Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sneak Peek

Colonial Vet Hospital is (finally) getting a website. Here it is, still in pre-publication (so this is probably not the permanent location). No pictures of me that I can find, though I know that some were taken with the site in mind, so they might show up later.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


7:32 Evil level Sudoku! Top 4%! Within one month I bet I can do it under 5.

God Bless Joe Lieberman

Of course, I can hear the enviornmentalists now, "Oh, No! There are more cars on the streets! We were better off with Saddam in power!"

Monday, November 28, 2005

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Rescuing a Heifer

This afternoon, shortly after Jeremy arrived at the barn for midafternoon feeding, he was sweeping in the hay when he glanced out toward the newly frozen pond and caught a glimpse of something brown floating in the center that looked, at first, like mud. But mud doesn't float. He looked harder and realized that the object floating in the midst of a ring of broken ice was all that was visible of a heifer who was in the water, swimming for her life. He called down to the house and reached Tom, catching us in the middle of a sleepy Sunday afternoon of lolling around to watch football. Laura had just left a few minutes before to go back to college after Thanksgiving break, but Caleb was visiting and Luke was at home. All four of us grabbed coats and boots and ran outside.

At Jeremy's suggestion, we hoisted the canoe down from the garage loft, balanced it on the ATV, and carried it up behind the barn. In the middle of the pond was a ring of broken ice and the sodden dark head of the exhausted heifer. We don't have a picture of the heifer in the water -- we didn't have a camera until after the emergency was over. But here's a picture of the hole in the ice and of the heifer's tracks, showing how she moseyed out over the ice until she reached the center of the pond, where she broke through.

Luke and Caleb grabbed rope from the garage, I found a halter, and Jeremy drove the tractor with the bucket loader up to the pond. Tom and Luke slid the canoe gingerly over the thin ice to the hole where the heifer had broken through. They balanced half in the canoe, half on the thin rim of ice, while they got the halter on her head and tied the rope to the winch on the ATV. Caleb and Jeremy ran the ATV and the winch. The first try was a failure; the ATV slid forward dangerously toward the pond, while the rope snapped loose from the heifer's neck. But on the second try, with Tom chopping away at the edge of the ice with an axe to make more room to tug her free, the taut cable hauled the heifer head first out of the hole and onto the ice. Here's a picture of the track where we hauled her out. You can see how the edge of the hole is broken where she emerged; then there's the trail where she slid across the ice to the edge, and the tracks left by the ATV as it backed up, pulling on the rope.

On the snowy bank of the pond, the heifer seemed to be intact except for blood dripping from a tear in her ear, but she was too shocked and cold even to try to get up. Tom phoned the vet, who said that if her body temperature was lower than 98, she wouldn't have the muscular ability to stand. In the end, she had to be rolled into the bucket of the tractor and carried down to the shop to be warmed up with blankets and propane heaters. Here she is, wrapped in blankets at first, and then later on, with the blankets underneath her so that the heat could reach her wet fur and dry her out as it warmed her:

For at least an hour, her body temperature was too low to register on Tom's rectal thermometer -- somewhere below 92 degrees. But although she was shivering violently, the heifer was looking around, responding, and holding up her head. After a while she began to chew her cud. Perhaps two hours after Jeremy first spotted her, her heifer's temperature hit 99 and Tom got her to her feet. She's back with her friends now, no doubt repeating her story over and over again. Jeremy gets the credit for a banner day today -- if he hadn't glanced outside when he did, that heifer wouldn't have a story to tell!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

An announcement

Many of you have complained about the word verification setting on comments, correctly pointing out that the letters are hard to read and that the process is a pain. I put it on in the first place because we were getting some comment spam, but perhaps the verification is more trouble than avoiding the spam is worth. So, I've turned off the word-verification feature. If we get a lot of spam in the comments, I may turn it back on again. If anybody wants it back on now, let me know -- otherwise, let's watch for a while and see how things turn out.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Contest Winners

Well. The humorous prize was won by Panda, who got four votes (and one more on the heartfelt side), and the runner-up was Zachary Newbold who got two votes. The heartfelt prize was more closely contested with Cassie, Aurora, and Laura each getting two votes. Claire, Panda and I each garnered one vote.

The prize committee will decide soon how to divvy up the two $20 prizes.

I think there was considerable sentiment that the Rob entry deserved a prize, but lingering resentment at the clean sweep Rob usually makes at Murphymas prevented him from getting any votes. Both Rob and Cassie expressed the sentiment that they would vote for their spouses but for the fact that it was a little like voting for themselves. Cassie also thought the Newbolds should get a special family-togetherness prize because they all entered even if Claire had to beat them.

Thanks for all your entries. Maybe we can entice more entries next year, or maybe we can forget the whole thing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

There's still time

to get your entry -- or entries -- in for the contest. What are you thankful for? Surely there's something!

And if you haven't entered yet . . . why not?


I made a new Murphy family record time for easy level Sudoku at at 2:31. Out of a million Sudoku puzzles solved in one week on that website, it ranks somewhere above the top 1%. I'd like to see someone try to beat that or beat 13:20 for the Evil level.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Contest Rules Reinforcement

1. Read the instructions.
2. The contest is for ANYONE, Murphy or not. If you're not a Murphy, please enter. Tell us what you are thankful for. We'd really like to know. Really. And read the instructions.
3. The prize is not a gallon of milk from "the cows out back". Read the instructions in the contest post. The prizes are actually mentioned.
4. Entries must begin with "I'm thankful for". Read the instructions.
5. Aurora's entry is lovely. Aurora gets a pass for not reading the instructions.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Start thinking now!

And get your entries in early. What entries? The entries to the Stornaway Farm Thanksgiving Contest. Stornaway Farm is offering prizes for the best "What I'm Thankful For" comment in the comments section of this post. ANYONE can enter. Just hit the comments link and leave a comment that begins "I'm thankful for". The deadline to enter is Wednesday, November 23rd at 11:59PM. The entries should not be excessively lengthy. They may be humorous, or they may be heartfelt. One entry per person. A $20 prize will be awarded to the most humorous, and a $20 prize will be awarded to the most heartfelt. The winners will be determined by a vote of the entrants. Voters may not vote for their own entry. Votes should be mailed to me at by Thursday, November 24th, Thanksgiving, at 11.59AM. Note the times. The winners will be announced by 03:00 PM Thanksgiving. Comments will be allowed in the comments section right along with the entries. Entries will be identified by the first three words. Further clarifications, if necessary, will be made in the comments section. Questions should be asked there, also. Good luck.

Farm Update

Stornaway Jersey October milk came in at $20.60! We've hit the seasonal period of decline in milk prices, but our milk becomes richer in fat and protein in the fall, and the net effect is an increase in our pay price. Eeyacho! (Which, if you don't recognize it, is usually followed by, "Who-a wona secona wull wa you so smaht!)

We've hit a lull in the calving season. Buffy is due in a week, and Mocha is due in December. Pretty quiet. But then we have 5 due in January, 4 in February, 6 in March, 5 in April, and a whole bunch in May. Breeding has been in full swing, however. Having kept over a number of cows and heifers a couple of months left me with thirty to breed since the first of the month, and I've bred all but a few.

I've got two new heifers that I'm very excited about, Blossom and Bazooms. They are sired by a young sire named Dane who is, in fact, Danish, being an own son of Lemvig. They are milking well, are very solid, though not stylish, and best of all, are very calm and serene, possibly due to the outcross genetics. I even had to get stern with Bazooms about getting into her stall when she comes in the barn, and she is still just as calm as can be. She also learned where her stall is and that it is to her benefit to get in the right one when she comes in.

It's snowing, the cows are in the barn eating good hay and resting comfortably, and the milk check was substantial. It's a good time to be a farmer.

Til next time.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Headed back up

We once were fourth in the nation, before the decision to grow the herd in 2002. We fell to about 25th, and now were back up to 15th! That's we as in Stornaway Jerseys, on the Jersey Performance Index. Second in the state!



Monday, November 07, 2005

If you don't say anything, you won't be called upon to repeat it.

I made Aurora read this, but it didn't seem to have any effect.

Ready to get into the Thanksgiving spirit?

Then click here.

(Make sure your sound is on.)


I'd come around to wondering, "Is Theo a cry-baby?" Turns out others have, too.

I also wonder about the whole RS ownership. Why do we see them all the time? Lucchino, Werner and Henry are always giving interviews and blabbing in front of cameras. They should be in the background (WAY in the background). It isn't about them, it's about the players. I think the three of them want to be stars, too.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Congratulations, S-E Varsity Soccer

The 2005 Sherburne-Earlville Varsity Soccer team . . .

. . . completed an undefeated season

. . . won its own season-opening tournament and the Hamilton Optimists tournament

. . . won the Division II championship title in the Center State Conference

. . . earned the unofficial all-league title in the Center State Conference by defeating the other division's champions

. . . earned the top seed in Section III, Class B

. . . got farther in sectionals than any Sherburne-Earlville soccer team has before them

. . . broke the school record for games won in a season

. . . broke individual school records for goals scored in a season and shutouts in a season

. . . earned a fourth-in-the-state ranking in Class B from the New York State Sportswriters' Association

. . . played every game in their season with heart, good sportsmanship, and class, and turned themselves into a living demonstration of the meaning of the word "team."

Good luck next year to those who aren't graduating and to the coaches -- and as for the seniors, oh, what a way to complete your soccer careers. It's not just your victories we're proud of -- it's the way you won them. Thanks for the fun, the pride, and the memories. Go, S-E!