I decided after last weekend that I needed to stay ahead of Tex. So every evening this week I went out and moved rocks for an hour. I tossed the rocks over fence so Tex could build a series of rock retaining ledges. I knew I was going to have to work Thursday night so he would need materials prestaged for Friday.
I spent Thursday morning getting more rocks and decided to clean up the Y gate area myself. I have been wanting to do this project for a couple of years but I thought it would take me a day or better to complete. In reality I had it all done in three hours! I managed to find a 600+# rock to anchor one side of the railroad tie. This meant I did not have to try and drive any pipe into the ground. The bigger rocks are actually easier to get with the tractor as they have enough mass to allow you to push them around and manipulate them into the tractor bucket.
It turned out very nice and now the lambs won’t have to work so hard to get up into the barn. As an added side effect the Y gate is easier to move and has a little more clearance. I keep hoping I can get some sort of plant to grow in this back lot, but so far I have had no luck getting anything to grow. I have started to move more soil around and create some retention walls in the hopes that I can get about a foot of soil to stay in place. Once the soil stays I will then try and find something that will sprout and grow fast in the spring then die off in the summer.
Annmarie went out Wednesday morning to let the sheep out of the barn and discovered that one of the yearling ewes had twins! She was surprised at that mother was not on the list of suspected ewes pending birth. She got the momma and both lambs into the momma baby area before I got home. They look good and one of them is a screamer.
When I went to bed Thursday I had rocks piled up and ready for Tex. Some of them ended up in the spring, but most stayed on the hillside. The goal is to create a series of small rock walls then back fill the walls with dirt so I end up with several 1-3 foot wide level areas along the hillside. Once the rocks are in place I will start in on moving some dirt. I am going to use the dirt over by the old blacksmith shop. This serves two purposes, it gets me dirt for the flowerbeds and it lets us sort through the dirt for interesting metal pieces from the blacksmith area. My only real concern is getting a flat on the tractor.
Thursday evening when I went out to feed I checked on the new lambs and one of them was not sitting up. It was all limp so I took it over to the front yard gate and set it in the sun till I was done feeding the cows. Annmarie came home about 5 minutes later and took it inside and started warming it up and feeding it. She had me bring in the selenium paste so she could feed it a supplement and she kept giving it a bottle. It was doing better by the time it got picked up but not great. The other lamb is doing fantastic. It’s hard for first time young ewes to raise twins.
Friday morning, after working all night, I came home to find Tex hard at it. Annmarie had him do the morning chores then I texted him to move more rocks, he dug out a channel for the culvert in the upper barn lot also. I need to go buy one of those culvert joining pieces so I can create a 20 foot piece instead of two 10 foot pieces. But I need to measure it first as I am not sure if it’s 24″ or 20″.
We marked out the spot for all the posts and got the auger mounted on the tractor. I went to bed while Tex kept at it. I did give him a sack lunch with cheese, meat, fruit, tortillas, water and a soda for lunch. Annmarie tells me that is not lunch but I eat that all the time for lunch! I didn’t get any complaints from Tex.
When I woke up I went out and surveyed his work. The rock walls look great! We just need to get some dirt on the hillside now so we can create the flat areas for the flowers. I am super excited to get this done as I like random wildflower beds.
We then finished drilling all the holes in the ground with the tractor. Sometimes the clay makes the auger just sit on the surface and not cut through. So I had Tex use the hand post hole digger to create a small hole in the middle and then I could power through with the tractor auger. This got us all the holes except for the two down by the water. Those required the use of a shovel and a breaker bar. The hole ended up being pretty big after digging out all the big rocks we found embedded in the hillside.
It’s supposed to rain this weekend. The grass looks amazing and we will be letting the sheep up onto the back hillside. They are keeping the upper pasture all eaten down.