Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I grabbed my rifle, stood on a pile of logs and took aim at the dog attacking my livestock. I fired a shot into the ground close to it, and it froze when it heard the gunshot. If the dog had not stopped the attack the second shot would have been into its head.
I took a couple of steps closer to the dog with the intent of grabbing it and it started after the turkeys again. A second shot got it to stop again, and it took another shot for me to get close enough to the dog to grab it by the collar, about an acre or so into my property.
Rifle in one hand and dog in the other, I met the dogs owner 25' inside my gate. "I'm sorry that my dog got out of the fence". "lady, the only reason I didn't shoot your dog today was that it stopped attacking when I fired near it. It would have been easier to shoot it and let you remove the dead dog. Keep your dog on a leash until you're INSIDE the dog park, and put it on a leash before you leave the dog park. This is an agricultural area. Respect that. "
I talked to Chris Newman, who is running the dog park, and explained I'd had another dog related incident. This is the 6th one. "Bruce, I've told people to keep their dogs on lease, I'd support you if you shot one". I've asked him to put a better fence up on his side, but he thinks that the current dog park fence is enough.
I don't think that most folks who take their dogs to an offleash area consider they may lose their dog as a result. I don't like being the bad guy here, but I've done about all I can do. I've been clear, I've spent $4,000 on fencing, and I've lost livestock.
Maybe I should just start shooting them.
"...Egypt slaughtered all its pigs and the central African nation of Gabon became the latest nation to ban pork imports, despite assurances that swine flu was not related to eating pork. "
Original stories can be found here and here.
Egypt has a christian minority that eats pork, but is a primarily muslim nation; given the religious prohibitions against pork in islam, I'm not surprised that this seems like a reasonable step.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
So this is my used tractor. It's a circa-1993 Kubota 9580. At 100 hp it's got a lot out power, and with 4wd and a shuttle transmission, it's pretty handy around the farm. I paid $16,000 for it, and so far I've spent around $1,000 maintaining it. That's the drawback to used equipment -- you have to fix it.
The other issue with used equipment is that you often don't know the maintenance that was done. So I look at what I'm going to buy carefully, but you're really limited in what you can know. So my routine for buying equipment is to do all of the maintenance that might reasonably be due.
Oil & filter change, hydraulic fluid & filter change, fuel filter change, greasing all fittings (that was a fun 4 hours, let me tell you!), checking the toe-in of the front tires, and so on. With this tractor I also had to mount the drivers side door and rear glass window on the cab; I got the glass as part of the deal, but had to buy the various hinges and so on from kubota (for !!!$500!!! -- are they gold plated? yeesh!) and mount the glass.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Turkeys are pretty silly.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Here the piglets are running at me in a group. So fast, in fact, that I can't take the picture fast enough to catch them all. They're fascinated by my muddy boots.
Friday, April 24, 2009
We had 4 lambs. One of the ewes had a single lamb, the other had triplets. I'm inexperienced with lambs and sheep in general, so I was watching to see when the lambed, but really don't know what to expect, or what is normal.
With pigs, it's pretty normal to lose a pig or two out of a litter -- they're stillborn or die a few hours after being born. So when I found a dead lamb in the pasture the day they were born I chalked it up to that. But I didn't find the lamb until after a pig had found it (I assumed) and all that I found was the head and spine. The rest was gone. But the other three lambs were fine.
I excluded the pigs from that pasture on general principles -- I don't know if a pig will eat a live lamb, but I don't want to find out, either. So having done that, all looked good and I watched for the next day or two. I was a bit concerned about the interactions between the lambs and the cows, afraid the lambs might get stepped on, but it looked ok.
But today all of the lambs were dead. Click on pictures for bigger versions if you want to see more detail.
Small wound on ear; not a serious attempt to eat it, just a bite wound. No tissue missing, just some blood.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Click on the pictures for a bigger version, and use the bushes in the background to orient yourself. So the row immediately to the left of the tractor is a pass with the harley rake, and further left is the tiller. The harley rake didn't do a very good job. The big clumps of sod and clay got caught up in it, and it ended up dragging a lot of material; enough material that it stopped forward progress of the tractor, so I had to lift the implement and back up. The tiller just chewed up the sod and laid down a bed that was ready to go in a single pass.
Ok. So lets see how the harley rake does filling in a furrow. The water filled furrow in the center of the picture is about 18" deep. Here goes.
Ok -- it did fill in the furrow a little bit, but the finish is uneven, and as last time, I had to stop, fiddle with the implement, and go forward a bit. To get a finished seed bed I'd be happy with would take another complete pass.
Summary: Harley rake is not the implement I'd choose to level plowed ground. I'd rather use a disc or a tiller. In this particular job I had to use a tiller because of the close quarters work. If I had a wide open field, a disc would do as good a job and be much faster than tilling. The harley would take 2 passes to get a consistent surface that the tiller achieved in 1 pass.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Some of the people wanted to till it themselves, some wanted it tilled. I think that the smarter ones are the ones who wanted it tilled and lime added. The soil is pretty acidic, and lime moderates that acidity. I'll be interested in seeing if the folks who didn't want their plots tilled, like the folks on the right here, with the water troughs, actually do dig their plots up by hand. I charged a nominal fee for this work, basically fuel and time at $20/hour. To dig up one of these plots by hand would take most of a work week. Thick sod and heavy clay.
Monday, April 20, 2009
These are pretty big structures; here's my brother Bryan standing on a 10' tall ladder for scale and perspective.
The pictures above is of the damage turkeys have done to another hoophouse that I'm housing them in.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I got her from a fellow who thought that he wanted to pig farm, but then realized about 4 months into it that you actually need to care and feed for the animals every single day. Surprise!
I'll buy individual animals if I think that they're nice looking, or entire litters from other farmers from time to time. I do that to have the opportunity to grow them out and look at them to see if there's something interesting I'd like to add in terms of genetics to my herd. The jury is out as to whether the long pig will work out on pasture as a mother though. Hope she does.
The color variation is pretty fun. You can see the faint outline of the characteristic hampshire stripe on the long pig -- the white on the front shoulder with the black rear. But the piglets are wildly spotted and dappled. Click on the picture for a bigger version.
While I'm taking these pictures the long pig is giving a serious of low contented grunts as she nurses her piglets. GRUNT! GRUNT! GRUNT!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
The black pig is pretty pregnant, and today it was sunny, and, for her, a bit warm at 60 degrees. So half the day she spent laying in the hay and making a nest, with frequent visits to the spa -- a wallowing hole about 30 feet away that she maintains as mud. She actually bastes herself in the mud, first one side, then the other. You can see here that she's half-done. She'll flop over on the other side in a second.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Here's my trailer loaded with the frames, members, plastic and channel for the greenhouses. I figure the load is about 3,000lbs.