Rock wall 2017

I will live!  Those are profound words for 2017. Theoretically, I do realize that pneumonia is bad but never having had it I had no personal reference. It is horrible. Once I got to the point I could breathe I figured it would be almost over. I was wrong, this crap is going to take a while to get over. I am getting sick of taking it easy.
 On Friday I attempted to burn weeds. It was too wet. I got nowhere. I did spread out the last of the large 1.5 inch gravel. The mistress did all the work, I just had to direct her. I even did all the chores on Friday. I was feeling pretty good so on Saturday I decided to ramp it up and do more.
 Actually, I was scheduled to work but they called me and put me on call so I jumped on the mistress and we drove around to the back hillside. When the weather hovers at freezing it limits what I can do outside but it was 38 F so the ground was thawed out and workable. When there is nothing else to do and the weather is perfect I like to work on the rock wall. If the weather is too nice then I can fence or burn weeds or do something else. The rock wall requires the weather to be just good enough to not do anything else. So “perfect” for the rock wall means not good enough for anything else. 
The last time I took the mistress, my John Deere tractor, to do rock wall work we almost went off the wall and into the dry creek bed. It was sloppy muddy just like yesterday. I decided to flatten out a space on the hillside of the gate so I could maneuver easier. I had forgotten that I would actually have to place big rocks in the bucket and work on building the wall higher. So every 10-15 minutes I would have go get off the tractor and move rocks and keep stacking them onto the wall. My real goal was to get some dirt behind the rock wall so it didn’t fall down. I also managed to flatten out the approach so the mistress didn’t feel the need to drop us off the wall. I didn’t slip toward a certain ER visit once. Which is good because I don’t have my Lifeflight membership decals attached to the mistress yet. She needs a good hosing down and paint touch up first. I spent three hours outside and finally quit as the temperature dropped into the freezing zone. 
I need quite a bit more dirt to level off the ground. My goal is to put in 40 hours of work on the wall every year. I will get there eventually. 
 
I was exhausted!  I could not believe how tired I was after three hours of intermittent labor.  I went inside took my second shower of the day and promptly laid down on the couch. I have a few more weeks of recovery it appears. I slept for 13 hours last night and have just laid around all day today. 
 
One of our cows just had a calf on Monday. I have still not seen the baby yet but several other people have. I am not sure what gender it is. Annmarie said it’s all brown but it is not a keeper. It’s from one of our bull’s daughters so we will be selling it for food.  I would like another one so we could sell them this summer as a pair for someone else to raise up. It just makes it easier to not have to keep the bull away. 
 

 

Bachelor bemoaning

Annmarie has been gone all week in Berkeley going to school so I have been alone. Some men would like us to think that being a bachelor is a wondrous thing, but there is a reason that married men statistically live longer. 
I usually get up at 0430 and head to work or a couple of days a week the gym. I did still get up at 0430 but by the time I finished all the chores I only made it to work before 0700 twice. Also, I cook too much food. I had planned four dinners. I cooked one and there are still leftovers in the fridge. I did eat more fruit than normal and had a vegetable with each meal. 
Annmarie had a stupid lamb get its head stuck under a feeder a couple weeks ago. I went out one evening and there is a black and white lamb with its head stuck under the feeder. It looked if he would turn his head sideways he could just pull it out. No go. I tried turning his body 90 degrees in the hopes his head would follow. No go. I raised up the feeder and backed away he finally figured it out on his own. 
Once I got back from work there is another hour of outside chores. Normally this is not such a big deal but we had single digit temperatures and my fingers kept going numb.  Did I mention it just kept snowing?  
On the third day I tried to take a shower and there was no hot water. This is odd as we have a brand new tankless propane water heater. I looked at our free standing stove and it was off. I got dressed and went out and took a picture of the tank gauge, zero!  No propane. When I left there were four small electric heaters blowing on water pipes and it was 60F inside.  I had placed a call at 0600 to the emergency fill message phone. At 1000, I talked to a nice lady on the phone and said I was out of propane and it was 5F outside. She assured me they would be on it. I came home that evening and there was no propane. It was 58F inside but I wasn’t feeling good so I tossed a couple more blankets on the bed and was asleep by 2030. 
I woke up to a noticeable chill in the air while feeling worse than I had when I went to bed. It was 43F inside!!  I dressed quickly and left the house quicker. I did move one heater from the downstairs hallway to the breeze porch. I didn’t want my tropical plants to freeze. I called again at 0830. I was nice but more insistent about propane. We have a 500 gallon tank that gets filled 80% (all tanks have to have expansion room). That is still 400 gallons at $1.55 gallon my cost. I came home and dropped off bird food at my mother in laws and she tells me she had to stop the propane guy from leaving. He had not filled our tank!  He had never been here before and did not know we built them a gate in the fence and a bridge so it was a straight pull of the hose down a hill to get to our tank. He thought we needed to move our cars and his hose was too short. Thankfully he did fill it. I had to reset all the furnaces so they would start back up. 
It was a normal temperature in the house the next morning. I felt worse. 
I was supposed to go pickup Annmarie in tricities at 1840 on Saturday . I felt so bad I let Sarah drive her mom’s car to tricities. I slept on the couch last night. I get a serious “man cold mentality” when I get ill. It makes Annmarie crazy. I told her last night her voice felt like spikes being driven into my head. Not one of my finer spousal moments. I went to the walk in clinic today. I have pneumonia. It’s Sunday and my pharmacy was closed so I get to have drugs tomorrow. Yeah. I am going to be doing a lot of sleeping and coughing. 
 
 
The dial is on zero. 
 

2016 chicken financials first nine months

These are the financials for the first nine months of 2016. They should all be going up as the weather was beautiful and the chickens can free range this entire summer period.   On average I had 24.6 laying hens (0.3 decrease, I am down to 23 hens) giving me 8.2 eggs/day(decrease 0.2 eggs/day) for a productivity rate of 33% (1% increase). I am going to blame some of this lousy productivity rate on piss poor egg collection.  I would go days without collecting eggs and the chickens would step on them and break them.  I also had 2 or 3 hens laying out in the barn and I missed collecting most of those eggs just because I could not find them! I am feeding on average 155.6# chicken feed/month(decrease 2.7 #/month) for a grand total of 1400# this year already (450# increase).  My monthly feed bill is $36.86/month (decrease $0.78/month).  My feed costs are $1.94/doz (decrease of $0.03/doz)with my total cost of production at $2.16/doz (decrease of $0.14/doz).  My chickens are consuming 0.63 lbs food/egg produced (decrease 0.01lbs/egg), spring is here and gone with chickens free ranging for all they are worth and their owner doing a lousy job of egg collecting.  Did I mention that the child used to have to go get eggs most of the time also? It is costing me $0.15/egg (no change) in feed.  I have collected 1491 eggs to date (increase in 744 eggs).  My total feed costs are $331.73 (increase of $105.92) and my extra expenses are $0.  I currently am profiting $142.97 (increase of $106.08) for the year!  After much discussion it was deemed that I should endeavor to collect eggs on a daily basis.  I will work on this. 

2016 Chicken Financials first half of the year

These are the financials for the first six months of 2016.  On average I had 24.9 laying hens (0.5 decrease) giving me 8.4 eggs/day(increase 1.6 eggs/day) for a productivity rate of 32% (7% increase). I am feeding on average 158.3# chicken feed/month(decrease 24.7 #/month) for a grand total of 950# this year already (400# increase).  My monthly feed bill is $37.64/month (decrease $6.32/month).  My feed costs are $1.97/doz (decrease of $0.71/doz)with my total cost of production at $2.30/doz (decrease of $0.38/doz), this was from having to buy bedding for the chicken coop.  My chickens are consuming 0.64 lbs food/egg produced (decrease 0.26lbs/egg), spring is here and gone with chickens free ranging for all they are worth. It is costing me $0.15/egg ($0.07/egg decrease) in feed.  I have collected 1491 eggs to date (increase in 896 eggs).  My total feed costs are $225.81 (increase of $93.92) and my extra expenses are $41.30 for bedding.  I currently am profiting $36.89 for the year!  I am in the black finally.

2016 chicken financials first quarter

I am a little behind on the chicken financials.  Now that the child is gone from the house I have lost my data entry person.  So now I have to do it.  This has led to some serious procrastination.  In my defense, our company was down and out of the picture for almost two months before we got a new one, and I am still learning how to use a Mac computer.  It is different and not quite like making my ipad work.  I am now entering data for the entire year of 2016 but will stop every quarter so we can get a cumulative look at the chicken financials.  Everyone loves the chicken report!!
 
These are the financials for the first three months of 2016.  On average I had 25.4 laying hens giving me 6.6 eggs/day for a productivity rate of 25%. I am feeding on average 183# chicken feed/month for a grand total of 550# this year already.  My monthly feed bill is $43.96/month.  My feed costs are $2.68/doz with my total cost of production at $2.68/doz.  My chickens are consuming 0.92 lbs food/egg produced and it is costing me $0.22/egg in feed.  I have collected 595 eggs to date.  My total feed costs are $131.89 and my extra expenses are $0.  I currently am losing $43.89.
 
Losing money is never a good thing but it is winter and I usually don’t break even in the winter.  It will get better when the chickens can free range and increase their productivity.  

Just when you think it cannot get any colder

 
We have a routine down now when it comes to the animals in winter.  Because of Mika’s bad hoof, we have to keep her feet dry.  To do this she is spending most of her time in the old milking lean to off of the end of the barn.  So in the morning we go out and water her, feed both horses and scoop poop out of her area.  We both go to work and in the evening we water the horse again, feed both horses and clean out both horses hooves with a hoof pick.  We then use the dogs to push the sheep out of the barn and feed them two bales of grain hay and one bale of alfalfa.  Since we are feeding the two groups of cows a large bale each about every 10 days I push a new large bale in their area for them to eat.  I get eggs every night also.  This takes anywhere from 30-60 minutes every night and about 15 minutes in the morning.  
 
Tonight when Annmarie went out to feed she found a pair of brand new twin baby sheep in the back of the barn!  I knew a few ewes looked mighty fat but I figured we had a little more time.  These are first time mom’s and their cycle is way off of the others.  I am going to have to get all dressed up and go out into the single digit cold to check on the baby sheep.  One was laying down flat in the straw when we left.  We did watch it sit up completely and look around when it was startled so we did not remove it immediately.  Hopefully, it will be just fine and looking around when I go out and check on them.  
I checked on the babies last night before bed and they stood up and walked a few steps to get away from me.  Annmarie said I needed to stick my finger in their mouth to make sure it was moist and warm, but I figured if they had enough energy to get away from me then they had been eating just fine.  
 
Annmarie called me at work today to get me to come home while the sun was still up to feed the animals.  I had one thing to finish, three things later I got out of work at 1610.  On the way home she bargained with me that she would feed the animals if I cooked dinner and did the dishes.  Usually, the cook, does not have to do the dishes at our house.  We were having salmon patties and it is one of the few dishes that I do well and Annmarie has to work at.  I suspected she did not want to make the patties and just tossed in the dishes as an added bonus!  She fed, I did dinner and the dishes.  It was COLD outside.  The newborn sheep are doing just fine.  We are leaving them in the barn for a few days before they get to go outside.  
 

Internet vs4.0. The only option

I had visions of high speed internet. Those visions are crushed. 
I was unsure why our internet had quit working in the night. I was waiting until 1100 when the dish guys were coming to go outside. The rental company had called and said they would be out this afternoon to pick up the boom.  They showed up early.  My mother-in-law called to tell me it looked like the semi might get stuck. By the time I got outside the semi was stuck in six inches of mud.  I brought over some gravel with the tractor and a shovel in the hopes we could gravel a path back to the road. While we were doing that the satellite guys show up and barely got around the truck. They then proceeded to get stuck by machine shop and powered their way over to the road. The semi is going no where so the driver decides to move the boom around the machine shop. But it is only 2 wheel drive, advertised as 4 wheel drive and it cannot hardly move. The operator is making the problem worse by trying to power through the mud. He cannot around the machine shop as the road is slightly elevated so he had to come back. Unfortunately, he cannot get around the semi truck either. I think he wanted to use the weight of the boom to help him gain some traction in the the semi truck.  This was a large “negatory ghost rider” moment.
Once he got out of the way with the boom the satellite guys got their truck in place and tried to aim the dish.  One of them came over to me and said the pole was loose.  I went over and crawled up the tall ladder on the end of the machine shop.  The collar that was 2/3 of the way up the mast had spread and slipped down in the wind some time in the night.  Wtechlink high speed internet is just not going to happen!  They took the dish down and we laid the mast down on the peak of the roof.  I will take it all down in the summer.  Annmarie called the phone company and asked them to restart our old service.
The flat bed driver finally managed to get chained up and backed onto the road. The entire area looks like a mud derby was held in the vicinity.  Our poor road has huge tracks in it and is mostly mud.  I ordered 30 cubic yards of 1.5 inch gravel in an attempt to actually get the road back in shape.  
 
 
The next day I spread out 20 cubic yards of 1.5 inch gravel on the road by our house and on the dirt road I made this summer.  The dirt road looked pretty good.  Our road turned out to be incredibly bumpy.  Gravel this size is really not just 1.5 x 1.5 inches in size.  it only has to be 1.5 inches narrow on one side to go through the screen.  It is a lot bigger than that.  The nice thing is it is staying on top of the road.  The bad thing is it is staying on top of the road and the cars don’t like it.  It got dark so I could not keep driving on it with the tractor.  The next day it froze and it has stayed frozen since then.  Annmarie is not too happy with the rough road.  As soon as it thaws out I will take a load of gravel in the tractor and drive up and down the driveway to push the gravel down into the road bed.   
 
We are now back to telephone internet at 1.5 MBS max speed.  On a plus note, our phone/internet bill went from $110/month to $60/month after we cancelled for one month for the exact same services.  I truly don’t understand why businesses do that.  We do now have power at the machine shop and we have a light in the hay room.  Both very good things.