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.

Dang Dog

I think every puppy gets a post like this. And it’s really, at the base of it all, our fault. We know it – every time. As usual, we haven’t spent enough time actually training the puppy, and now we get to pay the price for that. The good news is that no-one was hurt. The only potential casualty is my cell phone, and maybe a pair of shoes. I should start at the beginning.

Steve had asked Mr. Professional to check on chicks at the local feed supply store. Steve had not mentioned this to me, but Mr. Professional had, so I was not completely surprised by the early morning text from Steve begging for Sarah and I to bail him out and pick up the chicks, all necessary supplies, and get the brooder out of the chicken coop where it lives. He assured us the chicks would be ready at 10:00am, and that the feeder and waterer were in the brooder. Now, it’s important to understand that for the past several years we have been timing our chick purchase so that they can brood out in the coop in the baby Fort Knox Steve built for this exact purpose. So it’s been a while since we have used this particular setup.

Sarah was tasked with getting the brooder all put together while I picked up chicks, bedding, feed and a new heat lamp. As is usual, when I arrived, I was told things were not exactly as we had anticipated. I thought I was picking up 25 reserved chicks of unknown breed. The feed and supply place said they weren’t doing reservations this year and the limit was 10 chicks. At that time I was only the fourth person to show up for chicks so I took my number and gave the chicken lady my sob story. She said she would ease up on the limit since it didn’t look like too many people were waiting (there were only four of us at that moment) but that the chicks wouldn’t be ready to go for another forty minutes or so. Well, the feed and supply store is never a place I mind shopping in, so I wandered around, filling my cart with things we need or will need soon. I picked up some T-post sprinklers for the pasture we are going to reseed this year, some new gardening gloves for when I can eventually get into the garden, and the chicken supplies. I didn’t do too bad. Only two items of clothing made it into my cart. The rest were honest-to-goodness farm necessities. Really they were. I went back to the chicken lady with my number 4 in hand, and discovered that there were now 11 people waiting for chicks. I was not going to get my desired 25. But, I talked her into 12, so I could live with that. I checked out, got loaded up, and dove home.

Sarah had everything set up, but after some consultation and consideration of the coming holiday (Easter is in 10 days), we decided we needed to move the chicks upstairs to inside office (as opposed to my new office). So, the bedding, the brooder, the headlamp, feed, feeder, and what Sarah thought was the waterer went upstairs. It turns out the waterer was missing. What Sarah thought was a waterer was another feeder. We got the bedding spread, and the chicks in the brooder, and I tasked Sarah with filling the feeder while I called Steve to see where he thought the waterer might be. All of his suggestions were various locations in the coop, so I kept him on the phone so he could offer clarifications while I went out the the chicken coop. All was well until I opened the side gate.

Chance, who had not rushed a gate in ages dashed out that gate and straight to the overturned horse feeder where the rooster and a hen were sheltering from the rain. The hen beat her off and ran for the coop, so she turned her attention to the rooster. She chased him all over the ram pasture, with me shouting, “Chance, No!” at regular intervals, while not chasing her since that would only enhance the game. Eventually the rooster turned his circle back towards the coop, and hunkered down in a corner behind me. I wasn’t able to get my hands on the puppy, but I was able to give the rooster a chance to get to safety. Chance was not too sad, and took off for a turn around the pasture. I was done yelling at her, and called her over so she could get back in the yard. All was going well – she was actually coming back – until she noticed the gate to the sheep was open. She put on the brakes and dashed through that gate at full speed.

Now I was chasing her, and hollering, “NO!!” since she was headed for the babies and mommas. She ran them back into the barn and turned to look at me as if to say, “Didn’t I do good!” I called her back and again everything looked OK. Until she saw the one lone ewe. There is something about loners that turns the dogs’ brains off. Chance locked on and wouldn’t let up. She was pushing the ewe towards, which would have been fine, but the ewe was panicked, and slipped in the creek. The next thing I knew, Chance was also in the creek nipping at the ewe’s back legs. I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and say she was not actively trying to hamstring the ewe, but that is sure what it looked like! So I had pretty much no choice but to jump in the creek too and drag the dog off. Now we were all three in a corner by the little foot bridge at the end of the momma-baby pen and were in pretty close proximity to one another. I had Chance by the scruff. She kept eyeing the ewe until I finally started correcting that behavior – firmly. Chance go the message and eventually started sucking up to me. In the meantime, Mouse had decided to come help and was laying down pinning the ewe in place with his border collie stare. I needed help. So I tried to use Siri to call Sarah. Apparently Siri did not appreciate my panicked tone of voice and refused to respond. So I laid my cell phone on the nearby bridge and operated it one-handed to call Sarah. She came running out. She was able to call Mouse off, which freed the ewe to cross over the bridge (where my cell phone was still sitting) and run into the ram pasture. I got Chance and me up out of the creek, and realized my cell phone was no longer on the bridge. Yep – it was in the cold muddy rushing creek – nowhere in sight. My shoes were full of mud and water, and I was wet up to my knees. Sarah came back and took Chance. I knelt down on the bridge and felt around the creek bottom. Miraculously I touched my cell phone and was able to fish it out. There was no apparent damage, and it was still on, so I am hopeful.

The ewe was walking rather stiffly, but made it back to the barn where she can dry out and warm up. Chance is completely unrepentant and is unaware of the forthcoming nightly training sessions. I’m pretty sure my shoes are ruined. My cell phone might recover. It’s supposed to be able to tolerate water up to 6 feet for up to 30 minutes. We will see.

There was no chick waterer in the coop. Steve is picking one up on his way home.

Minutiae abounds

It’s been a long week and it Mother Nature cannot decide what she wants to do. It was clear and warming up at the beginning of the week, now there is snow on the ground and snowing again, we have about two inches on the ground currently. Annmarie has been using her office! I have been slowly putting little things in place. I got our old dining room table in there and we used some table elevators to lift it two inches so we could slide the smaller sorting bins under it. There are now six bins under the table. The new cable for the router came so I will be installing that soon and finishing up the corner trim to hide the cables. Gizmo has a new doggie bed, he didn’t like the old one it was too small for him he thought. Annmarie needs to start bringing out books but she is going to sort them first and thin them out. So I have resisted the temptation to remove them from our bedroom. I would like to see them thinned out also. There is a small table down at her mom’s that she wants me to retrieve and refinish. It has marker, paint and nail polish on it I think. It was from a long time ago when Sarah was a menace. She wants it to go in front of the couch.

I messed up last week and should have kept the two ewes and three lambs in the same pen I had them in when sorting them. I sorted the wrong babies but I did watch them nurse. The trouble was two days later both ewes were head butting the lambs and refusing to let them nurse. Unfortunately, in two days we ended up with three more bummers and another death. No clue why the lamb died, it may have been suffocated by its mother. We have been supplementing grain since the babies have popped out. The ewes are getting mighty skinny. We will be worming them again next week. We wanted to let them have the babies and have the babies be a little older. Last year our weight loss was due to worms. So we treated in the fall and are going to treat again in the early spring/late winter. I just need to verify we have enough medicine to treat all of the ewes.

We have been having a hard time finding bagged sheep feed. We keep looking but everyone else is looking and buying before us. I went ahead and reserved all of the lamb feed coming in this week so we can keep feeding the lambs using our creep gate. We figure if we can get the lambs to eat solid food they will take less calories away from the mothers. I worked on getting the creep gate installed in the opening of the pen under the stairs. I am not sure why we never thought of this before. I put in four eyelets and was able to attach it to one side with a metal pin. I need to get longer eyelets for the other side. I forgot it is a piece of rough cut lumber so its about 2.25” wide. My eyebolt was too short so I had to use the one inch piece next to it and tie on clips to the gate. The gate is not rigid but it does move around, about three inches, until I can get the new eyebolts installed. This movement does not seem to bother the lambs. They get in and out just fine.

I had to go in and pickup some lumber for the barn doors in the office so I grabbed enough to do the frames for the bathroom closet. I did one frame out of 1×4” boards but Annmarie thought it was too heavy. It is solid, no doubt about that. So I picked up a bunch of 1×2” boards to make new frames. I was not sure if my Kreg tool would do this thin of wood but I had no trouble drilling angled holes and assembling the frame with screws. I had to install three pieces on the front of the doors to attach magnets. Once I get all of the frames built I will need to cover up the outer edges of the closet with blue tape and then clamp each frame in place and drill a small hole through the frame and into the closet opening. This will mark my spot to drill the sink holes for the magnets that need to be installed on each side. The blue tape will help protect the wood and let me draw on the frame to mark their proper location.

Sheep update, not where we want to be

There are a lot of lambs left to be born yet! I am pretty sure a couple of the ewes are not pregnant and we are going to be past the first 21 day ovulation cycle this week. We are going to need a second ram so this event does not drag out. We would like everyone to be born in a three week window. That is not going to happen this cycle again.

  • Date of update- Feb 12, 2023
  • # of Lambs born – 21
  • # of ewes who have delivered babies – 13
  • # of ewes still pregnant – 31 in area, I don’t think they are all pregnant
  • # of single lamb births – 6
  • # of twin lamb births – 6
  • # of triplet lamb births – 1
  • # tagged male (weathers-neutered) lambs-8
  • # tagged female lambs-5
  • # of bummer lambs – 2
  • # of lambs who died in first two weeks – 1
  • Total # of lambs on farm -18
  • % birthing rate- 162%
  • % production rate -138%
  • % survival rate at birth – 100%
  • % survival rate at 2 weeks (bummers count as death as they need help and leave the farm) – 86%

We had another bummer, the ewe got distracted and forgot about one of her twins. Annmarie fed the baby and we left it for two hours with the ewe and it was still cold and laying down. She brought it into the house and warmed it up by the stove. She got it more alert and fed up. Tisha came and took the bummer away a few hours later.

I had on chicken die so there are only 11 layers left. Spring is coming, I have 2-3 chickens die every spring when the wild ducks come in to the back creek. I just replaced the light bulb again in the coop. I have been changing it every month due to the tweetie birds bouncing around inside the coop and breaking the light filament. I got LED lights this time.

Office floor closing in kinda

Well, there is hope and maybe even a light at the end of the tunnel. I am now working on the office floor. Mr Professional came out and I finished wiring all of the outlets in the office while he started cleaning up. We took out two huge 50 gallon trash bags full of trash that had accumulated while doing this job. I started wiring the outlets in the other part of the house also. The freezer room needs to get done next so we can move the freezers which will create a space for the tool box and cabinets that are currently in my future room. Once we empty out my room then we can tear off two walls and get the walls insulated. I need to lift the outer wall up by one inch before we can install the inner door, and I need to widen the door opening both ways by two inches, all minor things! I was not able to get to the main light. I maybe could have fixed it but Annmarie already ordered a new one so I will wait until it shows up and then get some help installing it so there is no using the wires as hangers while installing it. We still have to finish the insulation in the attic. I did get the trim boards ordered and will need to pick those up in the next week or so. We got the entire office emptied so I could start in on the floor.

I was hoping the floor would go smoother than I remembered the upstairs floor in our house that I did twelve years ago. Nope, it was just as miserable as I remembered. I tried the palm sander first with 40 grit paper. The first picture is two hours with the palm sander. The second picture is two more hours with the belt sander. The best luck I had was the combination of the two. I could tear into it with the belt sander and then when it was about 75% done use the palm sander. This combination seemed to be the fastest with getting the old paint off. I had to use a mask and eye protection and the dang eye protection kept fogging up! The area in front of the main entrance is the worst, it has multiple coats of paint and they do not want to come off. I wait until the sandpaper is just about used up then I hit this area and clog up the sand paper with paint. I suspect just getting the floor sanded is going to take me at least 40-60 hours. The boards appear to be tilted slightly. The sanders are peeling off the left edge of every board first. I am unsure how this happened but the sanders will solve this problem. I will use the stain we already have and just wipe it on and quickly off. We want the color to stay lighter than we have inside the house. After it is stained I will use some polyurethane over the top to seal everything.

I almost threw out my chicken scratch drawing with all the stud measurements on the equipment room. I need to drill a 6” hole through the wall to vent the laser cutter but I wanted to miss all of the studs so I made a diagram before I sheeted the wall. Mr Professional tossed it in the trash after I said it all goes. Luckily, by the end of the day I remembered and we were able to dig it out of the trash. It is now in a window sill safe until the next cleanup.

Our back creek is running. We have had enough moisture that it is up and going. The chickens appreciate this as their coop is near it and they don’t have to go to the front spring to get a drink. Speaking of chickens I am still getting my one egg a day. Today I was able to collect two eggs! This does not let us sale any eggs, we are consuming what we produce. We were going to get three new heifers delivered but there is a wind advisory in place so they will be delivered at a separate time. We are going to thin out our oldest cows, they are 13 years old. I am loving the large bales when it comes to feeding the cows. I just grab a bale with the tractor, feed it and I am done. I don’t have to feed 16 small bales every day. I think I am going to bale our grass hay and sell it so I can get big bales for the cows. Still looking into this whole process.