Sunday, February 28, 2010
Due to the fact today was my birthday, I was told I could do what ever I wanted.
I started off at daylight sawing and screwing what little bit was left to do on the animal barn. I am now ready for siding and then it will be done.
Then the five of us all loaded up and I took the family to lunch at a little cafe I found in a small town about fifteen miles to the East of here. It has been a while sense we all ate out together and when I got the bill all I could think about was how many sheets of siding I could have bought.
After diving the back roads for a while we finally got back home in time to help my dad load up some cows so he could take them to the sell barn.
Finally, NASCAR. My boy Jimmy did it again!
Not a bad birthday.
We made the push to get the stupid little barn done but ran out of daylight. So today's plan is to finish as much as I can. After all the race is on today and it is my birthday.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I was trying to figure out what I could raise on such a small farm besides the normal chickens, rabbits and pygmy goats. I do not want a bunch of hogs to worry about. One or two meat hogs are ok but any more than that and I create fencing and odor problems. So I figured why not Miniature Cattle?
Mostly kept as a hobby and only measuring under 42" tall, miniatures do have many advantages;
Small efficient beef for “backyard beef”.
Good pets to keep on small acreages as little as 1/2 acre.
Use to qualify property for agriculture use status.
Use for investment groups.
Great for 4H or FFA projects.
Good potential to develop a gourmet meat market.
- Most breeds eat 1/3 the food of large breeds.
- Not as harsh on the land and the fencing.
The cows are about 3½ feet tall, and average weight range is 650-750 lbs. The calves have a birth weight of around 57 lbs and at weaning the average weight is 375 lbs. The advantages of this breed are the smaller cuts of meat, the higher stocking rate per acre, high feed conversion rates, less damage to pasture, especially on wet soils, easy calving, and excellent weight gains.
Dexters are a hardy breed of small mountain cattle, originally derived from the Celtic cattle of ancient Ireland. They are the smallest British breed of cattle with a cow being from 36 inches to just over a 42 inches at the shoulder. An average cow weighs about 775 lbs. The coat is usually black, but it can be red or dun brown.
They are very hardy, requiring no pampering, yet remain efficient converters of feed to meat. Like most small breeds, they require only half the space a conventional animal would take.
Pasture fed animals can finished early, at 18 to 24 months and 775lds liveweight, without supplementary feeds, and still have good marbling and meat flavor. Heifers are precocious, and can be mated at 15 to 18 months. The Dexter is noted for easy calving, and the breed is known for the long useful breeding life of the cows - up to fourteen years, sometimes more.
Miniature Zebu (Brahma cattle) are still extremely rare (about 750 purebred animals in USA). The advantage of the miniature zebu is that that are better adapted to heat than most European breeds.
The maximum allowable height is just over 42 inches behind the hump.
These attractive little cattle stand just under 40 inches at the shoulder in a mature bull. They are horned cattle, which after all, is one of their breed features. The horn span can very from 30" to 50" wide.
This is just to name a few of the breeds I have been researching and noticed a popularity trend among them.
I have found that even though miniature cattle are small in size, the price tags for these little grass eaters made my heart skip a beat. It seams the smaller the cow is, the more it costs. I am leaning toward the Dexter breed due to their hardiness, easy calving and of course the cost.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Even though it did not snow, it is cold enough to do so. We used the last little bit of fire wood we had to heat the house today. From here on out we are at 100% purchased heat. I am sure the cold won't last much longer.
This picture was taken Sunday morning. This is the first chance I have had to show the improvements on the animal barn.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
I tell you the bottom dropped out of the sky this morning just as I was heading out for round two. I have not seen it rain that hard in a long time. Bolts of lightning, loud clasps of thunder, good old Mother Nature was sure showing me who was in charge. Then, just as soon as it started it was over with the clouds parting and the sun coming out. She left about 3" of rain and me sitting looking out the window for the rest of the day twirling my thumbs. I learned a lesson this weekend.
The good news, I got a lot done on the barn. Dad convinced me to add extra bracing in some areas on the walls and I still need to add a few laths to the rafters.
I do not have any pictures due to the internet being on and off all weekend. It seems if there is a cloud in the sky, the internet goes down. I will post them as soon as I can.
The weather men are calling for snow tomorrow. I ain't saying nothing!!!!!!!!
Friday, February 19, 2010
I grabbed this shot of my buddy's new barn yesterday at sunset. This barn will be full of the latest woodworking tools and I get a key. Inside here will be the birth of the solar oven, chicken nest boxes, rabbit pens and no telling what else.
I scored some large pieces of 3" high density foam from work today. They were just throwing it away. It will be used for the insulation on the solar oven.
I also dug out several more pieces of 3" angle iron out of the dumpster. I plan on making a drag out of a piece of chain link so I can level out some of the ruts I have created during all this rain.
Tomorrow is going to be a good build day. I should get the rest of the animal barn framed up.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
My friend down the road had his huge barn delivered yesterday. "Delivered!" and they even put a nice little shed roof off to one side. "It came with it" he said......
Home Depot has treated 2x4x8's on sell for $1.97 each. That fits the budget just fine so I bought enough (30) to finish the framing of the animal barn. I wonder if I could have gotten mine delivered!!!!
Money is running tight so I had to push the fire pit build for another weekend.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
We have known these people for right at 19 years. They are our closest friends and have lived up near the red river (30 miles North) for the past few years. With them now being 1/4 mile away, this should save a lot of gas for our once a week card nights. The biggest problem I see is, at this moment the two wives are in town shopping.
Needless to say, I probably will not get much of anything done outside this week. The weather is calling for more rain in a couple of days and the ground cannot take anymore water. As is is now it will take several days of sunshine to dry it up enough just to walk across the back yard.
If by some chance I can do some work, this week and weekend projects will include finish framing in the animal barn and building a fire pit.
I'll keep you posted.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Not only did it come a snow, it was a record breaking snow. In spots I measured anywhere from six to ten inches. I understand that is not a lot for the people up North, but for Texas, that is a blizzard.
The family and I got out early this morning to see sights we have never seen before. It started out with the neighbors shoveling snow from their driveways. We have never seen anybody shoveling snow in real life . Then I flipped the switch and put her in four wheel drive and backed right out of the driveway, and the neighbors just glared at us.
Then there was the Massey Ferguson driving down a dirt road with a snow plow attachment on the front. Where in the heck did he get that? I watched and wondered how many times that old farmer has complained about never being able to use that snow plow or how many times that thing has been in his way and I wondered how many times he has tried to sell it. And now finally, he is sitting tall and proud doing his neighbors a favor with his snow plow.
We drove on into town so the oldest girl could feed her pig at the AG barn and saw at least six cars in the ditch along the way. They were covered with snow so I guessed they must have ran off the road sometime last night.
I do not know how, but I ended up 25 miles away at Walmart. I guess it has some kind of gravitational pull on the wife. The parking lot was total chaos. There were cars in every direction and at every angle. We managed to escape without injury.
The day ended with me out in the cold and the snow cooking taters and ribs on the grill. Who says BBQ is only for the summer time.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
After this mornings draining event at the doctor, I had a bad case of the "don't want too" and after yesterdays pantry ordeal, the wife got me back by wanting me to help her finish setting up her sewing room, To-shay. I was out the door and looking for anything I could to stay outside.
I muscled through the mud and the cold and was able to put some more rafters and wall bracing on the little animal barn. Tomorrow I plan on getting some of the 1x4 runners on the rafters before the snow gets here.
Have you seen the price on miniature cattle?
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
The high today was 35 degrees with the wind 10 to 15 mph out of the North, but it was nice and sunny. I made a couple of attempts to get out and do something today but each time was met with the shivering cold and me cursing the weather. I sought refuge inside the barn thinking I could at least get some kind of organizing done only to find out all that water from the yesterday floods ran through it and some of the water is still there.
When my Dad had the tractor over a month or so ago he tried to cut a swell down the side of the barn to divert some of the water. He quickly found that it is not going to happen till summer. The sun is to low during the winter and that side of the barn does not get any sunlight and stays nasty wet. I am beginning to wonder what the heck I got myself into here.
I was about to give up and just lay on the couch when I got the bug. If I could not organize the barn, then I will redo the pantry. The wife got wind of what I was about to do and got out of the house as quick as she could. I am eyeballing the kitchen for tomorrow.
Last month I wrote about an electric bill that was over four hundred dollars. Just to let you know, my quick fix worked. Just taking the pantry door off and giving the return air a chance to return saved over 150.00 dollars this month.
Monday, February 8, 2010
I have heard different names of what the weather dumped on us last night and most of the day today. Just to name a few; Turd Floater, Gully Washer, Cats & Dogs, Toad Strangler and so on, and so on. As bad as it might be, the picture to the left is of my neighbors across the street. So I look at it like this, My place could be worse. Notice the underpinning on the house.
I drove around and took a few pictures of the light flooding around the area. I will have plenty of time to play around in the mud. Due to the weather my work sent me home for a week.....
They are calling for snow on Thursday.
This is a front yard of a house down the road. I love the new goose pond they put in.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Me, the wife and two of the girls spent all day yesterday moving our friends. It was back breaking work and I am sure we will be sore for a few days but it is worth the pain just to help them out. On the way to their house we stopped by a little cafe that just opened not long ago. I love cafes, the atmosphere, the friendly waitresses, the local coffee drinkers and of course the food. We ended the day with our friends taking us out to a local Mexican restaurant the wife loves and of course, I ate way to much.
I started today at 5:00am by getting the family up and in the truck. We have another cold front moving in this week and it is going to get down into the low twenties. I do not have enough wood to get through this one so off we went to the old farm place. I did not even take a saw, it was going to be to early and I did not want to wake my younger brother's family who still live there with the sound of a chainsaw screaming in the background.
So we were hunter gatherers. There is enough fallen dead wood on that place to last a life time and we grabbed a truck load of it. At one point I stopped and looked up and through the dim early morning light I saw my old house sitting up on the hill. A scene of sadness and homesickness started to come over me and I had to shake it off and keep going. Under my breath I mumbled that I was just a big wimp.
We got home in time for the kids to get to church and I was able to finally get some of the much needed burning done. The bags were starting to pile up.
Then I got suckered. My friends brought another load of stuff down to their new house and then invited us to go into town. They said they needed to go to Home Depot and needed my truck. It is real hard for me to turn down going to the lumber store and with seven hours till the Super Bowl, why not.
We ended up going to four different stores and the last one being a 1 1/2 hour trip inside Walmart. Under my breath I mumbled that I was just a big o sucker.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
If I'm not wollering in the mud at my house, I might as well woller in it helping a friend.
I caught the news for next week this morning and guess what, rain on Monday and snow on Thursday.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
I was driving home from work today on an old country road and noticed the field off to my left was solid white. As I got closer It looked like just a bunch of cow birds. But these cow birds where the biggest I had ever seen. I stopped and grabbed my phone and all those birds started honking and flying away. I grabbed this picture just in time to see the whole field erupt in Geese.
I wished I had better news but the fact is, it is raining. It is not going to stop until late tomorrow afternoon. The outlook for work this weekend does not look good unless the sun comes out for the next couple of days and I do not think that is going to happen.
On a up note, there is a wholesale lumber and windows place a couple of towns over I have been wanting to take a tour of and check some prices. I might just do that.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Take the lake parties my parents went to about twice a year. All my parents friends would get together and spend the weekend having fun. We simply drove right up to the water, pitched a tent along with all the others and spent two days fishing, cooking, playing horseshoes and sitting by the bonfire. It was always a great time and most important, it was all free.
I looked at it as a vacation from the parents. From the time I got out of the truck on Friday evening, I didn't see mom or dad till it was time to leave on Sunday. The lake was only five miles away from the house and tho he never told me, twice a day dad would sneak back to the farm and do all the chores. I guess this was his way to give us a little break.
It is sad those times are all gone now, at least here where we live they are. People took advantage of a good thing and began trashing the lake up and cutting all the trees down. Before long the Corp of Engineers placed a nice pipe fence around every point of access. The only way to the beaches was through a pay booth. My kids will never know that kind of fun and free living.
What made me think of all this was when I was driving home the other day and drove past a popular public duck hunting area and saw that someone had thrown out a truck load of trash right by the road. This kind of person needs to be strung up and left for the buzzards. This person, I am sure is not from around here and probably lives inside the city where he/she could not find a secluded dumpster for their crap. I just don't understand why we all have to be punished for just a handful of ungrateful, unethical, sorry, good for nothing people.