Thursday, June 22, 2017

Oh Hail and Other Stuff

A week ago, we got am unpleasant surprise of fifteen minutes of hail culminating in golfball sized balls of ice slamming into everything. We lost a large tree and chicken pen lid. Our garage doors, eave spouts, window sashes, and metal out buildings are all dented up, but we did not loose any windows. Luckly, the cattle were in a place where they could hunker down under the dense cover of hedge trees (they are rugged trees). We have not meet with our insurance adjuster yet because this storm dropped hail in a mile wide strip across the top of all of Madison County, including the entire town of Earlham. Since we did not loose any windows, we are lower on the priority list. 

Golfball Sized Hail

 Hail Drifting Against the Garage Door

All the Light Tree Debris Covering the Driveway 

Lost a Large Old Maple

My Uncle did not fair as well as we did. Two-thirds of the crops were hit, with a lot of it completly lost. We won't know the full effect for some time. The dry weather was already stressing the pastures and crops to begin with, so this is just compounding a difficult situation.

My Uncle & Father's Corn

The real victim was the home place. Of the seven windows on the west side of the house, all seven lost their storm windows, and five broke all the way through. Even the one in the attic under the overhang is broken (we had to board that one up from the inside). The siding is shot, the shingles seemed to hold, but that storm might have taken years off their life. Some of the cedar shingles on the barn came off and most of the windows were broken out. 

Starting to Board Up Windows at my Uncle's Place

Finished Boarding up the Broken Windows

Aside from the hail, we are plodding along. The first round of chickens have come and gone. We had a five day stretch of cold damp weather in mid-May, that got Phemonia started in the broilers and it killed of around twenty percent of them.  Those that survived turned out very well with nice larger weights. Luckily, the broilers finished out just as the scorching heat wave started. Mature broilers and heat don't mix well. Pastured poultry in the spring is such a risky venture in Iowa as the weather can go from cold a stretch to heat wave in the same week.

Spring Broiler Batch

The turkeys just arrived two days ago and are doing well. I have such a love hate relationship with turkeys. They are immensely cute, but they are also very fragile and are fond of smothering each other. They are a very risky enterprise that requires a lot of small adjustments.  They make it so I can't really travel in the summer. 

Brooder is All Set-up

Turkeys in the Mail

In their New Home

Yesterday, I took our first two beef to the locker this year. My trailer is really showing its age and I am increasingly concerned that it might need to be replaced sooner then later. The boy closest to the camera was very difficult to get off the trailer. We went back and forth for 40 minutes before I got him to back off the trailer. I then had to grab the alleyway rails and drive my chest into his head to get him to back up the remaining twenty feet into the holding pen. Thank goodness the other one was off the trailer and in the pen within five minutes. I will freely admit that I am a bit sore today. 

Two Beef to the Locker

The kids are doing well and Luna keeps getting bigger.  There is a lot of pressure from my daughter to build her a tree house this year. I do want to get a play structure built for the kids to encourage them to be outside and to make their outside activities increasingly self directed. Outside of the farm, our family has been pretty busy with Janice working 6 days a week, the kids at home for the summer, and me attending two to three functions a week. It is a pretty rare evening when I just get to see my wife. Stay tuned as we move into summer and hopefully we get some rain, get some projects done, and have some fun along the way. 

Tree House Plans

Kite Flying Again

Wrestling with Luna

Playing Robot Turtle (a programing game)