The Farm Report

      107 Comments on The Farm Report

Chareva has been spending her days overseeing the renovations at the farm while I’ve been spending mine working as a contract programmer to pay for them.  Yesterday we took a trip out there so I could see the progress.

Much of the inside of the house is still in the demolition phase, so it looks like this:

When we bought the house, the basement (which was moldy) had a garage door leading out to the driveway, and that garage door was covered with huge burglar bars.

Pretty much everything in the basement has since been ripped out and is being rebuilt.

We replaced the garage door with a wall, a door and a window.

The bad news is that a county inspector declared that the septic system had to be replaced.  From what we were told, this particular inspector never met a septic system he didn’t think required replacing.  The consensus opinion (excluding the inspector’s) is that the existing system could have merely been cleared out.  But since the inspector could hold up the renovation permits (another reason I just looooove government), we had to hire a crew to tear up what was once a beautiful front yard.

Not that the girls minded …

So I’ll be spending part of this year re-seeding our new dirt field.

The last time I visited the farm, the pastures looked like this.

A few days ago, Chareva hired this guy to drive his bush-hog around the property.

So now the pastures look like pastures.

We were surprised to learn that the back pasture has a pretty serious slope to it.  When it was covered with tall weeds, it looked relatively flat.  Nope.

My plans for paleo-type exercise after we move to the farm include sprinting around the land.  Sprinting up those slopes will no doubt get the ol’ muscles working.

At the lowest point on the land there’s a creek bed, which is currently dry.  (That will probably change this week, when the rains from tropical storm Lee reach Tennessee.)

The girls love walking around the creek and exploring.  I followed them for a while yesterday, until Sara yelled, “Look, Daddy!  There’s a skunk up ahead!”  At that point, I encouraged them to conclude the expedition.

There’s still plenty of work to be done on the land.  There are barbed-wire fences all over the place, which I’m going to have torn down.

There are also some dead trees we need to have removed, such as this one, which fell over at some point and put the hurt on one of the hurricane fences.  I plan to replace the hurricane fences with wood fences anyway, so no big deal.

Sara has a risk-taker’s personality, which can be both good and bad.  Two of her favorite phrases, in order, are “Watch this!”…  followed by “I’m okay.”  Yesterday, she decided it would be fun to swing from one of the branches on the dead tree.  I warned her that the dead branch could snap and she could end up landing on her butt.

Just about the time she was finished disputing my analysis of the situation …

She then punctuated her usual declaration of “I’m okay” with a little victory pose.

As usual, the girls protested when we told them it was time to leave, which I take as a good sign.  They’re going to love living out there with their own little wilderness to explore.

Since it was after 5:00 p.m. when we left, we stopped at our local Chipotle grill for dinner.  For those who believe low-carb diets work by boring people into eating less because the food is tasteless, I invite you to take a look at my dinner.  That’s a big ol’ portion of lettuce, shredded beef, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, onions, peppers, hot sauce and shredded cheese, with a small scoop of pinto beans tossed in.

It was delicious.  It was also quite satiating.  I didn’t go to bed until nearly 2:00 a.m., and even though there was plenty of palatable food in the refrigerator, I had no desire to go looking for a late-night snack – because eight hours later, I wasn’t the least bit hungry.


If you enjoy my posts, please consider a small donation to the Fat Head Kids GoFundMe campaign.
Share

107 thoughts on “The Farm Report

  1. Firebird

    It looks great, Tom, but are there any plans to fix that bridge? It looks like it, too, may be ready for a renovation.

    We’re told it’ll hold up for quite awhile, but I’d like to tear it down someday and put up something more aesthetically appealing. Ideally (assuming it’s both legal and doable), I’d like to have someone dig the creek wider and deeper and turn it into something more like a long, narrow pond. Then I’d want a nice, wide wooden bridge over the pond.

  2. Alexandra

    @sherry Bloodsugar fasted today=85. 1 hour after a breakfast of 8.8 grams carbs, 34.5 grams of fat and 35.3 grams of protein…( protein=77% of the RDA according to Fit Day,) my blood sugar=88

    There are few things that spike my blood sugar more than oatmeal does, maybe whole wheat bread. I can’t be the only one.

    For me, Carbs=uncontrolled hunger and obesity. Protein+fat and few carbs= vibrant health, satiety and slimness.. what else do I need to know?

  3. Peggy Holloway

    OK. After my long diatribe about my family and how we have all been rescued from fates worse than death by low-carb diets, I have to admit that there is one family member for whom low-carb does not seem to have worked. I have mentioned before that my sister is not able to control her blood sugar or lose weight in spite of careful low-carb dieting for nearly 12 years. She is so desperate that she went to see Dr. Mary Vernon, in spite of reading negative reviews about Dr. Vernon’s practice and both Tom and Jimmy Moore supported enthusiastically endorsed that plan. It has been about 6 weeks since she went to Lawrence, KS (not an inconsiderable investment of time and money). She commented on my Facebook posting of Gary’s latest blog with “Why doesn’t all of this work for me?” I replied “What does Dr. Vernon say.” I am pasting in Jane’s reply because I think it is important that everyone in the low-carb community know about this. I also am desperately seeking an answer to why my beautiful sister can’t find the relief of her health problems that everyone else in my family has found through the low-carb lifestyle. She is the only one of my generation to be officially diagnosed as “Type II” and she spend years on low-fat, low-calorie, high-carb diets (including the 3 months on Weight Watchers + walking 5 miles a day when she gained 10 pounds and received her official diagnosis). Well, here is a direct quote:
    Jane wrote: “Well basically nothing. She is very hard to get ahold of (never answers the phone or e-mails) and I’m not sure that she believes me that I am following the diet and it just isn’t working for me. I had all those expensive tests and I have heard nothing from her about the results. I have only heard once from her nurse and she said that maybe they would put me on Januvia which I already take and listed on the form they had me fill out when I went there. I am not happy with the situation at all.”

  4. Auntie M

    Looking good! It’s great that your daughter is strong and healthy enough to fall down and not hurt herself. I swear, I see more students in casts now than ever before, and we even had a student at our school break his pelvis running down the football field when he tripped and fell. Their diets are so poor, they break bones much more easily. I can remember when I was younger that broken bones seemed a lot less common.

    Wow, that’s awful, a kid breaking his pelvis just from falling down. I can tell you from Sara’s many “I’m okay” moments that she’s certifiably hard-headed.

  5. Kimji

    W/Alexandra:
    I went low carb because I was terrified at what years of carbohydrate bingeing were doing to my health and weight. I quit eating all grains, starches & sugar initially. Now, although I’m trying to add some “safe” carbs in on a daily basis (small amount of yams & white potatoes mostly) I find they trigger my appetite horribly. I’ve lost 25 lbs and haven’t binge/purged or even eaten compulsively since 4/1/11. Low carb is a miracle for me and I can never go back to the way I use to eat. I agree; carbs=uncontrolled hunger (& binge eating for me). “What else do I need to know?”

  6. Kimji

    W/Alexandra:
    I went low carb because I was terrified at what years of carbohydrate bingeing were doing to my health and weight. I quit eating all grains, starches & sugar initially. Now, although I’m trying to add some “safe” carbs in on a daily basis (small amount of yams & white potatoes mostly) I find they trigger my appetite horribly. I’ve lost 25 lbs and haven’t binge/purged or even eaten compulsively since 4/1/11. Low carb is a miracle for me and I can never go back to the way I use to eat. I agree; carbs=uncontrolled hunger (& binge eating for me). “What else do I need to know?”

  7. Eric

    Tom,
    A few things:
    1. Inspectors. I could tell you stories. Sometimes it is a matter of “job justification.” If they let people do what they want then there is no point in them having a job.
    2. Front Yard. Those trees or bushes in the front may die due to the root damage from the trenching. Nothing you can do about it now. Just an FYI.
    3. Changing the stream. This will likely require you to get a permit from the Army Corp of Engineers. Depending on your district, this might be a minor issue or it could be the same as clubbing baby seals.

    Yeah, I’ve prepared myself mentally to be told we can’t do anything with the stream. It would be a nice-to-have, but I can live with it as is.

  8. The Older Brother

    WTF? Now they make “food reward” trolls?

    At least they don’t project digestive tract issues onto you like the vegetrollians.

    Cheers.

    Some people seem to think this is a contest in which one side must be declared the undisputed winner and the other side a discredited loser. I don’t see it that way, since there’s no reason to view the food reward and carbohydrate/insulin hypotheses as mutually exclusive.

  9. Underground

    The property is looking good. The bridge looks ok, there’s a lot of concrete there, should be fine as long as it doesn’t start weathering out around it. It would also be expensive to replace. You could always go in and face it with some stone to make it look more aesthetically pleasing without replacing the whole thing. Just keep it from getting plugged up with debris and you should be ok.

    That was the first thing I thought too “you have your own sledding hill.” You should get a couple of old tires and the girls will have a ball rolling those down. Drill some holes in the sidewalls so they don’t hold water.

    If you’re lucky enough to have a lot of soil depth there you may have been ok on the septic, but many places here are not. Many septic systems in karstic areas become ineffective within 6-7 years if installation. Macro pore development and a short distance to bed rock create a far too short time to recharge for them to be effective.

    A favorite anecdote is of some testing that was being done in KY where they would flush dye down the toilet of a house, and monitor it’s progress through the area. Well he leaves the house after injecting the dye, and receives a call from the homeowner not 45 minutes later wanting to know what they had done to their well water.

    The water coming out of their tap was a bright reddish color (I believe they were using rhodamine) from the dye that was just flushed down the toilet.

    Septic systems work on retention time, that is they retain the water in the field long enough for any pathogens to die off. If it gets to the point that the water from the septic field is going immediately to bedrock and conduit flow, there’s no time for it to work.

    Of course some people will tell you that water is clean after it’s flowed over 7 rocks.

    It may be best in the long run that we had the septic system rebuilt now. If we had to tear up the yard, I’d rather get it overwith now, before we’ve got a functional farm on our hands.

    Not sure what I’ll do with that bridge yet. The creek forks, so there are two areas where water passes under the bridge. If I could make it one wider, deeper creek, I’d consider it worth rebuilding the bridge, which isn’t the most attractive bridge in the area anyway. I’ve seen some nice wooden bridges on other properties.

  10. John

    Like the dinner pic, looks delicious. What did you order at Chipolte to come up with that?

    That was a taco salad with extra shredded beef, hold the chips.

  11. Chris

    Regarding the ‘Older Brothers’ comment about the food reward folks – I was thinking the same exact thing – what is making them so militant about their perspective? They are starting to sound like the vegans. I agree with you, Tom, that the food reward and carb/insulin hypotheses are certainly not mutually exclusive. I can totally relate to your pretzel anecdote, though perhaps with cake frosting or oreos – there is definitely a reward system at work there. But recognizing and pursuing that line of thought doesn’t nullify the carb hypothesis.

    Personally, I think the food reward folks tend to be young and fit folks who simply do not like fat people, and they seem to be looking for a scientific basis for justifying their disdain for ‘gluttony and sloth’. As Taubes points out (regarding those ad libitum studies), you can literally pig out on fats, not exercise, and as long as you avoid carbs, you don’t gain weight (you might not lose, but you don’t gain). I think the implications of this phenomena make the diet puritans uncomfortable…hell, MORE than uncomfortable, it downright pisses them off. “Hmmm… there has to be a way that I can show that fat people are weak-minded and weak-willed. I know! They are giving in to a reward system, just like drug addicts. Yes, now we can go back to judging them for their moral failures.”

    Well said.

  12. Bridget

    The farm looks great! I remember when I was a kid we lived in a small town in Idaho that had a bunch of open land like that around our house. We had the best summers ever there playing in the fields. You should totally build a zipline down that slope!

    I hope to try all kinds of creative uses for the land, including a big ol’ net at the treeline for a driving range.

  13. Galina L.

    I also think the food reword and food macro-nutrient content are connected. From my personal experience I can tell that LC kills crazy desire to EAT NOW anything that is around . Also LC makes it possible to keep meals at more that 4 hours intervals apart and after such interval even food prepared without too much of culinary effort tastes very rewording. It is one thing if Tom eats substantial meal that keeps him full for 8 hours, it is another, if somebody eats frequent substantial meals and has to make if super tasty because that individual is not properly hungry by his next meal. On another hand, you can eat beyond satiety even LC food, so the food reword is capable of overriding even satiety produced by very filling protein and fat combination. I can endlessly graze on nuts, olive bar food, hard salami rolls with a cream cheese but not on soft-boiled eggs or lightly cooked stakes. I don’t do it because I know which foods to avoid most of the time.

    For somebody like myself who lost all weight I wanted to lose on LC without being hungry, the declaration that the food reword theory is better than LC theory for a weight loss sounds like complete heresy. However, there are people who for some reason cant loose on LC, it is quite possible they have a different perspective on that.Privately I think that The Food Reword Theory is so prominent since recently because of the drama that surrounded it. Otherwise it would be on the low radar. The problem with the advice to keep a carb content of meals as low as possible if you have to lose weight is incomplete. There are other things could be done if watching carbo-content is not enough. We have to remember there are people around who can’t loose weight and they need help.

    That’s why I don’t think we need to view them as mutually exclusive hypotheses. If manipulation of flavors causes you to snarf down a bag of chips, you’ve got a food-reward issue leading to a jacked-up blood sugar issue.

  14. John

    Like the dinner pic, looks delicious. What did you order at Chipolte to come up with that?

    That was a taco salad with extra shredded beef, hold the chips.

  15. Ray Kelley

    The taco salad thing reminds me of when I was walking past the frozen pizzas in Wal-Mart the other day and thought to myself how much I missed pizza. But then I thought to myself, what is it I miss about pizza? The crust? No, I’ve detoxed to the point where the thought of eating all that white flour makes me sort of queasy. What I missed, I realized, was the mozzarella, pepperoni, and sauce. So, I went and found a little Corningware personal size ceramic skillet thing, and threw all of that in it with a few mushrooms and baked it. Delicious.

    Sounds like one of my weekend snacks.

  16. Bullinachinashop

    The place looks great Tom, but I cringe when I see what you’ve done to the garage….you’ve made your man-cave look somewhat welcoming to others, this is not good. It should be a good steel garage door with “go away” spray painted like it’s some sort of murderous gang hideout. Your wife might even try to re-paint or decorate it!!!!!!!!!!!

    Actually, the garage will be a play room for the girls. My man-cave will be an upstairs bedroom for now, then later the cabin we want to build out back.

  17. Chris

    Regarding the ‘Older Brothers’ comment about the food reward folks – I was thinking the same exact thing – what is making them so militant about their perspective? They are starting to sound like the vegans. I agree with you, Tom, that the food reward and carb/insulin hypotheses are certainly not mutually exclusive. I can totally relate to your pretzel anecdote, though perhaps with cake frosting or oreos – there is definitely a reward system at work there. But recognizing and pursuing that line of thought doesn’t nullify the carb hypothesis.

    Personally, I think the food reward folks tend to be young and fit folks who simply do not like fat people, and they seem to be looking for a scientific basis for justifying their disdain for ‘gluttony and sloth’. As Taubes points out (regarding those ad libitum studies), you can literally pig out on fats, not exercise, and as long as you avoid carbs, you don’t gain weight (you might not lose, but you don’t gain). I think the implications of this phenomena make the diet puritans uncomfortable…hell, MORE than uncomfortable, it downright pisses them off. “Hmmm… there has to be a way that I can show that fat people are weak-minded and weak-willed. I know! They are giving in to a reward system, just like drug addicts. Yes, now we can go back to judging them for their moral failures.”

    Well said.

  18. The Older Brother

    Heads up — looks like someone hijacked my nom de guerre on the Wikipedia post.

    also my usual signoff —

    Cheers

    Bagged the comment and blocked the IP address. Whoever is stealing your nom de guerre can’t be up to any good.

  19. Jenna

    I know that on the east coast the major rabies carrying varmint is the racoon, but in the midwest it is the skunk. When you talked about seeing a skunk, my first thought was “what time of day was it?” If it was evening, stay away, but if it was daytime, stay far, far away and notify the local animal control, or get someone to shoot it for you. Skunks are nocturnal and unusual activity (such as foraging in the daytime) can be a sign of rabies. I used to do some of the rabies testing in my state, so I am probably hyper-aware, and maybe a little too much on the ‘only good skunk is a dead skunk’ but when you have seen as many rabid skunks as I have, and heard stories of rabid skunks running out of the woods in the daytime to charge people, it makes you think twice.

    I appreciate the warning.

  20. reduceCrapohydrates

    I agree the food reward and carbohydrate/insulin hypotheses can’t be mutually
    exclusive because there are way too many variables involved and we overeat for different reasons.For people who can lose weight on high carb(even if they go hungry throughout) they are probably eating less on low carb because of a mixture of food reward and satiety and people who can’t lose weight on high carb may have insulin-resistance problems.It’s such a wide spectrum of people that there can’t be a one size fits all hypothesis.

    My personal experience is i overeat carbs because their texture causes every bite to taste different as i chew and it makes me want to eat more and more to recreate certain flavours.when i eat meat the bites taste similiar and i couldn’t be bothered eating more.A large factor is HOW you low carb.If you’re using low carb subtitutes and bars etc for foods you miss you’ll find low carb much less time consuming and eat meals much faster than a person eating only meat+vegetables and probably lose less weight than them.However people will be much more likely to stick to low carb long term if they enjoy trying new receipes.

    Good recipes and cookbooks make it easier to stick to the diet. Some people hear “low carb” and think it means nothing but steaks, burgers and omelets. Not true by a long shot.

  21. Ray Kelley

    The taco salad thing reminds me of when I was walking past the frozen pizzas in Wal-Mart the other day and thought to myself how much I missed pizza. But then I thought to myself, what is it I miss about pizza? The crust? No, I’ve detoxed to the point where the thought of eating all that white flour makes me sort of queasy. What I missed, I realized, was the mozzarella, pepperoni, and sauce. So, I went and found a little Corningware personal size ceramic skillet thing, and threw all of that in it with a few mushrooms and baked it. Delicious.

    Sounds like one of my weekend snacks.

  22. Ellen

    Hi Tom, if you need fodder for a future post, check out this bit of idiocy on the Mayo Clinic website. The comments are great, and the response from the two “educators” is truly telling.

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dr-bern…et/MY01817

    The idiocy of the authors is disturbing, but the real story is in the comments. Thanks to the internet age, people are educating themselves and often (as mentioned in one comment) know more than the supposed experts writing the articles.

  23. Peggy Cinocki

    I don’t think food reward and insulin/carbohydrate hypotheses are mutually exclusive either, but Stephan Guyenet and at least some of his followers (Sherry, for instance) seem to. Stephan was quite disparaging of the insulin/carbohydrate idea in the comments section of his one of his blogs on Food Reward even before the dust up with GT at AHS. He basically said something to the effect that few serious scientists take it (carbohydrate/insulin hypothesis) seriously. That’s when I stopped taking him seriously!

    I don’t judge a hypothesis on how many scientists take it seriously. The history of science of chock-full of examples in which majority opinion turned out to be wrong.

  24. reduceCrapohydrates

    I agree the food reward and carbohydrate/insulin hypotheses can’t be mutually
    exclusive because there are way too many variables involved and we overeat for different reasons.For people who can lose weight on high carb(even if they go hungry throughout) they are probably eating less on low carb because of a mixture of food reward and satiety and people who can’t lose weight on high carb may have insulin-resistance problems.It’s such a wide spectrum of people that there can’t be a one size fits all hypothesis.

    My personal experience is i overeat carbs because their texture causes every bite to taste different as i chew and it makes me want to eat more and more to recreate certain flavours.when i eat meat the bites taste similiar and i couldn’t be bothered eating more.A large factor is HOW you low carb.If you’re using low carb subtitutes and bars etc for foods you miss you’ll find low carb much less time consuming and eat meals much faster than a person eating only meat+vegetables and probably lose less weight than them.However people will be much more likely to stick to low carb long term if they enjoy trying new receipes.

    Good recipes and cookbooks make it easier to stick to the diet. Some people hear “low carb” and think it means nothing but steaks, burgers and omelets. Not true by a long shot.

  25. Ellen

    Hi Tom, if you need fodder for a future post, check out this bit of idiocy on the Mayo Clinic website. The comments are great, and the response from the two “educators” is truly telling.

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dr-bern…et/MY01817

    The idiocy of the authors is disturbing, but the real story is in the comments. Thanks to the internet age, people are educating themselves and often (as mentioned in one comment) know more than the supposed experts writing the articles.

  26. gallier2

    What bothers me the most with the food-reward/palatbility hypotheses is that it’s not a theory but only a hypothesis. A theory allows to make predictions that can be confirmed or not, an hypothesis doesn’t have this power. With the insulin/carb theory, I can judge the effect of a food beforehand. By integrating the macro composition and the moisture I know which effect on my blood lipids it will have, I can even predict if I will have acid-reflux, if my stool will be good or not, I can even predict the transient weight gain or loss (I weigh every day in the same conditions and the weight fluctuates in 3 kg window, probably due to liquid retention). On the food-reward hypothesis, it’s impossible to know what effect a food will have, will it be rewarding, will it not be, who knows? Is it the salt? Is it the sugar. Imho, that hypothesis is an overcomplication, where is Occam when you need him.
    I prefer, by far the explanations given by J.Stanton on gnolls.org, which makes excellent points explaining the why behind the insulin problem (the high-insulin effect is in fact a consequence of an energy disregulation at mitochondrial level). And his last point on the energy density of industrial food in comparison to paleo is real eye opener, who would have thought that the bland rice-cake are more energy dense than the fattiest piece of beef steak.

    Stanton’s explanation of hunger was well-researched and quite interesting.

  27. Bradlee Clark

    “Some people hear ‘low carb’ and think it means nothing but steaks, burgers and omelets.”

    Those three sound pretty good to me, though!

  28. gallier2

    What bothers me the most with the food-reward/palatbility hypotheses is that it’s not a theory but only a hypothesis. A theory allows to make predictions that can be confirmed or not, an hypothesis doesn’t have this power. With the insulin/carb theory, I can judge the effect of a food beforehand. By integrating the macro composition and the moisture I know which effect on my blood lipids it will have, I can even predict if I will have acid-reflux, if my stool will be good or not, I can even predict the transient weight gain or loss (I weigh every day in the same conditions and the weight fluctuates in 3 kg window, probably due to liquid retention). On the food-reward hypothesis, it’s impossible to know what effect a food will have, will it be rewarding, will it not be, who knows? Is it the salt? Is it the sugar. Imho, that hypothesis is an overcomplication, where is Occam when you need him.
    I prefer, by far the explanations given by J.Stanton on gnolls.org, which makes excellent points explaining the why behind the insulin problem (the high-insulin effect is in fact a consequence of an energy disregulation at mitochondrial level). And his last point on the energy density of industrial food in comparison to paleo is real eye opener, who would have thought that the bland rice-cake are more energy dense than the fattiest piece of beef steak.

    Stanton’s explanation of hunger was well-researched and quite interesting.

  29. Bradlee Clark

    “Some people hear ‘low carb’ and think it means nothing but steaks, burgers and omelets.”

    Those three sound pretty good to me, though!

  30. Kari S

    It makes me smile to see your girls on the farm. I grew up mostly unsupervised on 70 acres, plus all the neighboring farms that didn’t have rampaging bulls in the pastures. A couple of dogs running with them as they explore will scare off the snakes and other assorted country critters. 🙂

    A big dog is definitely part of the plan.

  31. Kari S

    It makes me smile to see your girls on the farm. I grew up mostly unsupervised on 70 acres, plus all the neighboring farms that didn’t have rampaging bulls in the pastures. A couple of dogs running with them as they explore will scare off the snakes and other assorted country critters. 🙂

    A big dog is definitely part of the plan.

  32. Becky

    Lolz, did you notice the Gatorade in the garage? Tell me the name of the construction company, I have a great documentary to recommend to the crew 🙂

    Our moving crew gulped Gatorade as well. I avoid preaching so as not to end up with broken furniture.

  33. Becky

    Lolz, did you notice the Gatorade in the garage? Tell me the name of the construction company, I have a great documentary to recommend to the crew 🙂

    Our moving crew gulped Gatorade as well. I avoid preaching so as not to end up with broken furniture.

  34. jad0110

    Tom,

    I know there is an echo in here, but I must also say that your farm looks like a truly wonderful place. I would love to own a big plot of land away from the hustle and bustle one day. Perhaps that can be a long term goal. My folks have a vacation home on Beech Mountain, near the town of Banner Elk, NC. Going there always seems to bring you back to reality and appreciate the little things. Nothing quite like barbeque ribs or ribeyes while enjoying the cool, dry air in a rocking chair either.

    As for copperheads, we are infested with the buggers here in eastern NC. Though they are the least poisonous snake in North America, they are a problem in that:

    1. They are common

    2. They are friggin impossible to see in dead leaves. One time when I finished mowing, I gave the mower a good shaking near my shed to break the wet grass free from underneath and a big fat one emerged from UNDER the pine straw and slithered out from under the front of the mower into the dead leaves along the tree line. Scared the poo out of me. Even though I knew where he was (I was staring right at him about 8 feet away), if I blinked I’d loose sight of him for a few seconds.

    3. When they are threatened, they tend to remain perfectly still (so they can’t be seen). Whereas rattle snakes rattle and cotton mouths bare their fangs and white lined mouths in a threatening manner, copperheads do their best to blend in. They don’t move until you step on them, and at that point they often strike. Interestingly, when threatened they often give off an odor that smells of fresh cucumbers. Something to remember.

    I’ve killed 3 or 4 in the span of about a year (I have a 4 1/2 year old boy to look out for), but haven’t seen any in about a year. I’ve used shovels, rakes and a single action .22 revolver loaded with snake shot. My preference is for the latter as I can keep well out of striking distance. Just don’t use a 3′ garden shovel to take on a 3′ long copperhead, as my wife nearly did!

    “Our moving crew gulped Gatorade as well. I avoid preaching so as not to end up with broken furniture.”

    Hey man, it could be worse. A friend was doing an above ground pool install for a double wide trailer owner, who also had a brick laying crew onsite putting in a permanent foundation for the mobile home. Call it underpinning with style. The owner offered my friend a beer, who declined it for obvious reasons. He then said if he changed his mind he had plenty, and the brick layers were drinking lots of it, whom he asserted were a great brick laying job. He must have been smashed too. My friend said the brick layers were clearly three sheets to the wind, and the brick job showed it. He said it was like a studying history by examining the layers of sediment in an exposed earthen mound. The bricks started out level, representing the point when the brick layers were sober. But as time passed and the empty beer cans piled up, the bricks became more and more uneven (some parts had almost no mortar, whereas others had mortar about 3″ thick). It actually got to the point where the bricks started lining up again, since one end was rising faster than the other. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall the next morning when the property owner sobered up!

    I’m putting my foot down, then: my wife isn’t allowed to drink with the building contractors.

  35. FatHeadFan

    Farm is looking good. Loved the movie (as you can see in my name).

    BTW, I’m a programmer too! I’m curious as to what kind of software do you write and what your language of choice is? (I’m mostly a Java web guy these days)

    C#.NET, VB.NET, SQL Server, and lately some DB2, since BMI is still running their operation on ancient mainframes.

  36. jad0110

    Tom,

    I know there is an echo in here, but I must also say that your farm looks like a truly wonderful place. I would love to own a big plot of land away from the hustle and bustle one day. Perhaps that can be a long term goal. My folks have a vacation home on Beech Mountain, near the town of Banner Elk, NC. Going there always seems to bring you back to reality and appreciate the little things. Nothing quite like barbeque ribs or ribeyes while enjoying the cool, dry air in a rocking chair either.

    As for copperheads, we are infested with the buggers here in eastern NC. Though they are the least poisonous snake in North America, they are a problem in that:

    1. They are common

    2. They are friggin impossible to see in dead leaves. One time when I finished mowing, I gave the mower a good shaking near my shed to break the wet grass free from underneath and a big fat one emerged from UNDER the pine straw and slithered out from under the front of the mower into the dead leaves along the tree line. Scared the poo out of me. Even though I knew where he was (I was staring right at him about 8 feet away), if I blinked I’d loose sight of him for a few seconds.

    3. When they are threatened, they tend to remain perfectly still (so they can’t be seen). Whereas rattle snakes rattle and cotton mouths bare their fangs and white lined mouths in a threatening manner, copperheads do their best to blend in. They don’t move until you step on them, and at that point they often strike. Interestingly, when threatened they often give off an odor that smells of fresh cucumbers. Something to remember.

    I’ve killed 3 or 4 in the span of about a year (I have a 4 1/2 year old boy to look out for), but haven’t seen any in about a year. I’ve used shovels, rakes and a single action .22 revolver loaded with snake shot. My preference is for the latter as I can keep well out of striking distance. Just don’t use a 3′ garden shovel to take on a 3′ long copperhead, as my wife nearly did!

    “Our moving crew gulped Gatorade as well. I avoid preaching so as not to end up with broken furniture.”

    Hey man, it could be worse. A friend was doing an above ground pool install for a double wide trailer owner, who also had a brick laying crew onsite putting in a permanent foundation for the mobile home. Call it underpinning with style. The owner offered my friend a beer, who declined it for obvious reasons. He then said if he changed his mind he had plenty, and the brick layers were drinking lots of it, whom he asserted were a great brick laying job. He must have been smashed too. My friend said the brick layers were clearly three sheets to the wind, and the brick job showed it. He said it was like a studying history by examining the layers of sediment in an exposed earthen mound. The bricks started out level, representing the point when the brick layers were sober. But as time passed and the empty beer cans piled up, the bricks became more and more uneven (some parts had almost no mortar, whereas others had mortar about 3″ thick). It actually got to the point where the bricks started lining up again, since one end was rising faster than the other. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall the next morning when the property owner sobered up!

    I’m putting my foot down, then: my wife isn’t allowed to drink with the building contractors.

  37. FatHeadFan

    Farm is looking good. Loved the movie (as you can see in my name).

    BTW, I’m a programmer too! I’m curious as to what kind of software do you write and what your language of choice is? (I’m mostly a Java web guy these days)

    C#.NET, VB.NET, SQL Server, and lately some DB2, since BMI is still running their operation on ancient mainframes.

  38. nonegiven

    DH trapped 8 skunks from under our house (we live in town.) I could have strangled him for taking them out in the country and turning them loose, I thought he should have drowned them in the pond. When he sees one while hunting or plowing or whatever, he always shoots it.

    My DS is a programmer. He said during his interviews with various companies they almost all seemed to be quite interested in his Python experience.

  39. nonegiven

    DH trapped 8 skunks from under our house (we live in town.) I could have strangled him for taking them out in the country and turning them loose, I thought he should have drowned them in the pond. When he sees one while hunting or plowing or whatever, he always shoots it.

    My DS is a programmer. He said during his interviews with various companies they almost all seemed to be quite interested in his Python experience.

  40. emi11n

    I’m a little disturbed at the number of comments conveying a ‘shoot all the varmints’ attitude. At the risk of being labeled a tree-hugger, may I suggest a less militant stance? Bear in mind that this is their land as much as it is ours, they are native and they belong here, and killing every potential pest or threat is cruel and wasteful. Bear in mind, I am not suggesting that you allow copperheads to live in your woodpile or skunks under the house. If an animal presents a real threat, you should certainly protect yourself and your family. I absolutely agree with destroying skunks that are active during the day. This also goes for raccoons, which are prone to distemper as well as rabies. If you need to kill a snake that is near your house, go ahead– your girls’ safety is obviously the most important thing. But if you come upon a snake in the woods, leave it alone (that’s where they’re SUPPOSED to be) likewise, there’s no need to kill a non-diseased animal. And for gosh sakes, please kill them HUMANELY whever possible. Cut off/crush the snake’s head with an axe, shoot the skunk, etc. Go for the method that kills quickly(how would YOU like to be drowned?) After all, it’s really not THEIR fault we don’t like them, they are what nature has made them to be. I guess what I’m trying to say is, we should have respect for the land and the animals in it, and when they come in conflict with us, we should attempt nonlethal solutions first when possible. They’re just trying to survive and get by same as we are. You all should study up on snake identification so you know which ones aren’t dangerous– if they’re not venomous you should never kill them(we don’t have any dangerous nonvenomous snakes). You might want to get yourself a long snake hook or snake tongs for wrangling any snakes that wind up where you don’t want them. Even if it’s a copperhead, these could be useful if you need to keep it from getting away before you can kill it. Oh, and in case no one has mentioned it Tom, NEVER attempt to pick up a severed snake head by hand. They are capable of biting and envenomating for at least an hour after death, and I wouldn’t take any chances.

    I appreciate the warning on snake heads. There’s a big forest behind us, and I have no intention of going in there to kill snakes or anything else. But if I see a copperhead hanging around the house, it’s a goner. Same if a coyote goes after the chickens when we get them. I also kill wasps whenever I get the chance because I have a theory (based on experience) that my picture was passed around in the wasp community after the wasp spiritual leader issued a fatwa on me.

    My wife found a baby snake in one of the bathtubs this week. I’m hoping that’s just because parts of the house are currently torn up, making for easy entry. If I find myself taking a bath with snake, it will spark another “scream like a girl” incident — like the one that began when a wasp went after me in the shower.

  41. emi11n

    I’m a little disturbed at the number of comments conveying a ‘shoot all the varmints’ attitude. At the risk of being labeled a tree-hugger, may I suggest a less militant stance? Bear in mind that this is their land as much as it is ours, they are native and they belong here, and killing every potential pest or threat is cruel and wasteful. Bear in mind, I am not suggesting that you allow copperheads to live in your woodpile or skunks under the house. If an animal presents a real threat, you should certainly protect yourself and your family. I absolutely agree with destroying skunks that are active during the day. This also goes for raccoons, which are prone to distemper as well as rabies. If you need to kill a snake that is near your house, go ahead– your girls’ safety is obviously the most important thing. But if you come upon a snake in the woods, leave it alone (that’s where they’re SUPPOSED to be) likewise, there’s no need to kill a non-diseased animal. And for gosh sakes, please kill them HUMANELY whever possible. Cut off/crush the snake’s head with an axe, shoot the skunk, etc. Go for the method that kills quickly(how would YOU like to be drowned?) After all, it’s really not THEIR fault we don’t like them, they are what nature has made them to be. I guess what I’m trying to say is, we should have respect for the land and the animals in it, and when they come in conflict with us, we should attempt nonlethal solutions first when possible. They’re just trying to survive and get by same as we are. You all should study up on snake identification so you know which ones aren’t dangerous– if they’re not venomous you should never kill them(we don’t have any dangerous nonvenomous snakes). You might want to get yourself a long snake hook or snake tongs for wrangling any snakes that wind up where you don’t want them. Even if it’s a copperhead, these could be useful if you need to keep it from getting away before you can kill it. Oh, and in case no one has mentioned it Tom, NEVER attempt to pick up a severed snake head by hand. They are capable of biting and envenomating for at least an hour after death, and I wouldn’t take any chances.

    I appreciate the warning on snake heads. There’s a big forest behind us, and I have no intention of going in there to kill snakes or anything else. But if I see a copperhead hanging around the house, it’s a goner. Same if a coyote goes after the chickens when we get them. I also kill wasps whenever I get the chance because I have a theory (based on experience) that my picture was passed around in the wasp community after the wasp spiritual leader issued a fatwa on me.

    My wife found a baby snake in one of the bathtubs this week. I’m hoping that’s just because parts of the house are currently torn up, making for easy entry. If I find myself taking a bath with snake, it will spark another “scream like a girl” incident — like the one that began when a wasp went after me in the shower.

  42. nonegiven

    Skunks are hard to shoot, they look big but it’s mostly fur and they’ll spray. Drowning in the trap, at least it can’t spray, as long as the trap is small enough it can’t raise its tail. It’s a miracle DH was able to let them all out of the trap without getting sprayed. The people I feel sorry for are the folks living in the country near where he turned them loose, they will probably have skunks move in under their house, since most of them were born under one. This is a rural community and he just passed our problem along to other people, not much different than people dumping their unwanted pets near a farm house. I know I’d be pissed if someone let 8 skunks loose near my property.

  43. nonegiven

    Skunks are hard to shoot, they look big but it’s mostly fur and they’ll spray. Drowning in the trap, at least it can’t spray, as long as the trap is small enough it can’t raise its tail. It’s a miracle DH was able to let them all out of the trap without getting sprayed. The people I feel sorry for are the folks living in the country near where he turned them loose, they will probably have skunks move in under their house, since most of them were born under one. This is a rural community and he just passed our problem along to other people, not much different than people dumping their unwanted pets near a farm house. I know I’d be pissed if someone let 8 skunks loose near my property.

  44. Peter Hill

    That creek bed shot looks like a Renoir painting! Tom you might eventually refer to yourself as a “Gentleman Farmer”. Or “Country Squire”, perhaps.

    Since part of the plan is to have chickens, I’ll refer to myself as The Egg Man, koo-koo-ka-choo.

  45. Peter Hill

    That creek bed shot looks like a Renoir painting! Tom you might eventually refer to yourself as a “Gentleman Farmer”. Or “Country Squire”, perhaps.

    Since part of the plan is to have chickens, I’ll refer to myself as The Egg Man, koo-koo-ka-choo.

  46. emi11n

    @nonegiven

    Thanks for the reply, I appreciate your perspective. I do understand it can be extremely difficult to shoot a ball of black fur that shoots nasty chemical weapons at you. I sure couldn’t do it, I have terrible aim no matter the weapon. Skunks are kind of a special case since they can shoot back! I know sometimes It’s just not possible to be humane, I just wanted to introduce that thought into the discussion, because we should treat animals humanely whenever possible. Of course they can’t always be released. I agree 100% it does no good to deposit nuisance wildlife in someone else’s neighborhood. There has to be an appropriate location.

    Tom, I have no argument with you killing copperheads near your house or coyotes attacking your stock. As I said before, the highest priority is to protect yourself and your animals. And I’m with you on killing wasps. I myself kill brown recluse spiders whenever I find them(it’s always inside a building so it is just self-defense ^__^) Seriously, get snake tongs, they will be great for removing snakes from the tub…even if you plan to kill the snake. (Much better to take it outside to kill.) There may be ways to protect your animals without killing many predators, though… check out the Idiots guide to raising chickens, it talks about a farm that got tired of losing hens. They got rid of their coop and bred a chicken that lives free on their farm. These Black Walnut chickens roost in the trees. They’re black so the predators can’t see them well at night. And spread out as they are, nothing can swoop in and kill them all. Something to consider. I bet your girls would have fun finding the hens’ nests. And if you get the goats or sheep you’ve mentioned before, you might think about getting a llama to guard them. A llama will stomp to death any coyote that shows its face, and it can live with the flock and eat the same food. Look up guard lllamas online, it’s a neat idea.

    Someone else also told me donkeys are good protection. Never would’ve expected that.

Comments are closed.