I was supposed to be fencing all day today to keep the bull away from the heifers he is not to breed. He has a different plan and it starting to become highly annoying. I spent two hours yesterday with the dogs moving him away from the heifers. It was an exercise in patience. I finally started tossing dried cow poop patties at him. He didn’t like that and it seemed to move him better than anything else I had tried.
I started out fine, went and got my drill so I could install the gate hinges. I found all my fencing tools in the pickup and needed the tractor to move rocks. So I chased the sheep into the front yard to finish mowing the lawn and then alternated driving the pickup and tractor to get them both through the gates into the barn lot. I did get Zeke to load up in the pickup, he always wants to ride and then on a fluke I told Mouse to load up. Damned if he didn’t do it on the first try! So I had both dogs ride in the back of the pickup through the barn lot. We then unloaded and took the tractor up to the far upper bottom pasture to get the smooth wire dispensing bucket and some wire. Well there is a lot of water running on the wheat field side of the bottoms. Usually, there is not very much water on this side. I ended up digging out the ditch in a section in the upper prime pasture. When I got into the next pasture it was even worse. I had to clean up two sections of the ditch I dug earlier and then tried to dig four channels in a swampy area. All the dirt I take from the swampy area I put on the edges of the swamp. I will try and build up some of the low spots in an attempt to keep them from getting so swampy. I am going to have to dig a couple of small ponds. They will only be about 18 inches deep and 6×10 feet across. I just need the water to settle someplace and then evaporate. I may have to see if I can find some used grape poles to build a visual ring around the water so we don’t accidentally drive the tractor or equipment into the water or swamp.
I then drove up unto the middle pasture that has not been burned yet. WOW! There is at least 2 acres of swamp. There is running water through the middle of the field. It looks like a ditch may end up separating the field in the middle. This isn’t such a bad thing we just need to be able to get by the ditch on the upper and lower side. I think I am going to have to install one of my new culverts up here to ensure cross field access. There is no question that we will not be doing anything in these fields in the spring after we plant them with alfalfa. Not even spraying the first year until we can see how the field and alfalfa does. I am hoping it takes up some of the water. I managed to get stuck again in the upper pasture and could not get out. I have only ever pushed myself with the tractor bucket backwards in an attempt to get unstuck. I had about a 30 foot liquid mud trail in front of me and i was pushing myself further into the swamp. So I figured out how to pull myself with the bucket! Its not as easy as pushing but it is possible. I then went to load up the wire and realized I needed to drill some post holes for the gates up here. I had the auger on the tractor and ended up digging 7 holes. Which made me aware that I need to dig holes in the barn lot ASAP. This was nice all dirt bottoms and each hole took me 5-7 minutes to dig. I cannot let the barn lot dirt get any harder or I will never get a hole dug. No hole means more rock cribs!I managed to get started on the fencing at noon. The dogs got to terrorize the hillside, the CRP, the creek and occasionally the chickens. Mouse had a thing for chasing the chickens today, I had to call him off three times. Zeke ratted him out every time by perking up his ears and slinking toward the sound of distressed chickens. Zeke either runs away or stays close, he never does anything halfway.
Mouse loaded up into the pickup a second time on the first jump. I had to talk him into it and make Zeke jump out and show him how it was done. He was a little light on the jump but managed to scramble in without assistance. I got the upper gate installed. I had to create a chain that is attached to hold it open so you can drive through. Otherwise the gate is angled such that it automatically closes. I managed to get the tractor to finally hold a roll of wire such that I can just walk away and it unrolls without any problems. I have been trying to figure out how to do this for four years. The trick is the bar has to touch both sides of the tractor bucket and the chains hold it level. The horseshoe is one of my gate latches. I am running out of them again. I usually have them welded ten at a time and I keep using them up. I didn’t get all the fencing done. I still have the lower gates to install. I had some gate posts hooks but they are too big for the ones already installed on the gate. So I will just buy smaller ones it is easier. I need to fill one rock crib, so three hours of hard labor with the mistress doing all the heavy lifting. I have one spot just to the right of the rock crib on the right side of the picture that needs a rigid panel installed to keep the animals from crawling through the gap. I am pretty sure I can use a piece of scrap from the horse enclosure that is still propped up in the front yard. I keep using those scraps in an attempt to get rid of them.
The sheep finished mowing the front yard! I will now have to get out a hose and wash down the sidewalk, bridge and our front porch in the morning before our Easter guests come for brunch. This takes care of mowing and fertilizing all at once. The only problem is we have to watch the dogs go potty for a week or two as they love to rub sheep poop all over themselves. I thought about this today as Annmarie kept hollering from the back porch to get my opinion on Iher attire for tonight. I enjoy doing this stuff, its hard to explain to people why I have a full time job that pays so I can have a full time job taking care of the farm. The farm is always there and forces you to constantly change and adapt. When you think you have it figured out, someone or something changes to prove that you do not. It keeps you moving, there is no time to sit around and be lazy. I get to work with animals and fix stuff. I love doing the 90% on projects and most farm projects are complete at 85%! Not the ones inside the house, I know dear. I love to reuse and cobble things together. The farm keeps me healthy and whole.