Weed wars & Water ways

Since I could not cut more hay it was decided that I would spray weeds on Saturday.  The plan was for me to get up early and do this.  I did not get up early, I cooked and ate breakfast, learned from Annmarie that she heard the enemy, racoons, chittering through our bedroom window at 0400.  I suspect they were eating cat food from our back porch.  I have not seen them since our initial skirmish.

I had to call Mr Professional to get the side by side started.  He had not plugged the trickle charger onto the battery so it was low.  I used the external portable battery jumper and it fired right up.  I managed to put about 50 gallons on the ground before the wind picked up and it was time to stop.

It was only about 1030 so I got back onto the tractor, dumped off the manure forks and went up to the pasture flooded out the worst this spring.  I needed to finish the ditch I started last summer and since there is still running water and a mud pit in the middle I need to get the water diverted to my front ditch.  So I spent a few hours creating a ditch and a berm.  My hope is that if the back creek jumps the bank again it will hit the berm and get diverted toward the back ditch.  I did this in both fields, even if they get flooded out it only floods 1/3 of each field instead of 1/2-2/3 of both fields.  The water started to really flow once I dug down a foot.  I will keep working on the berm for the next 2-3 years until I get it 3 feet high all the way across.  I can then plant some grass on it to help hold it in place.  My poor right wrist was getting tired from making the bucket dig, then shake the mud out then use the bucket to push me back out of the ditch.  It was a very nice day.  This field looks much better, last year at this time the entire field was covered in 7 foot tall thistles.  I need to spray again.

On Sunday I did get up sorta early, I was out spraying weeds by 0600.  I realize in farmer time this is late.  I sprayed the barn lot, the ram pasture and all of the field I had just dug the ditch in yesterday.  I really needed to get the hay put up so I can let the sheep and this years eating cows up into the green fields.

With that thought in mind I just decided to give making hay bales a try.  I hooked up and started the baler up.  It took me an hour to get the first three bales made.  The first two bales I could not get packed tight enough and could not get the netting to wrap correctly.  It kept going around a single roller.  I forgot my pocket knife and luckily found one in the tool bag we made for the baler.  It was so dull I am pretty sure it could almost pass as a safety knife.  I also had to remove the packed hay from the pickup tines.  After an hour I managed to get the netting to wrap the third bale.  The key reason it was not working was I was going too slow.  If I drove as fast as the tractor would go and got the hay feed jammed up the hay packed in well.  We ended up with 50 bales of gorgeous grass hay.  The best I have ever made, unfortunately it was only 50 bales.   Annmarie, Mr Professional and I went out and picked up the 50 bales in 30 minutes then loaded them into the barn.  We took the border collies with us and they killed four vole while we picked up hay.  I would love to have them when I cut the hay but I am afraid they would get too close to the sickle bar.  There are hundreds of voles running around when I cut.

Mr Professional has been working on getting our lavender garden planted.  The ground cloth is in, grid laid out, drip line installed and then he takes out 5 gallons of soil and replaces it with premium soil and sets the plant.  I managed to kill about half the plants from forgetting to water.  So we have an order in for next year to replace them.  The tire rubber bark is working out great!  I am looking forward to seeing it all done and in about three years the lavender will be approaching full size.

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I also cut out part of the flooded fence and then used the box blade to flatten the area and get it all prepped for new fencing.  We will install another breakaway point in the field cross fence if the water should break through my new ditch and berm.  I am hoping to get that fence done in the next two weeks.  Their our two alpaca that need shearing this upcoming weekend.

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The animals need off hay fields

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I started Saturday morning by going out to the freezer to get butter, we were out and I had said I was going to do that the day before.  More importantly, one of the horses was laying down in the ram pasture, I walked out and she let me pet her while she stayed laying down.  Most of the time the horses will not allow this, they stand when you approach them.  I did get the butter this time!  I had a slow start, had breakfast with my mother at our house and then headed out to work on fencing.  I need to get the animals off of the fields.  As I was headed out to the fields I stopped at the culvert and scooped out most of the gravel from the back of the pickup.  This lightened the pickup and the culvert crossing needed it.  I like to do little parts at a time on projects, some would even say I flit from project to project but it works if you keep after it.  Unfortunately its not very timely.

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I ended up pulling most of the T posts from the first section of fence, splicing in an old section and then tightening the whole thing.  This sounds fairly straightforward, but I had to remove all the clips from the broken T-posts and pull them out of the ground by hand.  I finally got it all up and then decided to stretch a single row of smooth wire on the top.  The horses keep leaning over the fence and bending the woven wire I am hoping the top strand will stop that or at least lessen its impact.  I then installed cable and a 16’ brake away section to the middle of the fence.  If it floods again I want the fence to give!   I went over to the front spring and worked on tightening H braces and putting in cross boards.  I was going to reuse the old fence but I was going to have to splice in 2-3 sections and it is just not worth the time necessary to accomplish the task, I will use all new.  While I was working on that I decided that the ditch needed to be dug out as it still has flood mud and cut grass piled up in it.  I stepped down and the bottom of the ditch was firm.  I just need to drive the tractor into the ditch and I can reach up with my fancy new manure fork and get the junk away from the fence.  I went down to the machine shed and put the box blade on the tractor then went in for dinner.  I had a plan and after dinner it would be executed.

Annmarie was headed into the hospital for rounds and it had just started to rain slightly and she questioned my wisdom in going back out to dig in the ditch.  It’s fine, I just put on a neck warmer and a jacket.  First thing I did was dive right into the ditch with all four tires, within 10 seconds I realized that this was not the smartest move I had made.  Unfortunately, I seem to have these thoughts on a fairly regular basis.  It took me about 20 minutes to get out and I had to use the bucket to pull myself out of the ditch.  I then ditched the manure forks and started to dig out the ditch with tractor bucket.  I had a neighbor offer their small backhoe to help clean up the flooding problems.  I am going to have to take them up on it later in the summer to dig out the ditch and silt and grass that has piled up. I am going to use the mud and weeds to create a berm on the North side of the ditch.  This way if the upper creek jumps its bank again it will flood out the upper two fields but protect the 1.75 fields.  It will also create a boundary so we don’t fall in the ditch with the tractor (done that already this year).  I am going to widen the ditch slightly and dig it down another foot.  While digging out the ditch in the rain I spotted the double rainbow and took a picture, it was beautiful!!