Horse trailer wired!

Finally, something has gone my way this month. It has been a long month and a lot has happened, most of it not great. My new hard hat came and after three of us tried to adjust the straps to lower it on my head, Meathead figured it out. I wore it when I was wiring the trailer! I will definitely need to wear a cloth rag on my head when I wear the hard hat. I was sweating. I complained to Annmarie about the heat and she pointed out that it was 84 F. This would explain why I though it was so hot, that is the highest we have been this year. I managed to get the entire horse trailer wired, added a small internal light and taped up all the future wear spots to protect them. I was worried that I would spend all that time and something would not work, that problem is very hard to fix if you think you did it right the first time. Everything worked perfectly, I was truly amazed. I did not even blow the fuse in the pickup. I had three spares just in case I needed to do some trouble shooting.

Now I need to get the tire off and replaced. I will take the tire off today and get it replaced tomorrow. I will also probably pickup a second spare tire. I will also get the spare tire for the flat bed trailer fixed. Might as well get it all taken care of at the same time. Unfortunately, the pickup tires need replacing soon also. I have to take five cows over to Lagrande this week to get slaughtered.

Mr Rainman worked on spraying around the house and the garden area had a nice kill rate. In a few days we will be able to clean up the dead grass and weeds. Field #1 & 2 are sprayed with 2-4-d and Milestone. I am hopeful I can get out and spray #3 this afternoon. He also got the lavender spot sprayed and started spot spraying the orchard. As soon as we get the spraying done we are going to spread some fertilizer. This will be the first year I have ever tried to fertilize. I am hopeful it makes a difference. The real test will be to see if the value added is worth the cost.

Annmarie has been working on the garden watering system. She added all of the wine barrels onto a new line and they will be growing our herbs. We kept some dried herbs to use throughout the winter and found that they were way better than the store bought ones. So we are going to put up more herbs this year.

We are going to get more bee hives. Mr Rainman made three concrete block spots out in the orchard for the hives to live on. I am going to add two posts and then we will hold them in place with a 2x8x16’ board across the top. I will use eye hooks and clips on the post and ends of the board to keep the hives from getting blown over in the wind like last year. The bee hives don’t do well in 80 mph winds. We are hoping to have the same success this year that we did last year.

Our back runoff creek has stayed amazingly quite this year. It is running clear and only about eight inches deep. No four foot mud wave roaring behind the house. This bodes well for not getting the upper fields flooded out this year. I need to do a little more ditch digging and cut down 1-2 trees and we will be ready for another flood level stream height.

The sheep may be done now. We have had a set of twins and a set of triplets in the last week. I need to catch them and tag and band them still. I will get the final stats done in a couple of weeks. I need to make sure there are not any more stragglers.

Weekend, all better, maybe

I did have to do a few things this weekend. On Friday I went out and cleaned up the baby chick area in the chicken coop. I have a separated 4’x4’ section that is in my main coop that I use for babies until they are fully feathered about three months old. This lets the adult chickens get used to them and it means I don’t need another building for the babies. The chicks were too big to stay inside anymore. I got the new bedding in, big hanging feeder and hanging nipple waterer all set then put the 12 chicks into their next two month home. I had to use a heat lamp and this time I zip tied it into place in two separate locations so the chicks cannot knock it off its holder. No more fires allowed in the coop. We have another 25 chicks coming in the next month. So by this fall we will have a very nice egg production rate.

Annmarie ordered a Bluetooth controlled single outlet. You plug it into a preexisting outlet then you can program or control on/off with your cellphone. It was only $15 and she uses it now for her laser exhaust fan. So she can leave a job printing in the office and then just program or manually turn off the fan from the house instead of having to walk back out to the office. My chicken light controller burnt out a couple of months ago and I am going to go with this same item for the coop! It’s a great idea and it remembers your last program even if Wi-Fi access goes away.

I fed the last two large bales of alfalfa, one to the sheep and one to the cows. The cows really are not interested as there is plenty of fresh new grass. The sheep have eaten all of the grass in the barn lot so they liked it better. I even locked the cows up into field 4A & 4B and the alleyway only. This will let the upper fields grow so that they can be turned into hay. I spent the rest of the day resting.

Saturday Annmarie worked on the garden. I cut 4×4’ cow panel wire sections for her to use in the garden as trellis. We had to order in garlic and I ordered two Carolina Allspice bushes. Those are now out in the berry area, we will see if we can keep them from dying in the winters. We are going to plant garlic and potato in laundry baskets. She managed to get the carrot seeds planted. I went out and worked on wiring the horse trailer. I worked on the trailer for three hours. It was too much. I spent all of Sunday doing nothing and had to take a nap. So I will be pacing myself better for the next couple of weeks. I think I can get the horse trailer done in another three hours. It needs to be functional to take the cows to Lagrande on May 4.

The honey bees are finding lots of pollen! In the picture you can see the pollen stores on their legs. We got a second hive, I still need to assemble it and I have found a third for sale and we are contemplating getting it. We are going to move the hives out into the orchard but I need to make some concrete block risers to keep the weeds away from the hives. I am hoping we get a lot more honey this year.

Resting sorta

Well things did not go as planned after my concussion last week. I ended up getting a head CT and going to the concussion clinic. They put me on some turmeric and fish oil supplements and I am to rest and relax. I am allowed to do what I can but not to over do anything that makes my head symptoms worse. Plus, I am off work for a week. This is not going to help my head next week when I have to catch up but right now I have a nonstop headache. On top of all of that I have to listen to a lot of awkward jokes about leading with my head, how did you do that and you need a hard hat all of the time. I did capitulate after a few days on the hard hat idea. I really don’t like this laying around and since I wear a hat all the time when I am outside anyways it didn’t seem like a stretch to just wear a hard hat all the time when I am outside on the farm. So I have a OSHA approved vented carbon fiber hard hat on its way to the farm. I will be getting rid of all of my hats in the laundry room so that there will only be one choice when I head outside, the hard hat! I normally hit my head several times a year hard enough to give me wounds on top of my head so I am looking forward to not having those anymore either. Plus, I don’t get headaches and I particularly don’t have the patience or tolerance for them. Muscle aches, yeah I am used to that but not the headaches.

Mr Rainman is back in the area and has agreed to help me out this summer. I won’t be doing half the amount of hay I did last year and my only big project is the back bridge. We are going on a vacation to Scotland soon so that has limited the projects that will occur this summer. We have the grain bin outdoor cafeteria building still to put put but I am having reservations about putting it in the front yard as it will block the view of the barn. It’s not a priority but my brain is spinning on how to do it so I made Annmarie talk me through it’s location again. We decided on the front corner of the hillside by the corral. The grass never grows there anyways. It only needs to be leveled by about 18” so it should not be too bad of an area to prep. The only concession I will need to make is a set of gates on it to prevent the cows and sheep from going into it when we are running them through the yard.

Mr Rainman and I walked the entire property to see how things were going. We spotted our first calf of the year! It is one of the new black ones we just purchased a few months ago. Every one else should start having their babies soon as we planned for May births. So next week we will be sorting cows as I need to take five to Lagrande to the butcher. We are going to create two new herds, new mommas and expectant mommas and everyone else. I will move the new bull into Alcatraz as soon as I take our old bull to the sale. He needs to not go into the herd until the end of July. So we can then have calves nine months later in the spring.

The upper seven acre field was covered with late grass last year and I never mowed it or did the second hay cutting. It looks like only about half the field came back. This just means that I hay what is there and in the fall we plant the rest of the field in true orchard grass. It maintains it’s protein status better than most grasses throughout its later life cycle so I don’t have to be as picky as to when it is converted into hay. The other upper fields looked good but the cows are eating on all of them but upper seven acres (it needs new fencing around it to make it animal safe). We outlined a plan for spraying all of the fields and he started cleaning up the corral, old rotten hay bales to the burn pile. The Kubota got cleaned and greased. A few hours later Annmarie texts me our bull is in with the neighbors cows. It is not our old bull as he is now in Alcatraz for this exact reason. So we went down and spent 45 minutes chasing the two bulls back into our pasture. They had to fight for 20 minutes at the neighbors before we could get them to go back through the culvert. Once back through we had to fix the crossing again. We ended up patching a couple of fence spots, reinstalling the gate down by the schoolhouse and driving back to the house via the upper hillside. The irrigation ditch was flowing outside its channel making a mess through the lower field. I thought we could dig the blocked spot and get it back into the channel. We ended up digging about a 75’ section with the tractor to get it contained. The upper hillside section I planted in the fall is not growing the grass I wanted. It is a lot smoother, it is not growing sage and the grass that normally grows on the hillside is coming in nicely. I then laid around for four days doing nothing and sleeping a lot.

Horse trailer rewire

The chickens have finally figured out if they want some really good eating they need to go into the barn and scavenge whatever the sheep drop or don’t eat. It has taken them all winter to figure this out. They used to go just to the entrance of the barn and eat all around the barn but would never venture inside. They are now over that fear. As long as they don’t start laying eggs in the barn I don’t mind them going over and cleaning up the scraps. If you are not expecting it when you go into the barn it will give you a shock.

I have some help coming this summer, Mr Rainman is going to help me out occasionally so I have just started getting things ready so he can do odds and ends while I am at work. The first project was to get the sprayer up and running again. Which meant getting it off the now defunct side by side. I had to get all the straps loosened then use the sawzall to cut up the wooden supports. I rolled the side by side forward in the machine shed then managed to wrestle it off the back onto the ground then drag it over to the tractor. I had added some bar stock to lower the sprayer heads 18” due to the height of the side by side bed but now that it is on the tractor the three point can be adjusted to whatever height is necessary. This meant I had to remove them and put the spray bar back onto the it’s old location. I will save those extensions in case I need them later. The sprayer has it’s own bin of parts so they will just live in the bin. I had to watch a couple of You Tube videos and find the online manual to figure out where the spare 12v connection was on the new Kubota tractor. It’s in the left tire well and it has some weird shaped plug that I do not have. I drilled a hole in the fender and was able to put knife connectors on and plug them in. I used the spare wire parts I had from the last two electrical conversions I did trying to get the sprayer to work on the side by side. I then even made a dead head to plug into the 12v plug so it stays clean and dry when not in use. I may even figure out how to wire in a USB port that just plugs in when the sprayer is not in use. I would need one with rubber ports so it didn’t get wet or full of dust/dirt. Yeah, I did some research for $11 I can get a USB Motorcycle charger that uses the same plug as my sprayer so I can plug in the USB once I am done spraying, even better! I got the sprayer all put together with a couple of new washers. I still need two new clamps but no one has 1” clamps locally only 1.25” so I had to order them. I just used metal wire to hold them in place for now until the correct clamps come. The sprayer is all ready to go!

The next big project is to rewire the horse trailer. I keep blowing fuses in the pickup and I am sure it’s due to a short in the trailers, both the horse and flatbed. Last year I bought all of the parts to install all new lights in the horse trailer. The parts sat around for a year as it was not a priority. I opened the bag and tossed all of the parts onto the trailer in their respective needed locations. Yep, I needed a few more parts! So one more trip to the store and I had all of the “needed” parts to rewire the trailer. I opted to redo the entire trailer and not use any old wire. When I was under the trailer I noticed that they had ran wire under the boards and I found a section squished and the insulation worn off. After watching a couple of short (2 minutes or less) You Tube videos I just looked for a picture wiring diagram and just wired in the six strand wire plug. My six wire did not have the common color white! So I had to turn the white into a yellow then that meant I had to change the left turn signal color. Basically, I am going to take a picture of the color scheme before I am done so I will know it. I ended up drilling a few holes to reroute the wires above the trailer. This way nothing runs under the trailer unless it is protected in a tube. I also need to grind down the grounding spots so I can get a good ground. Once I am completed I will hit them with a little spray paint to protect the metal. I am using the old wire to help me pull the new wires. I was able to pull about 50% of the needed wire today. I don’t have to drill any more holes as I got those done today. I almost knocked myself unconscious today. I was exiting the trailer and only had the slider door open. I forgot about the overhead rail and the door is only about five feet high. I ducked down and dove outside, I had to pee, and smashed the top of my head on the overhead bar. I ended up laying on the ground for a few minutes marveling that I did not knock myself unconscious. I also did not pee my pants! I came in early due to a headache. I was wearing a bandana and a hat at the time of the incident and still had about a three inch raspberry with a cut on the top of my head hours later. I am getting a small goose egg on top of my head now. The wife thinks I need to start wearing a hard hat. I told her I am going to have to start wearing a cowboy hat even if I don’t want too. It would not sit directly on my head so when I ran it into things the hat would have some give hopefully preventing injury to my noggin. The trailer has to be functional and wired in two weeks.

Spring really is coming

We have finally given up on the sheep having any more babies. So we tossed the last five ewes in with the rest of the main herd. It is a lot easier tracking one herd than two. There is a third (now second) herd down below. They are the eating ones of which we already have nine sold. We know spring is here as I have commenced the inaugural lawn mowing of our front yard with the sheep. It takes 2-3 days for the sheep to tear the lawn down. They like the shortest grass so clumps of tall grass tend to standout. I had just tossed out a pound of clover seed on the hillside before letting the sheep out to graze. They will push the seed down into the ground. The clover also does great with trying to stay alive after getting eaten so it will spring back twice as thick as it was before the sheep grazed on it. We are finally starting to get some clover all over the hillside now. Due to the clover we have now given up chemical weed control on the hillside. All thistles and stinging nettle are removed with a shovel. I spent a couple of hours this weekend digging weeds.

Since the bees have survived the winter I dug up a couple of patches of dirt and planted flowers on the hillside. I will need to add a small fence around them to keep the dogs out but we should have blooming flowers in 45 days. We are going to use our circle planters in the back yard to plant marigolds in and around our garden. We are hoping the marigolds will help with insect control. We are trying to get more flowers growing for the honey bees. I have a couple of other spots I want to toss out some flower seed on.

Saturday, Meathead and I worked on getting the five new half wine barrels ready for herbs. I drilled holes in the sides so that water could drain and then she filled each barrel with five gallons of gravel to cover the bottom. I would like to say she carried a full bucket of gravel but that is not really realistic. She carried it in two half filled buckets. We had a long discussion about me using the tractor to scoop it up and drive it around but by the time we go through all of the gates and still carry it the final way in a five gallon bucket we have not saved any time so she got to carry gravel in buckets. It takes four buckets of soil to fill the barrel the rest of the way. We have a big tote with gardening soil in it that we are using to fill them.

I took chance out with me to put the sheep in and she did great! The picture of her above is in the lamb shed when we were feeding the ram and bull. She kept them from coming into the shed when I opened the door to feed. She did so well after everyone was put away I let her off the 30’ lead. Huge mistake, she took off running and would not listen to me. I may have gotten upset and hollered repeatedly which caused her to look at me, come within six feet and stay out of reach. I finally calmed down, bent down on one knee and called her, she came running and got hugs and licks in. She is too smart for her own good. It turns out that Annmarie had tried to use Chance to get the sheep out of the yard earlier in the day but only had her on a a six foot leash. The puppy did well enough that Annmarie let her go and then Chance dove for a lamb and would not let it up. This incurred the wrath of Mom which may explain why she was so good working the animals with me later in the evening. Once I got her back onto the lead I used the alpaca as training fodder. This works for the dog and me and the alpaca don’t really care for the dogs so it gives Chance a shot at moving a difficult animal. She did really good.

Our second bee hive arrived, I just need to assemble it. We are going to keep them in the lavender patch. I was out working today and had 4-5 honeybees land on me. I am unsure what they were looking for and as long as you just ignore them and don’t accidentally squish them they are harmless. It takes a while to get used to ignoring them.