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Senile Texas Aggie - comic relief for the rest of you

Discussion in 'Member's "BackYardHerds" Journals' started by Senile_Texas_Aggie, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. Jul 11, 2018
    Senile_Texas_Aggie

    Senile_Texas_Aggie Loving the herd life

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    All,

    We have been a member of BYH for about a month. I first joined after reading @Baymule writing about "I hate green briars!" and finding it so funny. Shortly after signing up, I then posted a thread about "What should I do with 100 acres of pasture?" and received so much helpful advice from many of you fine folks. After reading a couple of other folks' journals, such as @Latestarter and @Mike CHS , I decided I would read a lot more on this forum. I tried reading a lot of journals and postings by others, but after awhile I could see that there is so much information here that I could read for the rest of my life and still not be finished. So I will lay out the info about us and what we know (and especially DON'T know) and how you folks can provide the advice we definitely need. First, I will fill in the questions from the "For those who don't know where to begin":

    1. What state/province/country are you in and what is your climate like?
    We recently (2 months ago) bought a farm 6 miles southeast of Booneville, AR, (30 miles ESE of Fort Smith) moving here from McKinney, TX (30 miles NNE of Dallas), after my retiring at 65.

    As for climate, it unfortunately has the same heat that McKinney did!

    2. How many people are in your family? Marital status?
    It is just the 2 of us, no children. We have been married for 43 years.

    3. How would you define your farm?
    A very beautiful place that is at high risk of becoming a not-so-beautiful place because it is owned by someone who doesn't know what in the world he is doing.

    4. What would you do with your spare time if you had any resources you needed?
    I would try to get the pastures in great shape and clean out the overgrowth in the woods. Some day...

    5. Have you ever built a house, barn , or other types of building? Do you want to?
    I have only built 2 small structures since my wife and I have been married: (1) a small metal portable garden shed (funny story behind that), and (2) a dog house. Regarding the latter, after I finished and I brought our dog to it, he immediately hiked his leg and peed on it! I guess he was commenting on its build quality.

    I would love to learn, but doubt I will ever have the chance.

    6. Can you weld? Steel, aluminum, MiG, TiG, stick, Oxy-Acet?
    No.

    7. Who or what inspired you to be a farmer/rancher, hobby farmer?
    We bought this place primarily for the solitude and the beauty. But now that we have it, I need to figure out what to do with it.

    8 Is it a hobby or an occupation?
    A hobby.

    9. In what areas are you knowledgeable and in what areas would you like to learn more?
    My wife and I am completely ignorant about living on a farm. Both my mother and dad grew up on farms during the Depression and World War II, and when my dad was able to leave and started working at the Red River Army Depot (RRAD, then called the Red River Arsenal) in Northeast Texas, he vowed he would never live on a farm again. So we lived in small towns (De Kalb and New Boston). When growing up, my wife also lived in a small town (New Boston), and her dad also worked at RRAD. When we married, due to my occupation, we always lived in bigger towns and some cities, until my retiring. Because of all of that, we never learned much of anything about farming.

    10. In what types of farming will you never choose to do?
    I don't know that we will automatically rule out anything, but considering that I will turn 66 in 2 months and my wife recently turned 61, and while we are in relatively good health, we definitely aren't getting any younger, so I can't see us raising large animals, such as cows, pigs, or even sheep. (We are thinking of perhaps goats.)

    11. Are you interested in providing more of your own food supply?
    We wouldn't mind trying. Our one and only attempt at growing a garden was 42 years ago, when we had been married less than a year. We managed to grow a lot more weeds and grass than vegetables, and what vegetables we had were eaten on by insects. But we are thinking about trying again.

    12. Where do you end up when you sink into yourself, away from the outside world?
    My wife is the more extroverted of us two, while I am strongly introverted and also an Aspie. But we both like peace and quiet. We read numerous books together -- I have loved to read as long as I can remember. It is our practice to have me read a book to her almost every night for 2-3 hours before going to bed, sometimes fiction but usually nonfiction. We are currently reading a book titled "Educated" by Tara Westover.

    13. Can you drive a farm tractor or a semi?
    Maybe and no. I drove a big John Deere tractor one summer when I was in high school on Blackmon Rice Farm northeast of De Kalb. I haven't driven one since.

    14. Do you make crafts or useful items? Would you want to teach others how to do these?
    No and yes.

    15. Can you legally have all forms of livestock where you are at? Do you have any? What kinds?
    Yes. No. N/A

    16. Can you operate a lathe? Metal, wood?
    No.

    17. Do you like to garden? If so, what do you enjoy growing?
    Haven't tried since 1976 (see point 11). Would like to learn, though.

    18. Do you fish? Bait or explosives?
    I like to go fishing, but rarely go. When I was a kid, my dad and I would go hunting (usually quail) and fishing (usually large mouth bass). Then my dad discovered golf and became a fanatic about it ("the golf is always biting" he would say) and I took it up as well.

    19. How much space/land do you have or rent? City farm? Country?
    162 acres, with about 100 acres in pasture and the rest in timber. This was WAY more than we planned to buy, but it was so beautiful and the price per acre so low that we hated to pass it up.

    20. Are you a Novice, Technician, degreed?
    In farming / ranching, a novice. As for degree, I have both a BS and MS in software engineering for defense contractors. (Look up LSRS to see what I worked on for the last 15+ years.). My wife has an associate degree in nursing and worked for 40 years as a surgical nurse.

    21. What is your farm specialty? Or what one would you like to learn?
    None. Taking care of pastures and timber.

    22. If you could create a degree and curriculum, what would you major in and what classes would you take?
    Teaching senile Texas Aggies like me how to take care of the land we have.

    23. Do you do wood work? framing, finish, cabinet?
    No, but I would like to learn.

    24. Are you interested in herbal animal medicine?
    Maybe.

    25. If you could live any place you chose, where would it be?
    Some place that didn't get so damned hot in the summer, that would have snow for maybe 2 weeks, and otherwise be pleasant.

    26. Do you use a wood stove for heating or cooking?
    No. Our house has central heat (propane) and A/C and a propane fireplace. (Can you believe it? All of this timber around and no fireplace to burn it in!)

    27. What would your ideal super hero/villain be?
    Tough one...

    28. Are your family or friends also interested in animals?
    My wife's older brother keeps cows, but the remainder of her family and all of my family only have dogs and cats.

    29. Do you like to cook? Are you interested in whole foods and natural foods? raw milk? farm fresh eggs?
    I don't know about liking to cook, but I definitely like to eat! We are both interested in wholesome foods.

    30. What was your best animal experience? Worst?
    Both are of pets: my best one was owning a miniature schnauzer for almost 14 years. (He has been dead now for 9 years and I still miss him.) My worst experience was also from a neighbor's dog, who bit me on my right hand when I was about 6. It left a scar that took over 10 years to go away. I definitely avoided that dog afterward.

    31. Do you forage or hunt for part of your food needs?
    No.

    32. What skills do you have that help you be more a self sufficient farm?
    Basic electrical skills (I put up our self opening driveway gate) and basic automotive skills (my dad and I overhauled several engines when I was a teenager).

    33. Do you process your own meat? Can or preserve?
    No and no.

    34. Do you use alternative energy sources on your farm? Would you like to?
    A small solar panel to charge the gate opener. We would like to go solar but have higher priority items on which to focus our efforts.

    35 What is on your to do list?
    (1) Figuring out what kind of tractor (or even IF) to buy, along with implements. I have read some postings on BYH and received some excellent input on my post about "What should I do with 100 acress of pasture?". I also found a guy on Youtube, "Ask Tractor Mike", and watched all of his videos, so I have a better idea of tractors and implements, but still have a lot to do.
    (2) Clean out the overgrowth from around the 2 ponds we have. My wife and I had managed to clear out about half of the growth around one pond. Then I saw how quickly someone was able to clear out some brush and trees using a grapple that we both lost interest working in the heat when a tractor could do a much faster job.
    (3) mow the overgrown pastures.
    (4) clear out a lot of the underbrush around the edges of the woods and around the property boundaries
    (5) improve the fencing around the property
    (6) maybe get some goats to raise


    36. Have you ever lived completely off what you produce? Would you like to?
    No. Maybe.

    37. In what do you trust?
    Reason.

    38. Do you make and fix things yourself to save money?
    Sometimes.

    39. Has the experience with animals changed your attitude or habits?
    N/A

    Well, this will do for starters. I hope I did not bore you folks too much. I look forward to your commentary and also in providing comic relief to you folks as I continue to document our misadventures and learning experiences. (As my late dad used to say, "Live and learn, then die and forget it all.")

    Senile Texas Aggie
     
  2. Jul 11, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    What type growth do you have around the pond?
    species?
    Photo?
     
  3. Jul 11, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    What fun y'all are going to have, figuring out all this stuff you don't know. Get some chickens. Build a predator proof coop and run, and get some chickens. They are easy to care for, resilient and lay eggs! Chickens are the "gateway" farm animal...…..:lol:
     
  4. Jul 12, 2018
    Senile_Texas_Aggie

    Senile_Texas_Aggie Loving the herd life

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    Thanks, Miss @Baymule and @greybeard , for your replies. Regarding starting with chickens, we may just do that. Once we decided to buy property instead of going RV fulltime like we originally planned, we watched several Youtube channels, primarily Stoney Ridge Farmer, where he showed what he was doing with chickens. So we are considering it. Right now we are trying to get a handle on all of the overgrowth along the woods, around the 2 ponds, and in the southeast pastures.

    @greybeard, you asked what kind of growth we have along the pond, along with pictures. I will do more than that, as I will provide pictures of many of the areas around the farm that need work. First, here is the satellite view of our property as shown on the Logan County tax assessor's website (apologies for the crappy edges around the property -- I can't use the mouse touchpad very well):

    20180712_1050_logan_county_tax_assessor.JPG

    Here are the pictures around the north pond, where my wife and I had been working to clean out:
    20180712_1106_north_pond.JPG

    Location A, looking east:
    20180712_080017.jpg

    Location A, looking northeast:
    20180712_080025.jpg

    Location B, looking east along the dam:
    20180712_080201.jpg

    Location C, looking southeast at the back of the dam:
    20180712_080239.jpg

    Location D looking southwest, where we stopped clearing the dam:
    20180712_080335.jpg
    Location D, looking southeast:
    20180712_080347.jpg

    South pond.
    20180712_1107_south_pond.JPG

    Location A, looking east.
    20180712_081516.jpg

    More pictures with next post...

    Senile Texas Aggie
     
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  5. Jul 12, 2018
    Senile_Texas_Aggie

    Senile_Texas_Aggie Loving the herd life

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    More pictures.

    Northwest corner of south pasture:
    20180712_1109_northwest_corner_of_south_pasture.JPG

    Location A;, looking east. (Miss @farmerjan , you might want to take a strong antacid before looking. It makes me ill just looking as well.)
    20180712_081217.jpg

    Location A, looking south:
    20180712_081222.jpg
    As you can see in the pictures, a good bit of the property is getting overgrown and needs mowing badly. So I have been looking at tractors and trying to decide what to buy.

    I have read numerous times that I should buy the biggest tractor I can afford (and at least makes sense). Almost no one wishes they had bought a smaller tractor but many people wish they had bought a larger one. And if money were no object, I would do just that. But while we have a good bit of money in IRAs, we have very little income at the moment, as I am deferring taking Social Security until I turn 70 (in 4 years), while my wife will take her SS next year when she turns 62. If we were to have some major expenses, then having spent a lot of money on a tractor might bite us. Yet I cannot continue to vacillate -- the overgrowth is getting worse and if I wait much longer, I will need a really big tractor for sure!

    Senile Texas Aggie
     
  6. Jul 12, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    Looks like the pictures were taken when you were in a slow rainfall period as I can tell by looking at the tail end of the ponds that the water level is down a good bit.
    The picture above...
    I caution you about cleaning too much of the native vegetation off of it until you get a real good handle on what the water does when periods of extensive rains come.
    erosion and silt coming into a pond is the death of it, and especially on the earthen dam.
     
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  7. Jul 12, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    A 40 hp tractor, a 10 acre area and 6' bush hog type mower.
    mow_005_(Small).jpg
    2 hrs later.
    mowafter.jpg
     
  8. Jul 12, 2018
    farmerjan

    farmerjan True BYH Addict

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    @greybeard shows you that you don't need a huge 100 hp tractor and a big batwing bush hog. Really, you don't want a small "compact" of 25 hp but you ought to do fine with a 40-60 hp tractor. If you are looking at a dealer, maybe can find a used one that someone traded for a larger one. One thing to consider, if it has a front end loader it will be a plus in many ways. Not essential, but you will find lots of things to use it for and it can even scoop snow if needed. But at this point a bush hog type mower is pretty essential, and then you need to set a "schedule" of doing so much area at a time so that it doesn't seem overwhelming, but gives you a goal to work on. Section by section.
    No I am not having "heart palpations" at the weeds....we have some places that are looking pretty sorry right now as we are very busy in hay after having a 2-3 week delay with the rain. Just look at it this way, if you get it mowed down, that is more organic matter going back into the soil. But it is a shame to waste the open space and maybe it would be to your advantage to try to get someone to continue making hay until you really know what you want to do.

    Very pretty views.
     
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  9. Jul 12, 2018
    farmerjan

    farmerjan True BYH Addict

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    I am NOT PROMOTING any make or model; BUT Kubota has some very attractive financing deals of 0% for anywhere from 4-7 years all according to a downpayment. They also are supposed to be very reliable and I am seriously looking at a small compact sized one with small loader and other implements like a tiller. I have a small barn where I keep my milk cows/nurse cows, and limited access in the door so none of our bigger tractors on the farm fit. I have a lawn mower that gives me a fit and am thinking maybe I just need a good all purpose small tractor that I can use where our big ones are just too much, and ditch the lawnmower too. I have been looking at several other brands, and have looked at a couple used but they were almost as expensive as new and no financing or warrantys... so a new one may be the way to go. $12 to $14,000 is alot of money, but it would be the last one I would ever buy that size and has very good resale value. I buy everything else used, and pay cash, so maybe a few years of 0% would not be such a bad deal....
     
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  10. Jul 13, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    For the big open spaces, yes, you will need a tractor, but I've not needed a 100hp tractor here and I did everything I needed to do except the logging and piling with tractors less than 50hp. I do have a backhoe/loader combo too but to be honest, I've used it very little except for digging some ditches and spreading some roadway material and it's weight is a deterrent to me using it in wet seasons.

    Tractors with front end loaders........ Yes, they come in handy IF you have a daily or weekly use for them, but, if you do any work in wooded areas, you will find the front loader gets in your way a lot. Less maneuvering room, but should you get livestock, you can handle round bales with a fel easily and usually can handle one round on the front and another on a hay spear or hay fork on the back. There have been times I wished I had a tractor with a fel, but most of the time, I'm glad I didn't. There's just very little that I can't do with rear/3pt attachments and implements.

    I do not mow weeds any longer. I spray them. Mowing most weeds in the South is an exercise in futility...they just grow right back, whether they are annuals or perennials.

    If I were to buy a new tractor today it would probably be a Massey Ferguson. I'm not a fan of Kubotas. I spent too long working at a Kubota dealership and saw firsthand the warranty and just out of warranty problems they had, but that may have been true if it had been a different brand dealership as well.

    If you wish to make your ponds accessible by foot and clean the brush & grass up around them, I suggest a GOOD 2 cycle weedeater with a brush blade on the end of it. Just get one big enough to handle the brush blade.
    That brush blade is a thing of destruction and can really knock those weeds and reeds down in a hurry, but I wouldn't clear out too much of the stuff that is growing IN the water that provides infrastructure for the small fish and other aquatic life that will keep your pond in balance..basically somewhere for them to hide and feed.

    You really need to find a way as quickly as possible to get the bulk of that 100 ac under ag exemption to lower your property taxes. Right now, that would probably mean a lease agreement, either for hay or grazing or both. The wooded area you may be able to get under timber exemption, which is a little different than livestock or cropland ag exemption. Timber exemption is more than just having trees. You''ll have to put together a plan to have some mature trees harvested some point down the road (here, it's within 5 years if there is already a mature growth of trees in place) Ag and timber both require 'production' but does not necessarily require you to show a profit.