A tractor trailer load of cantaloupes

Miguel sorta casually mentioned there was a truck coming. Not too unusual. Normally we go get the produce but sometimes we get a delivery. We like deliveries. They save us time, fuel, tires, brakes, etc.

Then he slipped in it was an 18 wheeler. Oh, now that is a little different. We usually get one or two of those a year. What are we getting this time?

Cantaloupes. Oh goody, those are almost as good as watermelons. Everyone on the farm eats cantaloupe and they are easy to unpack and get ready for the animals.

Food bank truck full of produce
Food bank truck full of produce

The truck was late, of course. The downside to deliveries is they are never on time. Apparently the driver had had a flat tire so that is understandable. Often it is just they didn’t come when they promised so at least this time it was legitimate.

Bringing the pallets to the edge so we can offload them
Bringing the pallets to the edge so we can offload them

The problem with something like a tractor trailer of produce is that we don’t normally have the setup for offloading them. Miguel borrowed this pallet jack so we could move the pallets from the front of the truck to the back where we could reach them with the tractor. We certainly aren’t complaining about all this goodness showing up, but it is different from what we are normally setup for. It just takes a bit of a different approach.

Pallets of cantaloupes
This isn’t even all of them

Everyone on the farm is munching on cantaloupes for the next few weeks, which is a God send. We have been doing well this winter on produce, but having something like this gives us a ton more flexibility. Almost as much as the truck driver needed to get out of the farm. He was too tall to get under our power lines so we had to back him up onto a side road. While good natured, it was obvious he was frustrated with our tight quarters. I felt bad for the guy, but he did a great job getting out.

Now if I could just talk Duke Power into raising out power lines up to where they are supposed to be. I’ve tried in the past. No luck.

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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.

Why am I getting up so early?

This past week we have been back to milking around here. No, not we as a farm, we as in Spork and myself, and Lucy. Erin and Mark have about 1.5 weeks off from milking so everyone else has jumped in to cover their job.

I milked every day when we first started milking cows. It is fun and it turns into a routine after a week or so, so that you don’t even mind it. It actually is a nice start to the day. We only milk once per day anyway so it really is just an adjustment to your morning. Erin and Mark have taken over milking so 99% of the time they take care of it now, which is awesome. But then Lucy moved onto the farm and she was eager to learn how to milk. Good. That takes care of the other 1%

So when Erin wasn’t available, Lucy would tag in and milk. But that usually meant Lucy and her husband Jason. Either way, it didn’t mean that I had to get back into it, for which I was thankful.

I usually wake up bright and early, and I’m already well behind. There are always posts to write, bills to pay, accounting to do, etc, etc. Basically, I can never leave the office all day, and still never be truly caught up. If I do leave the office, there is no shortage of things to do on the farm. Not needing to go milk too is a blessing and lets me start my day doing something that I really need to get done.

But then Jason hurt his shoulder, as in you’re having surgery tomorrow hurt. So he was out of commission. Everyone else was already doing all they could, so Spork and I had to tag back in on milking. No worries, I’ve done this before. I let Lucy take lead since she was doing the actual milking and more importantly managing Jason, and all the milking gear.

“What time do you want to milk?”

“5:00am. I’m up anyway with Jason.”

Calf nursing Betsy
After milking, the calves are eager to get any milk that is left. The immediately nurse to get every drop that we missed

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You see, I usually get up between 4-5am anyway. 3am isn’t uncommon. I really enjoy getting up early, having that alone time first thing in the morning to get writing done, office work knocked out, etc. It is the way my dad was (3:30am every day) and it really works for me. However SWMBO HATES mornings. As in, there is nothing more important in the world than her getting to stay in bed till the last minute. If she is forced to get up, she gets up, grumps around till she does whatever she has been forced to do, then goes back to bed. No matter if it is daytime, no matter if everyone else is already up. It is a matter of principle that she stays in bed till her self determined time to get up.

SWMBO has expressed that maybe, just maybe, I could not get up so God awful early and start stomping around the house. And on the flip side,  I could therefore actually stay awake through the movie/dinner/board game/whatever that only lasts till 8:30 but I fall asleep through it anyway. And I, through great personal effort, had accomplished this goal. I was staying awake till 9-10pm, and getting up at, gasp! 6:30 or so, sometimes even 7! I felt dirty and lazy, but I was actually seeing  my family a bit which is nice.

“Did you say milk at 5 am? Um, ok, yeah, we’ll meet you then.”

The first morning, Lucy was ragged having been up with Jason. Spork was his normal stoic self. I was putting on airs of being normally functional but I was a combination of exceedingly, head achingly tired, and a wee bit hungover. Which is a lot like day 2 at a Deere meeting so really nothing new for me. We carried on a few days like that, nobody complaining, until Lucy announced that maybe 6:30 was a better time to milk.

Characteristically. Spork and I just nodded and said ok. No big deal either way, Lucy. Inside we both sighed with relief. At 6:30 it is light instead of doing this in the dark. It also went from “God I hate winter, why is it still cold in late March!” weather to shorts and flip-flops weather. So milking has become much more pleasant for everyone this later part of the week.

Calf nursing Hedy
Hedy and her calf, also nursing immediately after mom gets back into the pasture

I think that we’ll have this down to a science just about the time that Erin takes back over. Unfortunately, I’m getting up at 4-5am again with no effort. Looks like I’m going to have to work on being lazy again.

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.

An escaped cow, and #50 has a new calf, #94

Last night just as I was cooking dinner I received a phone call.

“One of your cows is out.”

Ugh, Sunday night during dinner? What a time to get out. I finished up dinner quickly, ate like someone who’d been starving to death for the last month, and then raced out the door to get our errant cow. The fact that it was nearly dark, and that the bottle of wine was nearly empty didn’t add to my excitement over this situation.

Luckily Spork eats faster than I do, and Dustin was up having dinner with us. So the boys all headed over in the increasing darkness. We saw the calf out, walking along the fence line trying to figure out how to get back in. I’d planned ahead and had brought the tools I needed to disassemble the fence. I’d also thought to unplug the fence charger, saving that bit of excitement.

With help from both boys, plus all of the cows who came over to watch the excitement, I took the fence apart. There are four wires that need to be disassembled. I started at the top, because I am old and bending over hurts. May as well warm up on my way to the bottom wire.

I quickly decided that the bottom wire was going to stay attached because if his butt managed to get out through four wires, he could very well hop over one to get back in. Plus that last wire was way down there and I didn’t feel like getting it.

As I was unhooking the third wire, it suddenly snapped out of my hands. I looked over to see that our calf had nearly jumped the third wire coming back into the pasture. Nearly as in not really. Luckily I had it apart already so it just flopped onto the ground. With now ALL of all of the cows looking at us, we went about putting the fence back together. Luckily Miguel and Vicente have been doing fencing the past week and all the fence tooling is in the Gator, including the fence puller which is required for putting this type of fencing back together. Otherwise we’d really have been in a pickle keeping the cows in for the night.

While cursing, laughing, and generally getting things done by cell phone light (thanks Dustin) I managed to get the fence back together and ready to contain cows. While working, I looked over at the cows and noted a calf that looked new. Kinda hard to tell which black cow is which in the dark, but I didn’t think this one was here before. I wasn’t chasing him down in the dark, so I texted Miguel to let him know so he could look in the morning.

Sure enough I got a text this morning, #94 was born Sunday to Sprinkles, #50.

Our new little girl calf, #94
Our new little girl calf, #94

Sprinkles is one of our great moms. A girl calf from her, with Boyd as the dad, should make for a good momma. Hopefully this little girl will be a keeper.

Proud momma, #50
Proud momma, #50

I have no idea how the cow got out. He was young, so probably doing something stupid. There is nothing wrong with the fence.

 

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.

Swarm boxes are hanging out in our trees

Our awesome beekeeper, Jennifer from Buck Naked Farm, contacted me while I was out of town and asked if she could put up a swarm box at our place. Since we’ve had plenty of experience with swarms here at the farm, I thought it was a great idea. Rather than trying to explain what a swarm box is, I’ll let the expert do it better than I ever could. See the link below to read about how Jennifer catches swarms of bees.

Swarm boxes and a visit to Buck Naked Farms website

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.

What do you mean “build an airplane!?”

So you may have noticed that the blog has been quiet the past few weeks. Lucy has posted a few recipes, but other than that, nothing. That is because for the past two weeks straight, Spork and I have been out of town and out of communication (no internet). We’ve been in Grantsboro, NC building an airplane. No, not like this.

paper airplane
My previous airplane building experience

But like this.

Spork and Robbie, building the flaps
Spork and Robbie, building the flaps

Now, I know what you are thinking. An airplane?! Is it a million dollars? What kind of money are you making farming?!

First, let me assure you, we aren’t talking about something like this.

Cessna Jet in flight
Yeah, I wish.

It’s more like this. 

That’s a bit unfair.

This is actually what we are building.

Yellow and grey Just SuperSTOL
Just Aircraft SuperSTOL (Somebody elses)

If you didn’t know I was a pilot, here is the post that you missed.

This project has been about four years in the making. I’m not going to bore everyone here with my airplane talk, not today nor in the future. Suffice to say this is a father/son adventure, one that the Mrs. put us on. Spork and I are doing this massive project (1000 hours build time) together, and we will continue to work routinely on it for at least the next year. Spork will be both building the airplane beside me, and also posting on farmerflier.com his thoughts and feelings as we go through the process. Basically after we finish the plan, he should be an experienced airplane builder, a pilot, and a blogger. Not a bad skill set for what will then be a 16 year old kid.

Instead of posting the details here on our farm site, which would make no sense, over the past several months I’ve been building a new website dedicated to this airplane build. All the questions like why we decided to build an airplane, why we picked the airplane that we did, etc will be posted over there. The blog posts over there will be a running series of articles about the build. These will serve as both a journal of our experience as well as for the FAA when it comes time to certify our airplane. I also will be posting our general aviation related stuff there as well, because sometimes I get neat pictures I want to share.

There is a separate email subscription for the aviation site, as well as a Facebook page linked to the build if that is the way you prefer to follow what is going on. If all you want to know about is fuzzy critters, then there is nothing to do. If you would like to keep up with the build, and the aviation related shenanigans (flour bombing has already been discussed and tentatively planned) then head over to farmerflier.com and sign up, Like, or whatever is your choice of keeping informed.

I have a mountain of pictures and posts to get up from our first two weeks of building so expect more content over the next several weeks.

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.

At Last Oven Pastrami

In Honor of St Patrick’s Day we are repeating this 3 part series.

The Big Finally is here lets make some Pastrami!

Last week I brined my brisket, Sunday night I slice it & made corned beef. Today were are going to use the power of smoked paprika to make this brisket into something magical.  This whole week I have struggled back in forth. Do I cold smoke to I hot smoke, then it came to me. Most people do not have access to a smoker hot or cold, they do however have access to the grocery store & an oven. The whole premise of how I cook is to make it easy for those at home to follow and do the same. Let’s go!

As you can see the left over portion of my brisket is small, There will only be a few servings. Next time I make this I will order one of the giant 12 pounders and make enough for left overs.

 

Store Manager and resident chef at Ninja Cow Farm LLC
Lucy lives and works on Ninja Cow Farm. Most days you'll find her tending to the garden or working in the store. She's cooked in restaurants and as a Personal Chef.

Corned Beef 

With St Patrick’s Day close by we are republishing some old recipes

St Patrick’s day is getting closer do you have your Brisket yet. The good new is that you still have time. The recipe I posted last week only takes 3-5 days. For you last minute folks out there (like me) this one is for you.

The dark color is due to not using nitrates in the brining process. I used beet juice unfortunately it was not dark enough to preserve the color

 

This past weekend my family hosted a farm game night for all of us that live here at NCF. We served the Corned Beef with Cabbage, it was a big hit.  It scored a solid 8 out of 10, every last morsel of the beef was consumed.

Mark & Dustin grabbing their dinners.
SWMBO didn’t even get a bite.

The only issue we had was coloring and it may have been due to my beet juice not having enough of the coloring in it. My beet juice was not nearly as colorful as other brands I’ve seen out there. In fact it was downright pale.

 

Store Manager and resident chef at Ninja Cow Farm LLC
Lucy lives and works on Ninja Cow Farm. Most days you'll find her tending to the garden or working in the store. She's cooked in restaurants and as a Personal Chef.