Valuing Your Time Like A BOSS!

Like most people, I get bent out of shape a lot of the time having so many demands on my time.  Being a dad, a husband and many things to many people stresses me the f@@k out sometimes!

Whew, i just had to rant for a bit.

Where were we?  Ah, yes.  I admit it, I’m a glutton for taking on too many projects at once.  I tend to not complete them either, (my bad)!

I call it ambition, my wife, calls it flakiness.  It’s just my nature to learn new things and try to implement them, master them and move on.

Bring On The Sheep!  (aka Eco Lawnmowers)

A few years ago I got into farming and we are raising a lot of our own food.  I’m a bit of a prepper.  We have a huge garden most years, raise chickens for meat and eggs.  One fall, I even experimented with raising our own Thanksgiving turkey.

This past summer I brought home three sheep. I know, I know. What the Hell am I gonna do with sheep?  Eat them for starters. We have an insatiable appetite for all things lamb. Lamb chops, lamb burger, leg of lamb, you get the point.

One of the main reasons brought sheep is we have a few acres of grass that needs to be mowed.  Sheep eat grass so it seemed like a natural fit to have them do the work while I work on something that actually makes money, unlike sitting on a riding mower every week for 3+ hours!  If you have a big yard you know what I mean right?

These sheep mow about a 1/3 of an acre in 1O days so I’m quite happy with them. Not only do they have twins almost every year these ladies netting me $300 per ewe, they save me gas money from the mower.  That’s a win in my book.

It’s About Valuing Your Time Like A Boss…

I have a good work at home job that pays really well so, I’d rather work than do tasks that cost my family money like yard work, pressure washing the sidewalks spreading mulch etc.  It’s just cheaper to pay someone to do it rathe than do it myself.  I can’t tell you the times I’ve turned down jobs because I felt like I needed to go rake leaves or mow that dang yard!

A few months ago a pipe burst in our basement.  I was crazy busy with work so, I had to call in a friend of mine who owns www.danvilleplumbingservices.com He brought the parts he needed and knocked it out in a few minutes and we were back in business.

Well, he was doing the plumbing work and I got to continue working and didn’t have to run to town find the fittings and spend 2 or 3 hours fiddling around with something that wasn’t a good value of my time.

How you value your time is something I strongly consider you take a look at.  If you have a daylight deficit from either work demands or family, it sometimes pays more to do what you’re good at and hire someone else to do the hard work you’d rather not do yourself.

 

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Christmas On The Farm

Yeah it’s only a 2 acre farm but hey, Christmas on the farm is still fun, even on a Katahdin-Sheep-VAsmall place. What I’ve enjoyed the most is watching our formerly wild Katahdin sheep turn into friendly farm animals.

As you may have read in this post these sheep were straight up LOCO when we first got them. I couldn’t get within 50 feet of em.

They spent their first few months out on pasture and hadn’t spent any time around people.  When our grass started to turn brown I bought a few square bales of hay from a friend.

They turned their noses up at my gracious offering.  Feeling a bit discouraged after watching them chow down on huge clumps of fescue all summer, I hatched a game plan to get them to eat the hay.

I still had a few nice clumps of green grass around the barns and sheds so I pulled up handfuls of grass and threw it on top of the flakes of hay.

Not long after seeing this our small flock of Katahdins came a runnin.

Getting to spend a few minutes with them everyday feeding hay has definitely helped them become more tame.

They slowly started to eat on the hay.  They’ve become accustomed to seeing me around everyday and being responsible for their grub, meaning they got much friendlier.

We only have about 8 more weeks until the grass begins to grow again. We’ll keep them in one general area that’s on high ground to keep them from muddying up the low part of the yard/pasture.

Where they are right now has a pretty sad stand of grass too. Hopefully the hay they waste and the manure left behind in this area will leave seeds and establish a better stand of fescue next year.

We only have a 4 sheep currently but it’s nice knowing that we’re importing nutrients in the form of hay from the people we purchased it from.

Not to mention not having to bale it ourselves.

I’ve also noticed the ewes seem to be getting a little plump in the belly too.

Babies are on the way in mid April and we can’t wait to see how many new cute little fur balls arrive in the spring.

 

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Katahdin Sheep Update December 2015

St. Croix Ram6 months have passed since we brought our first 3 Katahdin sheep onto the farm.

We added a St. Croix ram sometime in September if I recall.

I picked him up from a local guy and transported him home in the back of my pick up in an oversize dog crate we used for our Great Dane.

As I was backing the truck up to the pasture where the 3 ewes were grazing they took off to the far end.  Not ever having taken a ride in the back of a truck I fully expected that ram to leap out once I opened the tailgate.

Nah, he was locked up and terrified.

As I tried to poke at him with my finger through the openings in the crate he violently attempted to head but me. Continue reading Katahdin Sheep Update December 2015

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To Hay or Not to Hay?

It has never made any sense to me that graziers spend most of their summer months cutting, raking and bailing hay.  In fact it just doesn’t make any sense right?  Cows, sheep or any other ruminant are all designed to eat grass from the ground, yet we farmers are determined to go broke.

On average most cattlemen feed hay 150 days per year regardless of whether they live in Canada or Southern Alabama.  It makes you wonder (not really) how cattle survived before the advent of John Deere and all the cool equipment designed to pay the man in town rather than make you a profit.

One of my mentors Dr. Gordon Hazard says in the video below “Once a person has decided to buy some cattle or other livestock the first thing they wanna do is go buy a Dually”.  After buying land, cattle and equipment it’s easy to see that it’s nearly impossible for the new farmer to make a profit when saddled with all this new debt.

In the addition of not having all the expensive haying equipment when we buy hay from others we let them pay the banker and we get their nutrients.  How’s that you say?  Most of the hay producers around here spend thousands on fertilizer every year.  I’ve heard there’s as much as $30 of fertilizer wrapped up in a big 800 pound round bale.  We have no need for big round bales but we imagine that those 50 pound square bales have some fertilizer value in them too.

When we do start feeding hay this winter our sheep will deposit all that stored fertilizer in that hay onto our fields so we reap the benefit without having to own ANY hay equipment! Continue reading To Hay or Not to Hay?

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New business for the family?

I mentioned in one of my previous posts about starting a new farming project and adding sheep to our small hobby farm.  Yes, it will take a few years for our flock to grow but I really want to set up the online presence now.

Not being a tech guy (I didn’t even set this site up) I reached out to an old friend of mine that owns http://jmossmarketing.com to help us plan and set up our new website.

We needed a web design with a few bells and whistles like e-commerce and e-mail marketing built into it as we intend to sell what we can’t eat ourselves.

Home Grown Lamb Chops!

We love the idea of raising our own food on our small farm and sheep are really easy to maintain.  I feel like it’s really important for kids to understand where our food comes from so we try to provide that experience.  We chose a breed that is called a hair sheep.

What is a Hair Sheep?

Hair sheep, unlike their woolie counterparts don’t require a yearly shearing, which is a whole lotta work that I don’t wanna do.  (LOL, I’m 45 and get lazier every year that passes!)  It was important for us to start our flock with a low-maintenance breed so we went with Katahdin Ewes and a St. Croix Ram.

Both of these sheep have the qualities we feel is needed to be low-maintenance.

Building A Parasite Resistant Hair Sheep

Continue reading New business for the family?

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Day Trip To The Greensboro Science Center…

Today started off with an unexpected trip!  I’m off on Monday’s so after my little one woke I asked her “What do you want to do today?

“Let’s go to the science center!’ she replied.

Totally random, but I agreed.

It’s quite a task for a Dad to attempt at fixing a 3 year olds hair so I didn’t even make an attempt to put her hair in a ponytail.  Why do they not like ponytails?

A cute little pink bow was good enough to pin the hair back from her eyes preventing her from looking like a Hot Mess!

The hour drive south flew by quickly with a few Taylor Swift songs and a handful of Toasted Coconut Oreos.  We pulled into the parking lot of one of the coolest venues to take a young toddler, well she’s 3 now but 2-20 year old and even old guys like me find it equally entertaining.

First Stop, The Sciquarium

The Sciquarium

This attraction is super cool even for a 40 year old.  There are giant fish tanks filled with Black Tip Sharks, a penguin exhibit, a family of otters and a giant octopus!

The poor penguin looked to be quite mischievous and was moist definitely plotting his escape back to one of the poles.

Note to parents:  Pull your child’s sleeves up as they will inevitably get their long sleeve shirt wet when trying to touch the Manta Rays.

There was a diver their vacuuming the algae of the artificial coral that had to wear a complete head mask to cover her ears.  Why?  Apparently, one of the fish in the tank is highly territorial and likes to take the diver’s ears off.  True story!

There’s even a kids sub marine where the most imaginative 3 year old can pretend to be Jacque Cousteu!

To The Meerkats and Petting Zoo

For our next adventure we headed outside to see the Meerkats.  These furry little creatures seemed to be content to bathe in the sun on this cool October morning.

There are these neat little tubes the kids can crawl up in with clear viewing ports to get a close up look at the life of a meerkat.

A crowd of youngsters had gathered around the Gibbon exhibit so off she runs.

These adorable little monkey-like fur balls stole my daughter’s heart as one of them recently had a baby.

After I managed to drag her away from the Gibbons we heard Tigers roaring in the distance so off we went.  We arrived to find two of them in a territorial battle which ended rather quickly with the bigger one chasing away it’s smaller counterpart.

A short walk down the paved trail and raised wooded catwalk led us to a pen with Maned Wolves.  We have never seen these animals when they aren’t sleeping so we turned and headed towards the petting zoo.

A Sheep Is A Sheep Right?

We have a few sheep on our farm but they aren’t tame enough to touch.  To a child there must be something magical about brushing a goat or petting a sheep.

There were even two lazy hogs basking in the sun grunting at us right next to the donkeys and alpacas.

I’m sure the trade off of a handful of hay is acceptable to even the grumpiest of old goat’s as my kid tugged on their ears and tails.  We exited hastily once one turned and gave a bellow of discontent.

It was still kinda chilly so we went to explore the remainder of the center after I convinced her she was much too young to attempt a run at the SkyWild, a treetop obstacle course high enough to give any parent a heart attack.

We spent another hour or so spying on LIVE snakes, a tornado exhibit and the dreaded life size T-Rex that she insisted we bypass completely.

All in all it was a fabulous trip and I’m sure she’ll look back years from now and appreciate the time her dad took her to one of her favorite places in the whole wide world.

After such a cool educational experience, I highly recommend a trip to The Greensboro Science Center for anyone with children.

 

 

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Here’s How NOT To Buy A New Bed…

I’ll start this post by saying my wife and I have a 3 year old daughter that DOESN’T stay in her bed all night.  Sometimes when I wake at night my daughter resembles on of those baby monkeys that are latched onto their mommas.  She usually has one leg thrown across my wife’s body and a handful of her hair clenched in her tiny little fist.  I assume this handful of hair comforts her much like a pacifier does an infant.

Around 11:15 every night we hear the pitter patter of tiny feet coming across the hall before she climbs into bed with us. Apparently I’m not as soft and comforting as Mommy so I’m spared the parasitic tendencies of a restless toddler.

A Queen Size Mattress Is Made For 2 People, MAX!

My wife and I tend to sleep well with the exception of when the 3rd person joins us and overheats the bed with her tiny furnace like body.  You’d think she had a deadly bird flu virus the way she sweats and kicks the covers off of us.

I like the house to be cool but this is the moment where I tend to get somewhat angry after awakening to a frozen shoulder exposed to the AC powered cool evening air.

As you can imagine we don’t sleep as well having 3 people on a seemingly narrow Queen sized mattress .  So off to the furniture store we go.  After several trips we manage to come to an agreement on the right mattress combination of comfort and affordability.  Since we upgraded from a Queen to a King, we needed a new bed as well.  Only one trip was required for this purchase at a local furniture store.

A week later both the mattress and new bed arrived and we we’re eager to get them up to get a good night’s rest.  I began to unbox the headboard, footboard and rails and had them neatly placed ready to assemble the legs to the headboard.  On the backside of the headboard was a small bag of bolts needed to attache the legs to the headboard.  I opened the tiny little bag and attempted to thread the bolts but they were TOO SHORT and the wrong size.

I fumbled through the boxes ensuring I hadn’t overlooked the correct bolts to no avail.  I called the furniture store and expressed my anger at the major inconvenience.  The customer service rep put me on hold as she hurriedly ran to the back room to search for spare bolts and found none that would fit our bed!

I’m Coming For The Floor Model…

I explained to her that I was headed to Lowe’s to find bolts as my wife would be furious if we didn’t have this bed set up tonight.  I also told the customer service rep that if Lowe’s didn’t have what I was looking for I would be back to pick up the bolts from the furniture store’s floor model.

I wrote the bolt size down from the assembly manual and headed to Lowe’s. After 2 trips back and forth to the hardware store it was apparent that the necessary bolts were an odd and uncommon size and thread pattern.

I slept on the couch that night as we had already moved our Queen bed out of our bedroom.  The next morning I phoned the store to inform them I would be by at 3 to take the bolts out of the floor model or they could do the right thing and have them waiting on me.

The moral of this story is do not buy from a furniture store without reading their online reviews.  Especially if the store is Ashley Furniture.

 

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Welcome To My New Website!

Hello, welcome to my website Allgorithms.com.  Check back soon for more content!

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