Sunday, July 2, 2017

Rocking into July

Move over fidget spinners, there's a new fad in town: rock hunting.

According to a Facebook Group called "205 Rocks!," people are painting rocks and hiding them in parks, near businesses, around churches, and in other public areas in our local communities. Once these rocks are found, they can be kept as souvenirs or re-hidden for someone else to find. These rocks come in all shapes and sizes and the artwork on them is just as varied.

my kids hid five special "prize" rocks in Lamar County
Activities like this offer golden opportunities for business promotion, and a few local businesses have hidden "prize" rocks that can be redeemed for anything from trinkets to t-shirts. My daughter decided we should get in on that act, so Saturday night she and her brother hid five black and white "Gilmer Dairy Farm" rocks between Vernon and Sulligent. My wife posted a photo of them on the 205 Rocks! group page with the instructions that anyone who found one could stop by our milking barn one afternoon and swap the rock for a prize package.

Two kids stopped by while we were milking on Sunday afternoon to claim their prize. Two more of the rocks have been found according to photos posted on the Facebook page, and the status of the fifth is still a mystery. I'm not sure how long the interest in rock hunting will last (or how many prize packages we will give away), but it is a neat little activity to help keep kids active this summer.

Happy hunting, and have a "dairy" good day!

my daughter holds the first rock redeemed for a dairy-themed prize package

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Reintroducing the "MooTube Minute"

I created a YouTube channel for my farm shortly after purchasing my first smartphone in the Summer of 2009. After getting a little bit of attention for my "Water 'n Poo" song, I decided to to start uploading a series of short farm updates called "MooTube Minutes" every few days to keep people up-to-date with what was happening on our dairy farm.

These videos where originally shot and with a smartphone, but I eventually upgraded to a tripod-mounted FlipCam that allowed me to merge different clips together and upload a higher quality video from my desktop. I posted these updates fairly regularly for a couple of years, but several weeks would go by between episodes by the time I recorded my last one in May 2014.

But now, the "MooTube Minute" is back.

I've been using other apps to share farm video over the past couple of years, including a few different live-streaming services. I started doing a daily live stream on Periscope recapping the day's farm work a couple of weeks ago and have decided to begin uploading at least some of them to YouTube. These new MooTube Minutes are generally going to be a little longer than the originals (3-5min) and will more often than not be shot "selfie style."

If you would like to interact with me while I stream/record, I encourage you to download the Periscope app and set a notification for when I go live. If you simply want to watch, you can do so live or later via Periscope and Twitter, or you can watch the ones I upload to YouTube without the live comments popping up on the screen.

My Periscope channel:
My YouTube channel:

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Forty heifers wandering in the Wilderness

We knew early on Wednesday that we might have a problem.

One of our farmhands and I were making the last stop of the morning feeding rounds in a pasture we call "The Mountain." The sprawling 120 acres of hilly open pasture and wooded bottom land gets its nickname for steep hill that offers a clear view across Beaver Creek Bottom. The group of 40 pregnant heifers currently residing at The Mountain receives feed pellets every-other weekday, and we usually find them enthusiastically waiting at the gate on those days. This time they were no where to be seen. We decided to pour the feed into their troughs and then ride up and down the pasture's hills until we could find them. We were unsuccessful, and decided they must be in one of the pasture's wooded areas. We left to attend to other farm chores but decided someone should check back later to see if the heifers ever made it to their troughs.

A group of forty heifers, some of which are seen here eating spilled feed pellets from the bed of a pickup truck, went missing from their pasture on May 24, 2017

The heifers were still unaccounted for after lunchtime, so halfway through the afternoon milking I sent the aforementioned farmhand back to the pasture with an ATV to conduct a more thorough search. He discovered an ancient wooden fence post had fallen over and allowed the heifers to step over the barbed wire and into the woods. He called to report back and then began tracking the heifers into the pines.