Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Other 4 Things

To continue 5 Things for this week...

#2 - The work on the new tack room continues.  As of last night, the only parts left to "complete" are the door and window.  Of course there is more to do -- move the light switch, put down floor mats, insulate -- but those things come in time.  I've actually started moving some of my large collection of "stuff" into the room and I'm really excited to see it all come together.

Reilly checking out my unpacking.  Window and door will be on the right of this shot.
Notice the new cabinets -- I LOVE the ReStore!

Obviously more work to do here, but you can see the system of holders for blankets and saddle pads.
The plan is to have saddle racks on the far wall (as it's the most sturdy wall in the room).  That's next.

#3 - Chickens really are dumb.  Caught this bird-brain finding a new nesting spot -- in the cabinets above the workbench.  Also found she's been going there for a while as she left behind 6 eggs.
Dumb chicken

#4 - Reilly got groomed!!  He was starting to look (and smell) like a good ole farm dog so off to the groomers he went.  Took him to Kela's here in New Lebanon and they loved him, of course.  He looks adorable.  A little funny perhaps with his feet trimmed all up for a wet fall (had them take the excess fur around his feet off so he wouldn't track quite as much mud into the house), but he looks... and even more SMELLS... so much better!  They even gave him a blue bow.

In the car on the ride home.  Ain't he so cute!!
#5 - Finally put a For Sale sign up in front of the Cottage house.  I've gotten quite a few phone calls from it.  A lot of people I think are hampered by wanting to buy now but can't move in due to the renters being in place.  Oh well.  Gives me hope for the future though.  Just wish to have it "moved on" sooner rather than later.  If anyone reads this and knows someone who's looking to buy a house, please pass this on.  Renters are in place til August 1st, but I'm offering to pay the sellers the difference between rent and monthly payment through then so no mortgage payment til you actually get in the house... and you still get the deduction on your taxes!

The small print in the middle says "No Closing Costs. No Down Payment. Save over $40,000"

Monday, September 26, 2011

5 Things ... condensed

As I sat down to write this week's 5 Things, I started writing the first item and realized that this was too important to even put down as #1 in the 5 Things list.  It needed an entry all to itself.  And since the writing of 5 Things is intended to help me keep up with writing about what's going on at the farm, there was no reason at all really that I couldn't take this week's 5 Things and write instead about 1 very important thing.  I'll write about the other items later in the week, but really... this deserves to be highlighted on its own.

Yesterday, thanks to the Little Art Theater in Yellow Springs and the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, I got to see a screening of the movie Farmaggedon.  I would highly recommend anyone who is at all interested in freedom of choice when it comes to food to see the movie - either as a screening (a list of which is on their website), in the theaters when it finally gets distributed and released or on DVD when it's available for sales.  The documentary mostly focuses on the specific issues/incidents surrounding the sale of raw milk throughout the country.  Each state has it's own standards and rules -- you can buy it in the grocery stores in California... have to go directly to a farm in NY... and can't buy it at ALL in Maryland.  With different rules come different enforcement but there have been a number of completely ludicrious incidents that make you question the entire legislative process... not to mention the bureaucrats.  From confiscating and destroying sheep really without solid proof of a disease that is pretty much imaginary in sheep (and would later be proven to be non-existent in those sheep destroyed), to confiscating a family's personal food stores after an armed raid and holding the family (including small children) at gunpoint for hours, to dumping paid-for milk simply because it crossed state lines. 

There were many audible outrages in the audience.  Why is raw milk the 2nd most regulated agricultural crop in the US -- behind only Marijuana?  Why is it legal for someone to smoke a pack a day yet illegal for them to buy raw milk?  The former product is proven to have no benefits and a long list of detriments, while the later carries a small chance of a known lethal bacteria which is, lately, more prominent on spinach. Why would government agencies act this way -- entering a family home and holding children at gunpoint?  Taking equipment, food and animals away for destruction?  Where are the raids on the big industrial farms?  One point that was brought up in the film was that an organic farmer had to fill out MOUNDS of government paperwork to prove what is NOT in their products.  Why don't industrial producers have to fill out MOUNDS of government paperwork to say what is IN theirs??  The system does seem slanted and the one-size-fits-all approach not only doesn't fit small farmers, but creates an unnecessary burden... and that's without the overreaching officials and early morning raids at gunpoint.

Probably the most audible disgust from the crowd came in the case of the sheep.  Several years after the sheep were destroyed, a lead official for the FDA was finally brought into court under a deposition and stated, for the record (paraphrased here), that US Citizens truly have 1) no absolute right to choose what they eat or what they feed their children and 2) no absolute right to their own health (not health care... basic health).  She also admitted that no disease was ever found in the flock that was destroyed (or in the equipment taken or the hay that was confiscated and dumped).

I walked out of the almost sold out theater feeling 2 things -- a heavy dispair at the state of freedom in this country (with a good dose of "why bother" thrown in).... and an almost violent urge to tell the entire government to Shove Off!  The local food movement in growing and our representatives need to know where we stand.  I want the freedom to choose to get to know my farmer and eat/drink their product.  I want the freedom to go to the corner mini-mart and gorge myself on twinkies. 

When we went to a community meeting last fall regarding the new Ohio Livestock Care and Standards Board, I met a hog farmer from Darke County.  I am extremely glad to have gotten to talk to him.  He is very proud of the work he is doing and his desire is to feed the world.  I hope he succeeds.  My desire is to feed my family and my neighbors.  There is NO reason both systems of farming cannot exist in the same country EXCEPT that someone has decided they can't.  Why not?  Conspiracy theories will say follow the money and they very well may be right.  In the meantime, if we can't choose what we put into our bodies... be that pastured turkey, grassfed beef, raw milk, twinkies, McDonalds or coke... how free are we really?  and if we aren't free to choose the basic of all things (our food), WHY NOT!!??

HR Bill 1830 was introduced to Congress in May and would remove the interstate commerce ban on sales of raw milk and raw milk products.  It is currently in committee review.  Here's hoping freedom can win one.

In the meantime, seriously... if you get a chance to see "Farmaggedon" I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

5 Things on a Tuesday

I took a vacation day yesterday from work.  Didn't accomplish quite as much as I would have liked, but after the busy weekend, the day was enjoyable.  So that's why "5 Things" is late this week.

1) The horse show on Saturday was a lot of fun.  It was an incredibly LONG day -- left the farm at 7:30am... returned at 8:30pm.  Spent the morning watching, reading on my new Kindle (I won a raffle at work on Friday), and catching up with friends.  I love the Stillwater Pony Club show.  It's always fun.  It was a decent sized show and with the larger arena, the classes took a while to finish.  Spot and I finally got to show about 4:30.  He was SO much more confident than at the Greenstone show a couple weeks ago.  The fences didn't phase him.  We had our issues with the canter transitions, but that's a work in progress for Spot.  Even between the first and second class, his confidence grew.  He's such a neat horse.  We didn't place in any of our classes, but I'm so proud of him!  I'm hoping Jen got a couple good pictures of us.  I also really appreciated the comments and compliments I got from friends. 

2) Very proud of myself for all the work that was accomplished on Sunday.  Trimmed bushes, weeded flower beds (and cleaned up the mess from both), finished painting the turkey coop, painted the support posts for the farm sign, cleaned the chicken nest boxes and refilled with bedding, cleaned the turkey coop and replaced the fly strip, picked up the trash that Stewie kept scattering in the pasture, and dismantled the old burn pile.  Oye!  Didn't do diddly Saturday evening that's for sure!

3) Had a meeting with Farm Credit on Thursday and things are looking very good for the land purchase.  Need to get all my financial documentation in order and turn in the paperwork.  Of course the hoops don't stop there -- after I get my approval back, we have to go to the Township to get the big parcel officially split.  THEN I can go back to the bank and finish the loan.

4) Attended the Nourishing Connections meeting last night.  It's a chapter of the Weston A Price Foundation.  The speaker was from the Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund (and Foundation).  This is a wonderful organization that helps farmers, even or especially in fights with the government.  The Foundation is an educational charitable branch of the organization and it turns out they have some experienced folks willing to help with the education of new farmers when they have questions.  I WILL have questions with the new land.  Having been conventionally farmed for many years (who knows how many), I'm worried about the soil quality.  As was quoted last night (and paraphrased here), the quality of the ground leads to the quality (and quantity) of the nutrient dense vegetation -- whether that's in the form of vegetables or forage crops for feed animals.

5) Along the same lines as #4, I think I'm going to see a showing of the movie "Farmaggedon" this Sunday.  4pm at the Little Art Theater in Yellow Springs.  $4 of every $10 ticket goes to support the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund.  This is not fringe, hippy, radical stuff.  It's incredible, disturbing and true and I would urge anyone interested in good, nutritious food... AND the right to CHOOSE what food you are able to buy... to go see the movie!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Turkey Coop Details

I’ve tried to take pictures to show how the turkey coop was built. My design was loosely based on an Internet friend’s coop that she’s using on her farm in Virginia. The size is similar (8x12), but the roof… well… I went easy and put in the tarp over PVC roof where her’s has a traditional wood roof. Here is the process… pretty much from start to finish.  Also, where I can remember I've noted materials and costs.

The floor:
The coop is “moveable”. I built it on 4x4 skids. If needed, I could attached a couple heavy duty eyebolts to them and pull them with a tractor or truck to a new location. It’s the same principle used for “portable” cross country fences that I’ve built. Don’t forget to shave the ends off so when you drag you’re not dragging the blunt 90 degree end of a 4x4 through the rough terrain… but rather the sloped end thus doing less damage to the ground (although you’ll still have skid marks through the grass).

The parts of the 4x4s that I used a chainsaw to cut off to "slope" the ends should I need to move the coop after it's built.

Next I added three ½ inch treated sheets of plywood to the skids for the actual floor.
The treated plywood floor laying out across the 4x4 skids.  I HIGHLY recommend to build it from the ground up in the spot where you want the coop to be located.  You CAN move it, but why when you can start from there.

Even though they’re treated, I painted them with exterior latex paint.  Being the floor of a coop for 13 turkeys, they’re going to have to withstand quite a bit of icky use.  Adding the paint was just an added bit of insurance.  Hopefully they’ll last a few years before needing to be replaced.

The plywood floor, now painted with exterior latex to help preserve it even more (and thus need replacing less often) ready to be screwed down into the 4x4 skids.
The Walls:
I constructed the walls in the barn out of 2x4 studs and then screwed them into place on the put together floor. 4 – 2x4x12s for the top and bottom rails on the sides. 2 – 2x4x8s for the top and bottom on the back. I made the walls 4’ tall on the sides so it was easy to use wall studs – just cut a 2x4x8 in half. It would also be useful as I would be able to buy a 4x8 sheet of plywood for the walls and not have to do any cutting. I also used several 2x4x8s to construct the frame around the door (a $17 screen door from Lowe’s) and a matching support on the back of the coop. Three 2x4x12s were then used as roof supports, with the middle one being put on an additional 2x4 so it was higher (thus rain wouldn’t collect between the 3 boards on the roof). The original plan was to only use one roof board, but the only PVC length I could get was 10’ and unless I wanted to cut a single 6’ length out of the 10’ pipes vs being able to have two 5’ lengths additional boards were needed and it was slightly less expensive.

The coop with walls and door attached.

I don’t remember the exact number of 2x4x8s that were used... about 10 I think. You can get those for less than $2 if you’re willing to dig through ones that aren’t quite straight.

The actual walls are cheap 4x8 OSB. They aren’t taking as much use as the floor and painted, they should withstand the weather just fine. The project needed 5 and I think they ran about $8 each.
The curved ¾” PVC was added and tacked down to the walls and the roof supports.  I used 4 of them but they’re less than $2 each.  In addition they are initially supported with brackets.  They’re inexpensive, but I can’t remember if they were even $1 each.  After being put into place with the brackets, they were then screwed in place.

One of the PVC roof pieces in its brace.  PVC pieces would also be screwed down into the wall for added support.  Additional roof beams would also be added -- another one on the far side for the PVC pieces to attach to and a center beam elevated slightly on another section of 2x4 so the overall roof sloped instead of having a flat top (which would inevidibly gather rain).
The whole thing… inside and out… was then painted with exterior latex paint.  Lesson – cheap OSB drinks paint like a drunk at an open bar!  All total, I have 3 gallons of paint in this project.  I ended up using cheap exterior paint from Tractor Supply at $13 per gallon towards the end (after using up the good paint that I had on hand for the floor).
The coop painted, with wire ends, ready for the roof to be attached.  Yes I know the door frame isn't entirely painted.  I ran out of paint and would get to this later.

Before putting the roof on, I finished the ends by attaching chicken wire. I used a 3’ wide roll purchased at Lowe’s. I think it was about $15. On the front, the wire was stacked horizontally. Across the back, since it’s an 8’ wide uninterrupted section, it’s stacked vertically. I used a staple gun to attach the wire to the wood – along the bottom to the wall as well as up the sides of the door and to the back matching support. To attach the wire to the curved roof PVC pieces, I simply wrapped the wire around the PVC and secured with Zip Ties. I also used the zip ties to attach the wire to itself where the pieces overlapped one another.

The Roof:
The roof is simple – a 12x16 medium duty tarp I purchased at TSC for $35. After pulling it into place, it is secured with nylon cord strung through the eyelets in the tarp and small eyebolts (fairly tiny ones) that I screwed into the bottom of the walls. Pull tight and the tarp has stayed in place already through a couple nasty storms.

The "finished" coop (sans additional paint).  Ready for turkeys!


I added shavings to the floor (although in the future I may try the horse stall pine pellets).
The coop interior after adding shavings to the floor.  I painted the inside too... again for the purpose of extending the life of the materials used.  You can see the black dots in the wire on the far wall -- those are the zip ties holding the 2 overlapping pieces of chicken wire that cover the ends to each other.

I also added their feed container (hung by cords from the roof), their water container (bungie tied to an upside down wire freezer rack to keep it up off the floor) and a small roost that I constructed of a leftover 2x4 and a couple scrap landscape timber pieces.

The interior with all the accoutrements added!

Next step was adding the birds!!

8 week old turkeys enjoying their first meal in the new coop.

They seemed to like it!

Turkeys in the coop with the door shut.

I did have to end up putting a piece of plywood over the bottom of the screen door as they pushed their way out and broke the screen. I also use just a bungie cord and a piece of string to latch the door open most days now.

I kept them in there for a few days before letting them out in the yard.  Not only did that allow them to get accustomed to being out (the sun can get in the E/W facing ends of the coop), but it gave me a few days to actually finish their yard!

The Yard:
Last step was to construct their yard so they could get out on the grass. I used five 5’6” T-posts (one at each corner and an additional one for the “door”). I also originally used a few leftover 4’ step in posts as the sides were roughly 36’-39’ in length. In hindsight, these posts just weren’t tall enough and the 4’ chicken wire (a roll of 150’ was used in one continuous piece) drooped.

Turkeys in their yard.  They're actually investigating the lawn mower that I'm running just outside their fenceline.  They've been in this space for about a month at the time of this picture.

Eventually I used 2x2x4 lumber tied to 4’ U-posts that I had leftover.  Notice the far fenceline in the above picture – the 4’ lumber is in place here, but not the u-post to hold it up.  The fence is tied to each of the posts 2 to 3 times with zip ties.  The door was created using the end of the chicken wire roll stapled to a 4’ leftover piece of plywood… and then latched shut with bungie cords!

Close up of my fancy door.  The end of the 150' roll of chicken wire, stapled to a scrap 4' piece of plywood and bungied together.

In the End:
It wasn’t an extremely cheap venture… I figure any “profit” I make off of this year’s turkeys is tied up in this coop and yard for them to live in.  But it’s worth it.  Just this morning on my way to the car, I saw them running around flapping their wings.  For them to be able to do that vs being in a crowded coop never eating grass or bugs or feeling the sunshine is more than worth it to me.  They don’t have very long lives since they’re being raised for food, but they should be able to be turkeys for what they do have, right?
11 week old turkeys inside their yard with Reilly the newf looking in at them.  Reilly has visited inside the yard a couple times and the turkeys really dont' care much about him.

I wiggled the yard dimensions so i could enclose the small pine tree inside their yard.  This is the turkey's enjyoing what shade they can get under the pine tree on a hot afternoon.

The turkeys mostly wander in and out now at their leisure.  I've secured the door open with a piece of rope and a bungie.  I've also moved their water container outside the coop.  The floor slanted JUST enough that it was dripping and making the since water-logged.  If I lock them in the coop for some reason, I just move the water back inside on a temporary basis, but they seem to enjoy being able to come and go as they please.  I've only had 2 turkeys fly over the fence.  The first time I came home to find 'Lefty' (my resident pirate turkey -- see pic below) outside the fence.  One call to him/her and the silly bird came running right to me.  The other time was yesterday... the lawn mower startled the birds and as they ran across the yard, several flapped their wings and one actually flew/jumped the fence.  Not quite the easy catch as Lefty but certainly not difficult and the escapee was back inside the yard in a matter of a minute.

Lefty, the pirate turkey (because he's always squiting and looks like he's saying "ARGH!") seems to enjoy his new coop and yard.

Monday, September 12, 2011

5 Things for this Monday

See... I told you I could eventually post on an actual Monday.

1) Yesterday I performed in one last showing of "A Piece of My Heart"... sort of.  Mother Nature interfered at the end of Act 1 and we couldn't finish.  Kind of a rough way to end the run, but I'm still glad we did it.  The show is and probably always will be a favorite of mine.  The subject matter simply is too close to home or my heart or something not to be.  If you ever get a chance to see a performance of it, don't pass it up.  I wouldn't. 

2) Building on point 1... I now get my evenings free again.  Time to get my butt in the saddle and ride as well as getting projects worked on at home.  I'm thinking lawn mowing tonight with a side of putting up poultry netting in the barn (too many hens ending up in the barn again).

3) Hopefully meeting with and/or talking to a few financial type folks this week to work further details on purchasing the land soon.  I have another "angle" on how I can work the deal (all on the up and up, it's just another way that I hadn't thought of to try to obtain financing).  Still have some hoops to jump through, most notably with the Township and dividing the one parcel, but I think it's going to all work out in the end.

4) Still have several turkeys up for sale for the holidays.  They're getting big too.  I also think I'm going to move their water jug outside the coop itself.  I think it may be tilted just enough that that part of the coop is staying really wet, making the entrance just icky to walk in, even 10 minutes after I clean it.

5) I'm starting to advertising the Cottage house for sale again.  The current tenants are in a lease through August 2012, but they pay on time and are good tenants.  And with the mortgage loan assumption, a buyer could save about $40,000 between loan interest and closing costs/fees!  Plus I'm willing to help with payments through the end of the current lease with the tenants -- they are good friends so I cut them a deal on their rent... what they pay doesn't QUITE cover the whole monthly payment when you include taxes and insurance.  A person could come in and have the house for $500 and not pay any monthly payment out of pocket for almost a full year!!  At which point they can move in themselves or rent it again.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Horse Show pics

The following pictures are courtesy of Jen Shimp at iTolt Training Center.  Her horse, her camera, her photography talent.

Last Saturday was the Dayton Local Show Circuit (DLSC) hunter show at Greenstone Stables.  Nicely run... but boy was it HOT!!  Forecasted for mid to upper 90s by afternoon.  In the morning it wasn't bad... IF you were in the shade doing nothing.  But riding in the sun in the afternoon was unreal.

Spot is relatively new to iTolt's lesson program.  Another friend, Anita Mays, has been working with him on his dressage and he's just FUN.  Our canter transitions (up) still need work, but that's not my strong suit either and I'm pretty out of shape as it is.

So we signed up to do the Warm-Up class and then the Baby Hunter division, where the jumps were 2'.  Our first run (should give you foreshadowing right there as to how it went) at the Warm Up class was... uh... interesting.  At Jen's, Spot had no trouble with the 2'+ fences I put up for him 2 days prior.  But boy did he object to the flowers and other decorations.  It's ok... typical greenie spookiness.  Got him around and decided to do another Warm Up round.  The second round went MUCH better.  But in the end, I dropped him to the Future Hunter division (18" fences).  We decided that 6" isn't going to make a hill of beans difference to this horse and what he needed was confidence to jump over the flowers!  Plus, the Future division was next and we could both be done for the day faster -- and in that heat, it was a good idea.  Spot had already done REALLY well with one of Jen's young students in the Ground Poles and Trot CrossRails divisions that morning.

There were only 4 or 5 horses in each of our 3 classes.  Spot did great for being as green as he is.  We ended up taking 3rd in each class.  We got better and better over the jumps themselves, although as we got more and more worn out, our transitions and smoothness suffered a bit.  I blame myself of course for ending up a sack of lump on his back.  We trotted several of the fences, but that's what we both needed at one time or another.

I'm REALLY proud of him.  He has such a good mind.  I really don't think it's going to take him long at all to figure it all out.

The plan is to take him to the next DLSC hunter show -- Stillwater Pony Club on the 17th.  I'm still contemplating taking him to the Backyard Horse Trials on the 25th as well.  Closing date is the 15th so no time to run him out at Twin Towers to see how he goes cross country.  But Jen just pulled in the hay from her back field and I know Anita is itching to get some fences set up back there.  So we just might have to play a bit before making a decision.  First decision -- is he ready to go to something like that?  Second decision -- Beginner Novice or Starter (I'm leaning starter, but really wanted to have a dressage test that includes canter for him since it's a hard spot).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

5 Things - post holiday

Yes, I know... another Tuesday posting.  But yesterday was a holiday... so it doesn't count, right?

1) The horse show on Saturday went wonderfully... despite the fact that it was in the upper 90s!  Holy moly it was hot!!  Spot did fantastic!!  We ended up doing a second warm up round and then dropped down to the Future Hunter division instead of the Baby Hunters.  6" isn't much and he was spooking more at the flower boxes and such and not the fences.  Besides.. it meant being done faster and in the case of that heat, faster was better.  Was wiggly and had issues with our canter leads, but I couldn't be happier with his performance.  Hopefully I can get some pictures to post soon.  He took 3rd in the flat class, and 3rd in both the jumping classes... and was division Reserve Champion!  I'm definitely planning on showing him at the Stillwater Pony Club Hunter show in a couple weeks.  Need to make a decision about the Backyard Horse Trials though.

2) The Labor Day Shindig went well.  Smallish crowd but it was fun to hang out and talk to folks.  Halloween is the next big shindig... and then hopefully one to celebrate buying more land.  At least that's the plan.

3) The turkeys are being really good about staying in their run so they have been let out all day the last several days, including when I was not home on Saturday.  They have figured out where the shady spots were to try and stay cool on Saturday... and I suppose stayed out of the rain on Sunday (more or less).  Still not the brightest animals on the planet, but they're doing really well.

4) Egg production from the hens is still down.  Now that it's cooled down, I'm going to try an experiment where I keep them in their room all day.  Trying to determine if production is down overall... or if several of them are sneeking off somewhere and laying eggs in secret.  I'm hoping for the latter so I can get back to offering more eggs for sale than a dozen here and there.

5) What an amazing difference in temperature!!  I daresay it was a tad chilly yesterday.  But I guess a 30 degree difference in 48 hours is a lot to adjust too.  Didn't get a whole lot accomplished as it was a recovery day from the Shindig the night before, but puttered a little.  Hoping to get a few projects underway shortly and have decided that I do want to enclose the backside of the workbench area for a new tack room.  Fed the horse tack addiction on Saturday and purchased a few things that would look lovely in a nice, finished tack room.  Not a major priority, but one that wouldn't take much time or money to complete since the area is already lit and has studs to attach plywood walls to.  Hopefully the lovely fall temps stick around for a while as it's much nicer to work in.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

End of Summer?

Not with the heat that just came back!  Thankfully it's only supposed to last a few days.  Of course Saturday is supposed to be a bit on the warm side.  We'll be at Greenstone Stables for the DLSC Hunter Show.  I'm showing a 6yo appaloosa gelding named Spot.  Spot is owned by Jennifer Shimp of iTolt Training Center and has been in training with Jen and Anita Mays.  He's a LOT of fun.  With any luck, we'll have a good outting (the Baby Hunter Division) this time... then we'll think about the Stillwater Pony Club DLSC Hunter show on the 17th and possibly the Backyard Horse Trials at Rocky Point Farm in Springfield on the 25th.  Will post pictures when I get them.

Amongst all the horse shows, we'll be at the Great Miami River Days festival in Hamilton, Ohio on Sunday, September 11th.  This spring I was in a play called "A Piece of My Heart".  The show is about 6 women in Vietnam.  This special performance reunites 6 of the 7 original cast members from this spring.  We're performing at approximately 4pm and our backdrop is the Travelling Wall (talk about intense!!).  Just a side-note brag -- the show won 14 DayTony awards this year.  It's a great show, if I do say so myself.  Did I mention it's free? :)  Hope you can make it if you haven't seen the show.  It's intense but amazing.

One last note... This morning was a bit rough... an almost escapee cow and 4 escapee turkeys after waking up late!  At least the turkey escapees were fairly easy to catch.  Catching them though made me realize how big they're getting!  And makes me wonder how big they're going to end up.  Don't forget to reserve your own farm raised holiday turkey ASAP before they're all spoken for!