And so it begins

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This is the first bail of hay fed this winter. The cows didn’t even know what it was at first but I quickly showed them and they fell into the hay like hyenas.

Looks like we are back to hay till spring. As previously discussed, we will place the hay on our worst areas to try and recover them. I have seen this done before and it worked well. Hopefully it will work for is.

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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.

Ugh, well problems

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So I got up yesterday and went through the normal routine of milking, feeding, rotating, etc. I’ve already shared the extra love we gave Spunky for being hard to get along with. Well after all that I went to wash down the milking parlor and the water didn’t work. Hmm, odd. Must have frozen since it was so cold.

I trundled back to the house and was met by my beautiful SWMBO who stepped out in a bathrobe and nothing else. Always a good sign….

Except today. Turns out the soap in her hair was what they call a clue. The water had died when she was in the shower. Which would be sort of funny except the last time the water died she was in the shower. And I believe the time before that. Either she showers a lot or she has a terrible effect on our plumbing. So off to the barn I go to see what is the matter. The well head is just outside the barn and the pressure tank is inside the barn. I go to the pressure tank and see that there is 0 pressure. Not a good sign. I check the pressure switch and then the voltage. All good. The well is dead.

Now understand, we have 24 cows and 4 families all relying on this well. You all know that I have been working to get the new well installed in our pasture, and its a pretty well. Of course it isn’t finished yet and is down there mocking me in its half finished state.

Besides the almost complete well, I also have an old well that works just fine. Due to circumstances in the past it’s just not hooked up. Yeah, I meant to get to that. So we break out the shovels and the phones for a two pronged attack. One, get the well company on the way. Two, hook up the old well so it works again. Sounds logical. Except, when we started checking pipes for hooking up the old well an existing pipe in the current system literally sprung a leak before our eyes. Oh well, may as well cut out that section too. And where does this pipe go? Dunno, better hook it back up though. And how did I cut through this irrigation line? Did you sharpen the shovel?

Needless to say there was a comedy of errors in hooking up the old well so we could use it again. Fortunately we were able to restore water by 7:45 that evening, temporarily, in the dark, standing in mud. Heroes! Bring forth the thankful women to honor our heroic deeds. The well company? What about them?

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They had the well pump replaced at 1:30 but don’t tell anyone.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
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.

After school detention

Today Spunky gave us a half gallon of milk again. She is holding back for her calf and giving us the minimum for being able to scarf up all the grain she can eat. She then is bolting out of the barn and back to her calf. So this morning she is serving some detention in the milking parlor till she calms down and learns to stand patiently. When she is patient she gets some more food. When she is impatient, she gets to wait. This is something we didn’t do with her last cycle and she came from a dairy where the cows were handled relatively rough. It takes time and I wasn’t prepared last time to do this bit I think its time to break bad habits.

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Here you can see Spunky serving detention. She’s not terribly pleased but she is getting the idea.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
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.

Better get that vitamin C

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Its funny the things that different animals will and will not eat. You would think the pigs would love oranges however you would be wrong. The pigs won’t touch them, even if you cut them open so they get straight to the citrusy goodness. Maybe if I squeezed all the juice and added a bit of vodka and a paper umbrella, maybe. I’m not convinced.

So what to do when you have 75 pounds of oranges? Why give them to the cows of course. Cows LOVE oranges and eat them rind and all. I’ve yet to get orange milk from Spunky but there is always tomorrow.

Speaking of Spunky, it looks like she is in heat and Benjamin was already putting the moves on her this morning. I was wondering where the Barry a White music was coming from. Now I know. May as well start the countdown till the next calf because I have no doubt that Benjamin will be shooting straight. This will cost us some milk production of course but that’s ok. We aren’t in the production business when it comes to milk.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
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.

Frosty morning

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The cows in their new frosty paddock. They have one paddock left before they go into the pond for a day.

Today was the best day yet for a Spunky. We walked out to get her and she was already up and nursing. I wasn’t too pleased because the calf gets the rest of the day to nurse, we only get that mornings milking. However we were able to get Spunky out of the paddock and heading towards the barn before the other cows had even reached the wire. This let us have Spunky to the barn without moving the cows into their new paddock. This keeps Spunky from being conflicted because she wants to be in the new paddock but also she wants to go milk. Today she was able to do both as we held the beef cows in the old paddock till Spunky got back. A few more weeks and this will go like clockwork.

So back to the calf nursing. Today we got 2 full gallons of milk which is what Spunky was giving before we dried her off. Based on the milk mustache I know the Ninja calf got some too. We are still 60 days away from her maximum production so I feel good that we will get back in the swing of things and be making cheese and butter soon.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
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.

Bringing Spunky to the barn

http://youtu.be/hLTrMpwBBt8

This is the last few feet of 300 yards of walking. Spunky is following the yellow bucket and the food therein. At this point she’s just following as she’s not really eating that much on the walk. There are two ways to move a cow. The exciting way and the easy way. Having the cow willingly follow you is definitely the easy way. The first few days weren’t like this so it sure its nice when things work the easy way.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
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.

The canning gene passes on

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Mrs. Bar-B-Jew decided to get into the canning action and her first batch came out perfect. Canned apples just waiting to become an apple pie (hint, hint:) She was so into canning her first batch that she didn’t even have canning tongs and braved the boiling water and possible scalds with regular tongs. Luckily she made it through unscathed and is now properly equipped.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
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.

7125 Old Stage Road Raleigh NC