Hay in, barn ready for winter

It’s been 36 hours since I recovered from a three day bout of the GI Bug from hell. I spent the first day sleeping on the bathroom floor and ended up having to be sent home from work and missing two days of work. It was tough. Unfortunately Mother Nature is not cutting us any slack and that hay needs to get put in the barn. 

I asked the daughter’s paramour to find more help and show up at 0545. It was supposed to get to 100 degrees that day. Now ideally I would schedule the work day for one when it is not so hot. Unfortunately, I have to schedule the work days around my paying job so I don’t get to choose them. 

I was up and ready by 0600, no helpers. So I texted the daughter then called and woke her up. Nope, still asleep so I jumped on the tractor and started leveling the area in front of the machine shop. I had a dirt pile from last year when I installed the gravel drain field in front of the shop. So I spent an hour moving dirt while they woke up and came out, by 0700 three young men were ready to do some work. They all forgot to bring gloves. Luckily I had three sets kicking around in the cab of the pickup they even matched!  I had every intention of being done by 1100 so we had 4 hrs to bring in 7 loads for a total of 210 bales or just over 36 minutes a load. The hard part of this time frame was the more bales we collect the harder it is to get them in the barn. The stack is 8 bales high and the bales have to be lifted/thrown/dragged to the top of the pile. It becomes much harder to unload as the pile grows. I drive fast and helped unload to speed up the process. 

We were finished in 3 hours and only six loads!  That left one hour so we reorganized the sheep side of the barn, tossed out straw and loaded all the supplement feed into the grain hopper. We are ready for winter for the sheep!!  I just need to get the large bales of alfalfa for the cows loaded into the machine shop. 

We managed to sell one of the pieces of farming equipment, the drill sets. The money will be used to fix up the old Ford 9N tractor. Once I get it running I will be able to lift the large hay bales. I will be able to stack them myself. We are looking forward to this!!  There is more old equipment for sell. 

This is the upper small wheat field 7 acres that produced 4.7 ton/acre of barley hay.  That’s pretty good. 

Fine tuning bridge

Last week I decided to catch up on something I think needed done, the bridge needed a tuneup. It’s been five years since it was installed. We tore the old one out completely and started over. I went through and tightened all the screws and bolts in the whole bridge. I had to install one new bolt in an upright railing support that stripped out. Initially it looked like the left side of the bridge was lower but a level only showed a slight difference. When I poured the four concrete pillars I put 3/4 inch thread all in them and 4×6 in braces on nuts so I could adjust the bridge height. I was expecting to have to use a four foot cheater bar and some WD-40 to move the nuts. I was able to do it with just an 18 in wrench and some Steve arm power. It was surprisingly easy. 
Next year I need to recover the pressure treated beams and paint it the same color as the fence. I really like the way the fence turned out. 

See the left side is slightly higher but the naked eye thinks it is right. Sometimes how it looks is more important than actual level. 

Front to back the bridge is dead on, the part by the fence has sunk 1/2 inch on the left corner. It’s a piece of newly poured concrete and not adjustable. 

After all the rain we had to go turn all the bales 180 degrees so they could dry out. 

Tree falling

We had six pine trees just outside the yard. For years Annmarie and I always thought they were cedar trees, so despite their deformed appearance and leaning tendencies we were letting them alone. Well once someone told us they were pine trees two months ago we have been jonesing to cut them down. Well, maybe only me but it is a real problem. 
First the chain saw had to get fixed again. Last week I was able to pick it up all ready to go and with a new chain. A new chain always guarantees sharpness as long as it is not dulled on installation. 
I came in from picking up another 33 bales of hay and the chainsaw was just outside the fence. It’s naked bar a siren call for my testosterone poisoned brain. I picked up my baby and headed for the trees. Now the real challenge is there is a parallel fence running alongside two sides of the trees. I only wanted to drop the trees in the same direction in a 90 degree arc. The trees are severely deformed and leaning toward one fence. 
As a kid my father used to drag me to the mountains every summer to cut 10 cord of wood, we left for the mountains at 0430.  We had to be next to the trees as the sun was rising. No daylight could be wasted. My father taught me how to fall trees. We used to cut tamarack only so we usually had to fall a lot of trees. There is a true art to making a tree go where you want it. Also, it’s not safe. Every once in a while the tree doesn’t cooperate or its rotten in the middle or the wind suddenly gusts so you must always be wary.  I dropped the first five right where I wanted. The last one was the smallest tree and leaning the farthest over the fence. Despite my notch and angles cut the tree came back and pinched my saw blade. I had to go get the tractor and a rope to pull the tree off my saw blade and provide tension while I finished the cut. The tree fell where I wanted it. 
Some things bring back memories of loved ones surprisingly you cannot always tell what those things are like the roar of a chain saw and the smell of wood chips 

Old house done

Well I couldn’t move the hay in because it was wet, but I still needed to get stuff done. So I had the daughter’s paramour out first thing and we finished the skirting around the old house. We did not run out of skirting.  I used the last board and needed three more but on my way to get a tool I found a pile of boards on the front porch and was able to finish. I only needed three more boards. 

We even managed to get the little rock wall finished. I am hoping it helps slow down erosion on the hillside. We left a couple of piles of old boards that will need to be moved to burn pile.  

It took three hours and I was exhausted, I went back inside and fell asleep. I am not healthy!!  The plague lingers!!

Night doggie duty

It was my turn to take the dogs out before bedtime last night. The sun was just going down so I managed to take some nice sunset pictures. The dogs were going to bed early because they were being pests. I was going to bed early because I am still trying to recover from the plague. After I kenneled everyone I went to the spare bedroom to sleep. I keep flipping around like a fish at night keeping Annmarie awake. 

We were supposed to go move hay in the morning. 
She comes running in to tell me it is pouring down rain. I jump out of bed and go save my saw from the rain. It was indeed pouring down and the Lightning was mighty close. A few minutes after crawling back in bed the fire tones went off for a lightning strike fire just up the road from us. She came in again and woke me to text someone to let us know when the fire was out. She took my phone so I could go to sleep. I did call off the hay help in the morning. 
Update:  The lightning strike was about one mile away on a rough hillside. It was witnessed by a homeowner who said the fire took off immediately and had engulfed an acre in short order. When the fire trucks arrived they could not find the fire. The same storm system that caused me to run outside and save my saw from the rain put out the fire!  It’s a good thing as access to the fire would have been difficult due to the terrain. 

Coyote dreams

I am sick. I have the plague and as this is much worse than a “man cold” I am truly on my proverbial death bed. So as I lay on the couch this morning eating my cottage cheese and fruit I spotted what I believed to be a coyote sitting on a small ridge about 75 yards from the house. I tried to convince myself it was just a deer but the profile was a little off. I then decided it maybe was a coyote but I was trying to decide how to dispose of it. I contemplated all the benefits and detractors for various calibers of rifle (stall tactic for not getting off the couch). Then I contemplated how I was going to fire a rifle without my head exploding from the noise. I continued to chew my grape and nectarine cottage cheese while deciding if it was really a coyote. I had almost convinced myself it was a deer when it stood up and went into the dry creek bed. It was a coyote. I finished my breakfast and watched the sheep through the front window. I figured if the sheep didn’t panic all was good. Annmarie came home 15 minutes later and I sent her out to patrol the property. No coyote, he lives another day. 

Hay begins

Barn eggs

It is time to bring in the hay.  This is an annual ritual, one that is not always welcomed with open arms.  I did not buy the hay elevator last year so it is going to be another stairway out of bales to the top of the hay stack.  Unfortunately, I had to cover the night shift at work so Annmarie and two young men had to start moving the hay into the barn.  
Before they could even start they had to clean out all the eggs from the barn. I have one hen that is now living in the barn and laying only in the barn. There were 71 eggs in one nest. They got tossed out into the barn lot. I can just imagine what my egg customers would say about getting one of those. 
They started very early on a Saturday and by 2 hours later one of them was dry heaving nonstop and starting to get diarrhea.  He thought he had drank some bad milk the night before.
Unfortunately for the rest of us it was not food poisoning. It was a nasty virus and I have become its latest victim. Annmarie got it next then Sarah now me. I do illness with the grace of a house cat getting a bath. It’s not pretty. All communication with me should probably be done only in the written form to  protect all involved parties. They got 55 bales loaded into the barn out of 295 it’s a start, 16+% complete!!
Now that the old house has been adjusted and supported again the latch I installed years ago to keep the door shut is off by 1/2 inch. I am going to have to move it to make it usable again. Between the night shift and my illness I have not managed to finish the skirting on the old house.  I need to get it done so I can get over to Ruby’s and level that house. I am going to get a bundle of cedar shakes to use as shims when I do her house. 

Lock now 1/2 inch off

As you can see we are in the middle of an eastern Oregon summer!  It is hot and dry. One can see why no fireworks and smoking will be happening out at our house. 

Farm dead center of the picture