Sunday was catch up day. I had big plans for the trim but we really needed to work the sheep. I stayed home while Annmarie went to church (this happens a lot) and I busted out one more window, the largest window in our house. Annmarie came home with the great news that Sarah was going to come out and help with the sheep.
We needed to count the sheep as we had no clue how many there were. We also needed to get a count for how many we were going to need to sell come summer. Plus we still had to tag and band the stragglers from the last two months of random births. We rearranged the barn panels and ran the sheep into the barn. The sheep were pushed down the chute. I like to just wade in and randomly catch the babies but this is stressful on the sheep and I don’t get to do the catching. I sit down on my kiester and have the babies brought to me. I do the tagging and banding. I am the only one with a strong enough grip to hold the banding pliers open and to punch in the ear tags. I have a secret thought that no one else wants to torture the baby lambs but the banding pliers are very hard to hold open and you cannot let them go until everything is correct and there are 2 peanuts on the right side or it doesn’t work! It can be hard to hold open if it takes any time to fish around for the second testical.
We have 100 sheep exactly! We need to sell 40 lambs this summer and hopefully will get another 25 ewes this summer also. Each mother generates on average 1.5 lambs/year. So with 85 ewes we will make 255 lambs every 2 years or 127 lambs/year. We are going to hold off on getting another ram until all the ewes have had babies. There are still a few that are pregnant. We want everyone to get on the same cycle so that all babies will come in a single month. At least all born within a two month period, not constantly trickling all year long.
I have started digging fence post holes in the barn lot for the ram and bull enclosure. I have called the custom wood mill in Reith and will be purchasing some tamarack 2x8x16 foot rough cut lumber to use inside the enclosure. This is the hardest native wood we have in the area and they only do 2 runs a year for this express purpose- corrals. I also managed to get 50 boards of 1×12 x16 foot rough cut boards to finish the siding repairs on the barn. Again I called at the perfect time as they had cut the boards just not run them through the dryer yet. I will be picking those up next week.
I am done with all three windows in the living room and dining room! Unfortunately, I ran out of caulk! I had 18 tubes and used up 17. I ordered 20 more tubes from Amazon and will work on the floor trim when they arrive. I know, Amazon is the killer of local businesses but I waste hours going to those stores and they never have enough as I want more than a few at a time. Its a trade off and Amazon has been good to us so far. I am getting so many boxes now that I am having to burn them on a semi regular basis now.
We have another barn kitty getting used to the place in the barn kennel. We had one die but have seen several around the place. Not sure why the one died.
We also may have a pack rat in the barn! No one has seen it but we are starting to find hordes of nesting material in quantities that mice cannot form. I sure hope not as they are hard to catch and can be very destructive.
One of the first things to do is get stuff ready. I spent part of Friday and Saturday getting all the tools ready for work. I added wings onto my radial arm saw so that I could cut the L shaped cutouts on the sill plates. Then I had to add a support arm past my table saw so as I ripped boards down they would be able to rest on something. I just clamped a piece of scrap from our furniture project across the end of the porch. I had to clamp my featherboard onto the table saw also. I wish I had some 2×8 board glued to the underside of my table to make clamping to the table easier. I may have to do something like that soon.
I managed to get one window done. I need to level the sill front to back a little better on the other windows. I am installing the sill, then but both inside upright pieces and the top inside piece. This lets me rest the top piece on the sides while I then set the reveal on both sides and staple them in. I use cedar shims always around doors and windows. I run a small bead of caulk on the end of each board so it sticks to the window. I know this makes window replacement very hard, but it really seals the building from stray breezes and bugs. The BUGS are the important reason to do it! I am then taking 100% silicone and sealing the backside of each board to the window frame. This is taking way more caulk than I anticipated. I am making sure to get a nice seal but in some places I am filling a 1″ gap. Yes I know I should have gotten some of that foam core rope to fill the area first but I didn’t do that. I also am hesitant to use that spray in foam insulation, even the low expanding stuff. It puts a lot of pressure on the window and I have screwed up door frames with the stuff and don’t want to mess up the window.
The pattern we used for the window frames is the original one from the house. It was still in place upstairs and we have duplicated it throughout the house. The only place we are deviating from it is the window at the bottom of the stairs and above it. I don’t want to fall down the stairs and hit my head on the corner of the window sill plate. So we are doing a flush mount with square pieces in all four corners. That way when I fall down the stairs it will be the landing that gets me not the fall. Annmarie was super happy that the trim is going in. I will be doing a bug audit to see if it helps cut down on the inside critters.
On Friday I had to go fix fence again. On Thursday the neighbor moved his cows into the pen directly across the road from our property. This means our bull can see a hundred plus cows across the road and starts to immediately think like a teenage boy. I noticed the cows on my way home and vowed to not work on our window trim but to instead fix the fence. Usually, the bull gets out every year at this time. We had noticed a weak spot in the fence a couple of months ago and I had vowed to Annmarie that I would fix it before the bull got out this year. Its in an awkward spot and there is a huge wild rose bush that has enveloped the fence in the way. The only real way to fix this section is to cut out the rosebush and rebuild this entire section. I don’t want to do that, so I plugged the hole with a 16 foot cow panel. I had brought a few more tools but no T post driver. I needed the driver. I ended up having to fix the entire fence all the way up to the gate on top. I put in new staples and Tpost clips where the bull had popped them loose. I added about 8 new wooden stays from scrap on the ground and my scrap pile. Eventually, there will be no more scrap piles laying around. I keep bringing the junk together and throwing it away, recycling it or burning it to clean up areas. This took me all morning long and put me way behind on the trim plan.
Before I could get started on the trim I had to install a couple of extenders onto my radial arm saw stand. When I went to cut the sill pieces I realized I only needed to cut a corner out of them and they would have to be way put away from the saw blade for that to happen. To make that possible I had to add extenders to each side. Its not permanent but I am going to leave it in place until all the trim is installed.
I managed to get all three large windows bottom sill plates installed on Friday. My goal is to use silicone to seal the boards against the window and then fill all the air gap behind the boards with more caulk to make them 100% sealed. This will stop the cold air but more importantly we are hoping it will stop the bugs! There are certain times in the year that they get out of control. This happens to be one of them. It is highly annoying to have bugs everywhere. Annmarie was very happy with the progress.
Today I finished painting the downstairs! I even considered starting in on the wood trim downstairs but I really want to do the windows first as the bugs have started coming around. I have the caulk to seal the wood trim to the window and the walls so no bug can sneak through. But the wooden shims have not arrived yet. I purchased a box of them and they will be here this week. I wanted cedar shims and I am going to leave the cedar closet lining boards I put up in the windows temporarily in place and just put the trim over them. They have helped keep the bugs out.
So instead I went out and started working on the Bull Enclosure. It will house the rams also when we are not using them. We have decided to pull the male species off of their respective herds at least a month prior to anyone having a baby. We don’t want the mothers to be stressed or harassed. I marked of a pen in the barn lot that will allow us to use the old lamb shed and lean to out back as shelter. The shed will be off limits unless we allow access. I have set it up so I have opposing gates that will allow us to block off the shed or allow them access to the shed and no where else. I broke out the hot pink paint marker and a tape measure and put a T sign every 8 feet. I will need to dig 57 holes! I think if I reuse what is present and use the old cedar posts I think I can come up with 40 posts maybe 45. I will buy the rest. I want to use railroad ties in the corners and two next to each gate side. I am going to install a 10 foot gate near the shed and another 8 foot gate on the back side of the fence past the lean to. I am contemplating one more near the culvert, but I don’t think so. Each gate is a weakness to be exploited by the bull. I managed to get 11 holes started tonight. I was unable to drill a single hole down to the depth needed even as wet as it has been.
The mistress was working hard and I had to replace one bolt on the auger and just as it was getting dark the shear bolt for the auger gave so tomorrow I will need to replace it before I can get started. My goal is to get all the holes started this week and then take a five gallon bucket of water and put it in each hole. I will do this every day and then drill it out the next day until all the holes are the right depth. I will start setting posts as soon as I can get a hole down to the right depth. I will set all the posts and put woven wire and smooth wire on the outside of the fence and I will line the inside of the fence with 2×6 boards. I will have to go 4 boards high to provide a sufficient barrier. So I will need to buy 2000 linear feet of 2×6 which also happens to be 2000 board feet. I want to buy 16 foot boards as I put the spacing at 8 feet apart, this means I need 125 boards. I will also need a saw and a whole bunch more wood anchors, another 500. This is the expensive part. That will cost me around $400 just for the metal screws.
I have the 10 foot gate, I will have to go scrounge around in my gate pile to see if I have another 8 foot gate. I may need to use a 6 foot gate.
The sheep have been hanging out on the back hillside. The gate nearest the creek is so badly damaged that it is not useful and needs to be replaced. I have simply not gotten to it and the sheep needed to go out on the back hillside anyways. We have had so much rain in the past few days that the back creek is up about 8 inches and running muddy.
I finally managed to find a stock trailer! Last week I spotted one for $2500 which was my max upper end. I wanted to spend around $1500. We had been looking for over three months with no success. We had found a lot of horse trailers in that price range but no stock trailer. You ask, what is the difference? Well there is a difference, the first part is look at the back door. It will slide open halfway. This allows you to load animals directly from a chute. The second part is halfway down the trailer there is a divider that can be closed widthways. This allows you to push some animals into the trailer and shut internal gate. This then lets you load more animals!
This trailer is a 1979 model! It has a flat spare and another low tire. The lights only work on the right side and all the running lights are broken. On the plus side it has rubber mats the entire length of the floor. I will be getting it licensed after I fix the lights. The tires will be soon also. We are stoked!