Hunting Season

We had our deer hunting season after Thanksgiving.

I’m not a hunter, but we let some friends hunt on the farm as a way of controlling the influx of strangers who often trespass during the season.  We are usually offered some meat in exchange if they have success.  Our Amish friend Daniel got an 8 point buck on Monday, and I stopped over at his house the next Tuesday to pick up some really nice deer sausage.

We got a call from Raymond Miller, an old neighbor who was hunting adjacent land and asked permission to track a deer he had hit but not killed.  It was pretty surprising to be asked, actually, but of course you want the hunter to collect his deer, which is way better than stumbling over a decaying carcass later on.  Jean was talking to a friend at Owl Creek who said he found 5 shot deer on their farm this year.  What a waste.  Anyway it was a rainy Saturday when Raymond called, and he and Jean had old home week.  He told Jean about his 82 year-old mom, Sylvia, who made the national news in the Spring time when she ran down a purse snatcher in the Walmart parking lot.  Here’s that story:

Jean says “That sounds like Sylvia”.  I don’t know if Raymond found his deer or not.

Maybe time to trim the beard…

Some time ago I was asked (about my beard) “how long are you going to let that thing grow?”  I replied that I thought it had about maxed out, which it seems to do after 3 or 4 months.

Brownian motion routine from Processing.

I immediately think of a constrained random walk model for beard growth and

woodmaster 4400

Our outdoor woodburner heats two houses and provides really hot water. And it’s carbon neutral!

forget about it.  Still, I usually hit a point where the beard makes a nuisance of itself and something has to give. We had our first frost last night, and it felt very nippy doing the chores.  I’ve already had a few beard-zipper conflicts with various coats and went, hmmm.  I decided to fire up the old Woodmaster tonight, and after flipping a breaker and adjusting various valves in the basement, started a nice blaze in the thing.  There was a smell I couldn’t immediately place.  Perhaps a bit of plastic in with the wood? Of course the tip of the beard had been licked by an over-exuberant flame and fused into a kinky mess.  So maybe it’s time to trim the beard….

Maybe can’t tell from this self-portrait, but the bottom inch or so is singed pretty good.

The Great Re-Baling

With the dairy barn, we inherited a big mess,including 2 or 3 hundred bales of straw that had long since been eroded into piles rather than stacks.  Apparently mice like to munch the string, so most bales had broken.  And ground hogs had burrows all through them.

Job is King of the Mountain

We wanted to recover the space in the barn and use or sell the straw, which while old, is fine for landscaping or mulch.  We arranged with Caleb K to bring his New Holland baler over and planned for a day of baling  He arrived as planned, and we made to move our tractor, a 1970’s vintage Ford 4000, and implements out of the way, .  Of course, the battery was dead.  It took the combined jump from the truck and a booster to fire it up. I’ll probably wait until Spring to replace the battery, which is about 6 years old.  When Caleb fired up the baler and we started feeding, it got jammed up and the shaft broke with a bang, pretty much on the first bale. Not a good start.

Caleb working on the baler.

He headed off to get the part.  Of course no one had the thing in stock, so around noon he called and said it would be at least Monday.  We rescheduled for the following Friday.

Thursday Jean leaves a note on my desk.  We had a half beef on order from Links, a local meat processor, and they were going to let us know a “week or so ahead” when it would be ready so we could make space in the freezer.  I had doubts it would fit in our freezer anyway.  I ended up taking a half vacation day, and we went and picked up a new freezer and 500 odd pounds of meat. Not exactly the original plan, but we got everything  put away that evening.  Friday Caleb got the baler running without too much issue and we got started.  I will say that re-baling is wildly more painful than baling in the field, although at least it wasn’t 95 degrees… Even so, I think I didn’t hydrate well enough.  When I got home after Friday’s work, I felt chilled and ached pretty much everywhere.  By about midnight I felt fine, which is good because we still had sixty or  eighty bales to finish up on Saturday.  We had already sold a hundred bales, and as we finished baling, a truck arrived to start loading.  These were nice tight bales, easily 60 pounds.

Caleb says the New Holland folks stand behind all their equipment…except the manure spreader!



An ash borer victim

This ash tree volunteered from an old burn pile.  I was hoping it would develop into a nice shade tree, but I’m afraid it is not to be.   This is the first real sign of infestation I’ve seen in our neighborhood. We have a few other ash trees in the yard, and I would hate to lose them.  Apparently there are some systemic insecticides available in the last few years, which I’m reading about at  The threshold for surviving is 50% canopy loss, so I think we’ll burn this tree in our woodburner, but will think seriously about treating the others.

Sick ash tree

Between drought and the emerald ash borer, this ash tree has had a rough summer.

Emerald ash borer grubs leave this typical “D” shaped exit hole in the Spring.  Woodpeckers have also taken an interest.















In search of the Amish

Jean sold 20 bales of straw to an Amish lady who runs a small cannery.  She gave an address and vague directions and asked, “do you have gps?  It’s easy if you have gps.”  So we set off looking for an address on Koopert Rd in Bellville.  Of course that didn’t come up in the iphone.  Jean remembered mention of Butler Rd, so maybe in Butler?  Where we live post offices can seem pretty arbitrary.  We live a half mile from the Shauk post office but have a Mount Gilead address.  Mount Gilead is fifteen miles away.  Our neighbor across the street gets their mail from Bellville.  So you could live near Butler and be in Bellville.  But anyway, no Koopert in Butler either.  Did we mean Cooper?  There’s like 25 of them.  I’m about ready for Plan B, which is, ask someone.  Everybody is known by someone in the country side, and Amish folk all know each other even if they’re not neighbors.  But we didn’t get her name…  Alright, now Jean says, just try Safari.  So I get a hit in Zillo!  The place is not for sale. It’s Kopert not Koopert, and it’s in Butler, not Bellville.  But now I can find it in Maps! From there we got there easily.  Never did see a sign for Kopert Rd…

A thunder storm

We did get an inch-and-a-half of rain and the landscape is greener.  During the storm, I tried out the video feature of the Canon 60Da because we were getting quite a lightshow.  The camera was running at 59.94 fps.  The CMOS sensor reads out from top to bottom,  so it records only partial frames of short duration events like  lightning flashes.

Here are 3 consecutive frames:

lightning storm

Apparently there are several flashes recorded.  A snippet of the movie is on YouTube.