Welcome to the secret page - if you got this far, you have spent way too much time on this website.  Here you can find information about:

The bees!

The tractors

The shed

The tank

The ATV

....and whatever else we add over time....

 

The Bees!

In 2015 a budgetary analysis showed that expenditures on honey exceeded $16 per month, this was deemed unacceptable.  To correct this situation research was started into producing our own honey ("Dancing Horse Honey, a product of Mountain Crest Farm" - yes, we named it before we produced it).  Research showed that the Commonwealth of Virginia has a program whereby eligible citizens can install a honeybee hive and receive an actual, completely valid, check from the Commonwealth for what they spent (less several disallowed expenses - it is a government program after all).  Leveraging this program the fiscally sound decision was made to procure:

3 Warre-type beehives from Amazon.com ` $149/ea

3 packages of bees - $160/ea

A full beekeepers outfit from Amazon - $49

A full set of beekeeping tools from Amazon - $18

Several pallets and miscellaneous scrap wood - free(?) since we already had it from other projects

Total expenditure: ~$1000

Less Commonwealth grant: -$600

Total cost ~$400 (or approximately 2 years of honey costs)

We anticipate that one day we will break even on this exercise.

2018 Update: all hives absconded with their honey....we will be re-evaluating the bee program in 2019.  Bees are harder than they look.

2019 Update: New bees have been procured and installed into “improved” (by using tools and paint!) Warre hives. They seem, so far, to be happy bees, but we have not conducted individual interviews to confirm this sentiment. We are pleased that, thanks to economic conditions in the United States, and the lack of known tariffs on Bees, the price for the bees is only up $20/year/year. 

The Tractors

Leveraging past experience as a camp counselor the decision was made (prior to investigating any other manufacturers of products) that Mountain Crest Farm would be a Kubota customer.

Originally owned two tractors:

Big 'Bota - a 2015 Kubota L2501 

Baby 'Bota - a 1983 Kubota B7100HST permanently attached to an arena drag (we dont recommend this particular arena drag because, although the product is good, the company owner is quite a difficult individual)

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Later we realized what we had gotten into, and traded the L2501, which was once called a "a giant lawnmower" and some other less than charitable things, for a Kubota (we didnt even look at other brands) MX5200.  The MX, which we call "bigger 'Bota" is actually the right size for the property.

Our current tractor inventory:

2018 Kubota MX5200 HST

1983 Kubota B7100HST

Fun note on B7100HST, we actually think this was once a ZEN-HOH grey market tractor.  We base this understanding on the discovery that not a single part on this tractor has a US serial number.

We are in the market for a new drag, mostly because the guy from EZ Drag is incredibly hard to deal with.

As an orange colored equipment focused farm we also have a number of miscellaneous items from Husqvarna and Toro (they turn orange if you leave them out long enough)

Early 2019 Update: the time has come to replace the EZ Drag (made by the not-at-all-EZ to deal with man) with a Carolina Arena Drag - this will require the replacement of the B7100HST (which is named “Harold” for reasons lost to history). The search continues….

Mid 2019 Update: We elected to enter into a contract with the Carolina Arena Equipment Company for a 6ft double roller Dragonfly Pro. It arrived, after a non-trivial-faff in the back of one of the trailers….whereupon we discovered a problem. Its big, really, really big and it weighs a lot. This newtonian discovery lead to the hunt for a new tractor. After several weeks we decided to break with long (~4 year) held tradition and purchase a “blue brand” tractor called, actually, a “Boomer 30”. Certain snobby Mountain Crest folks felt that a name like “Boomer 30” was unprofessional - so we renamed it “New Harold” - much more professional. After another non-trivial-faff it was hooked to the Dragonfly and we are once again dragging in style……

For those concerned about Old Harold, we sent him to live on a farm……which isnt a metaphor, he literally still lives on the farm and does important farm things like:

  1. Sitting on the gravel pad

  2. Adding Mag to the area

  3. Costing money to maintain

  4. Leaking fluids at random

  5. Costing money to de-leak

  6. Reminding us of “back when” we had to use a little tractor for the arena

We also kept the EZ-Drag from the not-EZ-man just in case we needed to use it for touchups of the mag installs.

 

The Shed

"The Shed" was purchased from the parking lot of a Home Depot for 60% off....it was a bargain and came with some lovely window boxes (removed) and some excellent local mold (dead? we think).  It was installed by some nice men who did not have teeth and also used a 10" torpedo level to make sure it was "installed good".  After a little attention it seems to be truly level and has been painted to more-or-less match the other things around the farm.  The shed features a solar light ($39 from Amazon.com) and every tool we could find for below market price including:

  • Several sanders - ask about "the kickwall event"

  • Lots of glues and adhesives - amazon shopping spree

  • Saws - you never have exactly the right one

  • Miscellaneous fuel additives - "Car Talk" said to try them

  • Pretty much anything from the "Add On Item" category of Amazon

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In 2018 we decided to augment the shed situation by way of spending money. After a shopping trip to an actual shed store (“This-n-That Amish Outlet” - we did not see anyone who seemed Amish - but we are not experts) we entered into a contract with a seller of shed-type-things. While the contract specifically called out a 5 day delivery timeframe, the vendor was able to deliver the additional shed after “only” 3 weeks. He seemed pleased with his promptness, we are not as impressed, but he seemed to have been genuinely attempting to do the work for a while so we let it go. The new shed is more or less twice the size of the old one, has (permitted) electricity and air conditioning! It fits most everything we need, except the stuff that doesn’t fit. 

 

The Tank

The tank is our 2400 gallon underground cistern made by Norwesco, sold by some guys called (actually) Tank-Depot.Com.  It was delivered in early 2016 by a fellow driving a brand new Dodge 3500 with a bobtail trailer who pronounced it "one of the oddest things" he has shipped.  It was installed on the South side of the arena with a feeder system from the arena gutters.  With the help of friends and experts we plumbed it to the side of the arena using some parts we got from Harbor Freight and a giant trencher we rented from Home Depot.  The result is a nice green system whereby:

1. We hope it rains

2. Time passes

3. It rains

4. The water flows off the Arena roof and into the cistern

5. Time passes

6. We start a Coleman generator we got for free when we bought the ATV

7. The generator powers a well pump we got from Harbor Freight

8. Rainwater is available for any use we can imagine!

....as you can see, with just several thousand dollars to spend you too can have a totally green rainwater collection system off a giant covered arena based on using a very-not-green mid 90s 4-stroke gasoline powered generator.  Much later we hope to convert this to solar, but first we need several thousand more dollars to waste....er....rather....invest in the improvement.

2018 Update

We wired up power the arena to install LED lighting. "What a deal" we congratulated ourselves on the giant cost savings we would enjoy from these fancy LEDs over conventional lighting.  Math later showed it will take us just over 20 years to save the cost.....but its a farm....so whatever.

The installation of lights (and accompanying trench for power) occasioned an opportunity to install power out to the cistern shed, which we did.  So now we dont need the generator - well - except in case of power failure.

2019 Update

With the addition of power comes great responsibility (its a Spiderman thing). We had to suddenly install a heater, run power to a couple of run ins, etc. This “cheap and green” project has become something of a monster…..but….we have redundant water (in addition to the already redundant water wells - its an “investment”). Additional great news! The overflow for the cistern is a warm place for rats and mice…..so we also had to install a rather complex screen system to keep them out. Fun!

 

The ATV

Once upon a time the owners decided that an ATV (or you might prefer the term "four wheeler" - same, same) might be a handy item.  So it was resolved that one would be purchased.  In the dark of winter (it was May - but a very wet May) an estate sale occurred around the corner.  After some negotiation we purchased the perfect ATV, a 1990 (yes, it was 26 years old when we bought it) Honda Fourtrax 300.  The price was a bargain, particularly considering it included a massive WARN winch, full storage racks and a gun case.  We also got a free (giant - like whole home giant) Coleman generator with it.  Total bargain.  A weekend was invested in rebuilding the carburetor using a video on YouTube and a kit from Amazon.  With that done, we have a totally kick-ass, go-anywhere, indestructible ATV.  We love the thing, even though its older than any of the horses.

2019 Update

The ATV did not winter well, in fact, it wintered about the way you would expect a cactus to do in Vermont. So a rebuild was required. Leveraging YouTube, Amazon, and the local “auto parts emporium” we were able to acquire all of the parts needed, and half of the tools required. With just 6 short hours and considerable experimentation (mostly due to missing the other half of the needed tools) we were able to restore the ATV to functioning status. Certain persons suggested, as the short rebuild was occurring, that it might be better to buy what was termed a “modern” ATV to replace the TRX. The persons making these suggestions were advised to make eye doctor appointments as, obviously, the 1990 Honda Fourtrax 300 is quite modern. Certain Mountain Crest Farm staff are quite pleased that we use a nearly 30 year old ATV on a daily basis. Others would prefer that we replace it with something “easier to use”. They lack talent and dedication where ATVs are concerned, so they get ignored.