Yard work can happen

I spent Friday relaxing and reading a book. I do occasionally take a little time for myself. It had been a long week at work. I still managed to get in one bucket of mastic on the library floor. I only have the outside edges to tile now. I need to go through and cut all the tiles to fit before I mix any more mastic. I will use a piece of blue painters tape to mark the top of the loose tiles. Otherwise I won’t be able to tell they are not stuck to the floor. When cutting that much tile I tend to get very wet. The tile saw uses water and I think I need to change out the blade. I am pretty sure I have a new one out on the wall. It’s pretty slow cutting the tiles. It has not been the same since I used it to cut all the granite tiles for the kitchen countertops. 
 
Saturday was amazing!  The weather was perfect and I just could not stay inside. I decided to work on our front rock wall. I had visions of getting it done but it has been in the works for several years. I don’t have enough rocks available to get it to be height I think it needs. I went out in the barn lot and snagged the extra rocks that were hiding in the sheep manure pile. I also picked up the few loose rocks in the barn lot. Several years ago I had piled a bunch by the old chicken coop. I had found a buried pile and finished digging them out of the ground. I also found a pile half buried in the ram pasture. It took the tractor to get them out of the ground. I had to back fill the area as I created a hole in the ground that would have injured any human trying to walk in the area.  I still have a small pile by the waterfall and a small pile over by the lamb shed left. Probably only three buckets full and not near enough to finish off a project. As I was picking rocks in the barn lot I think I am going to bid this year on labor from one of the sports teams. I would like all the metal scraps and wooden pieces policed off the ground in the barn lot. I think 4-5 people could do it in 4-5 hours. I would like to get it all neat. The sheep and horses were enjoying the day also. 

I worked on the wall most of the day. It looks pretty good but I noticed it slants down away from the yard. There used to be a chain link fence across the front of the yard and the ground slipped away toward the creek. You can still see that slant. I would like to get that leveled out. Hopefully, the weather will be good enough on Sunday that I can finish. 
  

 

Water everywhere

 It rained again Wednesday night. All night long. This would not be a bad thing but the ground is absolutely saturated with water currently. By the time we got home that evening the back runoff creek was at its highest for the year and all muddy. We were super glad that we have not yet lowered the fences over the creek.   This very well could have been disastrous. 

We decided that this year we would shave the border collies. They get super hot and dirty during the summer. The weeds stick to them and they are just generally messy. Sarah came out and was going to do both dogs but Mouse jumped in the front spring. 
I suspect her was onto her nefarious plot to make him bald. So instead she was only able to shave Zeke. I have been laughing for days!  He does not even look like a border collie. Sarah tells me I should of gotten a blade that allows the dogs to have some amount of hair left. I did, she just didn’t know it so now Mouse will get shaved with a number 7 blade. It got down to the high 30s right after the shave so Zeke had to spend two days hanging out on the breezeporch with Sprout.  He would go out in the morning and start shivering. He has been fine these last couple of days. The shock of being naked has worn off. 
 
Our bull on the back hillside out our kitchen window. The boy sheep are out there also. Look at that flat back!!  He is a beautiful animal that throws amazing calves. We are so happy with him. He is going to get to stay well into his old age. Until he starts to have performance issues then he will have to be hamburger. 

Where be those doggies?

I left for work early and AnnMarie took care of the dogs. I was just going to sign timecards but ended up having to stay. AnnMarie called me in the early afternoon to say that the neighbors thought one of our border collies was up the road chasing cows. Now Zeke can jump out of the yard but usually stays on the place. We don’t trust him any more so we have started putting him on the overhead run. It has been a few years since he got off of it. He used to chew through the rope. It’s now a metal chain and wire cable lead on the overhead run. No way to chew through it. 
When I got home Zeke was laying down on the old house front porch out of the rain. Mouse was running around the yard getting wet.  I snapped a picture and sent it to AnnMarie so she could let the land owner know it was not our dog.  
We are suspects as we have a black and white border collie, the other one is grey and white. 
Zeke has been jumping over our yard fence bordering the orchard. Years ago I had cut this fence to allow me to drive a tractor into our yard for some reason. I loosened the wire from the posts and restretched the entire fence. I then used some of the leftover 2x6x16 foot long boards to put a top rail above the woven wire. This should be tall enough to keep Zeke inside the yard. We won’t test it out until we can be home to watch him for any illicit escapes. It rained almost the entire time. I got a two part coat for Christmas and the outer part is waterproof. It has come in mighty handy this year. 
 

Our ground is so saturated now that the rain is causing our back creek to rise.  The water is really starting to move. 
  

One tile at a time

A mouse war update is required. The dogs are falling behind with only 16 verified kills. The mouse traps in the coop have killed 38 mice so far.  This is just cementing the need for more cats. I have started cleaning up the coop and am removing all the empty bags.  I am trying to discourage any mice from living in the feed area of the coop.


I unloaded the first 150 of 500 wooden Tamarac fence stays. I still have 350 more to pickup.  I will fix the trailer tires in the next two weeks. 

I have increased the number of mouse traps by another six traps. It is a truly death defying run to get from one side of the coop to the other. The mice tend to run along the walls but occasionally a brave one runs out away from the wall. I laid out some more tile yesterday. I have one more serious finish attempt then I will cut and fit all the outer odd pieces then pull them all out and lay them next to their spot and mastic them all down at once. 

A floor cometh

The room is starting to look like I might finish. This concept is making AnnMarie happy! 
 
I started the day trying to pick up some Tamarac fence stays first thing in the morning. I went to pick them up and no one was home. There were several dogs in the yard and a dog door in the front door. I had no intention of going inside the fence and knocking on the door. All I could see was another three dogs boiling out of the front door when I knocked. I called home and had AnnMarie give me the phone number. I called and the seller answered informing me he was shed hunting in the mountains. He agreed to call me when he got back and I told him there may be a delay as I was going to be tiling. He called back when I was tiling. Once I had used up all the mastic I went and picked up 150 of my 500 stays. I will pick up the rest in a couple of weeks with my trailer. He wasn’t a very good forklift operator. The trailer will make it easy to load. 

 

This is what a bad dog looks like!  I was in between buckets of floor mastic when I thought I heard a chicken screaming for its life. This is a totally different sound than a chicken normally makes. I decided to investigate by going outside and hollering for the dogs the second I got outside the front door. I went left and before I could get off the porch Mouse jetted by looking guilty. Sprawled out on its back was one of my hens with feathers loose all around it.  I went over and picked it up and the death squawk started up again and continued I set the hen over the fence out of reach of the dogs. She ran away under her own power. The dog and I had some words and a good stare down, damn dog. 
 
When I went outside for nightly chores the chickens needed to be fed. I had not killed any mice for a couple of weeks and have snagged three in as many days. The mice have emptied three 50# bags of chicken food!  So I cleaned up and moved one pile of bags onto another pile and redistributed traps. I think I can set out another six traps to create a minefield effect. 

Sheep sorted again

AnnMarie found a lamb scrunched down beside a gate curled up into a ball. It was trapped earlier in the week. She pulled out this very tiny solid black lamb and as soon as it was unstuck a momma ewe ran over and started cleaning it up!  She penned the momma and new lamb into our momma area and then moved the sheep into the ram pasture. Unfortunately, the ram pasture is not secure. We have yet to lower the panels over the back creek. I am unsure that the spring runoff flood has passed. The minute I lower and clip the panels in place over the runoff creek I place all my fencing at risk. Mother Nature can be a cruel and beautiful mistress. One with an explosive and unpredictable temper. I am going to try and avoid that confrontation. 
So all 28 boys that we had just sorted out on Sunday of last week just waltzed in under the fence and comingled with our momma & baby herd. 
 
So on a Saturday we sorted again. It was much easier this time to dig out the channels that had fresh straw in them. The sheep did not cooperate so I tried the sheep crook. We have owned one for the last year but never used it as an actual crook. It was just a tall stick. I started snagging the sheep by the neck and grabbing them. It worked great!  I did it several times and was feeling pretty cocky when one of the boys jumped back into the female pen and ran outside to commingle with the ewes. I ran around outside for ten minutes trying to catch that boy amongst all the other sheep. No luck, AnnMarie finally hollered at me to come help sort again. We got everyone sorted and have kept the mommas and babies in the back barn lot. They ate down the entire front yard hillside. It needs to turn green again and grow before I can turn the sheep loose again. This is giving the upper prime pasture a fresh chance as there are no animals on it. My new little trees got the tops bitten off by all the sheep. I need to get T posts in the ground and sheep fence around the trees. 
We have started feeding the mommas three bales of hay a day in order to keep up with their consumption. We talked about letting the fence down over the back creek the next day but two days later there was a deluge and a sudden rise in the back creek. That would have been bad for my fence. It is still raining every 3-4 days.

  

I got a weed eater for my birthday yesterday

My birthday was on Thursday and my mother got me a new fancy wamplidyne weed eater. It has a chest harness and a new head with plastic blades so I don’t have to change out the plastic strings. It is an amazing tool and one which I will utilize a lot. That being said, as a man it is my job to figure out how to not mow the yard. This is a hidden section of the man card that most women do not understand. Most men go with the child plan as a character building routine. I opted again this year to go with the moving live grass mower option. I went out to the wood shed and took a piece of woven electric fence and put it across the front of our yard last evening. The fence was way longer than necessary so I stretched out the extra loosely against the side fence. I did not energize it as it was leaning against a metal fence. I opened two gates and now the sheep have access to the front hillside to eat it down so I don’t have to weed eat or mow it. 

Instead I will be tiling again in the library  today. So really it’s a time reallocation idea. 
Unfortunately, it’s never that easy. 

 
As it was approaching bedtime last night we started to hear a lamb bawling outside. AnnMarie asked me if maybe I should go check on that lamb. “It’s fine it will be alright” was my repeated answer. At bedtime we put on coats and went outside to check on the bawling lamb. I wasn’t going to get out of it and have learned a couple of things in 20+ years of marriage. A one month old lamb had gotten wrapped up in the loose extra fencing and kept fighting it which was making it worse. We got the lamb out of the fence and then tossed the extra woven electric fence over the chain link fence so the sheep would not get tangled up in it.  When we woke up this morning one small section of the fence was leaning over so I went out and propped it up with some extra electric fence posts I have. I believe the sheep will have it all eaten by tomorrow.