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Dale had barely put his tools away from the nursery barn project when the kids descended upon him with the next project, a chicken coop. For the last few years we’ve been discussing (joking around) about getting some laying hens to free range around the yard. The challenge is we don’t have a warm spot to keep them during the winter and we also have a Boxer who most likely doesn’t like the idea of chickens roaming around her yard.

The joking turned to reality as Adam became involved in FFA and needed a SAE project. I know; lots of letters but basically he needs a self-directed educational project. Suddenly the idea of fresh eggs gathered every day by the kids was becoming a reality. Dale, ever the practical farmer, decided that the chicken coop should be large enough to house a couple of mother rabbits when they have their babies during the winter. He’s tired of sharing his shop with them and I don’t blame him.

As you can see by this picture the inside of the feeding shed has been cleaned out and a small chicken coop has been framed up. For those of you wondering what do chickens and rabbits have to do with Pork Power, well in this case it’s not the power of pork but rather the power of a parent and his kids working together. Anytime you give a group of people the opportunity to think, work and make decisions together, that’s a powerful experience. Stay tuned.

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Bin Pad

The remodeling project of turning an old finisher into a nursery barn has finally been completed. Dale worked long hours and late nights that last week to finish installing bulk bins, feeding equipment and other necessary items. Then it was time to pick up the tools and power wash the barn to make it ready for the pigs. The early reports were favorable as pigs were comfortably spread out; not too hot and not too cold.

This picture shows the cement pad that the bulk bins sit on with the initials of Beth and Dale written into it. All farm projects that involve cement will have someone’s initials and date scratched into them. It’s a way to record history. Machine sheds, barns and any other significant structures are “branded”. This allows farmers to casually walk around their yard reminiscing about each project and the year it was completed.

It’s funny how a date etched in cement can bring back a flood of memories. I’m sure Dale and Beth will experience the same thing every time they look at this piece of cement.

Fall is my favorite time of year, but it creates a challenge for exercising, at least during the week. The days get shorter, the temperatures cooler and the kids after-school activities more frequent, which leaves less time for biking or running.

Yesterday I left work a little early. The temperature was right, the winds negligible and the sunlight still beaming. I hopped on my bike and took off down the road. My muscles complained a bit with the unfamiliar movement since I’d been doing more running and less biking lately.

The right combination of layers and windproof gloves kept me warm, except for my ears, which were uncovered. Gradually I found my rhythm and even though it wasn’t my usual speed, it still felt good. I checked my watch and the sky. The sun was starting
to lower itself on the horizon. My bright pink vests increases visibility, but I still didn’t want to get caught in the dark.

I made the turn for home and increased my pace. So did the sun. It was a race, who would reach their destination first?  I made it
home as the shadows grew longer and the air cooler but still a bit of light in the sky.

Today, I beat the daylight but soon it will be no match. Even though I plan to run outside during the winter, the shorter days and challenging winter weather means much of my exercise time will be spent inside.