Tractor arrived

It is here!  The tractor arrived this morning.  It was all clean and shiny upon delivery.  I had to work on the trailer all day, but I just couldn’t help myself so I jumped on the tractor and took it for a spin.  The mower was attached so I fired it up.  It worked great but boy there was a dust cloud.  Luckily for me I was driving into the wind toward the cattle guard.  The only problem with that is I turned around to go back.  I was covered in dust and couldn’t hardly see, finally had to shut down the mower.  For future reference, if mowing in the Summer I will need a dust mask and goggles.  So the tractor is no longer clean, it is filthy.

I managed to get the trailer all cleaned out, rearranged and emptied of most unnecessary items.  I had to go in to the tractor place to sign the contract.  Just under $20K for everything and no interest for 5 years.  A sweet deal.  Came inside the house once it got too dark to see and listened to our answering machine messages.  It was the tractor place thanking me for signing everything but they need my $2K check.  In all these discussions I don’t recall us having to put any money down. When Annmarie got home I asked her if she knew about the $2k down?  It was a surprise to her also.  So tomorrow I have to cough up $2k for the down payment.  It is doable, but I would have saved expressly for the down payment that I didn’t know about.  On a more positive note our payments will be just under $300/month.   Not sure why I expected to be able to just buy it without any down payment, but I did.

The sheep were out again today.  Only four this time, the lead ewe her baby twins and her 10 month old daughter.  I cannot figure out how they are getting out, everyone else was stuck inside.  I did go over and mess with the fence over the creek, there is no gap now.  I let the four sheep back in to the ram pasture and hopefully this stops them from getting out.

I let the baby chickens out of their pen today.  They didn’t come out but I gave them the option of it for when they are interested.  It will take them about a week to become brave enough to wander around the house.  We could use some more bug eaters.  I also spotted three tiny brown eggs so the Brahma’s may even be laying some eggs themselves.  I will have to add them in to the chicken hen laying count.

Tractor anticipation!

Today is the day!!  The tractor comes today.  So nice.  This is going to be like hiring a farm hand.  I can talk to it, feed it (gas), cloth it (wash it off), house it (park under cover) and it will be around forever just doing the things that need done.  I expect it to practically work by itself.  I am stoked!!  This will speed up lots of jobs and give me that third hand and second back when needed.  It will be here in 2.45 hours.

fencing continues

Big surprise but the sheep got out again today.  The barn lot and ram pasture is secure.  The child left a gate partially unlatched and the sheep pushed through into the orchard.  The orchard had two major holes that I knew about.  The gate and under the fence near our little foot bridge.  I plugged those with panels and then went inside the orchard.  The far back corner is a mess.  It is falling apart and the sheep were just stepping over it.  A very worn trail showed where they were going through.  I patched that section and then 30 feet away where the creek had created a new path there was a one foot gap under the fence.  I patched that.  I did a lot of patching.  The far corner is most likely going to have some concentrated attention before the year is out.  On a very positive note I found a use for the wagon.  I mounted a bar across it and have my spool of fencing wire attached so I can just pull as much wire as I need.  All the tools and nails needed for fencing are kept in the rest of the wagon.  Very cool use for the wagon.

Sheep work done

Well Annmarie got us up early and the two of us went out to wrangle the sheep this morning.  We herded them into the corral and the fun began.  Sarah was visiting with her cousins so she was missing out on all the action.  We needed to tag them all, blue tags for boys and red tags for girls.  All the tags had numbers so we could track the sheep’s production.  Some of the boys needed to be banded and a few of them still needed to be wormed.  Annmarie was catching the sheep and I was inflicting all the pain on the sheep.  The trouble with this is I am not experienced.  So I was learning as I went.  We would herd the sheep into the sorting chute and then catch them to administer their punishments.  The problem is the sheep are fast.  I was trying to catch this little twenty pound sheep (grasshopper) with a pair of tag pliers in one hand.  Annmarie kept hollering at me to drop the pliers and catch the lamb.  The trouble is the sheep are like little jumping beans.  The damn lamb kept jumping up to my shoulders trying to get by, Annmarie was hollering and I was laughing so hard the lamb got away.  I ended up on the ground rolling around.  It took us just over an hour to get every one through.

So this afternoon I am out moving the sprinkler and I noticed that one of the Baker girls had already torn out her ear tag!!  How are we going to track the births if we cannot keep everyone tagged?  So we are going to take pictures and place them in the computer program to track the sheep.  Who knows how this is going to work.

Tools of the trade.

Sheep after the wrangling

Sheep with new tags

Estate sale finds

We went to two estate sales today.  The first one we went to was to look at some furniture.  It opened at 0800 and I was afraid the early birds would snap up all the good stuff.  But there was a line when we showed up and they were just opening up the garage doors as we headed that way from our parking spot.  We divided forces for a quick look see and grab.  I snagged some dies (for making threads on metal), a hand planer and a large hand drill base.  I have one base but this one is larger and nicer.  We met back up in the living room, snagged a few books and some beautiful pie crimped pottery bake ware.  We paid for that stuff and made a second pass.  I netted an old post hole digger (in our bid to be cheap, modern post hole diggers don’t have enough steel in the walls and the tips bend over easily when you hit rocks.  Old ones have thicker walls and can take a lot more of a beating.)  I also snagged a hole aligner (I know there is a proper name for this tool, but I just don’t know it.) (It looks like a prybar but one end has a 3 inch 90 degree prying end and the long straight part is round and tapers to a narrow point.  You work the point end into a hole you are trying to line up and then start reefing and beating it with a hammer to get the holes to line up.  I need one and did not have one.)  We paid for this stuff and then made a third pass.  Sarah and I found a tiny glass jar with a 1955 penny in it.  They had to blow the glass around the penny.  She paid $5 for it!!  I found a metal ceramic bed pan and paid $10.  Go figure.  We ended up with one more book and then headed off to the second estate sale.  Someone at this sale had asked Annmarie if she had been to the other one and then told her where it was.

The second estate sale had more stuff.  The previous owner had collected hand wood working tools.  He had wood planes from the 1890’s.  There was a #40 plane that was three inches wide and over two feet long for $40.  I almost bought it, but the agreement is tomorrow is 50% off day and we will check first thing and I get it if it is still there.  I did not get any.  I was hoarding my money.  There was at least $400 in tools on the table.  Not what they were worth but what they were marked for sale. I did snag four pipe clamp setups for $5 each.  I need about another 4 pipe clamps and some longer pipes to fill out my clamp section.   I found some tea towels, tried on some jackets but they did not fit.  Annmarie found some small camping cookware for us.  They had a Craftsmen table saw in the back yard.  It had a locking fence that you screwed down so the fence did not move (Trust me, I locked it and beat on it with my fist violently).  It had all the parts 10 inch blade.  The table is all steel and about three feet wide with pipe sticking out for more extensions.    I was holding out for the spendy table saw but Annmarie doesn’t want me to put off any more projects.  My current excuse is we don’t have a table saw good enough to do finish work on (which was true till today).  So Annmarie persuaded (as only a wife can do) to settle for this now and to get the old house cleaned out and wired so I can start building some nice furniture grade stuff for the house (plus she gets window trim with this also).  She really wants the windows to have trim in them.

I need to be fencing but it is too hot.  I went out to the barn and dug out the corner of the second hay room.  I moved absolutely everything and dug it all out and threw it out the barn door.  The far corner had almost three feet of dust, bird poo and alfalfa dust.  It looks much better. After further review of the main part of the barn I think that only two ten foot sections of floor will need to be replaced.  This will cut down on the costs for the barn dramatically.  I would like to get the doors cut in to the other hay storage section and the door cut into the future tack room (now grainary).

Hay storage area entrance from barn side.

Sorting chutes leaned up on end for storage after cleaning it out.

Hay storage area looking toward barn entrance.

Pile dug out of the barn.

First thing in the morning we are going to corral the sheep.  Then we are going to tag them all (boys get blue and girls get red), worm the half that didn’t get it earlier in the year, band the boys that need it (five I think), peel off the wool on the one ewe that is too lazy to rub it off and I want to weigh the largest whether to see if he is over 80#.  Would like him to be around 90# for slaughter.  I have two customers waiting for the next available lambs.  I also need to start thinking about laying in some hay for Winter.  Especially, since I have a nice cleaned out area available.

I will come back after Annmarie has fixed our computer and add in some pictures of the hay room.  On a side note, I do have the sheets for the chicken financials for the last two months and once the computer is fixed I will complete those and post them.  They are going to be depressing so I have been subconsciously avoiding them.