Monday, January 30, 2006

The Blogiversary Approaches

As improbable as it may seem, Gentle Readers, the blog is nearly one year old! The picture above was part of the very first Murphies post, which made its appearance on this spot on February 5, 2005. Just six days from now, the blog will celebrate its First Blogiversary.

In honor of the occasion, I am announcing a poll to select the best post -- or posts -- of the year. There aren't really any rules, so you won't get into trouble for not reading them. Anyone may enter, and you may submit as many entries as you like. If you want to nominate more than one post, go right ahead. You can make up some categories if you like, such as Funniest Post, Best Picture, Most Memorable Occasion, or Comment Section Contains the Most Song Lyrics. Or, if you'd rather just name one post or picture, that's great, too.

Entries should be sent to my e-mail address, which I am going to attempt to disguise here in the interests of privacy and spam-avoidance: my first last name at the company I work (no capital letters needed.) If that's too puzzling or you need a consultation on spelling, just leave a comment asking me to get hold of you. I will announce the poll results, along with some blog-history trivia, on Sunday.

Don't be left out! Send in your entries early. And watch this space!


I think Caleb should study taxidermy in his spare time as a vet student. That way, when he starts a practice, he'll be able to put a sign in his clinic that says, "Either way, you get your pet back."

Sunday, January 29, 2006

More hiking

Chris, Kendra, and Jason in the woods.
Kaitlyn messing around on ice. Really smart.
The event turned out to be an odd quadruple date and we didn't notice till we got there. Weird.
Kaitlyn and Kenra in the woods.

Hiking at Letchworth State Park.

Here we have a lovely frozen waterfall. We also have a lovely dam and a huge muddy river. And then we have the hill down the very steep gorge. You don't want to fall down that.

I know, I know, these aren't very exciting. I'm afraid I lead a boring life.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Happy Belated Birthday, Caleb!!

The University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School gave Caleb a wonderful birthday present, one day late: he's in!! Earlier this evening, while he was driving home after his interview, he got a cell phone call telling him he had been accepted. Yippee! The UPenn vet school website is here and it sounds like a seriously exciting place.

Start saving up your sick animals now -- we'll have a vet in the family in about 4 1/2 years. Congratulations, Caleb, on a lot of hard work and a huge accomplishment!!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Simmons and Schilling

Nothing earth-shattering, just a good read.

Greetings from PA, by the way. Thanks for the birthday wishes!

Happy Birthday, Caleb!

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday, dear Caleb --
Happy birthday to you!

This is probably as close as Caleb is going to get to an actual birthday cake, since he has to spend this afternoon driving to Pennsylvania for tomorrow's interview. (But I do believe that the cake in the picture has exactly 24 candles.) We hope it will be a happy day anyway -- and good luck tomorrow!

More Wal-Mart

Sunday, January 15, 2006


''You can't say we did it to ourselves," All-Pro defensive end Richard Seymour said. ''When you say we beat ourselves you're not giving the other team enough credit. We did make a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes, but in a way they forced them. As a competitive player and as a man you have to accept it. They did it to us. I'm disappointed. Very disappointed. But if you can't accept a loss, what kind of person are you?"

A Hobbit House

Here is a dollhouse-sized version of Bag End, made by a clever and obsessive person who has been working on it for years. Don't miss the tiny details in the various pictures, especially the kitchen and pantry, and be sure to click through on the link to the "backstory" to see pictures of the dollhouse under construction. So COOL!

Friday, January 13, 2006


Will Caleb get into vet school?

Will Luke, who has been accepted at University of Rochester with a Rhees scholarship, get accepted into Naval ROTC?

Will Cassie be going on a cruise in February?

If you know the answer to any of these questions, please let me know. The suspense is bad for my arthritis.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Farm Update

The joke goes: There were only ever two good years in farming, ya know. 1955 and next year.

Well, the proverbial next year is here, and we are ready. We are at a low point now, milking only 47 cows, with six cows dry. That is the only bad news I can think of. The good news is this: In the next 5 months, we have 29 cows due, including 11 first calf heifers. June and July there are no cows due, and then there are 38 cows bred for August, September, and October, including 9 first calf heifers. After that there are an additional 17 first calf heifers who will be bred to calve by April of 2007. That totals to 37 first calf heifers who will enter the herd in the next 16 months! So by April of 2007 we have the potential for 90 cows. Of course, some cows will "leave" the herd, but we could cull 15 cows in the next 16 months and still be at 75 cows. So there will be steady, inexorable growth from this point, with growth in milk volume outpacing growth in costs and debt service by a wide margin. Yahoo!

Speaking of cows leaving, they are very excited about "Welch's". They hear of it every now and then, and they want to know more. If you've never heard a cow talk, they have a falsetto voice, much like Mr. Bill, but not so frantic. They think welch's sounds like fun and they always want to know more and ask many questions. I just tell them it's a big secret and they'll find out soon enough.

And speaking of growth, we shipped more than twice as much milk in 2005 as we did in 2001. And that's almost 100% internal growth, meaning that it has been accomplished with cows that were bred and raised here, not purchased cows. In 2006, we will ship twice as much as we did in 2002.

In Christmas Contest news, we have used 223 bales, an average of 15 a day. (That's just heifer hay, BTW, the cows eat another 30-35 a day.) The pile is holding up well, so my money stays on the entrants who made the higher guesses.

Drink milk and eat meat. Give a cow a reason to live.

Monday, January 09, 2006


"If you own a private jet and call yourself an environmentalist, you ought not content yourself with the thought that you encouraged your gardener to buy a Prius."

Yes, but I also encourage my gardener to send his children to public school.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Pictures from Berkeley/San Francisco

In absolutely no particular order....

Drinking a shake at the Ghirardelli's factory, wearing an emergency poncho from my Xmas stocking that came in handy in the wonderful weather:

More Ghirardelli's. Aly, Amanda, and Jonothan:

Taking shelter from the rain at the end of a long pier off of Berkeley. Mandrew, Aly, Tia, Ruth, Amanda, Jonothan:

Same location, different photographer:

Pictures from Berkeley/San Francisco

Not the Mark you may remember (well...same Mark, longer hair):

New Years toast:

The Palace of Fine Arts:

Mandrew wearing an apron, carving a New Years turkey:

Leaving the pier off of Berkeley, soaked to the bone:

On Pier 39 (where the sea lions pictures of them though). Mark, Amanda, Ruth, Aly, me):

Looking out at the Golden Gate bridge. Notice the moon in the corner. Me, Amanda, Ruth, Aly:


I wish I'd taken this picture, but I forgot my camera that day. The Golden Gate on the right, the city on the left:

The city from a pier off of Berkeley, in pounding rain and wind. Not a great picture at all:

An old pier from the same location, just a little to the right of the shot of the city:

Alcatraz. We tried to get a tour, but it was too late in the day. We settled for pictures from afar: