The chickens are enjoying the weather and all of this rain. We have moved the compost dumping area down the fence line about 15 feet in an effort to get the chickens to work down the weeds. I have been trying to recycle 50# of dried rice used to dry out electrical equipment into chicken food. I use the rice cooker and give them 8-16 cups of cooked rice a day. I have been at it for two weeks and have half the rice gone maybe. Even the chickens are getting tired of rice at every meal, they will run over eat a little bit then run away. They do forage on the rice all day and eat it eventually but if that were cat food I was tossing out they would eat it until it was gone every time.
My spare parts for the haying equipment came this week also. Unfortunately, they did not have all the parts I asked for but I took what they sent me. It tends to take about 3-4 weeks to get parts from the company so I went through and looked at the parts I have already broken and the parts that may break and have started a list. The company did a great job of labeling each set of bolts and nuts so I know exactly what they are. I have them separated out into containers with sharpy labels on the outside. My goal is to get another 2 metal cabinets and use two of them for parts only. I want to dedicate half the cabinet to each piece of hay equipment so it is easy to find and won’t get lost since I have to have so many parts on hand.
I am having trouble with my front left tire that fell off. I was getting ready to go to the upper field with the arena groomer when I noticed that the same tire had two lug nut bolts missing. Luckily, the wheel had not fallen off again. I had picked up six bolts from the tractor store and put two back in and tightened down everything. I am going to have to figure out why this is happening. The new tractor seat came in, it is thicker than the old but I need some kind of shock absorber on it now so the ride is smoother. more internet shopping time is needed. The first seat lasted seven years and the tractor spent more time out in the sun than under cover. Since we have gotten the machine shed cleaned out the side by side and the tractor are parked inside away from the sun whenever they are not in use.
Mr Professional and the Future NASCAR driver have been working on the cross fence in the barn lot. All three of us went up there and got it finalized. I still need to get into the spring path and dig out some more mud but it was so bad that I kept getting stuck in the tractor. I made a deeper pathway that is only about 1 foot wide and will let it dry out for few weeks before I go back at from the sides with the tractor. I want to build up the embankment on the northern side so when the water comes rushing down it will get pushed back and over the embankment. We still need to cut the final cow panel to fit to the bottom of the gully but not until I reshape the gully to accept more water. So we just used the bent one from the flood and will address it later.
The ram started to favor his front left leg four days ago but would not let us touch it, we could get close enough to pet him but not pin him. He is also over 200 pounds and all muscle with some fat and is not going to let me just pin him to look at his foot. We ended up just moving all the boys from Alcatraz to behind the barn into a nice dry lot and watered them in the corral. This got the ram closer to our chute were we could pin him in place. We did this in the evening and then let them hang out all night by the next morning the ram was already putting weight on the leg and looked dramatically better. There was just too much moisture in Alcatraz. I spent a couple of hours with the box blade and manure forks and cleaned up Alcatraz. I now have two piles of mud, straw, hay and poop that will need to be moved out and mixed in the new barn floor contents when the barn gets cleaned out. I really need a manure spreader but they are expensive. I need a good used one, which leads to the I need a welder discussion as stuff keeps breaking and I need to be able to repair it.
It took me about 10 hours between two days to get the upper prime squared field all cleaned up. I used the manure forks to pick up the large piles and used the arena groomer to pick up the low grass and spread out the mud. The grass is trying to grow back but cannot get through the mat of mud and grass left by the flood. I had to go over each section repeatedly as the groomer would fill up with grass fast. I made two big piles out in the middle of the field and took everything close to the water over to my berm I am constructing alongside the spring. The berm is going to be 2-3 feet high. The water here only got about 18-24” deep so I think it will be enough to keep the water going to where I sort of want it. This should lead to only about 1/3 of the field getting flooded and none of the next field being flooded. Don’t get me wrong, I still installed flood break points in the cross fences just in case it does jump my berm. I don’t want to have to come back and redo all this fence again. The built in weak points will keep the whole fence from getting flushed down or pushed over.
The manure forks have been another amazing purchase! If I knew how handy they would be I would have done it years ago. The best part is they only cost $250! I have used them extensively to help clean up the flood debris and am actually looking forward to how they work when I clean out the barn. I may be able to just drive in scoop out some stuff and drive out with it instead of trying to push it all out one of the two doors and then pick it up with the tractor. If the rain ever stops the barn will get cleaned out.