I really did ask for it. I really did.

I shot my mouth off and am paying for it in more ways than one!! Yesterday I decided to move the bull out of the corral down to the schoolhouse. I was tired of feeding him and I am sure he was tired of being confined. I opened the gate and he proceeded to run toward the upper prime pasture bellowing trying to get through the fence.  I had both dogs and turned them loose but the bull would just run to the end of the fence then turnaround and run to the gate. Zeke and mouse could not get him to go toward the schoolhouse. Mouse took a foot to the jaw, rolled a time or two, jumped up and went back after the bull. I finally called the dogs off, went and got two shaker sticks and proceeded to harass the bull.  Even that was not enough.  He kept coming, I had to smack him twice with the shaker sticks to get him to turn around.  He finally headed over by the cars then down by the alpaca gate, once at the gate he looked up on the hillside and saw the other batch of female cows, he hollered and took off at a dead run!  I had the gate open and he just ran right into the lower field.  The cows then went right into the schoolhouse pasture without any prompting.  I walked down there with both dogs, having taken Mouse off of the lead rope because we were done working animals.  As I am closing the gate into the schoolhouse pasture I notice several sheep outside the fence on the road again!  I had to cross the creek and go out over by the wheat field.  This is when I notice one of the problems, that section of fence I had never repaired is in serious need of repair.  The sheep have figured out that it won’t hold them and there is a poop highway along the mowed access road leading out to the pavement.  By the time I got down to four corners I could not find the sheep and Mouse did not want to listen anymore.  The more angry I got the worse Zeke did.  He just wanted to lay down and not move.  Of course I kept screaming that at Mouse who wanted to ignore me, then Zeke not cooperating made it worse.  I needed the 30 foot lead I left over by the house.  We ended up walking the whole length of the farm and pushing a lone ewe into the upper prime pasture with the babies. 
I had to leave the fencing for Sunday as I was picking up Annmarie at the airport. 

Old fence redone 2/3 complete

Sarah’s new paramour volunteered to come out and fix fence with me yesterday.  I said 0700 on Sunday and they were quite prompt.  I offered breakfast and he refused, we grabbed water and then filled the back of the pickup with tools, 75 T posts and 40 wooden stays, all the T post clips I had on the farm, 10# of fencing staples, a roll of smooth wire, a hammer and two pair of fencing pliers.  We would have had two hammers but I forgot one in the shed.  While loading up the T posts the dogs were running around when suddenly we heard this high pitched screaming.  We looked over in the area over by my gate stash and there was a baby deer that had gotten its foot caught in the fence.  Mouse had found it, we called the dogs away and the deer was so scared it managed to free itself and run off down by Donna’s house.  We saw the mother deer run out into the wheat field.  Annmarie and I had just seen this baby the night before when we came home.  It was no worse for its encounter.
 We had to clean up around a rock crib, we tossed all the scrap wire and boards onto the top of the crib then had to rebuild one about 2/3 of the way down the fence line.  Once the rock crib was secure then we removed all the staples for the three strands of barb wire and proceeded to tighten them up. We ended up snapping one of them in half with just the applied pressure and had to add a second patch.  It took 3.5 hours to get all this done.  We did take a break for lunch and some more water.  The last 1/3 needed another rock crib redone and it has a large portion of the woven wire buried in the dirt.  This wire is rusted and fragile.  It all needs to be replaced.  While we were rebuilding another rock crib we noticed a three foot garter snake with a vole in its mouth.  The snake had just come out of the grass with a little vole and the vole was still alive.  The snake held on till the vole quit struggling and died.  About this time, 30 seconds after spotting it, I remembered I had a camera in my pocket.  The snake must be afraid of paparazzi because I no sooner got the camera out then it slithered away. 
A friend from Idaho stopped by and we called it quits at 1500.  Unfortunately, I had on some loose baggy pants and after drinking a gallon of water all day and some Gatorade I ended up with a rash.  A painful, walk funny kind of rash.  If my pants would have fit better this would not have been a problem.  I have been losing a few pounds working on the farm and I am sure it is not worth this pain.  I still have 1/3 of the fence to finish…

Bathroom plant attempt.

While Annmarie was gone I picked up two more house plants.  They are in the bathroom and look like alien invaders.  The bathroom is the perfect spot as they just need a high humidity to survive.  The plants are hung from an oval seashell.  They look alien, and I have been told they don’t belong in the bathroom.  I am going to have to find them a home on the jungle breeze porch.  I brought a plant pole that will hold five hanging poles with macramé hangers over to our house from Grandma Ruby’s house.  I have a plant basket with a bunch of plants in a single basket from my father’s wake that I want to break up and give their own space.  It will look good.  I gave away my two huge plants that I had had for over 10 years.  They were taking up too much space. So now I need to fill it in!  I even managed to start two new African violets from leaf cuttings.  Ruby would be proud, it is a first for me.

Just when you think it’s covered

creek crossing reinforced now

I got a call from my mother-in-law on Wednesday while I was at work stating that the sheep were out in three different locations and they could not keep them in the field.  I left work early and came home.  I had asked my nephew to fix the loose sections of fencing the day before.  We had the tools and supplies already loaded in the back of the pickup so after a quick clothing change I was ready to go.  We checked on the upper creek crossing first and it looked like a sheep highway.  My nephew had pounded a post in but had left a gap that the sheep had just pushed open and were using as a highway.  We moved the panels around, clipped them together and even wired several together.  The sheep will not be getting through the fence in that location.  I will need fencing pliers to fix this crossing in the winter!  We then went up to the corner which he had done a great job in tightening.  The back fence had some sagging fence so we tightened and installed wooden stays for almost a quarter of a mile of fencing.  We lowered the woven wire and tightened as much as we could.  This took a few hours to get straightened out. 

Upper hillside tightened and stays added

I am running out of wooden stays.  I had 500 stays several years ago.  I have about 40 left and need another 500-750.  I would settle for another 500. I fired up the irrigation line also.  I want the wind to blow as it moves the spray away from my back during pump startup but it screws up the distribution pattern. There was no wind so I got soaking wet.  The pipe is still clogged about 2/3 of the way down each branch of line.  I figured it would have worked its way out by now but no luck.  So tomorrow I am going to have to pull that chunk of pipe out and move it to the end after reconnecting all the other pipe.  I want to move the pipe over  40 feet anyways.  I may have to run it and then on Sunday move it over.  We will see.  I have to clean up the house as Annmarie is coming home tomorrow.  

She keeps telling me I need to quit saying the fence will hold.  She believes I am cursing myself.  I say “Bring it!!”  I will get this figured out.  It just takes perseverance and hard work.  I am amazed that we have fruit in the orchard.  We just planted those trees last summer and they are already putting on fruit.  It is incredible.  I made sure and added a typical farmer selfie at the bottom.
I had another damn chicken be a chicken, it just up and died.  Sometimes they are so stupid I wonder why they don’t starve to death.  At this rate I may have to get chicks this fall if I can find them.  My nephew will clean out the coop and I will be able to make a new improved FIRE PROOF baby area!!  Then I will need to redo the entire baby enclosure area and make it sturdier and not so slapdash. 

apple tree

second apple tree

pear tree

Farmer selfie!!

Did I say I had fixed the fence?

It never fails, once an animal learns it can get out of the fence it is all they want to do.  It doesn’t matter that there is plenty of feed the GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE!!  My nephew spent most of the day cleaning out the daylight basement of the old schoolhouse.  He found 6 snakes hiding in amongst the old wood piles.  The sheep also decided to sneak out of the pasture and head to town.  My mother-in-law and him chased them back into the schoolhouse pasture.  One jumped over the fence in the same place the deer are crossing the fence.  I got home from work late, changed clothes really quick and back into the pickup to go see if I could find the sheep hole.  I, of course, had to put Zeke back in the front yard because he had already found a way out of the front yard!  My patch the day before was not enough to keep him in the yard.  Teaching him to jump over, under, through and running up rock cribs to herd the sheep is haunting us when it comes to keeping him in the yard. 
We drove down to four corners and found out that the deer again have been jumping through the fence and squished it down in several places.  We fixed the hanging rock crib, tightened the wires along the top, drove in a couple of new metal posts, and straightened the fence along this short section.  It looked great.  I am confident it will work now.  As we headed back to the house I decided to go check on the hay fields to see if it is time to cut them for hay.  They look like they are ready, but I noticed these moving blobs on the back hillside, sheep where they should not be!  We had to drive back and go herd them back into the field.  They are crawling through the creek crossing again.  I attempted to straighten out the panels, but it needs one more panel to fill in the gap.  Mouse did better than Zeke.  Zeke got distracted by the deer and Mouse stayed on task.  Now Mouse didn’t want to quit and Zeke would but I was able to finally call Mouse off after he pushed everyone into a tight ball. 

When we got to the house Mouse ran after the black and white kitty and started fighting with it.  He would not back off!  I ran at him screaming now and let go, he ignored me, as I rounded the corner of the shed he let go of the cat.  I grabbed him by the throat, rolled him onto his back and choked him for about ten seconds growling at him as I exerted some dominance behavior.  He caught on quick.  I made him sit in the yard while we finished up with the chickens.  He has been very good the rest of the evening.  I am always amazed at this breed to attempt to establish dominance.  As a puppy they are very aggressive. Mouse is so much better and more responsive than Zeke was at age 2, and he is only about 8 months old. 
I did spot the cows this morning and this evening.  They are where they belong and everyone is in the correct place.  I also saw four more little bucks on my way to work in the morning. 
Here is to tomorrow being boring.

Good neighbors

Father’s day activity

This is why I prefer to fence in the spring, three snakes later no rattler found.
I had to work late last night so I decided to sleep in this morning.  After a long talk with Annmarie on the phone I was contemplating going back to sleep.  It was later in the morning but I had only had 6 hours of sleep so it was still an option.  The phone rang and Donna was calling me to say that one of the neighbors had called her and stated our sheep were out on the road.  The neighbors all know we have the weird animals and always call when someone gets out.  It is very nice of them to give us a heads up. I have learned that no matter how often you fix a length of fence the animals eventually figure out how to get through it.  This happens 1-2 times a year.  I got dressed, grabbed coffee, both dogs and loaded them into the truck.  Zeke was bouncing all over, he loves riding in the back of the truck.  I had to trick Mouse just to get a hold of him to throw him in the cab with me.  He hates any vehicle!!  He tries to crawl in your lap and drools all over everything.  We pushed the sheep up the road and back into the pasture.  Donna made sure no one barreled over the top of the hill at a high speed.  This is when I discovered that the sheep have been bedding down inside the old school house during the heat of the day.  It is a concrete enclosure and much cooler inside.  There is a bunch of old wood debris on the floor that needs to be moved.  I will get that cleaned out soon. 

I walked the fence line and found multiple loose wires and wooden stays.  I blamed the Bull initially but after starting my repairs I realized that the deer are making paths up to the fence and washing the rocks down onto the fence in certain places.  It took me a couple of hours to get all the fence secured and back into place.  I drove four new posts, and the 12 hours of rain we just had did not soften the soil at all!  I had to move several loose rocks that had piled onto the lower wire of the fence.  This reminded me why I like to do this task in the spring.  I found three separate snakes while moving rocks.  I let them be, they eat mice and mice are bad.  No rattlesnakes that I recognized.

I fed the bull some extra food tonight.  He looks lonely, I need to move him next weekend.  I am going to try and let Zeke roam the yard tomorrow.  I have installed another section of woven wire tonight in the yard fence.  I hope I have all the holes covered now.  The only true test is to let him run around and see if he is out of the yard by the time I come home.  I did not see the cows today.  It is time to lay some eyes on them so we know where they are hanging out at. 

Old school house basement.  The sheep have been hanging out as it is much cooler in here. 

Good looking fence now sheep proof, again.

Barn almost done

Bull doesn’t know this is old straw from the barn floor, he thinks its food.

Sarah’s old bedroom, soon to be office

Chicken chili

I came home on Thursday and attempted to move the straw bedding pile from the barn out to the barn lot.  My nephew is almost done cleaning out the barn and I wanted to shrink the pile leaning next to the barn.  Our bull thought I was going to feed him.  I did feed him later.  I use the tractor and drive over food and drop it over the fence for him.  He really wants to get out of the corral. 
I will have to chase the alpaca into the orchard, lock them in and then run the bull down to the schoolhouse area.  I am thinking that needs to happen this weekend. 
Sarah got all moved out of the house.  I had told Annmarie that we had one room 100% complete in our house and then after Sarah moved out it was discovered that there is no wall molding on the floor.  Oops, so I will be putting in a call to get some finished and I can cut and install it myself.  The other thing to install is some Ethernet cable from the living room downstairs, up into the attic and down into this room.  We want the computer hard wired in up here for speed and to add a second wireless transmitter upstairs.  The wireless internet is slow, there is a lot of interference in the house.  We cannot get a satellite signal for the internet or TV, again too much interference from landscape and trees. 
I am a bachelor, for a short while as Annmarie is off getting more school in Berkley so I made chicken chili over rice for dinner.  I have been eating it for four days now!  I still have two more meals left.  I am going to have to alter my cooking habits with just Annmarie and I at home.