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Thread: On the 202 day he rested...

  1. #1

    On the 202 day he rested...

    Its no surprise I have been packing some long days into my life lately. It seems ironically since having my heart attack on August 21st 2008, I have been more busy then ever, but I guess that is to be expected. Anyway the Dr asked me Thursday when the last time was that I just rested. I couldn't give her an answer so she simple said "if you have to think about it, its about time."

    Yesterday it came. The sheep were fed, the corn was put in, the hay gathered and hauled home, and that was it, there was not much else to do really. Well for the most part as I probably could have done something else.

    Well for the last few months I have been thinking how nice it would be to just sit, relax and watch a hockey game where two guys exchange punches and good glass rattling checks. The wife was gone last night, and I was hungry and so I head into town, find a bar and drank a heavily fermented concoction of barley and water. I don't do that very often and it was nice. Really nice.

    I had a cold concoction of barley for the first period, then drank water for the second, and in the third I realized the last time I truly had a day off was on April 6th when the wife and I went to a Styx concert in NH. 202 days...
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Posts
    12,262
    Good on you Travis. What game were you watching? I presume from your posts that you are a farmer or live on a farm. Besides looking after the animals what do you do come winter on a farm nowadays.

    I paid a visit recently to a place called Pioneer Village here in Toronto. Got to talking to one of the well informed cast at the village and in my fascination for the life of old found out that back in the day, the farmers would slaughter all but a few of their animals around this time of year and turn them into either meat for sale or presserve the meat through smoking and pickling etc. I had never thought of the fact that they could not afford to keep them due to the lack of feed. Obviously before the time of mechnical harvesters etc.

    So give us a little insight if you will as to what happens on a farm in a northern winter where tons of snow is on the ground.
    cheers

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Keeble View Post
    Good on you Travis. What game were you watching? I presume from your posts that you are a farmer or live on a farm. Besides looking after the animals what do you do come winter on a farm nowadays.

    I paid a visit recently to a place called Pioneer Village here in Toronto. Got to talking to one of the well informed cast at the village and in my fascination for the life of old found out that back in the day, the farmers would slaughter all but a few of their animals around this time of year and turn them into either meat for sale or presserve the meat through smoking and pickling etc. I had never thought of the fact that they could not afford to keep them due to the lack of feed. Obviously before the time of mechnical harvesters etc.

    So give us a little insight if you will as to what happens on a farm in a northern winter where tons of snow is on the ground.
    I think I was watching the only game that mattered in New England last night, the Bruins and the Thrashers. It was the first home game of the season and it was not good for the home team. Of course we are talking the Bruins who have yet to have a good season since I was born.

    Yeah this farm has been here for awhile, 1757 to be exact, though my farm is not the traditional farm in the sense of having milk cows and all that. Oh don't get me wrong, I have been on the East and West side of a North bound cow a lot in the past month, but they don't reside here. I got quite a few acres, but only a month ago I got back into livestock; they are sheep, which have not been on this family farm since the 1970's. Because of this I have been busy setting up the infrastructure that existing livestock farms already has in place. That's why I have been so busy.

    One of the benefits of sheep farming is what you mention, being able to raise bought lambs in the Spring to slaughter in the fall and therefore no feed would be needed for the winter months. Rather then buy my lambs though, I plan to use ewes and have my own on-farm births and then rear the lambs to slaughter. That means I have to feed the pregnant ewes over the winter. Its tougher, but you get more profit per lamb too.

    Now on this farm, I have three methods of income, not counting my full time job as a machinist. There is the new sheep operation, renting out 112 acres of farm land, (not so profitable) and then logging the rest of the farm. That is the most profitable, but the most work. I average around 100 cord of wood a year. Add this up with being a husband, a father to a 2 year old, and being a foster parent and you can see that a few hours of downtime is rare.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Reno NV
    Posts
    13,363
    Travis,

    I can't even begin to express in words what an inspiration you are to me.

    I grew up in corn country (Iowa) but on the city side of things. Many of my family were farmers and for my entire life I've felt that something was missing. I personally believe its the connection with the land that you express so well.

    Don't get me wrong, I've got a good life and a good career, but there are times I look at such entrepenurial guys like you and my cousins, and I feel a twinge of jealousy. You guys really know how to make things work in both the best and worst of times.

    I punch the keyboard for a living, but all of my hobbies are more 'results' oriented. You know, woodworking, gardening, hunting, etc...

    Just wanted you to know how much I respect you and enjoy the posts about your country living experiences...
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  5. #5
    Thanks Brett, but don't forget I spent time in an office myself working for the railroad for 9 years, so I wondered away myself for awhile. In some ways it helped me,as my job was to take the injury data and crunch it down and figure out WHY railroaders were getting hurt. (Railroad Safety Coordinator).

    It seems like railroading and sheep would be far removed, but once you understand spreadsheets, any data can be crunched and pivoted any number of ways. I tend to over due it I guess, but I found out that to get anywhere in safety, you have to talk to the Upper Level Managers in monetary terms. On the farm you do the same thing with bankers and government agents.

    For instance, on the railroad people would suggest things to prevent an injury. It was my job to figure out if that idea would work, then figure out how much it would cost to implement it and how much it would reduce the injury rate and save the company money.

    On the farm I do the same thing. I know it takes 4 pounds of hay per day to feed a ewe. Now it takes 3 times as much haylage to feed a ewe per day, BUT haylage costs 1 penny per pound, where as hay cost 6 cents per pound. Of course you need to store both hay and haylage so now you can tall your banker why spending less money on a silo is twice as good for the bottom line as spending money on a haybarn. You get all these numbers by having good spreadsheets that compute that. I would be at a loss as a farmer if it was not for what I learned on the railroad and applied it here.

    Its funny you should mention Iowa because where I live we are affectionately called the Iowa of Maine. Its because of the soil and our tendency to grow good row crops like corn and potatoes. Anyway just remember that YOU left the farm, but the farm never left you. Everyone that grew up on a farm knows what I mean,and I suspect you do as well.
    Last edited by Travis Johnson; 10-27-2008 at 08:49 AM.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

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