Saturday, November 6, 2010

Grazing Wheats

Mikali generally says the cattle are eating wheats. And eating hay bales all the time.




For those of you enjoying my lectures on how to make money in farming here is the third lesson in the series.

In the cattle raising industry, calves are weaned from their mothers when they get to a certain age. Usually at about 7 months of age. At that time they are still too small to put into 'finishing' feed yards. They need to grow several months more. The question becomes how do you grow them cheaply and efficiently? Some places grow them in 'grower' or 'backgrounding' yards where they feed them cheaper low grain, lower carbohydrate, high protein feed that enhances their frame and size. When cattle finally go into a finishing yard you want most of their height, length and breadth established so they will mostly gain weight and muscle. (beef steak)

Another method is putting the weaned calves out to graze for the growing period. That is what we are doing. We buy calves that need to grow, get used to being weaned, and hopefully be ready to go to the feed yard next spring. It works really good because wheat pasture is an excellent high protein feed that calves can utilize, cheaply filling in the gap between weaning and finishing. Native grass is also good, but not really available in the winter when most calves are needing to be grown. Some calves are grown on native grass in the summer, much the same as wheat in the winter.

Cattle growth timeline:

A calf is born in winter or early spring. Stays with his mamma until weaning around 7 months.
Weaned in the late summer or fall. At weaning say they average 550lbs.

Goes to either a backgrounding, grow-yard (more common in northern US) or on wheat, rye, oat pasture in the winter. Grows from 550lbs to 850lbs or more.

Put in a finishing feed yard where he gets to lay around and eat high carb fattening food for some months. When he is big enough (1300 lbs) he gets to go to cattle Disney Land, that is what they tell them anyway. (dumm, da-dummmm)

It is entirely possible one person could own the same animal all the way through from birth to slaughter. Not at all unusual. But a lot of people do not want to take the risk of owning them that long, with the risk of volatile markets, high feed costs, etc.

For example

  1. Ranchers out west can sell the calves at weaning and get their money, and go on to raising more calves for the next year.
  2. I can't raise mamma cows and calves, so I buy them and grow them cheaply on my wheat in the winter. I don't want the risk of feeding them, so I...
  3. sell them to some old cattle feeder man and he feeds them out to slaughter. (think old man with rusty money and a big gray Stetson)

The amount of beef raised and eaten in this country is unbelievable. It takes many, many small, medium, and large ranches, stockers, and feeders to meet that demand. I know of one man that raises calves, and grazes them on his corn "harvesting it", and sells them direct for freezer beef on a really small scale. Not more than about 30 head a year. And then you have big, huge conglomerates like Cargill that own hundred of thousands of feeder cattle, and also several slaughter plants. Not to mention all the grain and feed handling facilities they run. Makes me feel like a very small wheel in a big machine sometimes.






Monday, October 25, 2010

In the cattle business neck deep

We had such a good year last year with leasing the wheat pasture, I decided to try cutting out the middle man and have more of my own calves this winter. I will still lease out the wheat in NM, but on the TX farms I will just have mine. It is amazing how fast you can spend a gob of money buying those critters. I can get pretty nervous about it if I get to thinking about it too much.

I already have one group of 92 calves put out a couple weeks ago. We had quite a time getting them settled in, as I am starting them on milo stalks. The rattling rustling stalks kept them worked up and they would not stay in all afternoon. I chased them around and put them back in for 3 hours. Wow what a mess. About dark they settled down. I kept counting and seemed to be one or two head short. It was hard to get a good count because they keep moving and lay down in the stalks. Well, I figured if I was one short either he was dead somewhere, or he would turn up later. He turned up last night. I had a neighbor that was looking for one of his that was missing, found somebody else's, and when he was returning that one, lo and behold mine was at that other guys place! Funny deal all around. Good to have neighbors you can trust.

I have 75 more that I will go get later this week. Here I just finished the fun task of making ear tags for them. I could get a stamp made, and have them printed, but for the few I have I don't want to spend the $ on the stamp right now.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wheat cropping systems 101


This is a little class on how wheat is used in our area. This is mostly for Aaron because we were talking about it last weekend. There are basically 3 or 4 different ways we can raise and utilize wheat in our area.

1: Wheat raised for grain only
Plant the wheat mid-fall (October) when the temperature cools off. But before really cold weather. Planting a little later helps conserve soil moisture that would otherwise be wasted by planting too early. You want the wheat to just grow a little and build "tillers" before it goes into dormancy in the winter. Tillers are the beginnings of stalks for the heads in the spring. Harvest the grain in June if it makes any. I'm guessing about 1/3 to 1/2 of our acres are raised for grain only. For different reasons. Farmers that raise wheat for grain only do not like running and taking care of cattle, or have had bad experiences in the past, or do not believe the revenue is worth the extra time and attention. All valid reasons in certain situations.

2: Wheat raised for grazing only
Plant wheat as early as possible (Late August early Sept) to maximize fall growth. Planting
two months before cold weather will allow the wheat to grow big and lush and build up a forage
reserve going into the winter. If moisture is favorable in the spring, plan to keep cattle on the
wheat all way up to maturity in May. It is a hard balance in the spring getting the right number
of cattle
on to efficiently utilize the forage without running short if the weather turns dry. In this system
all of the revenue comes from the growth of cattle. Buy little ones and sell big ones basically. I
would guess maybe a 1/4 of the acreage in our area is "grazed out" It is a good hedge against
low wheat prices or low yields to graze out wheat. About 90% of the years you can get good
forage, but less than 50% of the years you have above average yields.

3: Wheat raised for grain and gain
A very large percent of the wheat raised in our part of the world is used for pasture and grain.
Plant early again to maximize fall growth. You do lose valuable soil moisture planting early, it is
a trade-off for more forage. Stock the wheat just heavy enough to graze off the excess forage, and
remove the cattle before the heads start forming in the spring. This point is called 'first hollow stem'
in the wheat growth cycle. It usually occurs in late Feb. or early Mar. and studies have shown
very little yield lost if the cattle are removed before that time. Depending on how a producer is
set up and how much the gain is worth, it can be a very good way to add value to a crop with
not much expense. If it is a favorable spring you can still harvest a decent wheat crop in June.

4:Wheat for forage, but not just grazing
Wheat can also be raised for forage crops like silage and hay. A lot of the dairies do this.
Plant a wheat or other winter small grain crop, and either cut it for silage when it is still green,
or bale it for hay. Sometimes producers also graze the wheat then cut it for hay.

I plan to graze all our wheat and graze out some depending on the weather, and how much the
pasture is worth. You may have to click and open it, but that picture shows some of my wheat
coming up. Very warm and breezy here now. I think there is a chance of starting on some milo
harvest next week. That is pretty early.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Finished sowing wheat



I think I am through anyway. You never really know until it is all up and growing. Just a few pictures, and even a video!


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Changing underwear, Daniel style.


Do not be alarmed there will not be any photos or illustrations. Hopefully a funny narrative.

"Daniel, go put your pajamas on."

(He knows the routine, and mom digs out the pajamas and clean underwear and puts them on the floor. Wait a few minutes to let him do it. Go check on the progress. I check and see he has his pajama shirt on right, pants on inside out an backwards. Oh, well that is good enough. Oh wait, where are the dirty underwear?)

"Daniel, did you put on clean underwear?"

"Uh-huh!" (I'm not stupid, Dad -tone)

"You put the clean underwear on?"

"Yes"

"Where are the dirty underwear?"

"Uh,..."

(he's looking around for them. I'm thinking, "You only took them off 2 minutes ago Bubba." Wait a minute his pants look funny. Amanda says, "check to see if he has two pairs of underwear.)

"Daniel! take your dirty underwear off before you put the clean on!"

"OH!" (now you tell me! -tone)

Well, maybe one photo just for good measure.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Corn is tassled


We will have sweet corn to eat in 2 1/2 to 3 weeks. Yay! The weather has really cooled off from what it was a few weeks ago.

Last weekend was quite a whirlwind with the wedding in Abilene and all. Amanda went to the Panhandle Professional Writer's conference in Amarillo on Friday. The kids and I spent that afternoon going to the zoo and playing at parks. We also got to see the Crum grandparents and had ice cream. They got so spoiled that day. Saturday morning Amanda went back to the conference for the morning programs while we went and ran around town again. (Mostly getting a flat fixed on the car and strolling around Lowes looking at stuff) Amanda had entered a novel she has been working on in the conference contest and got 2nd place in her category! You send them the first 10 pages and a synopsis months beforehand and have to wait to hear how you do. Since there were more than 10 entries in her category she will get a cash prize to boot.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wheat harvest, planting milo, spraying, rotary hoe, etc.

It has been a busy few weeks. I fertilized and planted my milo, and a quarter for my neighbor. We have had a bunch of heavy rains and some hail, so it has needed rotary hoeing to keep it from blowing. Those of you familiar with our farming out here know what I am talking about. We have been cutting wheat in fits and starts the past week and a half. We keep having rain and damp mornings so we can't seem to get rolling really good. Between the hoeing and cutting I have been fixing air conditioners on equipment and working on other mechanical issues. I have actually had a couple days now to get caught up and take it easy. The weeds around our house are going like gang busters and I need to get them mowed. Except out in the goat pen, the little lawnmowers out there are keeping it ate off really well.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Random thoughts on a passing scene

"I'm your uncle, not your mommy and daddy."

It has been over a month since I last blogged. Go ahead and whip me with a wet noodle if you wish.

There has not been a whole lot worth writing about around here, the kids are doing ok. No sickness or serious behavior issues. D. got potty trained the past few weeks. He has only had two accidents in the past couple weeks I think. M. still says doog for good. We didn't really make much of a deal over it since we figure when she goes to kindergarten the other kids will make fun of her and she will probably say it right then.

Cattle are still growing and eating wheat. The season is about over as the wheat is getting pretty short and dry. They will all be gone here in a couple weeks. I have had two die since I bought my bunch. One the first day or two when we had a mini blizzard, it got one. Then a while back one came down with pneumonia and I didn't get her medicine quick enough, if that would have even helped. One is not too bad to lose, but 2 out of 45 head is too much. Still glad I did buy some.

The wheat is looking pretty rough with the hot dry winds we have had. Much better than last year, but all the moisture we had last winter is GONE! Looks like we will get to harvest it all barring any hail storms. Wind today is terrible!

I have been trucking some, and helping a neighbor swath wheat down to bale it. Yesterday and today have been the first in a couple weeks I have had time to work on a few things on my own farm and rest a little.

Since I am just bouncing around topics, I sure have been cynical and depressed about the future of our country lately. I'm needing something good to hear about. Everything from Uncle Sam spending like there is no tomorrow, screwing up our health care system, our education system a mess, more and more entitlements for everybody, the E.U. going broke and riots breaking out, it all paints a pretty bleak future. Did you hear about the kids that wore the t-shirts with the US flags on Cinco de Mayo out in California? That whole deal turned into a mess. And really brings to front and center how much of a mess our immigration problem is.

Seems like us Conservatives are like a man waving the red flag to try to stop the train barreling down the track about to crash at the bridge that is washed out. Meanwhile our Engineer in Chief just pushes the throttle wide open!*

*Disclaimer. Our previous Engineer in Chiefs and their cronies have had plenty of political clout and time to pull back on the throttle, and have not.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

News Flash, we're having triplets!!!!!!!!!!


You did know I was talking about goats, right? If not- April Fools! We have had three sets of triplets so far and only one death so far. 3 nannies and 3 sets of triplets. Wow. In one set one was pretty slow to get up, but she is fine now. And today I had to help this nanny by pulling kid #2. Kid #3 was in a hurry and they were both trying to come at the same time. So far they look good.

Amanda has been quite the prankster today. Last night she made Jello in our cups for breakfast so it looked like juice. I didn't even notice until I was trying to take a drink. Really tricked the kids too. Froze their cereal to their bowels too. And she sewed a sleeve shut on my flannel shirt I wear around the house, and put a sticky note on the bottom of our mouse. I did manage to get her to put salt in her coffee after a couple tries. He, he, he. And the day isn't over yet.......

Learning to say "good"

Ever since M has been here she says doog for good. I was just trying to work with her to say it right. Say Goo, Goo, Goop, Goop, Goop, Goop, Goober, Goober, Goop, Goop, Good, Doog. Arrrrgh!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Our herd

I did get some calves bought Saturday at Muleshoe. I only bought 28 heifers. I was wanting at least 40, but that is how it goes sometimes. I brought them to the house today, and it is a yucky day. Cold drizzly, rainy. I have them coralled in the goat pen for now training them to a hot fence. I will try to turn them out on the wheat in the morning.If you would permit a short visual explanation why I seem to have gone cattle crazy this winter here is why. The first chart is what wheat prices have done the past few months, wheat has lost more than $1 a bushel or about 20%, and cattle have gone up roughly 15%. Coulda, shoulda, woulda made a killing if I had bought my own last fall when they were cheaper, but hey, if I was that good at guessing the market I would be a millionaire.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Mmmmm, the smell of money.

They are both green, both don't smell very good, both have value, you don't want it in your mouth. But you keep money it in your pocket. Sloppy wheat pasture manure, no. Today I hauled 3 loads of wheat pasture cattle and it was so messy and sloppy and stinky. I had it all over my coveralls, on my face and in my hair. When I got done it was so soupy and sloppy in the trailer I just pushed it all out with a broom. I wish I had a video of that to show you guys. Not to gain sympathy, but because I find it a little humorous. And for the great yuck factor.
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_rjBnIq5FuNw/SQOQX245qdI/AAAAAAAAAIU/ELah1qgElrQ/s512/DSCF1714.JPG


I wasn't done getting dirty after all that. I decided since I was filthy, and my tractor hydraulic parts came in I would go ahead and fix that. That wasn't stinky, just greasy and oily. Working above my head so the oil tended to run down my arms into my armpits. I did get that done too. It was a busy day.

Gonna go to the cattle auction in Muleshoe tomorrow to take a goat to the sale, and maybe buy a bunch of cattle to put on some wheat and "graze it out". Cattle prices are zooming up, and wheat prices are going down. We'll see if it works out.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Random thoughts from a java junkie

I am addicted to coffee. Not caffeinated coffee, just coffee. I don't know if it is all the cold damp weather we have been having or what. Seems like I want a cup ALL the time. Usually make a pot of decaf in the morning, and a lot of the afternoons do it again if I am home. And I have been home a lot in the afternoons.

We are wet again. We had some light showers last night, so everything is kinda sticky and messy again. 99% of the snow is melted. Only a few little spots from the big drifts are left. When they are gone we will have had snow on the ground somewhere since before Christmas. Unusual for us no doubt.

Why are some habits so easy for children to break, and others are so hard? Couple weeks ago I was getting tired of wiping the milk off D's chin when he was drinking. I told him a couple times to drink more careful, and he did. And kept it up, and does a pretty good job of drinking carefully. The other day we switched M. to the other side of the table for our meals and she adapted after only a couple meals, meanwhile Amanda and myself keep setting the table with her plate on the wrong side. But when it comes to bad habits we wish they would break, like asking the same stupid questions and getting the same response from us (silence) for months they just can't stop.

Interesting story: We were in Vega, TX Sunday eating at Dairy Queen, and we ran into M and D's grandmother! The one M. remembers and mentions from time to time. This grandmother was coming to the visits with bio-mom last summer until rights were terminated. Thankfully the grandma used discretion and did not jump out and make contact with the kids. She got my attention and visited with me a moment and said she realized she couldn't be the kids "grandma" anymore but would like to have some pictures or something. She also said she was glad the kids got to stay with us. (huh?) We talked it over and decided it would be alright if the kids could say hi to her right then. Anyway it was a very strange situation in a way. We had talked about trying to make contact with her anyway to just keep her updated on the kids, so we got her email and will send her pictures and stuff. Amanda is going to set them up a private facebook account so their bio-mom can see pictures too. (we know she has an account)

D. acted very strange around this grandmother, like he was kinda mad at her. I don't know how he could hardly remember her, but he wouldn't hardly look at her for a while. Very different behavior for him.

I know everybody is tired of hearing about it............
I am thinking my bargain Steiger tractor may be like my old Ford pickup. Fix Or Repair Daily will be it's motto. I have been having fits trying to fix a problem with the hydraulic system. It is getting air in the system and I am not sure where. I have changed some hose couplers, changed the oil and filter, and now I am working on the hydraulic pump itself. I have a $190 seal kit ordered for it, hope that will be it! I really think after I get all these little problems fixed it will be a good tractor. Oh and I think it needs engine injectors too! I think I will see if I can get a year put on it first as that could be couple thousand dollars for that repair job. So far it has had:

4 new tires $$$

Shop fixed:
new turbocharger
valves set
exhaust manifold fixed(after they messed it up)

And I have worked on:
new fuel gauge and sender
new hour-meter
new a/c hoses and charged up system
put in used radio
hydraulic valves overhauled
windows tinted to help cut down on heat, not for style! (But it does look cool!)
started working on brakes
put in autosteer kit

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chores I don't like doing

Since things are a little slow right now, I have to make myself do jobs around I have been putting off. When I am busy it is so easy to say, "oh, I'll do that later when I have time." Things like cleaning out outbuildings, picking up trash and junk around the place, and picking up rocks. Up on one place I farm there was an old barn or something in one corner years ago. Now there is just old scraps of metal and lots of big chunks of concrete. I have been going by and looking at those rocks all winter thinking I needed to gather them up. Today I did, and you know what?, it probably didn't take an hour.

I have been going around and around in my mind, trying to decide if I want to keep trucking. I haven't hauled diddly the past 6 m0nths, and I'm not sure what the next year will bring. I kinda need to decide pretty quick because my insurance and registration is coming due the end of the month, and it is expensive. I don't want to pay it if I decide later it just isn't going to be profitable. I asked Amanda's dad what he thought it would be like this year, and he said he thought it was still going to be pretty slow and cheap for a while. Right now I feel like I will probably go ahead and 'sign up' for another year and see how it develops. My insurance quote was a little cheaper than I was expecting so maybe I won't have to do much hauling to come out on top. Worst case scenario would be to pay the insurance and registration then have the truck seriously break down on me.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Showers, snow, then slop.




Just some pictures of what things look like around here.


I wanted to share a typical conversation with Miss M.

M: "What are you doing Daddy?"

Me: "Reading a magazine."

M: "That mag-zeene has letters on it! ♫ A-B-C-D-E-F-GRee.♫ A is for Amanda. I like my Amanda, he nice. Do you like my Amanda?"

Me: "yes"

M: "Me too. She wears big girl underwear. I wear big girl underwear. Grandma wears big girl underwear, do you wear big girl underwear?"

Me: "no"

M: "Cows don't wear big girl underwear, cows are stinky, they need bath. Do you want to give the cows a bath? They need a bath. They can't go way up in the air. [raising hands up in the air] Cows ride in the big ole truck, they don't want to be in the truck. That's too bad. I like riding in the big old truck. Dan___ likes riding in the big ole truck. It goes, Rrrrrrrrrrr. It noisy. You need to wash your big ole truck. It's dirty. ♫Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are ♫, mama called the Dr. and the Dr. said, ewww that's yucky! Two little monkeys jumping on the bed, bumper-bumper Dr. said, no more monkys jumping on the bed. I don't jump on the bed that is a no-no! Are we going to church?"

"No, it is Monday, we just went yesterday."

M:"Yesterday??, I like my Sherry. Do you like my Sherry?"

Me:"Yes, who is Sherry?"

M: [pause, with contemplation] "Your mama."

Me: "That is right, she is my mama."

M: "And Dan__'s momma, and mama's (amanda's) mama, and....."

Me: [exasperated] "No, just my mama."

M: "He my grammy Sherry."

"Right"

M: "....and Dan___'s grammy Sherry, and Connor's grammy Sherry...."

[more exasperated] "No, she is just yours and Dan__'s grammy Sherry."

M: "I like my Sherry[no pause]Where'd the cows go?! There isn't any cows in my room. They can't come in here. They stinky. They make poops. They need diapers." [actually was discussed] I don't need diapers, I'm a big girl. Dan__ isn't a big girl. He a big boy. Where your phone go!? I have a phone. You want to talk on my phone? [hands me a wood block]

"No"

M:"I'll call Aly. [case worker] Hello? Hello? OK. I... OK Hello? OK. 4..5...4... OK, Where are you? OK. OK.. Hello?.....Hello?......OK....Bye. That Aly. Do you want to talk to Aly? He coming here. ♫E-F-G-H-I-J-K.......squishing up a baby bumble bee ♫....

Me:"OK you need to go play in your room now............[sigh]"

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I have been more aware of the incredible technology all around us here lately. If you get to really thinking about it we kinda take it all for granted nowadays. Little things that seem so simple now, just a few years ago would have been dreams. Not only are they so convenient they are affordable to most of the population. Things like:

Amanda's little laptop. With it's wireless mouse, and wireless internet. We can surf the net all over the house and even outside. Or hit a hot spot in town. About 5 years ago I didn't even have dial-up at my house.

The internet in general. With Google, Google Maps, Wikipedia, Amazon, we have more information at our fingertips than ever. I have access to parts books for my tractors and combine, free. Even John Deere you can check to see if parts are in inventory at your local dealer. (Parts diagram for my hydraulic repair job at the top of the page)

Internet banking, retirement accounts, and the like. I set up a new Roth IRA account, and didn't hardly have to leave the couch to do it! I can check our bank balances at the drop of a hat, transfer funds out and into the accounts all at my leisure.

Netflix. 50,000 movies just a short wait away. Streaming movies right in your home.

Along that line Clearplay DVD player. You buy their player, pay a small subscription fee and you get filters for a lot of different movies. It skips over or mutes the bad parts. Opens up more possibilities for us to watch.

EFT with checks. More and more places are doing this and it is almost as convenient as using a credit card. Really more convenient in a way because you don't get the bill later. You don't even have to fill the check out. Just hand them a blank one and zap! the money is out of your account. Don't even have to use ID most places. I like it! (I do have to wonder about the security if somebody steals your checkbook.)

GPS in farm equipment. It has become so common and affordable you can't hardly afford to not use it. When I started farming this was portrayed as a coming thing, but nobody dreamed it would catch on as fast as it did. My big Steiger was built in 1977. Imagine what the engineers would have thought if you told them someday it would steer itself! And now it can. I put my autosteer system in it and calibrated it the other day. Amazing!

Electronic sprayer controllers. They use a flow meter and a speed sensor to match your application rate with your ground speed. Much more accurate. Once you get them calibrated right you can finish a field and never have any waste or run out too quick. (I know everybody knows just what I am talking about....but I really appreciate it)

Cell phones. Love 'em or hate 'em, there is hardly anywhere we go you can't be in touch. Affordable to boot. Our plans are $19.99 and the phones free. Also free long distance calls on most plans. Does anybody still use the old fashioned long distance anymore? I get market updates via text three times a day, free!

Scanners and printers, email. The other day the CPS office was needing some papers. I just scanned them, attached them to an email and sent them up there. Took about a minute, and again I didn't even have to make a trip to the mailbox.

Dropbox.com. Very cool application. If you have more than one computer or share lots of files this is the thing to use. It adds a folder to your computer that is linked with an online storage account. Whatever you put in that folder is accessible on any other computer you set up, or log in with. Say I am working on a novel (like somebody I know). I start it on the laptop, and save it in my dropbox folder. Later when I have a quick inspiration, I go to the desktop computer and open my dropbox folder and there is my novel! Great for backup too. I save our important stuff on there so it is always safe and accessible. Oh did I mention the first 2gb are free?!

And to top it off I am well aware of the fact there is much more out there that I am not in contact with every day. Things like Ipods, Blackberries, gaming systems, medical equipment, I could go on and on.

What do you really appreciate now days?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thanks El Nino

It started out today raining, then it snowed a while, then it rained, right now it is snowing again. The orange blob on the radar has been sitting over us all day. Our road is so sloppy we can't hardly get down it. Thinking we should have bought an extended cab 4wd now, instead of the one we got. Oh, well it's a good reason to stay home.

We are really needing to get some cattle off the wheat, but there is no way we can get trucks in until it either freezes hard or drys out. (the cattle guy doesn't want them to get too big) This wheat is going to boom though when we do get some warm weather! Seems like if we ever get some rain early in the spring it will yield pretty good.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cabin fever, ice, and getting stuck!

You wouldn't believe how nice the weather has been the past week. Other than some windy days, it has been warm and nice. Yesterday I was working on the big ole Steiger in my short sleeves! Today look:Typical, typical TX weather. I always get cabin fever when the weather is like this. Knowing I can't go out and do much makes it worse. I took a bale of hay out for the cattle this morning and nearly got stuck several times. We got about 1/4 inch of ice first last night that coated everything, then sleet, then snow. So under the snow it is really slick. It looks like you guys in Dallas maybe in the bull's eye after we are done. We are lucky, apparently there are a lot of people without power this morning, including my Mom and Dad. Our electricity has blinked all morning but is still on. When I went up to check on the cattle I saw a power pole that was about broke off. I don't want to call the power co. this morning because I am sure they are deluged with calls. I will call them maybe tomorrow if the weather is a little better.

I guess everybody knows by now about the adoption news. I'm glad we went ahead and postponed the hearing till Monday. Safe thing to do.

I haven't been blogging much (obviously) since my 2 or 3 blog readers are pretty well updated with our news otherwise. Maybe I will take some pictures of my hydraulic valve block repair job I am doing on the tractor. Oughta impress everybody to pieces.