It has been one of those catch up weekends. They must come around as the honey do list can keep growing. I spent a few hours on Friday working on painting the front fence. Did the same thing on Saturday and one half is now almost done. I have two small sections to paint but the weather got wet and I could not finish.
We have had some summer rain and lightning storms this week and the sheep don’t really feel the need to rush out into the upper pasture and expose themselves to the elements. We had not seen the three, soon to be eaten cows, in over a week. They have been staying at the far end of the pasture and we don’t bring them in at night. Just the horses and sheep have to come in every night. Annmarie and I had just had the discussion that neither of us had seen the feeder cows and I was going to have to go hunt them down. They were kind enough to be standing by the gate when I let the sheep out in the morning.
Now that the alpaca are confirmed killers we are constantly having to check on them to make sure they are all still alive. When you drive up the driveway and see this, you do a double take and then look for signs of breathing. The chest movement is visible as they breathe!
We had 13/100 of rain last night and this morning, when I was out doing stuff today I kicked over some dirt to see if that was going to make a difference, not really, it was only about 1/4″ below the surface then it was dry again. We are going to need a lot more rain starting in late October, not before. I went in and paid for an agricultural burn permit, which is needed if you are going to burn more than 2 acres. There are not very many issued for the county, less than 120. It’s Round-Up week so all agricultural burning is banned Saturday to Saturday so nothing can get away and pull services away. My plan is to burn right after Round-Up and then start planting grass seed. I want to get 20 acres of grass planted.
Today I needed to check the oil in the UTV, it was the last thing I needed to do before we put it into service. This entails pulling both seats out and the center console. The oil level was good but I could not get the center console back in. It took me 20 minutes and three You Tube videos to realize that the cutout will never hold the seat belt cable. You have to move the seat belt out of the way then it just pops right into place, its ready now.
I know that deer season is coming up soon and we are going to be killing lambs in the next two months so I needed to get the gravel moved into the hole I dug around the skinning posts. I spent three hours today moving 12 yards of gravel from the front pile to the skinning pole. It looks good and now I won’t have to wear my mud boots when I am cleaning animals! The water should just go down into the ground and stay away. This improvement has been a long time coming. I just need to get the flood light installed on the outside of the chicken coop now.
I am getting ready for the big grass seed push coming next week. I am taking vacation from work so I can hit it hard.
Being born must be really confusing. This morning, I was all dressed for work and headed down the driveway. I habitually look over the animals on my way out, and this morning I found something that made me stomp on the brakes. We had a new lamb in the orchard. We were kind of expecting this, since at least one of the little ewes we had put into isolation with the ram turned out to be old enough for him to be interested. But, we were about a week off in our timing. This normally wouldn’t be too much of a problem, but the lamb was not snuggling up next to momma. No, the lamb was attempting to snuggle up next the the (male) alpaca.
Momma kept calling and trying to get the lamb to come to her, but the alpaca was unhelpfully friendly and attentive. I called Steve and told him he needed to come home and help me isolate the pair. Then I backed the car up so I could go change out of town clothes and into work clothes.
Now the sheep are in the orchard with the two trouble-maker alpaca, and all our gates, panels, and sheep isolation paraphernalia is in the barn. So out to the barn I go. On the way out, I devise a plan that involves the two brown gates we had purchased this winter placed in a corner of the orchard to make a pen. We would have to arrange for water, but the ewe would have plenty of feed, and we could choose a corner with a tree for shelter.
Once I got into the bar, it became clear that my plan has a flaw. Unbeknownst to me, Steve had used one of the brown gates in the new fence, so only one of those was available. I wrestled that one out of Steve’s storage place under the stairs, and packed it over to the orchard anyway. I figured Steve would be home soon, and he’d want to “discuss” my plan anyway, so we could figure out how to improvise the missing gate.
As I was wrestling the gate into the orchard, I realize I was quiet. I noticed the alpaca had moved off away from the sheep, and the little black ewe appeared to be laying down. I went out to the road so as not to disturb anyone, and walked down to Mom’s so I could get a better look. Sure enough. I found the ewe laying down, and could just make out the lamb’s head on the far side of her. Apparently the alpaca had lost interest, and momma was able to convince baby that she/he was a sheep. Steve arrived just in time for me to tell him that all was well.
Well it took a week longer than I thought and Annmarie had to sleep at her mother’s house for an extra week but I got the stairs and spare room floor finished. There is still a little light spot on the stairs from the dogs going up and down the stairs but it is not super noticeable. I suspect I will have to do the stairs again in 10 years. I may even sand them smooth then. I just slopped stain over them as is until I was happy with the color then slopped Varethane over that. I may have a few dog hairs in the Varethane.
The barn owl is hanging out in the machine shed now. I went out to feed the cows and it just was not going to leave. I started up the tractor and it just peered down at me and gave me the “what for” look. I drove off and it never moved from its perch. I need to get in the room and clean some more. I want to wipe down the walls and ceiling another 2-3 times to make sure I have gotten all the sawdust off of the walls and wood trim. Once all that is done then I am going to stain the door trim in place. Its a pain to do but I opted to do it in stages as I wanted to get the floor done first. I don’t think I will need a bunch of coats of stain and varethane on the trim. I will probably only do one maybe two coats. Unfortunately, I am not going to put the furniture back in the room until I am all done cleaning. I can do the door staining with the furniture back in place. It turned out very nice. I think I am going to add 1-2 more shelves in the closet storage room also. I will be able to store stuff all the way to the ceiling that way. I am also going to add a shelf between the intake and output duct. This will gain me five feet of shelf 18 inches wide and 20 inches deep. That is a lot of space! This has spurred me to reconsider building another narrow shelf next to our refrigerator. We currently have all our reusable bags just stuffed into a 7 inch wide gap. To minimize space loss I should use 5/16 plywood. The trouble is I like the look of old doors but that will cause me to lose 3 inches which is too much. So I am still arguing with myself on what to put their that will not cause a loss in decor. I am considering a frame type shelving unit using the old floor kickboards. I found a bunch of them in the rafters of the old woodshed when I was installing the weather station. I just need to figure out how I am going to put them together. That project is going to preoccupy my mind for the near future.
I have determined which alpaca is the smartest. It is the not smallest black one. The trailer got moved and this is the only spot on the entire property with visible grass and he was all over it. I came back two hours later and eight alpaca were trying to lay in this spot! The trailer was moved in the night so they did not see the spot come open.
It has officially begun, wheat harvest at the farm is underway, it started on Saturday. If you notice, they brought a tractor out and disced a harvested area by the access gate. This is so they can use the area as a staging point for all the equipment. This way an accidental fire is not started when they park for the night.
Bubba came out to do another day on Saturday. I was under the weather and slept most of the day but did manage to drag myself off of the couch and go out and give him clear directions on what needed to be done. He still has a little bit left in the the barn, about 2 hours and another 2 hours on the chicken coop.
His mother sent me a picture of the bucks in the lower field on their way off the farm. I messaged her yesterday to see if Bubba was coming out on Monday so he could help me with the bull corral. I wanted to make a big push to get it done. She informed me that Bubba was busy but she was under the impression he was done until I was ready for him to disc the upper field again. I need to get a new disc this week. I told her Bubba had a lesson here, he was not done with the barn or chicken coop. He could finish them and then disc when I was ready or he could get paid and be done, his choice. Bubba made it sound as if he was done. I am told he will be out tomorrow to finish the chicken coop and barn. Digging shit is not fun or glamorous but it does pay the bills.
Sarah had a school project due and she wanted to do a video on how to trim the alpaca’s feet. Since my mother in law has said they need it I had added it to the infamous “list”. This plan actually had an added benefit of helping both Sarah and us at the same time. We herded the alpaca into the corral with minimal effort and no dog help. We kept the dogs in the front yard as they are more of a problem than a solution when it comes to the alpaca. I knew she needed a video so I had on an old blue T-shirt with a clown face on the front in yellow and the sleeves cut off. It was perfect video actor attire! Annmarie made me cover it up! I was looking forward to seeing it on the how to video. We have 10 alpaca and last year we cut everyone’s feet I thought but there were a couple of bad alpaca feet. I am not sure about it now but next year will be the key as we got all 10 this year. I only made one toe bleed bad enough to use styptic powder on it. The alpaca do not like you making them bleed. We would catch them, trim their toes then push them into an adjoining pen. The problem with this is I keep telling everyone they don’t spit on humans. Now there have a been a few instances were people have gotten spit in the face but its not a normal thing. The black one spit in my face when I went to open the gate to let a newly trimmed alpaca into the completed pen. It didn’t seem like an accident and it didn’t seem like he was aiming at his buddy. Annmarie and Sarah say he was aiming at me. Its not very fun and it smells like regurgitated grass and bile which it is.
They take passive aggressive to a whole new level. They just stop moving and then lift all four legs off the ground. If you are not ready they end up laying on the ground with their feet under them and won’t move. This makes it very hard to trim feet. I would just reach under them and fish one foot at a time out. We tried to make Sarah catch them as they like women better than men. My mother in law feeds them apples every day by hand. Me they only see when something bad is happening.
After the alpaca were completed I went and trimmed two trees and two bushes in the yard. I like the shade trees to be open enough to have a great round shape but still allow the wind to blow through. The bushes were hanging too low. I put all the branches out in the orchard for the sheep to eat. They will strip off all the leaves and then I can cut them up and pile them in a burn pile to torch this winter.
Annmarie spotted the twins on her way home Sunday. I have seen them all over the farm at one point or another.
We were headed to bed tonight and spotted a huge beetle on our front porch. Annmarie did not like its look or size. Its about 2.5 inches long and 1.5 inches wide. Its pretty big for around here. While she was looking at it and holding the front door open I saw something large fly past the porch light and into the open front door. I looked inside the house but could not find anything. I am in the kitchen doing the blog and Annmarie has gone to bed. I just heard a howl and holler for me five minutes ago. My wife was hiding on the bed pointing at another beetle in our bedroom. It was on its back and she wanted me to get it out. I am not that comfortable just picking it up so wanted a piece of paper. As I searched the room for something to use she gave me blow by blow commentary on how it was turning itself over and was now on its four legs and getting away! I got it to step up on same paper and gave it a Viking funeral in the toilet. It seemed safer than tossing it outside with its buddy to procreate.