Sometimes it is all about the little things

I keep wanting to be more timely with the blog.  I am learning that after working all day on the farm I am tired and don’t have the gumption to sit down and write.  Also, Annmarie tells me when I do write something at that time it is very dry and factual because I am too tired to be animated.  I actually agree with this statement so I have taken to making notes so I can remember what was accomplished and can sit down and write it all out when I am not exhausted.  I had to work at the paying job on last Friday so the only thing I managed to accomplish was ordering the extra battery cable and a charging control switch so I can mount a large marine battery under the driver’s seat of the side by side and run two batteries.  I already have the trickle charger on it and we just purchased another new battery as the other new one was destroyed and would not hold a charge any longer.

Saturday morning Annmarie wanted to go up and check on the cows.  She swore that the green tag cow was bursting at the seams pregnant.  We went up first thing in the side by side.  The side by side needs a tuneup bad!  The new battery is nice and the second battery will be nicer.  The far upper gate was off its hinge and open.  The cows were all still in the correct field but Annmarie was convinced the cow had a calf.  We drove back and forth over the entire upper field to make sure there was no calf.  I do not believe she was pregnant but sometimes its just better to listen and do what the wife wants.  This is not a common theme in our marriage so it is something I am working on.

There was no calf.  I went to town after that and picked up tools, yard hoses and an electric mower.  We are also now watering our yard so I fired those up before I left for Pendleton.  While I was in Pendleton I priced a new calf table for a paltry $1650!

I came back and cleaned out the baby area in the chicken coop.  I had  friend want to give me straight run 3 week old chickens but they needed a home.  So I dug it out and refilled it with pellets, wood chips, food and water.  I called my buddy and told him he could drop them off in the coop at any time now that it was setup.

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I took the tractor and drove the few miles down back roads to pickup the manure spreader!  I know it needs some work but the price was great and all but the top piece spun around.  After I got it home I started in on the bolts and grease zirks with an all wire brush and some W-D-40 attempting to get the 40 years worth of buildup off.  It’s going to take a few days and a couple of cans of W-D-40 to get the fenders off and hopefully all the parts moving!  I may have to weld in one piece of angle iron at the base of the machine on each side to accommodate the chain.  It needs more cleanup and some more W-D-40 to get a couple more bearings free.  All of this is to be expected for the fixer upper price I paid for it.  It will probably cost me about $500 to get it up and running.  I have been looking for a manure spreader for years.  Everyone that has been getting composted manure from the barn lot pile is going to be disappointed.  I will only be letting the manure sit for one winter then spreading it out the next year.  I am hoping this can prevent me from having to purchase fertilizer.

Lamb in hand

We have had the ram isolated and in with the steers for the last two weeks since we had a lamb born on the 9th. We figured it was the tip of the iceburg and the babies would start popping out everywhere. It has been two weeks and no more babies. The sheep come into estrus every 3 weeks so she must have been the only one in heat. So babies should start up in 1-2 weeks.

I had to kick the baby chickens out of the coop today. I just went out there and chased or threw them out one at a time. Only about 10 managed to get out on their own. I went out just before dark and after the automatic chicken door had closed and had to chase 24 back into the coop. Only six had made it inside before the auto door closed.

Annmarie and I had a discussion about what to call the side by side UTV. She did not like the name “side by side”. She did not really care for UTV either. So she opted for “buggy”. I tried to explain that a buggy in recreational vehicle terminology is something you use on the sand. We are calling the side by side a “buggy”.

I did go down and feed the cows another bale of hay and spotted a new calf! It looks good. How can it come out ready for winter?

I have started to wire the machine shed. It is going to be a slow process but hoping to have it down before the new year.

We killed two lambs today, it was our part of the trade two sheep for a pig deal we have been doing the last couple of years. It seems to be working out for both of us. Again we were able to salvage an amazing amount of items courtesy of an Indian friend. He took both heads, all 8 forelegs, lungs, kidneys, hearts, livers and some diaphragm meat and some scraps from the hide. I started a fire in the fire pit and burned off the hair for him. But I am not taking the blame if I overdid it. He said last year when I started the bonfire it was so hot he ended up over cooking the heads and legs. He blamed it on the heat, and his wife blamed him! So I did it at a lower heat and smaller fire. Hopefully, it will meet wife approval standards.

Annmarie is violating the Christmas rule by hanging out a Christmas decoration before Thanksgiving! I went out to let the dogs back in a mere few hours and discovered that the Christmas decoration had fallen apart. It would appear that the powers that be also agree with me on the Christmas rule.

Annmarie used the upstairs bathroom to stain some wood for the laser cutter. Its a great space as we can shut the door and turn on the ventilation fan. It may become a permanent craft location for this reason.

Multiple irons

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I have been playing catch up last week.  I am trying to do multiple things at once.  This is not working well for me. I just keep flitting from one thing to the next. I had to put the baby chickens outside. I wanted to paint and they are so dusty I needed to dust every day. I called it quits when they started sitting on top of the water dish. They are growing like weeds out in the baby area of the chicken coop. I have also managed to not catch the coop on fire this time with the heat lamp. I have enough concrete board to line the baby area this summer so it is fire proof.

I am currently trying to convince a coworker to raise two geese for me past the gosling stage or about 2 months old. I want to try keeping them up at the spring head and see if they cannot keep the waterway clean. If they can then I will move them to different sections of the waterway to keep it clean versus me having to pitchfork it clean three times a year. I am trying to let some livestock work for me. I hope it works. img_5553

I have one wall in the dining room done and the kitchen done. Next up is to get the color on the wall near all the windows. Our trim is stained and ready. I just need to get it delivered and then start installing it. That will be a big job. I figure it will take about 2-3 weeks to get it all in.

Chicks are here

Annmarie and I were commiserating about our lackluster effort by our chickens on Thursday night. We came to the conclusion that we were going to have to start pullets instead of trying to buy adults. Pullets take a minimum of six months before they start laying. It was decided that sooner rather than later was good timing.

She called me on Friday morning to say that she had purchased 18 Easter Eggers! The local feed and supply store had just gotten them in and she snapped up half the easter egger pullets. They let her pick her 18 and she paid for them so they held them all day for her. I knew the brooder needed to be bleached out but figured I would have time after I got off work. I got off late and was bleaching the brooder, lid, waterer and feeder when she got home. I had pine shavings down in the root cellar so I figured all was good. I dried it all off and filled up the brooder with pine shavings from the root cellar. Cedar shavings are bad for chickens. I placed all this in the library downstairs and somehow managed to do it without Annmarie noticing then went out to do chores. She smelled the brooder and said it smelled like chemicals. I told her I used bleach only and it should be gone by now. It was then that Annmarie asked me if I was still storing herbicides in the root cellar and how long had the pine shavings been down there? After killing off most of my chicks one year by using varethane inside the house at the same time they were present we are more cognizant of chemicals. So I had to throw out the bedding and used a cardboard box and newspaper to get us through the night until I could go back to the store and get fresh bedding.

This also put the kabash on any painting dreams I had. I tell myself that I was going to tear it up and finish the entire house over this weekend but now we will never know because I was thwarted by baby chickens.

We like the easter eggers as they are very calm. They lay multicolored eggs and have been the best breed in longevity, laying habits and non broody.