Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Let there be light!

Becky called this morning and gave me some very good news. Her husband, Johnny, works for APS and he told her that they had dispatched the crew to turn service on at the dairy. We now have electricity! Just in time to get the first part of the herd on the premisis for our New Year's Eve deadline. Wendell has been on the tractor for hours on end making the pens level. Tomorrow we will be working all day moving animals and supplies. Then we are going to celebrate the New Year with an evening bonfire complete with marshmallows and hot dogs. Hope that you and yours have a very happy and prosperous 2009.

Friday, December 26, 2008

White Elephant Exchange

We all had a good time at Christmas. The White Elephant exchange was great. Erik got the Scorpion Jewelry Collection this year. Wendell put marshmallow guns in as his gift. Let's just say that a marshmallow war broke out. Charlotte and Aaron had quite the battle! Speaking of guns, Wendell bought me a semi-auto pistol for my present and I couldn't be happier. It is a perfect fit for my hand. We went shooting on the river Christmas Day and I think I impressed him and Aaron with my aim :-) I have never been afraid of being alone if I have a "metal friend" with me.
We almost had electricity at the dairy! Jeremy finished the work required by the first inspector on Tuesday. The next inspector came out on Christmas Eve and found a silly detail that the first inspector had failed to tell us about. Well, he could have overlooked it and turned it on for us ... But, NO! We have one more detail that he wants finished. So, now it looks like it will be Monday before we have electricity. Just enough time to get our Nubian girls on the property by the first of the year.
It has been raining quite a bit here lately. The dairy house has no leaks. This is very good news. The barn does have a few, but we had expected that. The place is draining well, no standing water anywhere. The sandy soil does help with that.
Well, time to get back to work. The goats are hungry!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wood Stove -- No Electric

All I want for Christmas is electricity! Until then, Aaron and Wendell installed our wood stove in the family room today. We now have heat. Also, we got the bed set up in the "formerly-orange" room. Still hauling water so we can use the loo. It is still very primitive at the dairy. It makes me really appreciate my hot bath when I get back to the Jackrabbit house!
I was talking to my nephew, John, this morning. He has a marking issue with his Standard Poodle, Larry. Seems as though he is upset by the addition of Sophie (3 lb Yorkie mix) and Maizie (5 lb Chihuahua) and has decided to mark all over the house. He was wondering if we might need a new addition to the dairy pack of dogs. I told him if he gets along with Luna (100 lb Great Pyrenees) that we can use him to guard our farm. I really hope he works out. I think he would love guarding a few acres. We will put him to work! Here is a picture of John and his youngest son, Seth, on the cow train.
Sure hope we have Christmas lights at the farm this week. If not, we will definitely have a Christmas bonfire in the new fire ring.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Keeping Busy

This morning Wendell and Aaron moved all of the commercial kitchen equipment to the dairy. A big thank you to John Crow for the generous contribution. We will certainly put it to use. I stayed busy painting the "orange" room. It is now a nice brown color. The color looks a bit like chocolate milk, which is so appropriate for us. Wendell, David and Aaron moved all of the decorative rocks that lined the yard and made a fire ring. You can see it in the picture. Also, in the background of the picture on the horizon, you can see three "clouds." Actually, those are columns of steam from the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station which is owned by APS. It is the largest nuclear electric generating site in the United States. Things are moving in the right direction as far as electricity goes. An APS representative stopped by while we were there today. He said things look good and we should have power as soon as some minor work is finished. I am so excited to just have power. Aaron, Charlotte and I took time out and went to Pizzeria Bianco for dinner tonight. Wonderful food! We met Kathy, Cidney and Kyle there. Of course, Kyle and Cidney had their sweet baby boy with them. Wish Wendell could have made it but he has to work at Saddle Ranch tonight. With all of the work on the dairy, I think that job is short-lived. Well, I am watching grandkids tonight while Aaron and Diana go out. We are gonna have a good time watching Christmas movies. Good night!

Monday, December 15, 2008

More red tape ...

We can't have power yet :-( The last owners built an addition to the house without permitting. The County gave us the green tag but APS wants to do their own inspection. SO, now Wendell has to meet with a representative from APS tomorrow to find out what to do next. We will use a generator and haul water as long as it takes!
Becky and her bunch (Alexis, Michel and Trey) are coming to see the dairy tomorrow. I can't wait to show them around. We don't get too many visitors because we are so far out. Or, could it be because Wendell puts everyone that visits us to work?

Slowly but surely!

It has been a week since I have last blogged and it is definitely not because there isn't any progress on the farm to report. Wendell and I returned from our trip to New Mexico to move Kenny and Kathy back to Arizona. We need all the family help we can get. Kenny not only knows cows, he knows sales. Kenny and Kathy both have a great deal of business experience and we value their input. Unlike cows, goats need shelter in addition to shades. The weather conditions are never much of a bother to the bovine, but for the goats it can be a serious issue. Goats need to be protected from the rain, wind and cold or they can become ill. So, since we are in a pinch for time, we bought a 45' storage container for their new home. We plan on painting the shelter this week and plan to have them on the farm in time to beat the tax exemption deadline of 12/31/08. Today is a very important day for dairy because we will have electricity turned to the farm house today. I definitely take flipping that little switch for granted because it has been quite a process to achieve something so ordinary to most of us. We have purchased our first piece of furniture for the new house (a queen sized bed) and with the new electricity we will now be able to stay over night. The power will also make working at the farm much easier with the use of sockets, lights and running water. We would like to acknowledge both the men and women of this family who have been very hard at work to get our dairy closer to being an active business. We want to extend our thanks to those who have helped and to our followers and supporters of Crow's Dairy. This is definitely a journey that we will be milking for all it's worth.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tamale Time

Whew! What a weekend. Wendell, Aaron, Erik, Dixon and Matthew all worked so hard at the dairy this weekend. They did the demo work on the barn and it is now ready to be restored. There were a couple of injuries. Erik lost a piece of his finger, Aaron got a deep puncture wound and Wendell cut his head cut when a piece of metal that fell on him. Aaron needed a stitch or two, but of course made his own butterfly bandage and finally got it to stop bleeding after several hours. After working all day Saturday, the boys took time out to go to see the AZ Cardinals wrap up the playoff spot in their division for the first time since 1975! They had a great time at the game. The rest of us ... my mom, my sisters, my daughters, my best friends, etc., spent the weekend making our traditional Christmas Tamales! No makeup allowed! Lots of Mimosas and Bloody Marys helped make it as much fun as the boy's Cardinals game :-) We made Red Chile and Green Corn varieties this year. When we were finished we had made 45 dozen! Special thanks to Liz, Diana's mom, for the tips on mixing the lard. Saved us at least an hour by melting it first. Wendell and I are off to Albuquerque tomorrow to help his brother (Kenny) and his wife (Kathy) move back to Phoenix. We will only be gone 2 days so I am sure the kids can hold down the fort for us!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The dirty work begins

Well, our first full day was all about cleaning! David and I pulled all of the carpet out of the bedrooms. I can't tell you how many animals must have "relieved" themselves on the bedroom carpet. Glad to have that done. While we worked inside, Wendell and Erik cleaned the barn because the dairy inspector is coming today to let us know what he thinks. My uncle and cousin, Harvey and Jeremy, are electricians and they came out to look at the electrical problems that have to be fixed. Seems that it shouldn't be a huge deal, but it will take some time before we can apply for the permit. So, we are on the road with this project. I hope things go smoothly as we have had plenty of road bumps already.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's official

We are now dairy property owners again. Keys are in hand. Wish the electric was on so that we could work through the evening. Erik, Wendell and I went to mark and measure some things tonight. The sunset was amazing. We are located in an area known as Rainbow Valley. We can see the Buckeye Hills to the west and the White Tank Mountains are north of us. South are the Maricopa Mountains. And most important, we can still see our "home" mountains as the Sierra Estrellas are to the east.

Next hoop we need to jump through is to have the goats onsite before January 1, 2009 in order to apply for ag exemption! Whew, this is going to be close. If we have no electricity before then--we will fire up the generator. Our mentors, David and Kathryn of Black Mesa Ranch (http://www.blackmesaranch.com/), could teach us something about power!

Three years ago today ...

Was one of the worst days of my life! That is the day when our grandson, Luke, had open heart surgery. His heart was only the size of a strawberry. We almost lost him that evening. Thank God he made it through and he is a healthy little boy today!

Now this day will be memorable for a happier reason since today is the official day that we take ownership of the dairy. With the condition of the dairy, it is also going to need some major surgery! Here is the barn door and it's welcoming note. Wendell is already dealing with problems getting the electric turned on. It seems that the previous owner did some "creative" wiring and they are requiring a new permit! Ugh! Just the first of many hoops that we will need to jump through.