Friday, April 22, 2011

Turkey Time

Which one's the biggest turkey?Filling one man's pants?

Monday, April 18, 2011

OSHA Regulations

We are pleased to inform you that OSHA regulations have instituted some new changes to promote safety and well-being among bulldozer operators.
Bulldozer operators are now required to wear:
1. Personal flotation device.
2. Swimming goggles.
We hope that you will find these changes valuable to your personal well-being.


Appalachian Spring

Last Sunday we took the kids for a stroll, a little fishing, in short, a little springtime. I wish you could have seen this spot. It was so beautiful with water pouring out and moss everywhere. Unfortunately I was a wimp wearing tenner shoes and wasn't willing to risk wet feet for a better shot. :POur neighbor has a baby donkey. The kids enjoyed snooping around in someone else's barn, playing with his barn cats and admiring his BIG beef.
Another neighbor shared his pond. Davis wasn't as enthralled with fishing but loved the splash of throwing in big rocks.
Dad and Davis
The big kids baited their own hooks.
They also dug their own worms. Right in the yard.
Our remodeling project left its mark everywhere, even in the yard.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

How to play?

Thought from my six-year-old as Kenton was leaving for Easter play practice.

Daddy:I'm leaving for play practice. See you later.
Davis: Why?
Daddy: Because I need to learn how to play. Maybe you could teach me how to play.
Davis: I can teach you how to play....JUST MESS UP THE HOUSE.

That statement right there explains a lot about the condition of our real estate. I think a certain six-year-old needs more chores and NO play.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Milking Systems

For a blog entitled Life on the Farm I don't really talk about farming much. That could be because I don't KNOW much about farming...I just live with the affects( or is it effects? I never did get that figured out!)

WARNING: I MAY JUST THINK I KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT FROM HERE ON OUT.

Kenton has been looking at milking systems for quite awhile. We currently have a tie stall system for sixty cows. Tie stalls: the milker and equipment go to the cow. We...[why WE? I don't have any idea. I don't actually do much but provide moral and critical(you do know what I mean here, right?) support.] As I was saying, we switch cows around so we can milk 120 but that pretty much maxes us out...unless we want to deal with tons of even more inconvenience. We don't. But we're maxed out and have more cows coming fresh(having calves and being ready to milk). Something really needs to be done. We can sell those lovely mamas but they're not bringing much. We are maybe breaking even, if that. We'd rather have the milk.

We've been looking at parlors for years. Milking parlors that is. ( Did you wonder if I was off on another tangent? I am now. WHY do they call them milking parlors? Why not breastrooms? Okay, sorry that was really tacky, crude, and inappropriate. ) If I remember correctly, there are rotary, herringbone, parallel, swing, and parabone. (Are you impressed? Don't be, I might have just made that up.) Lots of options. You can get systems that tell you all kinds of information about the individual cow and its milk. Naturally, this can get into lots of money. The trick is figuring out HOW MUCH of the green stuff you have to spend to maximize efficiency effectively and how to persuade someone else to let you use their money to purchase it.

Anyway today we looked at three milking systems. In random order here's a lovely shot of the floor. For the uninitiated most floors housing this many bovines are covered with several inches of...future fertilizer. Look at that floor! You could practically eat off it...well, okay, that might be a stretch. But I walked across it with tenner shoes. That dark line down the center is actually a two/three inch hole where the manure is pushed down by a scraper pulled across it routinely by a motor. Kenton really liked it but is unsure how effective it would be in the winter months when things tend to freeze up. It is worth another look. Like this control gate? (Okay, I'm uncertain about that name.) After you look at the magical machine below, this will make more sense. But, the gate reads the cow's info and if it hasn't been milked it won't let it through the gate. It has to go back and be milked. Pretty fascinating. Welcome to the new century!
We took the munchkins along. They were not nearly as fascinated by the wave of the future. They preferred their own entertainment.

Drum roll, please...

Here it is, the wave of the future
!

This is so exciting.

Did you know they now have ROBOTS that can milk cows?
Notice, there are no human hands that have washed that lovely udder, put on the milker, took off the milker, dipped the teats. It's amazing!

I want one....NO! two or three.

Of course, now all we need is a fairy godmother with a wand.

Want to see the magic milking robot at work? Watch here.

videoI ran out of memory. Sorry, but if you're as fascinated by the magic milking robot at I am, Kenton says you can go to you tube and look for clips of the Lely robotic milker.

The cow decides when it's ready to milk and goes to the robot for milking. It can go three or four times a day if it wants(which means more milk and thus, $$) and if it has been too recently milked, the robot kicks it out! Haha! If the cow hasn't come, the computer will report it so the farmer knows to go chase the cow to the robot. There's lots of computer information being spewed out. If there's a problem the computer will call the farmer on his cell phone and report. If your cow acts sick, it reports. If you put medicine in one quarter (cows have four separate teats) it will dump the milk from the medicated quarter and send the other three quarters to the tank. Amazing! Do you think there's special place in heaven for the design team? Say, at the right hand of the Father?


After a second farm with robots we took a look at a BASIC double twelve parabone parlor. No frills. No offense to the farmer, but it was like stepping back a century.

"Calgon, take me away!" could become "Magic robot milkers, float us away!"

The sticker shock helps me realize that a straight jacket might be the natural accompaniment to robot milkers.

I need a new theme song. How about Old McHolly had a Robot... or She'll be Milking 'Round the Robot When She Comes... or Oh, When the Robots Come Milking In...or, Have a Holly-Jolly Milking...Wow! The options are limitless. Do you think they'd give us a significant discount if I offer to design their advertising campaign?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Odds and Ends

Q: Guess what happens when your husband's favorite movie is the Hoover Dam?
A: The kids dam up the culvert and everything from the ridge winds up in the front yard and basement.

Mom: What do you call a person who goes to space?
Davis: An avalanche.

Davis(sobbing): Jamison stepped on my foot.
Mom: Are you going to live?
Davis: I don't know.

We had overnight company the other night. I asked one of their three-year-olds what he has for breakfast.
A: Cake, cookies, and raisins.
I figured waffles with blueberry syrup was close enough.

Milk dud report: the farmer in the dell is planning lots of no-till for the year since gas prices are high. He hopes to get out and start spraying this week. Tomorrow he's planning to look at some milking options.

I need to head toward Baltimore sometime soon to apply for Kaitlyn's birth certificate.

The kids have five more weeks of school. They will probably survive the experience despite the frequent wrath of mom-in-stress.

Kenton's parents are home from Florida. As a welcome home we left lots of our stuff scattered all over their house(which is really scary because I TRIED to be meticulous about cleaning the place). We made sure that they're eager to head back to Florida next winter by letting all four kids swarm them during church.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sick

What is up with the nasty white stuff? Who wants to see this junk in April?!? I'm ready for spring. Yesterday it was in the 70s here and in Cumberland it was 85. Now, here we go again twelve hours later. Where do I direct a formal protest?


I'm crabby because I'm sick with laryngitis. Have you ever tried to homeschool without talking? You'd think my kids would be jumping for joy....but I made them double up on math and reading so we can double up on the science and social studies tomorrow... I'm planning to be better tomorrow. Much as I hate losing my voice, I'm really thankful to have it in my throat rather than in my sinuses. Horrible story, not going there, but really thankful that the evil now hits my throat rather than my nose.

I'm also sick because Kenton's oldest kid(not personally claiming anything right at the moment) has decided he likes to collect bugs. While I'm not wild about entomology, I drew the line over the live cockroach he decided was his new pet. He threw a fit when it collided with the bottom of my shoe. I threw a fit over his fit.


We're all enjoying the new kitchen. Here's something I haven't seen before. My kids choosing to play on the kitchen floor. In March. Don't look for Fancy Nancy books at the local library. We have all of them. :P
Here's the eating area...when it's all cleaned up...with birthday tulips.

We need the crown molding and a few touch up areas on drywall.

I love blue and white dishes. I've waited a long time to show off my collection. :)

I'm also a sucker for old bowls and red wing pottery. The lower right bowl was my grandma's butter bowl. The yellow and brown one in the back was what kicked off my collecting mania back when I was working my first job.

We're really pleased with how it's all turning out.

Okay, I love it. :D

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