Big tour groups on the farm

YMCA bus with kids
They care coming in by the bus load

It was so busy on the farm yesterday that this picture isn’t even the correct one. This one is from our last YMCA tour earlier in the year. I never had time to take any pictures yesterday.

We started off the day with payroll and a bit of office work. Just a normal start to the day on Wednesday, the same as every Wednesday.

Then I left the office to take an empty grain box to Mule City Feed for a refill. I only do this every few months, as we only give the milk cows a scoop of grain in the morning for a treat. But the box was empty so off I went to Benson and back. That took 1.5 hours.

While I was in Benson, waiting on the box to be filled with our custom blend, SWMBO called me and casually mentioned that the house was on fire. Well, not quite on fire but there was smoke coming from an electrical outlet in the floor. The wooden floor. Wood burns. Uh oh. Unable to diagnose the problem from the phone, I had her turn off every breaker in the house till I could get there. That entailed explaining where the load centers were in the house and telling her how to turn off breakers.

When I returned, the bus you see above pulled up and disgorged a full load of kids eager for their tour of the farm. The power would have to stay off a bit longer.

Tours take about an hour, and large groups take a bit longer so this group took me to around lunch time. During this time, I received a phone call from my friend Dale with Wake County Soil and Water. Apparently I’d been randomly selected as a spot check of our processes, and she was letting me know that she and some board members would be stopping by around lunch time.

Our processes set the standard so having a surprise inspection is no big deal. In fact, I was glad she was coming because I was doing some new things she hadn’t seen and I was glad for a chance to show her and her board members around.

Girls on John Deere Gator
The girls, enjoying a break and acting silly

I retrieved the Gator from where the kids had left it last and took everyone around to see the farm. With Dale taken care of, I went back to the house to find the Mrs. eating lunch and all the power turned back on. However the problem receptacle had not been addressed.

I located the proper breaker for the receptacle and turned it off. Then addressed the fact that the internet didn’t come back online after having the power off. Sigh, of course it didn’t. Some rework and changeover of hardware and Wildflower had her computer going again.

Young girl picking apples
Wildflower, just before she ate the next apple.

You see, today is Spork’s birthday and Wildflower needed her computer to make art for his special day. “Daddy, can you please fix my computer?” Sure honey.

With the power on, the fire out, and the internet restored, the house was in decent shape. I headed back to the barn after grabbing a piece of cheese for lunch (I’d skipped breakfast). That is when the first of two Exploris tour groups showed up. I wasn’t sure how big these groups were, but as the cars kept coming I grew concerned. There are two types of groups that are hard to give tours to. Kids groups. And groups larger than 20 people. This was a kids group much larger than 20 people. Uh oh.

Generally we limit our tour groups to 20 people max, but this time I had not. The first group had 34 people, the second group had more I think. I didn’t count. And they were kids. I like kids, I have a few of my own. But kids are hard to settle down and get quiet. And with large groups it is hard enough to talk loud enough for everyone to hear. Add kids that are scampering about, talking, laughing, and cracking jokes, times nearly 40 people, and it makes for a tough tour. Couple in the fact that I’m getting over one cold, and beginning a second one (thanks SWMBO for sharing) and I started loosing voice part way through the second tour. We had about 100 people come through on tours today. Since my typical Wednesday average is about 2, this was a busy day for tours.

During all of this day, and for some reason especially during the tours, my phone was blowing up. I had 30 inbound calls yesterday. That isn’t counting the outbound calls I made which were probably another 10 or so. Some were just a quick minute. Some were rather in depth as a few were to and from my lawyer going over some important details. I had to take these calls in spare moments when I could. The other spare moments were spent answering my approximately 100 emails I receive a day.

Sound like I’m complaining? Nope. It was 80 degrees and there was not a cloud in sight. It was a stunningly perfect day and everyone was happy and laughing.  I was “at work” in the sunshine making people happy for a living. The milk cows were hand fed two cases of bananas, for which they were very thankful. Lots of kids went home telling stories of the cool farm where they saw animals. And hopefully they learned a bit about where food comes from.

 

Once I was done with the last tour, I hopped in the truck to head to the airport. A new plane (to us) had shown up after being rescued from the back of a hanger where it sat unused and unable to be flown. A group of us at the airport had gotten involved and gotten a ferry permit to get it over to our airport to breath some life back into it.

457MC sitting outside after being washed
Sitting outside after a bath

It is a 1976 Citabria. It is about as basic of an airplane as I will ever fly. No navigation source, two seats, one in front, one in back. It is aerobatic but I have no experience in aerobatics and no real interest at this point.

Citabria sitting in the hanger
Washed and tucked away in the maintenance hanger

We spent some time washing the years of dirt and bugs off of it and then wedged it into the maintenance hanger to get it ready for the mechanic to go over it since it hadn’t been annualed in a couple of years. That will be for another day. For now at least it is clean and safely put away.

Sunset at the farm
Sunset at the farm

Once I finished at the airport, I headed back home where the Mrs. was waiting on the front porch watching the sun go down with dinner already made. We sat in Lucy’s borrowed chairs in front of our house and talked while the sun went down.

It was a glorious end to a busy day.

 

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Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

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