Internet war continues

We have had company over the holiday, friends who have not been able to visit for the last three years. We always appreciate seeing them and catching up, we too know “Doug from Montana”.  The wind howled all three days they were here so we didn’t do a project this year.   Instead we caught up and ate too much food. The constant wind buffeted our new internet antenna causing some consternation and speculation. We reassured them that the antenna was rated for this type of wind up to 80 mph minimum. We woke up this morning to no internet service. It was still pitch black so I tried to look for the little light on the dish. It’s a power indicator light so we know it is still working. No light, but in my defense it was early and I had not had any coffee yet so I was still near zombie state. Doug was out taking sunrise photos and Annmarie went out at first light to look at the antenna. It was truly down!  It was laying on the roof top no longer functional.  We speculated a cable had broken. I was able to go out two hours later and discover that one of the tighteners came apart, it untwisted. I think this is easily fixed with heavy duty tighteners and some thread tightener goop. 
Unfortunately the dish got dented so it will probably need to be replaced and I am going to have to get a boom truck that can extend to a minimum of 35 feet. This option is probably the easiest. It will take some arranging. Probably not my first choice. 
I have been thinking up this hairbrained idea involving a long rope, the pickup and two ladders. I need to see if I have the rope in the old house…

 
I didn’t have any rope in the old house and had to run to town. I had the heavy duty tighteners we just didn’t use them. We used the ones that came with the antenna kit. I should of gone for overkill. My nephew came out and suggested we swap out the two fasteners with the antenna tipped over so when we pulled it up with the rope it would stay in place. A fabulous idea so I crawled up on the ladder and swapped out the first one. I then climbed up onto the backside of the roof and climbed up the roof. This was way easier than doing the double ladder trick. The trouble with this is it must be perfectly dry with NO chance of rain or else I will just slide off the roof on my way down. We wanted to be able to pull the rope free once the antenna was up in the air so I threaded the rope through a loop in the cable and tied it to a stick. We tied some light weight cord to the back side of the stick so we could just pull the light cord and pull the rope clear. The dish had a bent collector, the dish part. It is easily replaceable!  The brains still had power and a green functional light just no signal bars. So I think it just needs a new collector. We cannot call the internet company until the antenna is back up. 
As I was crawling to the second anchor to replace the tightener I noticed that my roof anchor was torn on the backside. It was not something we could have seen from the ground. We need a new roof anchor. So no internet until the roof anchor comes. Luckily, I now know to put the roof anchor on the antenna and then screw it into the roof!  The roof bolts did not budge!  

So next weekend we will get to test the rope method.   

 

The horses have managed to bend the cow panel we were using to keep Mika in the milking area of the barn. So we decided gates were in order but the opening was only 7 feet wide and I had four feet gates and 2 foot gates. I was going to mount them on the inside but then they would not fold flush to the walls causing problems when moving agitated animals. The two four foot gates were perfect when I mounted them to the outside. Now we don’t have to wrestle a 16 foot bent panel in place and attach it at four points to keep the horse inside. 

Company is coming!

We have wonderful friends who come and visit us for Thanksgiving.  They have not been here for the last three years and are finally able to make it for a holiday visit.  We love them to death, but this necessitates a whole new level of cleaning.  Normally, I pick up the bare minimum and thankfully we have a housekeeper who makes great progress when she comes.  Unfortunately, she has a life also so only comes out to the house on average 4-6 times a month.  I spent all weekend picking up and cleaning house getting ready for our guests.  I even took the dead racoon up to the bone yard.  I had dropped him off in the barn lot and the cool weather just preserved him until his trip to his final resting place was initiated.  I will get every room done but two.  The craft room will be the last thing I do.  It has become a catch all, one which even the housekeeper will not venture.  
I threw out 6 bags of trash today.  I figured if we hadn’t used it we didn’t need it.  I also started up and have a full box of giveaway items.  
 
When I was taking the racoon to his new home, all the cows came over to the fence when they heard the tractor pass by.  So I figured they needed to be fed, so on the way back I loaded up four bales of alfalfa and went down and fed them.  The new baby is now running with his momma all the time.  This is good news as our kill date got pushed back another two weeks.  So now the baby will follow momma into the barn lot and I will be able to tag and band, if necessary.  We are also going to put plastic chains with ID tags on them around each of the female cows necks so that we can tell who is who.  
 
I finally got the chicken light working in the coop yesterday again.  I only had one egg today.  It is looking pretty sparse.  I have two customers who want to buy eggs and one who paid in advance but I have NO eggs.  Looks like I may have to give his money back until we get eggs  
 
I also got our big freezer all cleaned out, it has been defrosted for a month.  I washed the whole thing today and got it plugged back in.  Tomorrow I will be able to move all the food over from the small freezer and get it defrosted.  It has been oer 8 years since we defrosted the freezers.  It was time to get it done. 
 
Doug and I usually do some small project when they are up.  I think this year we will get the floor all measured for tile so we know how much to buy and what it will cost.  I also need to put away tools, they are spread out to heck and gone so organizing the shed would be a great help.  Who knows, we will see what he wants to do when they arrive.  

Is it a baby?

 
I got a text yesterday from Annmarie stating that we had a new baby cow. Donna and I had been saying we thought one of the mommas had given birth as her teats looked like someone was suckling but no one ever spotted a baby. Annmarie was driving down the driveway and thought she spotted a cow lump out in the field. She drove around and took a picture, see above.  I could not spot the baby calf in the picture so she had to send me a picture with the calf circled, see below. I spotted the baby on the back hillside tonight frolicking around all the grownup legs. 
Chores at night are taking an hour. I am now able to clean out all four hooves on both horses with no help and no lead line.  I just tell them to lift their legs and give each one a gentle tug. It is a lot easier when they are so compliant. 
We are waiting to run the cows in until the butcher calls. We have necklaces and numbered tags for each cow to wear. The ear tags keep getting ripped out. Hopefully, these necklaces will stay in place. 

It is so warm here that yesterday I had to feed and do chores in a short sleeved shirt. Mika had popped he wooden gate board loose from the corner of the barn. I had to repair it in the rain. I put in four inch longer anchors. I am off by about half an inch so the gate is not perfect. That will require a second person and a redo. 
The weather is truly amazing. 
 

Farm 3, predators 0.

Well Annmarie is showing me up again.  We tried to go to bed on Thursday night but the dogs would not come in.  I stand on the porch and holler at them like they are five year old kids.  Annmarie comes out and just hollers “come” repeatedly.  I know they do better with that but trust me they all know what I am saying just like a five year old kid!  So both older dogs come in but Mouse will not come.  He is somewhere in the front yard and its realy hard to see a mostly black dog in the dark.  So we grab the $18 wonder flashlight and scan the yard.  We spot Mouse at the base of the big front tree near the barn.  Annmarie flashes the light up into the tree and there is another raccoon.  After the last time we did this and she didn’t have a 22 rifle I had gone to my parents and picked up my fathers rifle.  It is a Ruger 10/22 bolt action with a Leopold Vari IIx 2-7 power scope.  She had not shot it since I brought it home.  So we trudged back inside, left Mouse to keep the coon treed and got coats, rifle and Walther P22.  We walked out and I held the flashlight.  The racoon was about halfway up the tree now waiting.  She shot once and it fell 35 feet to the ground.  It was dead but I made sure it was not getting up.  She complemented the rifle stating that “this is a much nicer scope” than mine.  Yes, I had a $40 wonder on mine, I don’t think she knows the scope costs more than the rifle.  Once the shooting started Mouse wanted to be any where but near us.  I find it amazing that our chocolate lab would run for the door and get excited when the guns started blasting but would run from all animals but our border collies will attack anything but absolutely hate guns.  Shows you how much behavior can be associated with breeds.  I realize you can train almost any breed to do anything but natural affinity makes it much easier.  So now I need to make another trip to the boneyard before it rains and makes the path up the hill impossible.  
 
Clean Horse Hay area.I went out yesterday and finished loading the last of the alfalfa in the machine shop.  I need to get it in the barn so I can pick up the last two loads of hay.  Once that is all in the barn then I need to get our large bales brought over to the house so we can stack them in the machine shed. I purchased too much hay so I need to get it all under cover and stored so that I can use it over the next couple of years.  I got carried away.  The light in the machine shop and the high speed internet are both amazing things!  The internet is 5 times better than it was.  In an effort to not but all the hay in the barn I also fed the cows.  Mouse still does not like the pickup or any moving vehicle.  I put him in the back of the pickup with Zeke and he promptly jumped out. I had to tie a rope to his collar to keep him from jumping out.  We drove from the lower field to the house and then I made him stay in the back while I talked to Frank.  He was out doing some pheasant hunting. Mouse was super happy when he got out of the back of the pickup.  It is the next big thing to work on with him.  He needs to be able to ride in the back of the pickup.  I cleaned out the horse area with the tractor and laid down some new straw.  The rain is supposed to come back.  
  The rain is suppossed to be coming back on Sunday or Monday. I am trying to get as much done outside as possible.  If the weather holds out much longer I may even have to start working on some fence!  The fence over in the momma sheep area needs to be redone.  I need to add a gate, restretch the fence and add another layer of woven wire to keep the babies in.  The horses pushed a lot of the fence over last summer.  We may need to run a single strand of hot wire across the top to keep the horses off of it next summer.  
If I can get the horse area built back up then I won’t need to use the hot wire, I can open a gate and let the horses go behind the barn to get their own water. I like this plan but it requires a lot more work on my part to be implented.  It also requires a lot of rocks to be brought down from the hill.  
After we slaughter in a couple of weeks then I can start pulling rocks off the hillside and creating a large pile by the sorting chute. I will need them for the horse area.  I need middle size rocks, not too small and not too big!
 
 
 
 The butcher should be here just before Thanksgiving for 2 cows and 13 sheep.  I have not plugged in our other freezer yet.  I moved everything and defrosted it last month.  It needed it, I really should do it with our small freezer also.  
I talked with a coworker and I may be able to raise a few turkeys and have someone else process them as trade for a turkey so I don’t have to clean the bird.  I will need to build a turkey house first!  One more potential project.  I think it would be cool and a couple of turkeys for the freezer would be nice.  I would like to eat one fresh.  If they are as good as everything else farm raised and free ranged they will be very good indeed.  
 Second to last load of alfalfa to put in the barn.  It is going to wait until Saturday.  I already moved 35 bales yesterday and I am too sore to move more. The hay stack is seven high now.  I do realize that I have made hay stairs but I am here to say that after six bales high the stack becomes very painful to keep dragging bales up the pile. A lot of work!

Winter is supposed to be here.

 
The weather has been amazing. It has been raining off and on fairly steadily. This has put a serious crimp on my plans to move hay but everything is turning green. It’s November and the hillsides are turning green. I spent the weekend mowing all the dead weeds in the pastures. I will be ready for herbicides in the spring. We turned all the sheep loose onto the upper prime pasture and they went from four bales of hay a night to one. There is a good month of grass available as long as it doesn’t freeze super hard. 
 I have some weird super poky thistle cropping up in several places. This is what is prompting the herbicide application in the spring. The stuff is super nasty. Killing the yellow star is an added bonus! 
My nephew complained because I mowed down all the good pheasant habitat. 
I also managed to pick up all the sprinkler pipe on the lower section of the field and hang it on the fence. 
The dogs are loving getting to work the sheep every night and the cows three times a week. Mouse wont hardly let up on the alpaca. I have to constantly yell at him and watch him like a hawk. Once we get in the barn he does great but out and about he wants to chase everything. 
 Freshly mowed lower pasture near the old schoolhouse. Now if I could get a lightbulb to stay working in the chicken coop I could get eggs.