kragore: (Raven)
Going out to the folks this weekend to help build a cattle chute.
This is necessary to make sure the girls are knocked up, and my $800 bull rental got his job done.

Good times, good times.
kragore: (Default)
The Old Man looks up in surprise
bent nearly in half, his body a constant knot of pain
the morning sun dull in his weary, sorrowful eyes
"They're all gone, S....
We've got more cats than cows now.
I never thought I'd see the day..."
He trails off, looking down the aisle,
through the years
lost in the memories of hundreds of cattle
and millions of gallons of milk
collected over more than a half century

His wife, spent,
filled with equal parts mourning and relief
leans heavy on the pitchfork
her boots caked, her back stooped.
"Hopefully those boys will call soon."
she says with a sigh
"It's a job for the young."
emotion making her voice bright
She gently leans the fork in it's accustomed place
She must go home to rest.

The barn swallows continue their ballet
The cleaning machine clatters out a death rattle
The barn sighs
hollow and empty in the constant, constant breeze

We shovel and scrape and clean for hours.
Not for pay
Not for pleasure
But out of respect for the Old Man and his wife
We do homage at an alter
to a way of life
a time before our own

We leave
unspoken, one more thing to be done
it's off to town and back again,
a 5 minute ride
quietly, with a wan smile that family born of common struggle shares
She hands the Old Man a sack and a cup
we hear him chuckle as we turn to leave

"Jelly, my favorite."
kragore: (Default)
Agricultural use property with housing on site.

Desired specs:
Min. 5 Acre lot, zoned for Ag. use in Right-to-Farm community.
House with min 2 bedrooms, full kitchen, bathroom, laundry hookups.
Within 5-10 miles of Westborough, MA (preferably within 5-10 miles of Berlin, MA)
Willing to look at Rent or Purchase.

Would be nice:
Outbuilding for Ag. use
Basement
Woodstove

Any leads, drop me a line.

*EDIT - Would also like to talk to anyone who has any experience dealing with USDA loans.
kragore: (Cattle)
And we get together and have great fun talking over semen catalogs.

After asking the girls who they prefer (literally, she took the catalog out to the pasture and they all had a look,) we will be introducing genetics from these fine gents into the herd:

http://www.accelgen.com/htm/sire_pages/014HP01007.html
http://www.accelgen.com/htm/sire_pages/014HP01017.html
http://www.accelgen.com/htm/sire_pages/014HP01009.html

and throwing in a bit of Charolais for fun with the older shorthorn X Cow who we're not sure will take:
http://www.accelgen.com/htm/sire_pages/014CH05017.html

Because the Accelerated dealer is trying to get new clients, we got a reduced price!
Rather than $20+ a straw, (that's the unit they are sold in, generally you get two per cow you're breeding to make sure it takes) we got them about $12-13.
We'll get the registration certificates once little baby cow hooves hit the ground - no use buying them before they are born.

It's like being a warped Bovine Yenta....
kragore: (Default)
new photos up on the other blog.
www.last name design.com
- K.
kragore: (Default)
Friday:
When you have gotten home late from work,
And your brain says to you
"Self,
It may not be a very good idea to sit here on the couch in front of the TV while dieing your brown leather bits black."
"But Brain" you snarl back, "It's late, I'm cranky, and the sooner I can get this done the sooner I can have my *insert some sort of instant food here* and go to bed."
"I'm just sayin' - it's not the brightest idea to be doing this in the living room - that coffee table is just the right height where an errand twist of the armor cou...."

*glug glug glug*

*SON OF BEEEEEEEEP
...
BEEEEEEEEEP
BEEP BEEP BEEP
....
BEEEEEEP BEEEEEEP BEEP BEEEEEP

So in the end I had USMC black leather die down my leg, in my sock, in my shoe and all over my carpet. Luckily the trunk I use for a coffee table is already black, because that was covered too.

Sometimes - sometimes the brain is smarter than I give it credit for.

Rest of weekend... )
kragore: (Default)
"T-Bone"
Born 6:30 am, 4/6/10
About 40 lbs, give or take.
2 ears, 4 legs, Brown w/White Face.

He will live a good life - with real grass, and real mud. He will play in the rain, snuffle in the snow, swat at flies. We will care for him if he's ill, give him molasses treats, and in the end, he will be tasty, tasty steaks.

LOL

Jan. 14th, 2010 12:16 pm
kragore: (Default)
Yep - it really is that time of year, when ALL the "seed" catalogs start coming in...
http://bullbarn.com/home.asp

HorseChaser and I think Feltons Legend 242 might be a suitable mate for our darlings. He's got excellent calf ease, and he's not too type-y...
kragore: (Default)
...when the Christmas lights look a touch tawdry, and the slow, quiet creep of winter needs something to juxtapose it so that you can tolorate it, even appeciate it, for the next however many months.
It is the glorious season of the seed catalog. Their bright, cheerful, flower filled pages greeted me like so many wise Aunts and Uncles when I was home for Christmas.
Millers. Burpee. Johnny's. My new absolute favorite has to be RH Shumway's.
(http://www.rhshumway.com/)
It was the design of the thing that caught me - it's a seed catalog stuck in a time warp. It is illustrated in woodcut style, and designed like a catalog you'd find on a kitchen table in the late early 1900's. I got a dose of flowery green things and a dose of design all in one sitting.
Heaven.
kragore: (Default)
(Scene opens. It is dark. It's 9* out, wind chill is -20*. We are in an unheated barn, lit with 3 bare light bulbs.)
(Cue wind howling sound effect.)
(Cue cows chewing sound effect.)

Horse Chaser, (shoveling) - "Now, won't you be glad to get back to your nice warm apartment!"

Self, (shoveling) - "Sweetheart, this shit right here is predicable. It even freezes predictably. Cow + food + time always equals shit. If something happens and shit isn't the outcome, we both know something has gone terribly wrong. The book says so.
Now the type of shit I shovel regularly, it's not ever so wonderfully predictable, which means you don't know when it's going to hit the fan, you only know it will. So to speak"

Horse Chaser (pausing) - "Well, there's that. You're welcome to my shit anytime."

Self, (picking up pick axe and menacing frozen cow shit) - "You're so kind."
kragore: (Default)
Apparently, there is a great canned pumkin shortage in the greater MA area, due to low pumpkin yealds this year.

Ask me how I know.

Anyway, you might want to build in an extra few hours for rendering down pumpkin this fall if any of your recipies call for canned pumpkin.
It's not hard - halve small sugar pumpkin, scoop out seeds and goo, place on foil lined cookie sheet, cut side down and roast until soft, cool, remove flesh from skins and smoosh through strainer. Let stand in fridge for night, remove excess moisture, use as you would canned pumpkin.

But it's time consuming, and many of the sugar pumpkins I've picked up locally were still a bit green.
I will now add processing and freezing pumpkin in 1 cup increments to the list of things I can do in my "spare" time...
kragore: (Default)
After a lot of bitching, whining, (maybe a little crocodile tears) and conjoling, (maybe a few beers,) Horsechaser and I got Dad to agree to buy fenceposts and start fencing in parts of the pasture.

This is a very good thing. There is a sale next weekend. If you come home with critters, you'd better have somewhere to put 'em.
Used old railroad ties for the corner posts, sunk them 4'. Used pressure-treated 4x4"s, sunk about 2-3' in between. We're still working on what's going to go inbetween - we've got some 8'+ lengths of ash in the barn, but no nearly enough to do the whole fence. Horsechaser will work on that part this week.

New England is good for growing rocks. Even in fields that have been cultivated for 50+ years. I'm a big fan of the 8" auger that goes on the back of the tractor. I'm less a fan of the 4" power auger that one has to operate like a jackhammer. Who knew a 4" rock could stop dead a 4" auger?
Still, the first row of posts are up.

At one point, as the temp was getting hot, and the black flies were whining, Dad looked at up and said, "You know - I just don't get it. There aren't a lot of girls who'd be out here doing this for their pop - for themselves... I just don't understand."
HorseChaser got quiet. All I could say was "Dad - This is exactly the type of "status meeting" I want to be having. If I never have to sit through another "One-on-one" that dosen't involve me bottle feeding critters, I'll be a happy, happy girl."

He grunted and gave us this wierd look that for the life of me I couldn't read.

We fired up the auger again, and we proceeded to beat the crap out of the rocks.
kragore: (Default)
Attended cow auction, up at the ass-end of nowhere in ME. Got there right on time, only to find out that the schedule that I'd seen on the intar-web was wrong, and that the beef calf sale was Saturday.
Bummer.
Watched the pure-bred auction for fun, talked to a very nice man about Belted Galloways, sounded uneducated, got reading materials, pet the goats, sat in the shiny new tractors, quacked at the ducks, and generally had fun. Citgo had come along for the ride, and I hope HorseChaser and I entertained him.

On the way back, we stopped off in the Wells/Ogunquit area - I'd been there a few years ago on a freak file delivery mission to Portland, but HorseChaser hadn't been up since the last time we'd gone as a family, 12 to 15 years ago... There was a lot of wandering around and "wow, that's changed" and "that's different" -ing going on. We'd gone up there every year for about a week as kids in the summer with my grandmother, and my aunt and her family. I'm not sure why, but it had stopped around when I was around 12 or so (I'd imagine it got expensive) - so HorseChaser's memories of the place are very early indeed.
Now we do not talk of the place, especially around my grandmother - that is a place where she specifically remembers my Aunt, and one mention of it throws her into hysterics for weeks. It's sad that she literally can't seperate the good memories from the bad, and that any mention of my aunt causes her pain.

It was bitterly windy and cold on the coast - I wouldn't have been surprised to see snow. We all bundled up and toddled along the beach for a while, Citgo tossing rocks into the waves, HorseChaser poking through the rocks for shells, me watching both of them and blessing my lucky stars that I was so lucky to have both in my life, and at this place, where now I have new, good, solid memories, not just the grey-tinted water-color memories of youth.

We got back to the car, puttered down to Ogunquit, raided the bath store and the candy store, (good GODS, the candy,) and poked our noses into what shops were open. Hit the bakery for some hot cocoa and carrot cake, and toodled home to sunshine at about 7pm.

Watched a few episode of Eureka! (the sci-fi show, it's really fun) and went to bed.
It's good to be back to work.


Next step: Short-term and Long-term business plans for the farm.
(Because everything is easier when you have a list.)

- K.
kragore: (Default)
So I have a question for any of our legal minds.

It's a sordid story of old deeds, the likes of which read "from the big pine to the big rock", fences that have been shoved around for generations, and my sister walking the hillside with a big mean dog, a camera, and a shotgun.

If anyone could council me on if the situation warrents seeking council, I'd be greatly apprieciative.
The folks aren't exactly wealthy, and aren't sure if it's worth paying someone to find out it wasn't worth paying them, but this stupidity has got to stop.
It's our bloody land.


Thanks!
- k.

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