Friday, December 04, 2009

New Cow Stalls ... Continued

I can't believe it's 2 months ago that I wrote about the beginning of this project. Weldon is totally amazing! Without any help (until this week), he has continued working all by his lonesome on this difficult, heavy job. He sometimes forgets that he's not quite as young as he used to be, but, other than some moans and groans, he doesn't complain at all. So! Enough praise and adulation. On to the progress report.

First, here's the work that really amazed me. To give additional support to the existing roof, he got these heavy beams, 17 and 20 feet long made of two 2x12s each, hoisted up and bolted together by himself! He explained to me how it really wasn't that difficult or heavy - just slow, lifting one end at a time, balancing it on the Bobcat or scaffolding as he needed. Anyway, I was beyond impressed!

The following pictures will show how he is making the curb that will form the back end of the stalls. It will hold the sawdust bedding in place so the cows can have a relatively clean place to lie down. First he had to dig a trench and make a form to hold the concrete. You can perhaps see from the photos that "Meticulous" is his middle name.

He's made his forms, got them perfectly in place, mixed the concrete, and shoveled it into the forms.

Here is the first completed section of curbing.
Now he is removing the forms from the next section that has been poured and dried.
And then he starts all over again. Woohoo! Approximately 25% of the curbs are done.
When they are completed, the new bedding "floor" can be poured. After that, the metal dividers can be installed. I'll post pictures as that work progresses.

We hope that Weldon's nephew Wesley will be able to continue helping him for a while. That would make the work go much quicker. Of course, if the ground ever dries up a little, Weldon will have to stop and plant wheat and spread manure. Sure wish he had had a son :-)

Remember, you can find me on Facebook (Cindy Keiger) just about any day of the week. That's why you don't see me on here very often :-)

Friday, October 02, 2009

New Cow Stalls - The Project Begins
This pile of metal has been lying around the barnyard for a couple of years now, being moved from one location to another to keep them out of the way. Believe it or not, these looped metal tubes are going to form the sides of new cow stalls, and the work has finally begun. I can't wait to see how they're going to look!
This is what the old wooden stalls look like. Most of them have been broken down over the years, so the cows poop wherever they want and lie down wherever they want. Are you getting my drift? Even with keeping hay on the floors, the cows get awfully dirty and Weldon has to wash them morning and evening before we can milk.
The new metal tubes will hang from iron or cement posts, so Weldon is making one new cement post each day. This is the form he made, filled with cement.
Each one is perfectly beautiful, as you can see. He will need to make about 25 of them.
Weldon's nephew Wesley Carroll has been coming to help with the work: measuring, cutting, lifting sagging roof beams, and digging out cement, packed dirt & cow poop. It's a lot of dirty, heavy work.
Nothing is exactly square, so the whole center area needed to be dug up and laid out "just so." If you look carefully, you can see the string working as a level so that concrete footings can be poured. Weldon backed the tractor & generator into position , but only after Wesley did his best to drown a nest of wasps. I think he missed. But the work continued and now you can see the finished line of concrete and metal posts running down the center of the barn lot. The cement posts that Weldon is making will run along the sides of the barn lot ... or, that's my understanding. It's all pretty impressive.
Now this work has stopped so that the corn/sorghum harvest can be brought in. A farmer's work is never done.
Stay tuned ....

Thursday, September 03, 2009

... Walk with Me ...
Weldon has 3 silos in which he stores the silage that he feeds the cattle throughout the course of the year. The last of the silos was almost empty, so he had to cut some corn last Thursday (August 27) to tide the cows over until it's really time to harvest. Walk with me as I tag along behind the workers.
The parade is just about ready to start: tractor, corn chopper, wagon, and clown.
Weldon has 4 cornfield areas on the farm, "cut up" into about 21 small patches. These fields cover about 33 acres. His dream is to "just once" farm a big flat piece of land. Today Weldon, Tim, and Jeff would be cutting in the furthest field (3/4 mile from the house), down by the Little Yadkin River. They drove the equipment down and started working while Jasmine and I walked and took some pictures along the way. This is the edge of the first field on the left side of the road.
Next is a scuppernong vine and a pretty view of Pilot Mountain.
On the right, Weldon's sister Pat has a house that she used to live in and an old house that came with the property. It's old and falling apart and I love it!
We have one neighbor at the end of the "real"road , but the wagon tracks continue to some more fields. This looks like the corn is planted too close together, but Weldon had to plant some sorghum amongst the corn to make up for all the stalks that the deer, crows, and turkeys pulled up. And in this picture , you can see where Weldon has cut the hay beside the corn field. Now it needs to be baled and brought up to the barn.
If you look carefully, you can see the smoke from the tractor in the middle of the corn field. The Little Yadkin River is nestled in those trees on the far side of the field. By the time Jazz & I got there, they had already cut one wagon load and were working on the second.
Silage in the first wagon.
Loading the second wagon.
On our way back up the hill: It was nearing 90 degrees and I think we were both panting by now. Jeff came by on his "Mule" and offered us a ride. Jazz isn't crazy about riding in strange vehicles, but she sat on my lap and didn't complain at all. I guess she knew she shouldn't look a gift mule in the mouth.
And here we are, back at the silo. The wagon has a conveyor chain that pushes the silage out and then a blower blows it into the top of the silo. This silo is 40 ft tall.
You can see an exciting video of the silage moving along the conveyor table on my Facebook page :-)
Thanks for walking with me. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.