It was another one of those days, where I thought I was going to move forward all day long. Alas there were a few bumps along the way, there usually are on the farm. I would like to think that after 9 years I would have this down and some things would be routine but that is just not the case. For example, how hard can it be to light some weeds on fire? Seems pretty straightforward but something always comes up. I really wanted to burn the upper field but it keeps raining and with all those weeds and gaps between areas I need it to be tinder dry when I torch it and the rain is just frequent enough to stop this plan. Its not like there is nothing else to do so I opted to burn the weeds alongside the driveway.
I started at the far end of the driveway near the road. It had some good thick piles and everyone that drives by won’t be disturbed by 10 foot tall flames in the middle of the day. Most of the road traffic is in the early morning and evening as people travel to and fro work.
I had put a pitchfork in the back of the pickup but to pitchfork it all away from all the fence would take me a couple of weeks. The tumbleweeds are bad this year. So I opted for expediency and just lit the weeds off while they were in the fence. This has caused me some heart ache in the past with burnt up fence posts. It’s always the old frayed railroad ties that catch on fire. They always catch on fire in the middle of the post and it is near impossible to put them out. I was determined to not let this happen this year so I tried to burn around the posts and then tried burning up to the posts in an attempt to keep the heat down near the posts. Several posts caught on fire but then went out in the wind.
There is a long driveway and both sides needed to be burned. It took several hours to get to the end of the driveway. Once I got down near Donna’s house I burned a small stretch of fence line behind her house and continued on down to the corner and around up to the fencing supplies. I decided to stop as the next stretch of fence was piled high with weeds and our nephew’s camp trailer was only about four feet from the fence line. This would not have gone over well with the camp trailer. It would have made for an impressive fire.
The tumbleweeds were bad this year, our driveway fence is starting to lean on both sides. The wind pushes on the weeds and bends the T posts. When the ground firms up I will need to go along and straighten all the posts.
While I was burning my mother-in-law stopped to ensure that I would go feed the cows. We have this discussion on a regular basis as I think they can always go another 1-2 days, especially with this weather we are having. I agreed that I would go feed them that evening. So there was a small fire burning on the hillside when I went to feed the cows. I brought the dogs as the cows really will mug me when I try and get the feeder pulled around the big bale. The cows think that the sound of the tractor means mealtime so they always come running. Mouse is much sneakier than Zeke he likes to lay flat and silent and then leap up and into the cows. So instead of following the tractor I looked over and Mouse had decided the cows were too close to the tractor as we were driving to the far end of the field. He tried to jump on the calf! Why go for a big defensive animal when you can pick on the helpless baby? Momma was coming to its defense even as I was hollering at him to back off. I got the hay all packaged up and surrounded by the feeder and we left the cows to eat. They only had a little hay left in the feeder. They maybe could of gone another day but it was time to feed. Now this is not always the case! If I feed them too early they just waste the hay and try and eat only the choice parts of the alfalfa.
It was just starting to get dark so I decided to just look down the driveway and spotted this column of flames near the road. I tooled on down in my tractor to find one of the old railroad ties next to the cattle guard on fire. This thing had sat dormant for over 2 hours before taking off. I had to go back to the house and get some water as the fire was inside the post. This needs water to take the heat out of the post or the fire will just reignite. I want back home and grabbed my gallon plant water jugs and filled them up with water. While I was doing that my phone rang and the neighbors were being helpful and everyone that drove by was calling my Mother-in-Law to let her know that a post was on fire out by the road. As I started driving down to the fire beacon to put it out I saw Donna drive up to the inferno and spray a cloud of white stuff on the post. The fire went out but by the time she drove off and I arrived it had already started back up. I poured a gallon of water on top of the railroad tie and it all went into the middle of the tie and dribbled throughout the cracks and crevices. After four gallons I managed to get the fire out and most of the heat so it would not reignite. I stank of smoke and was covered in soot so I opted to call it a day and go inside and shower. I was in my pajamas when Sarah called me to tell me that another post was on fire! I put my coat and rubber boots over my pjs and filled up my four gallons of water and head out into the rain to put out another post. It was raining at this time but not hard enough to put out my wooden post fires. This one was in a rock crib right behind Donna’s house and was easy to get out. This would have caused me problems as I would have had to rebuild the entire rock crib.
I have decided that I need a new plan when it comes to burning weeds in the fence lines. I need to pitchfork out and around all railroad ties before burning the weeds. This will be a bunch of extra work but anything that can prevent me from replacing wooden posts every time I burn is a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, I think the cattle guard needed large 8 inch steel pipes next to it to make the fence and cattle guard look good but I could have waited another 1-2 years.
The new chickens appeared to be getting smarter. After having to put 5 of 10 into the coop every night the last two nights they all made it back inside on their own. I was ready to declare victory until I went out tonight. There huddled outside were another five chickens, not even the same five that I had put in previously. To top it all off I have 25 chickens and I am only getting 3-5 eggs/day now. I keep thinking they will start laying but it has not happened yet.