Monday, Jan. 3, 2011
Lauren took off to Columbus to work at the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation office. She’ll be back on Wednesday. We sure miss her help on the farm when she’s gone, but her enthusiasm and willingness to learn about the business side of agriculture is vital. In the meantime, everyone pitches in to work that much harder to fill in when someone is not here. The “I’ll sleep when the work is done” attitude kicks in for everyone. Toni had to go to her off-farm job this morning. Unfortunately the farm can’t survive without this extra income. Jeff and Ryan always start the day doing the morning feeding. After feeding and watering is done, the detail work is next. They go back checking all the sows that have litters and make sure each one is doing well. They also check all the pigs in the litters to make sure they are doing well also. Ryan and Lauren are detail oriented because Jeff always tells them that healthy animals are happy animals and that’s what we work and live for. By the time they get through with checking all the litters, it is usually lunch time. After lunch, it is time to feed and water again. In between all this they are constantly keeping an eye out for anything that needs adjusted or repaired. In the afternoon, Ryan is handling all the feeding and watering while Jeff grinds feed. We buy good corn, soybeans, and other important nutrients to grind and mix our own feed for the animals. The grinder has a scale system which helps us to be sure we are adding the correct amount of each ingredient, just like you would for a recipe in the kitchen. Ryan takes time to check on the cows to ensure they have hay and water. Jeff has a list posted of additional jobs that can be done if there are any spare minutes in the day.
Tuesday, Jan 4, 2011
Lauren is still in Columbus. Everyone else started their daily routine as usual. Toni went to her off-farm job this morning. The morning and afternoon work went fine and since there was actually a little time at the end of the day, Jeff and Ryan starting working on organizing the tool shed. We like to know how much supplies are on hand in order to cut costs. We’ll use up what we have instead of purchasing more. Toni continues to work on the end-of-the-year records every day after returning home. The electric went out without warning for 2 hours. Fortunately the generator kicked-on for the barns and Jeff went outside to check on everything. We called the neighbor and he will check on the hogs for us at the off-farm site. It is so nice to have good neighbors. The generator isn’t connected to the house so we like to joke that the animals have it better than us because we were the ones doing without light and heat on a cold winter night.
Wednesday, Jan 5, 2011
Lauren returned home this evening and we are happy she’ll be able to help out on Thursday. Thursday is our biggest day of the week. Jeff went out early get the feed and watering started at the home farm. Ryan is at the off-site farm to do the same. A sow seemed to be having trouble farrowing, so Jeff kept checking on her and will do everything he can to help her out and the litter, too. Ryan arrived about an hour after Jeff started at home and jumped right in to the work at the home farm. In addition to the usual feeding, watering, checking sows and litters, Ryan also swept out the corn crib, organized feed ingredients, and cleaned the farm office. Toni went to her off-farm job. Later, a neighbor farmer helped us out by hauling corn from one of our bin locations off-site to the home farm. With the high cost of corn we needed to move around what we already have so we can put off purchasing more for now. When I got home, I made supper, cleaned up, and started on more book work, which included updating an inventory of supplies and equipment.
Thursday, Jan 6, 2011
3 am, up and at ‘em! Thursday is our longest and hardest day – every week. We have to start so early because we wean several sows and deliver the weaned pigs in the morning to another farm who feeds them out. The farm we deliver to doesn’t do any farrowing and prefers to feed the pigs out. We prefer to do the farrowing, so it works out well that each farm gets to do what they like and do best. Jeff does the delivery via truck and trailer and Ryan stays home to pressure wash and sanitize the barns. The sows are then moved out of the farrowing house into group pens. Lauren was home to help with this long day. She said she felt like a giant popsicle while working outside and shoveling out the livestock trailer after it returned. We are very aware of keeping everything clean in order to keep our pigs healthy. This evening we went to our local FFA chapter alumni meeting. The annual consignment auction was planned. The FFA alumni from our chapter funds many scholarships for seniors in the FFA program and we are more than happy to volunteer for this valuable program.
Friday, Jan 7, 2011
As I mentioned on an earlier day, after all the usual feeding and watering is done, there is always something to do. In the photo, you can see Ryan cleaning one of our pieces of equipment. All farm facilities and equipment, such as this skid steer loader, are maintained in good condition year-round. This ensures safety to our family, workers, visitors, and animals. The home farm and equipment are maintained at a high level to enhance good neighbor relationships.
Saturday, Jan 8, 2011
Even though it’s Saturday, the daily care for the animals never ceases. It’s just another day, not a weekend to us. There is one difference; they get my extra help since I don’t have to go to my off-farm job on Saturday or Sunday. Lauren and Jeff did the feed and watering. Lauren is a great detail person. She talks to the animals and makes sure they are all dry and clean. On Lauren’s lunch break, she runs into the house to finalize her college class schedule. She starts another semester on Monday. She’ll plan out this class schedule, her work schedule on the farm, and a schedule for her internship, too. Ryan just started college so he just needs to finalize his work schedule on the farm with his class schedule. Jeff does a good job of making it work for both Lauren and Ryan, even if that means he has to keep working seven days a way. It is important they keep up with their classes while working and earning money on the family farm.
Sunday, Jan 9, 2011
Jeff is up and out of bed at 3 am again! He has to start that early in order to go to church on Sunday morning. Lauren, Ryan, and Jeff put in more hours before church than most, but church is important to the family, so we all press on with pride. I’m not sure if a body ever gets used to the seven day a week routine. The very cold weather doesn’t help make it any better, but it’s a life of devotion to the animals and the farming way of life. It has given our children a hard work ethic and values in giving back to the community. I headed out to take care of the off-site farm. Since Lauren was in Columbus earlier this week she’s our big weekend help. In the afternoon we went to a retirement reception for a 30-year employee of our township. It was fun to see all the folks who live in the township and honor her for her dedication and hard work. After that Jeff and Toni went to church for an evening mission board meeting. Toni is the treasurer. We enjoy serving our church family.