Things that Endure

Had an enjoyable trip to Washington, D.C. last week. The meetings were engaging and motivating.  All good.  I returned late last week to deal with the high heat.  We were fortunate to keep the animals fit. 

We are heavily focused on preparing to ship our turkeys.  As for the processor requirements, we take blood samples and body fat samples which are sent to a lab for testing.  Yesterday, an accredited veterinarian came to the farm and walked through the turkeys to assess their health.  He signed a document along with his accreditation number, and I then faxed the document to our processor.  Goal is to ensure high-quality, wholesome turkeys with the support of data and inspection.

I spent the past few days working on our third-generation automated turkey loader.  With the warm weather, our belts expanded because of the heat… essentially they have excessive slack.   I’m tightening the belt tension mechanism., greasing bearings, monitoring all of the  fluids in the engine and hydraulic system.  Check, recheck and check again.  

Designing and building this machine from the ground up, with two prototypes in the experience column, I well understand how this machine operates.  I designed it to withstand high tolerances… plenty of over-capacity.  Experiences on the farm and with machinery have taught me to the value of exceeding engineering recommended requirements… In particular, large power supply and double the cooling capacity.   Plus bearings and large shafts that could withstand heavy stress.  Many more features designed under this mindset… aiming for durable, yet simple equipment.  If engineering reflects what this designer is made of, then so be it.   Yes, there is also a financial consideration in all of this, but sometimes one still must spend an extra dollar knowing the investment will likely eliminate an ill-timed machine failure.  So I envision the equipment operating at peak performance, in all environments, with minimum repairs needed.  A machine for the long-haul.  

Mother Nature is promising us temperatures in the 90’s during our load out this weekend.  We will start loading at 6 a.m., if not a few minutes earlier, while the weather is cool.   We’ll have a thousand gallon water tank on hand to douse the birds a few minutes before they depart the farm.  They will cool off instantly as the trailer is driving down the highway at 60 m.p.h.  This flock is healthy and I believe they can withstand the stress of the trip.  For our part, we have family and friends to help… Even with the trials and tribulations, it is always a good feeling selling a flock of turkeys… after 136 days of the animals being a part of my day, they are gone and to be consumed by the public.  There is satisfaction in providing wholesome animals and earning an honest living in the process.  


For the 4th of July, I brought my elderly parents to my aunt’s condo to watch some fireworks.  We drove home late at night.  As I was helping my father out of the car, I knew he was frustrated by his mobility issues, so I reminded him that at least he didn’t have to climb to the roof of an old barn to watch the fireworks.  He chuckled… as a little boy he and his brothers and sister would scale the peak of the barn, roughly 30 feet in the air, to watch a fireworks display from a nearby town.  This was back in the 1930’s… times have changed, and progress marches on.  But the thrill of watching of fireworks will endure for many generations.

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