Weather is so weird

The weather is definitely changing. This could be for the good, who knows, but it is definitely different. It is November 14 and today the temperature outside was 66 degrees F. I was able to work in a long sleeve shirt only and if I had kept doing manual labor nonstop could of done it in a tshirt. I had to work at the paying job on Friday as Annmarie and I left town for Veteran’s day. It was the third time we have left the farm in the last two years. I am told that is not very often when one is counting. So I had Mr Rainman come out on Saturday and Sunday to help me build fence. I am trying to get #4 field split in half with a fence so I have a 4A and 4B. 4A is already planted and I want to be able to keep the cows off of it so it can grow undisturbed.

Friday evening when I went out to take care of the sheep and put them in for the night I found a pleasant surprise, three new lambs! I was even more surprised when I put them in under the stairs and discovered that one ewe had all three babies, triplets! I fed and watered them and then ran all the rest of the sheep inside. I ran the other sheep past 3-4 times to make sure no one had a bloody backside and was missing a lamb. Nope, they were really a set of triplets and the mother looked like she could feed them all. Saturday morning they were all up and walking around and Annmarie went out and dosed them all with some selenium supplement. They are doing great and the mother is able to feed all three. Of course no one else had any babies all weekend long. Saturday we set up three partial pens so in the morning if Annmarie needs a pen she can just add one wall quickly and be done with it.

Mind you there are other projects that need to be done also but I had my heart set on fencing. We had to fuel and grease up both tractors then I was talking about building a platform for the new calf table on top of a pallet so I could just move the table with the new tractor forks. We ended up doing that Saturday morning. The calf table needed to be moved before January which is when our cows go to the butcher and I will need to be able to load them up through the chute. We built a platform on top of the pallet out of pressure treated 2” thick wood and even had to add another 14” to one side and add a 4×6 pressure treated board underneath. We bolted the calf table down to the pallet through the new covering boards after we anchored all of the new boards to the pallet. This project needed to happen, so we did it.

The fencing went fairly smooth. The fence is going into bottom land so it is much easier to drill in and that extra 150# of weight on top of the auger arm is the bomb! When the ground is not rock hard it just goes into the ground, I have a hole in a couple of minutes! It is so nice. Using the high tension wire and the cam tighteners is the perfect way to build a H-brace. It is super easy and now that I know what I am doing it is super easy to adjust. We have all of the T-posts and stays all laid out along the fence route. Three more H braces to finish and then press the T-posts into the ground with the tractor and we will be done with that in no time. We did have a piece of high tension wire pop and break today. Mr Rainman was putting too much muscle into use. I am now tightening the high tension line. We also converted a 50 gallon drum to ride on the 3 point attachment and its filled with metal horse shoes. The counter balance is great when moving big bales. The trouble is it drags on the ground a little and I did not realize how thin walled the barrels were. Depending on how things go I may need to think up something more permanent. I am hopeful we can get done in one day next week.

Porch almost done…

I have been working on getting the front porch done. I promised Annmarie that I would stop fencing, even though the weather is still good, to get the front porch finished. We have the stair railings and the the front porch gates still to complete. Now I did not install any of the railing, Mr Professional did so I felt like he needed to be present for the hand rails. He has been busy and unavailable but I managed to get him to come over for a few hours on Friday and Saturday. It was a good thing I waited for him. When I decided on upright 4×4 placement I did it to minimize the Trex cuts on the stair pieces. I did not know that according to the instructions you should put the support posts on the outer edge of the stairs. This is so that you can use the preset angles that Trex calculated for the stair railing 32-37 degrees. Since this little fact was overlooked for design and aesthetic reasons installing the stair railing was much more complicated than normal.

Using the template that was provided caused the railing to be too high and not match the porch railing. So we tried to alter the template. This did not result in the railings lining up. So then we tossed out the template and eye fitted the bottom railing in and marked the spots for the anchors. Once we had the bottom railing in and upright tubes in we had to cut the top railing but it was going to not fit correctly, the bottom post was too short for the angle. We had to use the Dewalt bandsaw. This is the single tool I did not want to buy this summer, and it has turned out to be essential when dealing with metal. We never could have gotten the rails cut correctly and even in place. We took the cut top rail, held it next to the poles and I used green tape to set the angle then just cut along the tape. It worked very well but it took us about eight hours to get two rails installed correctly and not cut my power cable to the two light poles as I ran the wires up the railing side. This would have been totally on me had we caught a wire. We reached down and stretched the wire tight in an attempt to move it out of the way when screwing in the railing anchors.

The gates that we are going to install are aluminum and have to measured and cut. We measured and cut them and then put them together, after tearing them apart twice we go them together correctly. The instruction sheet has eight steps and fits on one side of a normal piece of paper and has lots of pictures. They failed to tell you that the side pieces have to be held down as you predrill the holes or else the cover piece will not snap into place correctly, even if you use a file to knock it down. Also they failed to mention that you should use the silver screws that will be hidden under the trim and use the black colored ones for the corner angle pieces that are exposed. I now need to get some 3/4” black enamel sheet metal screws. So the gates are on hold until that happens.

We may have lost our bunny rabbits. We had two and have not seen a single one for over six weeks. They could have eaten hay out of the machine shed all winter so they could not die of starvation no matter how severe the weather. I think hanging around the machine shed may have been the cause of their demise as the owls like to hang out in there at night also.

Due to the amount of repairs and welding I have been doing I am going to rearrange the last bay in the machine shed. I am going to move all of the flammables away and move work benches so I can weld out of the rain inside the shop. This is a winter project. I need to finish getting the rest of the power and lights wired also. We are using the shop more and need to be able to do it in all kinds of weather.

As you can see I am hard at work raking the leaves with the same mower I use for the lawn. They have been in the yard all weekend. I put the dogs on the run and let the sheep in. The dogs don’t particularly like this arrangement and you cannot let our ankle biter dog out as Gizmo likes to ball the sheep up in a corner also. He thinks he is all tough and fails to realize that the big dogs have conditioned them to canine pressure.