The calves are still alive!

So, we’ve had the calves for a few weeks, and they’re doing great! Being an introduction into husbandry for us, we’ve definitely had questions along the way and some concerns and worries too. It’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I’ll let the video tell the story, so be sure to check it out. Also, be sure to check out Jay and Michelle’s blog at:

https://spiritedrose.wordpress.com

Why am I recommending Jay and Michelle’s blog? Watch the video! Enjoy!

Posted in Animals, Farm, Farming, Jerseys, Pasture/Grazing | Tagged , , ,

Our house is becoming a home.

With the drywall done and painted, we turned our attention to the wood floors. This is something else we hired out. Could we have installed our own wood floor? Yes. Could we have done as good of job as the professionals we hired? No. Could we have done it as fast as the professionals we hired? Definitely not! I call them professionals, but they really are craftsmen in every sense of the word. We could not be more pleased with the way our floors turned out.

We chose Western Larch (Larix occidentalis) for our flooring. Besides being my favorite tree, it is very good for flooring as it is strong, hard, and dense, even though it is technically a “softwood”. It’s native to our area, which is one of the reasons I like it, but also because it’s unique. It’s a Deciduous-conifer. In the summer, it looks like many of the other conifers we have in the area, but come Autumn, it’s needles turn a brilliant gold and then fall off, leaving the limbs bare until the following Spring. The tree has an identity crisis.

With the floors in, we also installed the interior doors and trim. The vision we had for the finished house is emerging, and we couldn’t be happier!

Another big accomplishment was installing the kitchen sink! We’ve been packing this behemoth of a sink around for years. One might even say we designed our house around it! To finally have it installed was a very joyous day! Couple that with hot water, what could be better?!?

Posted in Building, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Work continues on 12!

Yes folks, between building a house and bringing baby Jerseys onto the farm, I still find time now and again to work on 12. The first order of business was seeing if it would start. It had been sitting all winter, and being that the old Cummins is as cold blooded as they come, I was waiting around for a 60 degrees day to start her. The day I actually had time to pack the batteries out and get them hooked up turned out to be a scorcher! Nearly 70 degrees! Needless to say, she started right up! I was ecstatic as I’m always a little apprehensive when she’s been sitting for awhile.

Interestingly, the very next day, my family came up and they had to test out 12’s new Grover air horn. It was cooler that day, about 55 degrees, but I still wanted to try and start her up. That Cummins V903 rolled over a few more times than the day prior, but she still roared to life! In addition to the aforementioned air horn, I had also managed to work on the headliner, replace all the lights, as well as mount some shiny new stainless steel quarter fenders!

Posted in Equipment | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Holy cow!

This has been a long time coming. It was way back in 2007 when we really decided we wanted to have a dairy. Since then, we’ve been continuously working towards that goal. We made a major turning point this last week with the addition of four Jersey heifer calves! Of course, we documented everything on YouTube!

Posted in Animals, Farm, Farming, Jerseys, Life, Pasture/Grazing | Tagged , , , , ,

House videos catchup!

 

We’re so far behind on posting our house videos! Mea culpa! So, here they are! Enjoy!

Posted in Building | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

2017 Bluecreek Weather Roundup

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Here are some numbers from our farm for 2017. For comparison, I’ll follow with 2016’s numbers in parenthesis.

Precipitation: 18.42” (21.48″)
Maximum temperature: 101.1ºf (98.7ºf)
Minimum temperature: -15.9ºf (-5.4ºf)
8″ Maximum soil temperature: 72.7ºf (74.6ºf)
8″ Minimum soil temperature: 33.2ºf (33.3ºf)
Maximum soil moisture: 34.0% (31.4%)
Minimum soil moisture: 3.8% (4.2%)

 
I wanted to talk about precipitation first. The 1925-2012 average is 20.17″, which I broke down below month by month. In 2017 we accumulated 18.42”, which isn’t bad, but when compared side-by-side with the average monthly accumulations, you can see this year is a year of extremes as well. The Spring started off quite wet, but then things dried out rapidly. This made for a bad fire season because with all the Spring moisture, grass and brush could grow prolifically. Once everything dried out, this created a huge amount of fuel in our forests and rangelands.

 

January average: 2.30″
January 2017: 1.32″
February average: 1.74″
February 2017: 3.14”
March average: 1.83″
March 2017: 2.90”
April average: 1.44″
April 2017: 3.30”
May average: 1.75″
May 2017: 1.89”
June average: 1.66″
June 2017: 0.50”
July average: 0.82″
July 2017: 0.04”
August average: 0.80″
August 2017. 0.01”
September average: 1.06″
September 2017: 0.58”
October average: 1.47″
October 2017: 1.04”
November average: 2.40″
November 2017: 3.12”
December average: 2.90″
December 2017: 0.58”

 
In 2017, the coldest temperature was on January 5th at -15.9ºf. January 7th, 12th, and 13th were also double-digits below zero. Eleven out of the first sixteen days were below zero. The only other days below zero all occurred during three days in December.

This year, we had 43 days of 90ºf+ temperatures. We had two days of 100ºf+ with July 6th at an even 100ºf, and July 7th with 101.1ºf, being the high for the year.

All of this data, and so much more is available through WSU’s AgWeatherNet. I recommend that if you’re really interested in the data from this weather station (or any AgWeatherNet station, for that matter), you create an account. It gives you access to many more tools.

 

Posted in Weather | Tagged , ,

Rocking out to Rock Wool!

Plus, cutting more holes in our walls!

Posted in Building, Farm, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Plumbing

Posted in Building, Farm, Life | Tagged , , ,

Remembering my Dad.

Today marks the one year anniversary of the loss of my father, Daniel Arthur Thomas. It’s been a rough year. For many people who knew my Dad as “Dan,” they knew him as a milk truck driver. And it’s true, he was a milk truck driver for 34 years. He epitomized the term “Professional Driver,” back when the term could be synonymous with “Truck Driver.” He was an amazing driver, no matter the weather conditions, with temps that ranged from sub-zero to over one hundred degrees. He cut his teeth on the back-roads of North Idaho, and could nimbly navigate doubles like no other. On trips, whether on the milk truck or in the car, he always just seemed to know how to get there. No map, and definitely no GPS!

But, he was so much more than an expert truck driver. He actually got an art degree from college, and was an amazing artist. I’m privileged to have some of his pieces today. He had a life-long passion for trains, which he handed down to me. He loved classic muscle cars, something he shared with my brother. He loved boats and just being on the water, and he loved animals, especially dogs.

The one thing thing I miss most is listening to his stories. He was an amazing story teller. Not fiction, but real accounts of his life. He led such a full and interesting life that I never got tired of his stories. Now, when my brother and I are together, we find ourselves recounting our own stories of growing up with our Dad. Of course, many of the stories revolve around milk trucks. From his childhood riding on milk trucks with his Dad, to his early days of driving as well as later with my brother and I riding with him. But, there are many other stories as well; Family history, Farming up on Green Bluff, Studying at EWU, Boating, His Dodge Duster, Sitka, Alaska, Railroads and trains.

He also had a great sense of humor. One story I like to recount is how my Dad had a milk tanker he pulled for many years in North Idaho and NE Washington. Eventually, he sold it to a dairy in Hawaii. When he pulled it over to Seattle to put it on the barge to take it across the Pacific, he intentionally left the snow chains hanging on the rack for them. He thought that was the funniest thing!

He was fervently proud of the men my brother and I became, including my Coast Guard service and my brother’s Navy service. No doubt that my brother and I are who we are today in part because of who our Dad was. He loved us deeply and let us know it.

I see my Dad in something every day. Sometimes it’s overt, such as when I walk across the farmyard and steal a glance at 12, my old Kenworth truck that I’m restoring. It was our family’s company truck, but it was also my Dad’s personal truck for a time. Sometimes it’s more subtle, such as when I might be riding along some road, and I’ll see something that sparks a memory that comes flooding back.

I miss you Dad.

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Posted in Life | 2 Comments

Electrical Rough-in.

Our #11 video brings us up to our electrical rough-in!

 

Posted in Building, Farm | Tagged , , ,