Sometimes I struggle with what is real important information for the farm blog. It may appear that farm life is a mere repetition of the same type of themes, what is growing (animals or plants), how is it maintained and how is it harvested. I would actually agree with this theory. It is basic, at its core all life is basic, we all yearn and strive to ensure the basics are fulfilled so that we can concentrate on the other things. So that being said I have determined that minutiae is important, even critical as it breaks up the normal routine.
That being said I now have self granted permission to boast about my rock chuck dispatching. I spotted it running across the ram pasture, minding its own business. They live up on the hillside in a large pile of rocks and when they start venturing out and I start seeing them we know there are too many. They are usually fairly reclusive and avoid the house. I had to get dressed before I could go outside (it was chilly and clothes are really vital when it is that cold outside). I then had to run upstairs and grab my 117 hmr rifle. I have not shot this gun much but it has reach that the 22fLR does not and the little digger was about 50 yards away. I snuck around the house and spotted it down by the creek, I realized while looking through the scope that I need a new scope. This one is not very good and my father spoiled me with Leopold scopes my entire life so I am adding a new scope to my wish list. One shot and the little digger was dispatched. They are so reclusive that you usually only get one shot before they all hide for the entire day. One may ask what did it do to me? All you need to do is come out and fix some of the fence and rockcribs that have been ruined by them digging holes and you would know. I don’t go out of my way to eradicate them but population controls are necessary for all the animals on the farm including the ones we don’t raise. A few animals of any kind are not usually a problem, but a lot of any one type of critter takes a lot more management effort. The fox has not been spotted in the last two weeks and I have not lost any more chickens but I suspect that the fox is still up and doing fine as it has no predators. We will keep our eyes out. I spotted both of our barn cats slinking out around the barn lot this weekend so the fox has not managed to get either of them.
Saturday I decided to do some odds and ends chores to play catch up on the little things. I hung seven yellow jacket traps out around the house and orchard. We are hoping to cut down on the yellow jacket population this summer and keep them away from our ripening fruit. I will also be spraying all of the nests so they do not gain a foothold.
I used the tractor to drag the colored tire pieces over to the future lavender patch. The bag weighs almost 1100 pounds and my tractor will only lift 800 pounds. Luckily, it was on a pallet so when I drug it off the pallet it was just touching the ground and I was able to drag it over to its new location. The four legged 120# cats (alpaca) bum rushed the gate to the orchard as soon as I had it open. They are so inquisitive that it is painful at times to keep them away from things you don’t want them in. You cannot let them touch it with their lips or let the gate be open or they will touch it or go through it no matter what is on the other side. While I was over by the future lavender patch I killed all the thistles with a shovel. I just need to to roll out the ground cloth and start piling on the rubber bark to hold it down.
I also went out into the orchard and cut all the metal tree rings in half with the bolt cutters. I was unable to finish tearing them down as I did not have any fencing pliers. I need two of them to go around the new kiwi plants and then I will have five more ready for more fruit trees. I will probably dig holes and install the other five rings so I am ready for more fruit trees. I am on the lookout for 1-2 standard size apricot tree saplings. Since I had the bolt cutters I also trimmed a piece of cow panel to go under the orchard gate to prevent Zeke from digging under it and escaping the new orchard fence.
Annmarie offered to grill dinner as we are getting tired of eating beef, pork or lamb from the stovetop. Unfortunately, I needed to do the spring cleaning on the grill and to make matters worse I cannot use the grill. No matter how many times I have tried to use the little grill I have messed it up. The last two times I have even failed to get it lit properly (it’s a little pellet grill). So I spent an hour cleaning it all up and making it spiffy and nice so Annmarie (the pants wearing variety) could run the grill and make us dinner. This has really been the story our entire life. I do not have the patience for the grill and never really learned to master it or even barely use it. I have embraced this knowledge and let Annmarie do all the grilling for us. Even now, I am making the rice and steaming vegetables while she is out grilling us chicken pieces in peanut satay sauce that I trimmed and marinated this morning. After I cleaned the grill I washed and cleaned off the back porch siding to make a nice neat area.
Yesterday afternoon I went out and collected two more hay samples for Annmarie to test. The weather has just not been cooperating I need 3 good solid warm and windy days all in a row and have not had it since I cut the grass hay. She got 39% and 43% which is better than the last time we tested but still not low enough to bale. I went out on the tractor and turned it one more time. I am getting used to the hay rake and it only took me 2.5 hours to turn all 7 acres. This was of course negated today by the 21/100” of rain that we had pour out of the sky. I will be looking at turning the hay again in a couple of days. I think its supposed to rain every 1-2 days all week long. This is not helping my haying abilities.
After dinner we had to go outside and use the dogs to chase the sheep off of the back hillside. I have not yet dropped the panels down into the back creek as I keep expecting us to get a bunch of water runoff from the mountains. It is now Mid May and we still have a low Stewart creek so after the dogs did their job I lowered the first set of panels down into the creek bed to stop the sheep from escaping. I have three other creek crossings that I am going to leave up for now.
So today was a lazy day except for the bathroom, I cut the single hardest piece of wood yet, it had part of an arch from the top of the mirror, a light outlet notch and I had to cut out around the door all on one piece of wood. The real problem is there is about 1/2” difference on height between the mirror sides. I cut a template three separate times and had to make two attempts at the board and finally had to bring the jigsaw up into the bathroom to make a couple fo final adjustments. I got it in, its not perfect but it is the best I could do and I suspect most people will not notice the gap. If I cut it in half I could have covered it up or if I rip apart the right side of the mirror and slowly add in some space I could make up the difference. I am not going to do it. The wife said it was good enough and I am going with that.