|THUNDER 5 Ranch Inc.
11141 County RD. 300E, McLeansboro IL. 62859
Phone 618-308-0917 or 618-308-0792
I promised that in 2017 I would revamp the website and I have a bit of time this morning to start on
Welcome to the Thunder 5 Ranch Website. For those who have been here before I hope you
enjoy the new look. There is a lot new going on here in 2017 and a lot of changes. As many know
2016 was the worst year ever for the T5R and I was absent from everything from June through the
pretty much November. The reason was Septic Pneumonia (Sepsis or septic shock) The
mortality rate for this is very high, and trust me I was right there with one foot in the spirit world for
several months. Recovering from this has been a very long road but I have been far more
fortunate than three friends and family members two of which died from it last fall and one who
was left basically a invalid in a wheel chair. I am a different kind of critter though and Big Daddy
does not go down easy or without a fight and I can tell you in no uncertain terms that this was the
fight of my life and for my life. Antibiotic treatments had no effect and for better than a month I
could not eat and struggled to drink enough water. My fever ranged from 105-110 and more than
A few times I thought it was time to cash my chips in.
Obviously I survived, thanks to a very old school and unconventional treatment. After the fever
was gone and the infection killed, I had a long time to think and consider the direction I was going
to take, once my strength and body functions returned to normal. The Cattle had to go, The pig
numbers needed to be reduced and my weeks of working up to 120 hours per week had to stop. I
doubt I will ever be 100% of where I was before I got sick again. Just rating myself on my own
personal scale I am around 75% of my strength and stamina. Make no mistake 75% of Mike is still
a powerhouse by any measure.
Moving forward I am going to focus more on less labor intensive things. In particular the
gardens, I have done most of the field work by hand over the years. Now I will use more machines
for planting and cultivating and to some extent for harvesting. By my calculations going with
more mechanized methods I will cut my field labor by 50% and increase production by 30%.
More Eggs and Poultry, of all of the livestock the chickens are by far the easiest to manage and to
process. Poultry has also been gaining on pork in the sales arena for four years in a row. Pork is
not going away, but I am cutting back to 4 sows and 1 boar and will only be finishing 45-50 hogs
per year rather 200-250. More value added and prepared foods are going to roll out.
When it is all said and done my previous 116-120 hour work week through the main market
season will be whittled back to a mere part time 50-60 hour work week. The farm will be more
streamlined, efficient and hopefully more productive.
The Members Club/ CSA is returning, The on Farm Store is being expanded and I will still be
present at the RPFM Johnston City and Carterville Cannon Park Farmers' Markets.