Saturday, April 26, 2008

A pril 26, 2008, 2 New Editions to Our Farm

Hey Everyone. Cold and windy here in Cooks Creek. We had a Spring storm this week. Snow and freezin rain. Made for interesting driving and generally hard to get around, even on foot.

Two new Holstein bull calves are now a part of our farm. We brought them home yesterday from the dairy farm where my oldest daughter works. We are going to raise them for meat. Holsteins are not great meat cows. Their main purpose is dairy. It is for this reason bull calves sell cheap. Right up my alley. I like cheap. We can raise them and learn as we go. The only way to really learn is do it. I can read a hundred books but when I get to actually get experience and exposure then I can understand and build my confidence. Well, they have been here 24 hours and they are still alive, so, so far so good. My daughter is the teacher here. She is teachin her old dad a few tricks. One of her duties at the dairy is looking after the calves so I have a big advantage than just goin at this deal blind. When we got them home last night one of the first duties was to make them into steers. My daughter brought home a device that puts an o-ring deal around their testicles. The idea being it cuts the flow of blood to the testicles and they dry up and become non-functional. We did one calf but the others testicles had not fallen yet so we will wait until they drop to get him done. Cows smell a whole lot worse than horses. My daughter stinks. I guess I better qualify that by sayin she stinks when she comes home from work. I can sure see why now. She is working with dozens of calves for 10 to 12 hours a day. We only have 2 and I can already smell the cows on my jacket. She says "don't worry dad, after awhile ya don't really even notice it" Maybe you don't but everyone else does. Well, I wanted to be a farmer so in for a penny in for a pound. Learnin from my daughter gives me a certain sense of pride. Not sure why. Watchin her around those calves and dealin with them makes me kind of proud. She has a way with animals. God has givin her a gift. It is her calling. I can see it sure as anything. Everyone has a calling and hers is animals. What is real sad is when God gives ya a gift and it is wasted. I think it is our duty to use the gifts God gives us. May even be a sin not to do so. It is easy to tell what your gift is. It will be something you enjoy doing. It doesn't feel like work. Ya would do it even if ya didn't get paid. Ya do it because ya enjoy, no, maybe even love it. Because of this you will excel at it. You will be good at it. You will be great at it.

Well, I just wanted to tell ya about our new cows. I will leave it at that and talk to ya all real soon.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

April 12, 2008

Hey everyone. This will be a short post just to let ya know I'm still kickin. It is Saturday, late evening and I just came in from the shop got cleaned up and thought I would do a short post before I hit the hay. Finally got my hoist set up and working in the shop. Finished the electrical hookup this evening and all that is left is to straighten up the insulation in the attic I messed up while running the service from the panel to the hoist. We still have some snow layin around. I went out back to an old building. I have some stuff stored in there. I had a couple of rolls of wire out there so I went to get them. I actually was wading through snow up to my knees in the bush still. Suppose to get into the high 60s by Monday so that will knock the snow down some for sure. Wife is in the kitchen cookin soup for tomorrows church. It is our turn to supply soup for lunch. Man she fusses over that. Throw a case of can soup in a pot and take it to church. Done deal. I guess that is why the men don't bring soup. Actually that is not completely true. One of the fellas brought soup last week and it was good. Guess that is why the Mrs. is fussin so. Can't let a man show her up. My youngest daughter is out babysittin tonight, oldest daughter is in bed cause she has to work tomorrow mornin at 5:30. Son worked with me in the shop all day so he is tuckered and in bed too. Just me and the wife up. That don't happen too often. Got some old time country music playin on the squack box. Going to be orderin some chicks and turkeys pretty soon. Probably get them around middle of May. Maybe first week if weather looks like it is goin to be warm. We must be doin something right. People are phoning and ordering chickens and turkeys already. I sure hope we have a better year than last year. I never worked so hard at anything and got so little return. But I guess that is farmin. Well ya know I think I will call it a night and say so long. Got to get up early tomorrow, do some chores before church then off to church. Talk to ya all real soon.

Friday, March 28, 2008

March 28, 2008

Snowin in Cooks Creek. Not hard, just big flakes flutterin down. Don't think it will amount to much really. Last day of my three day vacation. What have I accomplished? I am embarrassed to say not much. Tinkering with this and that but no big projects have been completed. Have to finish the wife's taxes today. Have to make sure the Man gets his pound of flesh. I don't mind payin taxes. It is what the money is gettin used for. We have social programs comin out our ....... butts. We have people (read generations) who have not worked a day in their lives and have no intention of workin. I'm supportin them. So my wife and I not only have to raise our three children but I am payin for a half dozen lazy cusses that I don't even know. Our Premiere is off to some country over the duck pond askin for people to come to our country because of the opportunities here. Huh?? Our health care system and infrastructure can't cope with the people we have now. If there is so much opporturnity why are all these dead beats not workin? Mayby they just don't want to. Why work when there are more social programs than you can imagine for a person who has a work allergy to take advantage of. Now, don't get me wrong. Sometimes people need help. I have got no problem with that. I want to be a part of that help. A family that is down on their luck and needs a hand, a single Mom who has had some hard luck, a person with a disability can't work. I support and encourage our system in helpin. It is when the people your helpin is from geneation to generation. They are on a program, their parents are on a program and they are training their kids to get on a program. No time for that and payin taxes to support that, well, kind of gets a burr under my saddle. Many times in the big city at the stop lights you will see a person standing with a sign saying something like "Out of Work, Too Proud to Starve. Donations". They walk up and down the line of cars that are stopped at the light begging. Last summer one of them came up to my window. Just so happens I was in the process of trenching in electrical service to my barn. I needed 60 feet of trench 2 feet deep. I was doin it with a pick and shovel. Anysay, I rolled down my window and offed the fella a job. Come and help me trench, I'll give ya $10/ hour and the best supper ya ever ate. Didn't say a thing, not no thanks, nothin, just walked away to the next car. Now, this was an able bodied lad. Maybe 20 years old, looked in good shape. He was too proud to work but not too proud to beg. I wouldn't give one of those people one plug nickel. Never would and never will.

The answer to the last posts quote is Mark Twain. Mark Twain said "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education".

How about a joke.

A boy asks his dad if he can use the car and the dad replies "No, not until you cut your hair!”
The boy says "But dad, Jesus had long hair!"
To which his dad said, "Sure he did, but Jesus walked everywhere."

Now that is a good one. Come on laugh, Ya know ya want to.

Take er easy. God helps those that help themselves. Always has and always will.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

March 26, 2008

Good day everyone. Everyone? Ok, maybe the one or two people that stumble across this blog. Snowed in Cooks Creek last night. Bright and sunny today. Big high pressure system has moved in giving us a bright, sunny but somewhat cool day. It has also made it difficult to keep a good hot fire going in the wood stove. The high pressue makes it hard to get a good draft goin in the stove so the fire doesn't give off alot of heat. Actually went out twice already. Oh well, have to put on a sweater. I am at home for the next three days because I have 3 days vacation left that has to be used up by March 31st. Use it or loose it I was told so what could a fella do. Don't want to be a trouble maker so I will take 3 days off with pay. So here I sit with a cup of joe. It is not all fun and games. I cleaned up the breakfast dishes, started a fire 3 times, did a load of wash, took wash off the line (didn't fold it though, maybe later) and fed the chickens, cleaned nesting boxes and collected eggs and visited with the horses (fed them old candy canes I found). I'm not even tired yet but maybe I should take a nap just in case I'm over doin it ; - ).

Oh yea, From the last post, Who said "A man who cuts his own wood, warms himself twice".

It was Henry Ford.

The last post got us talkin around here about all the everyday knowledge my wife and I needed but was never taught in school. We made a list. All the items on the list could apply to anyone, not just people tryin to farm or homestead.

Our List.

How to sharpen a knife/scissors.
How to replace a broken handle (axe, hammer, shovel etc.)
How to build a fire.
How to charge/boost a vehicle's battery.
How to replace a wall plug/switch.
How to tie different knots.
How to sew a button on.
How to sharpen a shovel (or that a shovel needs to be sharp).
How to fill a tire with air.
How to change a tire.
How to wash clothes.
How to iron chothes.
How to mend clothes.
How to hang a picture.
How to frame a picture.
How to paint.
How to set a table.
How to clean a house.
How to buy groceries.
How to speak in public.

All of these are basic skills everyone of us require, if not on a daily basis certainly many times a year. I was lucky enough to have family and friends who taught me these skills. Some yung uns aren't so lucky. The items listed are things my wife and I came up with back when we were in school. The list today could include items like how to be respect and talk to your peers, how to be honest, how to respect yourself, how to respect others property, how to repect your elders, how to dress, how to act in public etc . My wife and I were were taught these things in school but they are not taught or enforced in todays schools. Feel free to comment (for or against) and add to the list if ya can thing of more examples.

Time for a quote,, who said,

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

Answer on the next post.

Remember, If God is with ya, who can be against ya.

Have a great day. Talk to ya all real soon.

Monday, March 24, 2008

March 24, 2008 & Axe Handles

Hello from Cooks Creek. Snowing and blowing here. Temperature is around the freezing point. Very dull day. We’re havin venison stew and homemade buns for supper. Eatin high on the hog as usual. Hey, if ya got it, why not flaunt it. The good Lord provides and life is good (even if the weather sucks). Just ordered half a beef from a neighbor. Suppose to get it in 2 to 3 weeks. We have bought ground beef from this fella before and it has always been excellent. In fact, it is so good I refuse to eat the swill they sell at the supermarket now. My plan is to raise a couple of my own this year. That’s the plan. The easy part. Now, to make it happen.

Finally got around to replacin one of my axe’s handles this afternoon. Now, there is a story. About 2 months ago I broke the handle on one of my axes. I have a couple of axes so I just set it aside and grabbed up another one. That very week one of the stores in the city put out a flyer and 36 inch axe handles are on sale for $7.99/ea. That is a real good price (too good) so since I needed one I makes my way down there after work to pick up a couple (one for the broken handle and a spare). So, I goes into the store and ask for the handles. They tell me they don’t have them. They didn’t come in. Ok, Can I get a rain check? Uh, yea I guess so. So they give me a rain check for two 36 inch axe handles. Fast forward a couple of months and about half dozen trips back to the store and I still don’t have any handles. Now it is getting personal. I have been told everything from we expect them tomorrow to they are in transit and could be here any day now, we will phone you as soon as they come in. Now, many people only have one axe and can’t wait over two months for a handle. About a week ago I heads back to the store. Hi, I have a couple of axe handles on rain check, are they in yet. Let me see, click click click on the computer. No sir, but they have been shipped. Yea right. I makes my way to the handle section and what do ya know there are a couple of 36 inch axe handles there. Asks the the clerk if these are the same ones on sale and she reluctantly says they are. So I got them! So,after using $50 dollars worth of fuel drivin back and forth to the store I got my $7.99 axe handles. Actually that makes them $32.99/each. Not such a good deal after all. But I got them! Could of bought the handles for $15.00/ea in town 2 monthes ago.

Speakin of axe handles, why don’t they teach ya how to replace handles in school. I went to school for 13 years (counting kindergarden) and I was never shown how to replace a handle of any kind. Now, that is an important skill that everyone needs to know. I was taught how to speak French, the history of England and all about almost every country in this world but was never shown or told how to replace an axe, shovel or hammer handle or any handle for that matter. I have required that knowledge dozens of times but I have never once had to talk to anyone in French or had to know who Henry VIIIs 6th wife was or how she died (if he had 6 wives). Why don’t the schools teach skills that are useful. They have the boys makin aprons (sewing) and the girls building piggy banks (carpentry). Just so they are politically correct. If a boy doesn’t have a Dad, Uncle or older brother to teach him some of the impotant things he is behind the 8 ball. For all you people that are home schoolin. I got a dandy shops project for ya all. Replace a handle on an axe. A skill that once learned will be useful and passed on to other generations. The link below kind of over simplifies it but it is a good start.

Here is a link on how to do it.

No joke tonight, instead a saying,

"A man who chops his own wood, warms himself twice".

Anyone know who said that?

I will give ya the answer in the next post.

Talk to ya all soon.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday here in Cooks Creek. Just got back from church. As I mentioned in a previous post a bunch (4 or 5) of churches got together this mornin and had a church service together followed by a lunch. Very enjoyable. It was great to be able to be a part of a celebration like that. It was at the Oakbank Baptist Church. In the world of churchs it is probably kind of small. In the Cooks Creek world it was huge. My family was blessed to be able to fellowship and be a part of this celeabration of Christians in the Sprinfield area. Now what to do for the rest of the day. Oldest daughter is going ridin. Youngest daughter is bakin a Paska. She just ran out of the house to the coop because she realized she didn't have any eggs (We got cleaned out of eggs this week, havin to turn many of our customers away empty handed). Doesn't say much for my farmin ability when a chicken farmer doesn't have any eggs. Oh, she just came back in. She has three and says that will be enough for her Paska. Kind of neat to be able to run a hundred feet and get your needs. I should start up the tractor and clean the corrals again. As the snow melts, more and more manure shows itself. If we don't keep it cleaned up the horses will roll in it and makes an awful mess. Wife is takin a nap in the chair next to me. Pretendin she is readin but I am pretty sure ya can't read with your eyes closed. At least I never could. That church service and lunch must of tuckered her out. Poor ol gal. Can't keep up to us young uns. Maybe I will go and play some catch with my son. Hhe has signed up for baseball this year and is tryin to improve his skills since he hasn't played before. That is what I am going to do. Garret grab your glove and ball and lets go play some catch. Talk to ya all later. Happy Easter, Jesus has risen and because of it we have eternal life. Now there is something to celebrate.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

March 16, 2008

Well, Spring is here. After we came home from Church today, two greater Canada geese flew over the house. March 16th, I do believe that is the earliest I have ever seen geese. Actually that isn't completely true since I did not actually see them. My wife did. She came into the house all excited and tellin me about the geese. So, It is official. Spring has arrived in Cooks Creek. No matter what the weather. Geese are back. Spring has arrived. I spent the afternoon cleaning the corral. The girls and wife went riding. Hey, why am I cleaning horse manure and they are off riding the critters that created the poop. Doesn't seem fair. Oh well, they owe me big time now.

Once a month our church does the pot luck deal. Everyone brings a dish and after the service we all sit around and have lunch together. One of the fellas I was visiting with today works in the public education system as a teacher. He commented that when we were young (45 years ago) and started into the school system, the average vocabulary of a child that started into kindergarten was 2500 words. Today the average vocabulary of a child that starts in kindergarten is 500 words. Coincidentally the average vocabulary used in your typical tv sitcom is 500 words. Hmmm, may be some kind of connection. He also commented that 75% of the kids that enter grade 9, when tested, are two grades below the grade 9 level. My question is, why are they in grade 9? If they are not at a grade 9 level why has the system passed them through and allowed them to advance when they are not capable of that level of work. By allowing the children to advance without meeting the standards only hurts the children. A child can't fail a grade anymore. No matte what they do or don't do they will move through the school system and in 12 years graduate high school. With this being said and true, what value is a high school education. What has the child learned and what qualities have we instilled in that child. This is why kids leave school and enter the work force and have so much difficulty. They don't know what responsability is, what work ethic is, how to work, or how to make a commitment. What do you mean you want me to be punctual? Commit to a project, don't I just have to show up once in awhile and you will pay me. It is sad but true. Our education system is part of the problem. It is not a solution. I have been told it is the children's home life. Parents don't read to their children anymore. Parents don't spend time with their children. Too much tv. Parents don't secure family values in their children. Families don't eat together. I could go on and on. It is all true. But why has it become a bad thing to set standards in the school system and have the children meet those standards or else fail? What say you? My oldest daughter works at a dairy farm. It is hard, dirty work. Long irregular hours. It is almost imposssible for them to get young people to work there. Plain and simple most just don't want to work. Why? Maybe because they have never had to and don't know how. Don't do your math homework, we will just reconstuct your course so you can complete your math with little or no effort. Don't want to come to school. We will make you part of a special needs group that doesn't have to attend regular classes. Fast forward and they get a job at the dairy farm. They don't understand that the cows require milking at 5:30 am. I don't want to come in at 5:00 am, lets just milk the cows once a day at noon. Or better yet lets do it once every other day. We are in for a rocky ride. It ain't the childrens fault. It is our fault, the people responsible for the system (school and parents). Parents are using the school system as a babysitting service/drop in center and the school system is bailing on their reponsibities because the parents aren't preparing little Johnny for school. No win. Little Johnny can't figure out why he don't fit in when he gets into the work force and the wheels of the bus go round and round.

There, I haven't had a rant in a spell. Anyone agree or disagree.

Talk to ya all soon.