I had a plan, it just needed some freezing weather to come to fruition. What I did not anticipate was the plague. I started feeling very ill on Christmas Eve and it just went downhill from there. I missed Christmas dinner and spent over 36 hours in bed straight. By Monday morning I could move but AnnMarie had the plague and was miserable. It was my last day with the boom and I had promised AnnMarie internet or we would go back to the phone company for our super slow but reliable internet.
I put on my new coat and headed out into the cold. The boom started no trouble and I was able to maneuver it into place. I had to keep moving the boom around with the wheels. It goes up well but will only reach sideways so far. I did a bunch of manipulating and had to go everything three times as I was still fighting the funk and my brain was not at its usual 75%.
The longer I worked the softer the soil got and the wind started blowing. When you are 40 feet in the air and try to move the boom one foot to the left it jerks around a lot! I almost hurled a few times. I was really glad for the safety harness. I finally managed to get it up. Locktite on the tighteners and everything in place. I moved the vent dish around and hoped we had internet. My cell phone had died halfway into this three hour ordeal so I could not call anyone. Good thing I didn’t fall out of the bucket.
When I went inside we had internet!!! We watched tv that was not from an antenna. Life is good. I called the internet people and set up an appointment for them to come aim the dish and replace the bent reflector. They are coming at 1100 tomorrow, Mission accomplished.
It’s tomorrow and our internet went out in the middle of the night. The dish is still up and on the pole so I don’t know what is wrong. AnnMarie tells me that Skype or any live web stream has not worked since we switched to antenna. I will have to pass that along today.
Just before Christmas AnnMarie called me at work to tell me the cows were out again. After the last time, she told me I would have to come home and do it as the cause is usually my lack of fencing skills. This time I am happy to say had nothing to do with my actual fencing skills. I forgot to shut the gate after the last time the cows got out. This had not been noticeable because once the snow hits the cows quit wandering. We just had a chinook wind clear off all the snow on the hillside and the grass is green so the cows are wandering. By the time I got the dressed for the biting wind, got both dogs and got the tractor through three gates the cows had already put them selves back on the correct side of the fence.
I just had to wire the gate shut. This was the third fence I put up on the place and my rock cribs are falling over. They were too small, too tall and not enough rocks. They are starting to lean precipitously downhill. It’s just a matter of time before the gate one collapses.
So the dogs and I ran down to the other end of the fence by the schoolhouse. There is another loose spot in the fence bordering the CRP. This section has never been touched by me. I have been slowly fixing sections but this far section has had nothing done for 10 years. Looking at it I would say it’s more like 30 years. I need to add some more metal T-posts and a bunch of wooden stays. I am short on stays so I will need to get another 500 in 2017.
Plus, I need a couple more railroad ties or a heavy duty rock crib to pull the fence to so I can get it tight.
AnnMarie wants me to make an enclosure for the bull. I want to use the barn lot but it means I will need about 25 railroad ties and I am going to have to string a hot wire on the fence. There is no other way I am going to be able to keep him in. Even after reinforcing the fence short of a huge wooden corral and that is cost prohibitive.
We have been without the internet for over three weeks. The weather would not allow me to crawl up onto the machine shop roof. I finally realized that was not going to happen this winter. Annmarie stated that we were not going to wait until summer before getting the internet back. So I tried to rent a very tall boom. They would love to rent me said boom just that it has to be delivered on a semi truck. I was going to have it delivered on Monday of last week but upon weakening I could hear the wind howling. I called the rental company and asked what the wind recommendations were he said 20 mph. I said don’t bother delivering it.
On Thursday I called and set up delivery for Friday at 0900. We had two days of beautiful warm weather. It was a little muddy but the rental guy had assured me the boom was four wheel drive and would have no trouble.
I called Friday morning to say the wind was howling again. There was no wind at the rental place. He then tells me that due to the holiday if I take delivery today then pickup will not be until Tuesday morning. I’m thinking that is a heck of a window so bring it on out. The delivery guy drops it off and gives me the five minute instruction. He shows me the foot pedal I have to push to make anything work while in the basket. Its a safety feature. I go back inside and at noon come out to fix the antenna. I have all my tools in a bucket. My safety harness on, AnnMarie made me wear it and I try to start the lift. Damn thing will not start. I get out and can start it from the motor side but from the boom I cannot. I am pushing the foot pedal. So I call the rental place, luckily they did not close early on Friday and get some walk through. I am doing everything correct. Then I got out on speakerphone and find out that the only time you do not push the foot pedal is when you are starting the machine. Does that make any sense? So I am off and running.
I go to maneuver the boom into place and it starts sliding all over in the five inches of mud. It is not four wheel drive!! Only two wheel drive with positrac on that differential. I gave up trying to get any work done and concentrated on trying to get the boom out of the mud onto the road. The boom was heavier than it looked but being able to move 500 pounds on a 45 foot boom would mean the base needs to be heavy. I managed to finally slip and slide my way into the road and parked it. I would need to wait until we get some solid freezing temperatures. I did look at the forecast and cold weather with more snow was coming.
I had to cancel the boom lift on Monday. I called first thing in the morning to ask what the wind rating was on the boom when it was 43 feet in the air. The guy says 20 mph. I replied that we were already past that. So I am now trying to find a time when the wind will not blow.
This morning I woke up at 0430 to get ready for a meeting. First thing I did was look out the window and notice there was no snow on the hillside. Second thing I did was utter a swear word. There are five fence crossings with panels hanging into the spring creek runoff path. The trick is if I lift the panels before the water is running the animals just cross under the fence. But if I wait too long then I am wading into the runoff trying to lift the panels in the water. That is incredibly unsafe and not fun. We had a chinook wind all night and I was afraid the runoff would start any moment.
I got dressed quickly and headed outside to lift the panels. The wind was howling and at the second crossing I had to go back to the house for tools. I needed a crescent wrench, large bolt cutters and a standard screw driver. The bolt cutters make short work of those locking clips with the built in locking nut. I have decided I need to buy 50 of the snap clips so I can actually get the panels moved easily. It took me over 1.5 hrs to get the crossings lifted. The only witness to my battle with the panels was an owl I spotted in a tree. The wind seemed to pick up speed the longer I stayed outside.
When I came back to the house I learned that I had made a sacrifice to the wind gods, I had lost my screwdriver.
I was still able to make it to work on time!!
All I had to do was feed the horses in the morning after AnnMarie left for church then I was going to go to the dreaded Home Depot. I was all ready, tossed Sprout in the pickup so he could ride with me to Hermiston and went out to feed the horses. Mika was better behaved this morning and not pushing on the gates. I tossed them both some hay and went back into the hay room to get grain. The sheep were still in the barn and heard me scoop up the grain and came running. I walked five feet through a corner of the barn to get to the horse area closing the gate behind me. After graining the horses I headed back to replace the scoop into the bin. I opened the gate and our ram (intact male sheep) was right there. He has been a very good boy lately so I ignored him. I had the plastic scoop at nose level and he was sniffing the empty scoop when I turned to latch the door. Now we all know their have been a few dominance issues with this ram but I keep thinking we have gotten them solved. After shutting the gate, a few seconds at most, I turned just as the ram was crashing into my side! I managed to move just enough that only the pinky on my left hand got smashed.
I turned and immediately thumped him on the head with my large plastic scoop. This did nothing but irritate him and cause him to repeatedly try and knock me to the ground. Luckily, it is fairly obvious when he is doing it as he likes to bunch up and push off with his back feet so his front feet are off the ground when he connects with his head. This gave me time to move out of the way and smack him again with the scoop. It was like smacking a 250# man with a fly swatter. It doesn’t do any good. I just kept after it, the whole time getting him to backup so I could get to the wooden cudgel near the front sheep entrance to the barn.
I snagged the cudgel with my left hand and smacked him on the head with both the cudgel and the plastic scoop. It was still was not working, he would not leave the barn. I switched hands, struck up a fencing pose hollered a challenge and proceeded to smack him on the head. (We watched Tarzan last night, I thought the auditory aspect might strike fear into his heart). I drove him out of the barn twice and he came charging back in twice. The third time it was a continuous battle cry and some serious double head thumping. As he turned I gave him a couple more thumps and he retreated from the barn. He gave me the stink eye at the entrance but then walked off to go harass some ewe. I was victorious!!
Sprout and I then went to Home Depot so I could get the special splined piece to remove the antenna mast. We picked up a few extra things. I am going to saw a piece of plywood in three pieces to sandwich the maps under a bed.
I also bought four more floor tiles to set in the hallway so we can make our color choice. I also priced all the material needed to do the entire downstairs floor. I will measure the floor and then calculate the material’s cost. I need to get this project moving.
It was an amazing day yesterday. Some winter days are better than summer. Not many but on the rare occasion the weather is perfect, there is no wind and the sun shines. A few winter clothing items make the day amazing.
I went out and cleaned Mika’s horse area. Shoveled it all out then used the tractor to clear it all away and make a pile in the lot. Since the sun was melting the snow I took the tractor and cleared the entire driveway. I am hoping the sun can melt it off before more snow comes.
I then drive my tractor to town (2 miles) and cleared off the fire station entrance and mom’s driveway. I had to run to town for ice melt. I got a 50 pound bag each so we would have some on hand.
The snow kept sheeting off the roof which causes the dogs to jump up off the floor and bark. As if there is an intruder! The house shakes if the sheet is large enough.
Today was hay day. We had purchased an extra 20 ton of hay just in case. It really is overkill but I got the paranoid bug and pulled the trigger on the purchase pretty quick. I went in with a coworker and today was the day it got delivered of course I don’t have a working large tractor still so they are making three trips. We used my little tractor to push or pull the bales off of the flat bed trailer. It’s the huge bales 1300 pounds. The tractor was able to move them. But I can only push about 3 feet from one side so we used a railroad tie to bridge the gap and let me push farther. I probably need s set of those clamp on forklift bars then I could have picked up a pallet and just pushed with the pallet. I have had todo this several times I may look into that. The last trip is tonight and they will bring a tractor to stack as much as possible in the machine shop. The rest will go out to the grain bins and just get exposed to the weather.
I pushed a 1300 pound bale to each set of cows and one for the alpacas. The alpacas will probably not need any more hay all winter long. The cows are good for at least two weeks.
The sunset tonight was amazing.