass every day. They get about 70% of their nutrients from the grain ration we have made up for them. The other 30% comes from the grass and insects on the pasture. They are ready to process at about 8 weeks and dress out at about 5 pounds each.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Junk A (Clodhopper Popper)

One of the tractors we have is a 1947 John Deere Model A. I bought it at an auction about 8 or 9 years ago for $400. It wasn't running when I bought it but I figured I could get it going for a few hundred bucks and have something that was half decent. So I started fixing it. Basically it turned out to be a tractor that someone had built from broken parts. After I invest enough time and money into something I get pretty reluctant to quit. I always think that maybe the next hundred dollars will be it and we will finally have something. By the time I was done I had a $1500 $700 tractor. In the meantime I ended up buying another Model A figuring I could always use the Junk A for parts, plus I knew how to work on them. That was the Good A. I did finally get the Junk A going and it was a pretty good tractor for jockeying hay wagons and pulling the manure spreader. Until last winter. I started it on a really cold day and got distracted before I checked the oil pressure guage. As it turned out there was water in the crank case which had frozen, keeping the oil pump from doing its thing. It sheared a coupler which runs the oil pump. The tractor ran for about 15 minutes without any oil. The final result was that the connecting rod journals got worn out of round and the connecting rod bearings got destroyed. So now $400 later I have all the parts repaired or replaced and I'm ready to spend a day putting it back together. So I guess I still don't know when to quit. The next time something breaks I'm parting it out.