Friday, August 13, 2010

Islands in the Stream

Since the last post, the generally crappy summer weather has finally caught up with us. Since the spike our rain gauge sits on washed out from under it, we don't have an accurate reading of our recent rainfall. According to the local television station, we have had around 10 inches (25.4 cm) of rain in less then a week. That just wreaks havoc on things. My home town, Ames has had large parts of the town under water and the drinking water knocked out. The old skunk river that I grew up in Ames near, is the same river that I can see from my pasture, except we are down stream. The water in Ames has subsided, but it is still rising here.
Looking Southwest From The Highest Point On the Farm

Looking Northwest From The Highest Point On the Farm

In these pictures from our land, the river is usually back in the very distant tree line on the horizon. If the river crests higher then 2008, it is possible that some will reach our land, but it will nor do any damage. For use the flooding means a much longer drive into Pella as five area bridges across the skunk river are under water or unaccessible. 

The real damage was done on Sunday night and into Monday morning when the first batch of turkeys, which was already struggling a bit this year got hammered by wind and rain. The winds opened up their pen and the rains doused them. When I got to them, I swore they were all dead, but they were in a deep hypothermic shock. Janice and I moved them into the bed of the pick-up and drove them into the garage and suspended heat lamps from the ceiling. When the Sun came out, I drove them out to the pasture where they could heat up before putting them into a new pen. Long story short, 49 turkeys did not survive, but we were able to salvage 27 birds. We still have our second batch of turkeys inside, so we will not go without turkey. We had tried to expand turkey production this year, but we will now be hovering around last years numbers of 120 to 130 turkeys. Turkeys also represent our largest profit margin so the loss stings our bottom line a bit. 

Trying to Save Turkeys

The water has not spared our chicken building either. Unlike 2008, our water table is so much higher and we have just lost the whole eastern half of the building to nasty mud and water. I have moved feeders and the nesting boxes to keep the birds on dry land. Our building is not a great poultry building and this recent endeavor is the last straw. I am working on plans to build a new building next year. We will be planning the build later this fall and into the winter. In a perfect world, we could pour the building pad this fall, but I am not going to hold my breath. 

It is not been all bad, Hazel has been a gem to be with during the day. When ever I have felt beat-up by the weather, her smile has brought be back to task. 

Hazel's First PFI Field Day

We have also brought the yard back from the jungle that it was. The fencing on the south draw has all of its corners built so now it is just a matter of hanging the wire. We still have more work to do on the larger central draw. The biggest boon was the visit to our farm by Temple Grandin. She is great expert in livestock handling. We had dinner with her and several friends. Temple thought our livestock looked good and she gave me some advise on our future livestock handling facility project. There have been more downs then ups recently, but we will make it though. 

A Visit From Temple Grandin

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