This morning as we consumed breakfast, me fried potatoes, onions, Italian sausage covered in cheese with hot sauce over it all while Annmarie ate a homemade smoothie with Greek yogurt, frozen and fresh berries (consistency trick), and a raw farm egg with a single slice of toasted bread, Annmarie mentioned that I should go outside and fence. She specifically wants me to fix the lower fence on our back hillside so we can use the ram pasture. I had only had one cup of coffee and the prospect of going out and battling fence did not sound fun. I used the fact that the fence repair would take me about 25 hours and the weather was most likely going to change before I could get it finished. I instead voted on painting the stairwell. I still need to get the upper stairwell painted the chocolate brown. I continued to nurse my coffee while Annmarie went out to feed the horses, cats and check on the sheep and let them out of the barn. Before I knew it she was back inside telling me I needed to come help as we had new babies and she could not get the mother and babies separated from the herd.

This problem could be fixed if we would just finish off the ram and make summer sausage out of him. He is not safe, Annmarie cannot get in the same area with him as he tries to run her over. So I went out and we moved the sheep around and managed to start letting a few out of the gate at a time. This resulted in the ram being on the same side of the fence as me and nearby. One time he thought about ramming me but decided not to, I kept turning my back on him and Annmarie kept an eye on him while I kept an eye on the momma ewe so we did not accidentally let her out. So as we are sorting the sheep all run down to the creek. There is a dead end that ends in a “V” shape. The sheep were literally squirting under and through the fence. It looked more like a strainer than a fence. Just prior to this Annmarie was grabbing loose strands of wire from the same fence and telling me it needed to be fixed. I blamed the horses as they are the ones who push down the top wire. After we got the momma and twins sorted off (little twin boys, very cute) I capitulated to the fencing needs and told Annmarie I would fix it.

I tightened the fence from both ends, I cut out the lousy metal twist on stays that I put in place years ago when I thought they would work. The horses bend them when they lean on the fence, so do the cows. I now only use tamarack wooden stays, they last a long time and the animals cannot bend them or spread the wires apart. I also fixed the little bridge, placed it on some rocks and cleaned out the creek through this section. Since the sheep know there is a weakness in the fence they will keep testing the fence in this spot. It looked great when I was done but I was afraid with continual pressure they would be able to loosen it up again. So I put in a used 16 foot cow panel and wired it in place, now the sheep cannot get through. I also used a five foot chunk of cow panel to close off the last four feet of the “V” shaped dead end. This way the animals cannot pressure their way out of the fence like cheese whiz coming out of a can. I had to replace a large amount of fence clips as they had been knocked loose from the force of animals hitting the fence. All of this took me a measly five hours.

I had also told Annmarie I would clean up the front hillside from the leftover summer fencing mess. She wanted me to remove it totally. I guaranteed it would be picked up and placed in a neat pile so that I could return later and remove it. This still took me another hour to get it all contained and straightened out.

We are having issue with the feet on one of the horses again. Its the same one that had white line disease and we spent 6 months getting better. The farrier says she has it again and the vet is coming out next week. The area behind the barn is very muddy. I put the straw from the barn there in an attempt to create some soil so I can get grass to grow. Today I made a bare patch down to the ground in an attempt to get the horses out of the much when they go down for water. What I really need to do is dig another channel next to the barn a couple of feet deep and fill it all with gravel and make it go to the front creek so the water runoff won’t sit next to the barn. Maybe I can get that done next year. Every year we try and improve the water runoff in the barn lot.

Today while I was working on the fence my fence stay guy called! I had paid for 500 stays early this summer and had only picked up 200, he wanted me to come pick up the rest. I did this as soon as I finished puttering around with the tractor. The bad part about this is I discovered an antifreeze coolant leak in the pickup. I think it is coming off of the radiator but I cannot see the leak only the results. Its not horrible yet but as soon as my car gets out of the body shop. The pickup needs to go to the shop. Tonight just before dinner Annmarie tried to toast some pumpkin seeds in the oven. I had made homemade pumpkin soup last night and cleaned all the seeds so she could roast them. They started popping in the oven! They were splitting open and bouncing all over the oven. We had to keep the door closed as the oven cooled down so we did not end up with seeds every where. Once we tried again after dinner they did just fine, they must of had quite a bit of moisture trapped inside of them. They still taste very good.