Archive for November, 2006

Adventures in farming

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

So, I’ve had a lot of fun with the animals in the past week.

Several days ago, our hogs discovered they could get under the fence of their pen. I learned a few things from this. 1) Hogs can do an amazing amount of damage to a lawn in a very short amount of time. 2) Hogs are not smart enough to stay in the pen after you shove them back under the fence. They just shoot back out again. 3) Throwing an 80 lb. hog over a fence is not easy, but once they’ve been thrown over, they do not try to shoot back under the fence immediately.

Two days ago, after a hurried morning, my son left a bucket of chicken feed out (my fault – I was rushing him). Chicken feed contains copper sulfate. Copper sulfate is very toxic to sheep. Sheep are not smart enough to avoid eating things that are very toxic to them. We called the vet – fortunately they had only eaten the chicken feed a few hours previously. The vet had us give each of the sheep a cup of mineral oil to “increase the transit time of the feed” so that it would not have an opportunity to be absorbed into the system. I learned a few things from this also. 1) Do not leave chicken feed where sheep can get it. Or hog feed either, as that has copper sulfate in it too. 2) Sheep do not enjoy being force fed mineral oil. 3) I do not enjoy force feeding mineral oil to sheep. It’s VERY messy, and back breaking since you have to restrain the sheep an hold it’s head up simultaneously. 4) After catching one or two sheep, the rest of them clue into the fact that something un-pleasant is happening, and they become MUCH more difficult to catch.

Yesterday, the hogs escaped their pen again. What did I learn from this? 1) The lesson of being tossed over a four foot fence is only retained by a hog for about 36 hours. 2) Cattle panels make a much sturdier fence for hogs than field fencing with a hot wire does. 3) Hogs are very difficult to herd. They were in a small pasture area and it took about an hour or so for my son and I to get them back into the pen. 4) The desire to shoot escaped hogs increases in direct proportion to the amount of time spent trying to re-capture said hogs. The desire did not become overwhelming last night, but it was a near thing. Consequently, butchering time for the hogs has been moved up to next weekend (mmmmmmmm….bacon!)

Another thing that I learned is that my son Dominic is a tremendous help in capturing and restraining animals. I could NOT have done it without his assistance. Hopefully, we won’t have to learn any more animal lessons the hard way.

Software is never finished…it’s only shipped

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

That’s what the boss says anyway, and yesterday we shipped the 2.1 version of our product. Yay! And it was only two weeks late, which is pretty good by industry standards.

Now comes the fun…keeping up with the hot-patches until the product is solid. It’s been a high-stress couple of weeks. Some of the tension is off, but until the end of the year, we still have a lot of work to do. But at least I won’t be working an extra 3-4 hours at home every night.