Beauty fence

Well the weeds are sprayed and the grass is not tall enough to mow out in the fields so the Four Corners fencing project has begun this weekend. I spent a few hours on Saturday afternoon tearing out fences and wooden stays from the fence lines. I also developed a plan for redoing the fence. I cannot just tear into the ground as the telephone line is buried just outside the fence line and it is not buried 2-3 feet. It is only eight inches deep by our house so I am assuming it is fairly shallow here also.

Today Mr Professional came out and we went down and worked on the fencing all day. We took the trailer down filled with gravel, this was Mr Professional’s idea and proved to be useful as we are about 1/2 mile from the gravel pile and tractors are not exactly fast. We promptly broke out the bolts on the auger on the first hole. It appears that the hard pan is not very deep, about 18-24 inches down. We had to use the breaker bar to keep digging and we never did manage to break through the hard pan level. We just gave up on the digging once we got ”deep enough”. We started a small fire after we started to rip out the fence line and found scrap wood every where. We burned the weeds and a lot of the wood scraps. We managed to dig six holes with the auger and have five more to go. We are going to have to create a wash out area that lets the water run through/under the fence. I think we are going to have to use the old tires to keep the bull from just lifting the fence. He is so painful. We had to reinforce the culvert entrance on Tuesday as he had lifted the fence and went to see the neighbor’s heifers. Today we saw him trying to get through the culvert again but he cannot after our repair! He tried on three separate occasions throughout the day to get through to the other side with zero success.

We got the corner braces in and all tightened down. They look really good and our goal is to make the fence look very nice as everyone who drives by will see this addition. Once we have all the fence up we will take down the inner fence down by the willow trees and start to clear the flood debris out. It is a mess down there now. A few more days and we will get it done.

The spraying that was done two weeks ago is starting to come visible. I was spraying in front of the side by side and driving over the area so I could see where i was spraying. I started to notice some unintended consequences of that choice. Hopefully,, the grass will grow back without too much difficulty.

Staycation 100% done

Well all good things must come to an end and I am no longer on vacation and am back to work. It has been busy so I was unable to post this on Sunday night. Annmarie got me to actually leave the house on Friday night and we went and visited friends and stayed the night. It was nice and now we are planning on them coming over to visit us.

Saturday when we got back we went right into sorting sheep. Our buyer from Elgin was coming over and we had to sort off his 20 lambs. They helped us sort everyone and we got theirs into the trailer and out the door. We now have our small herd of lambs out in the orchard. For some reason this year everyone has wanted a lamb. We have sold 13 lambs to local customers and 20 lambs to our Elgin contact. We have been discussing the prospect of expanding our sheep herd and shrinking the cow herd, the price of hay is going to determine what we do as it may not be cost effective to carry a bunch of cows through the winter. We then had to move the cows down to the lower pasture as they had laid over the fence and were walking around outside the fence. They thought they were starving. I did a 30 minute fix on the fence so the sheep could not get out and vowed to come back and fix the fence on Sunday.

On Sunday I went out to fix the laid over fence. This really meant that I had to dig and set eight wooden posts by hand as the fence was too close to the water to back the John Deere tractor up to the spot needing a hole. Instead I did it all by hand and even ended up putting a scoop of gravel behind every T-post to fill in the gap created by straightening the post. I had to tamp it all down to make the post rigid. I got all of them in but still need to repair one H brace as it is made out of round posts and one of them turned. This is of course the one with the chain gate tightener on it. This means the chain is so tight you cannot get it off to open the gate. Luckily, I don’t need the gate to open right now so this repair is going on the back burner.

Annmarie has started to work on the back garden and is getting things planted. We are going to have strawberries in one tower and herbs in the other. Currently, she is working out water inside the towers, the connections keep exploding and making a mess. She thinks she has a working plan now to fix it.

Staycation 70% complete

Well the weekend is over and I did get some stuff done. It feels like I am not getting anything done sometimes but that really isn’t the case and I do know that. There is so much to do! I took it pretty easy on Saturday. I stained the upstairs bathroom door. I do need to get that done! This was the single reason for taking some time off, so it does need to get completed. I transplanted some of my house plants I had rooted from starts and they were ready for the soil. I hit the $1 store, now $1.25 store, and cleaned out their four inch pots. So I now have 24 new pots for houseplants. I like to give the plants out at Christmas as gifts to my staff but it takes me all year to get the plants ready. I am going to start African Violets next. I want to get about ten more plants going. I have several of the crawling cactus plants growing. I may even try a Christmas cactus replication. I have never tried to get a start going from one before.

Sarah had posted the old WW2 dog tag maker we had for sale online. Our only taker was a gentleman from the Air Museum in Pendleton. They want to recondition it and use it at their museum to make dog tags for kids. After they left I talked with Annmarie and we just donated it to the museum. On Sunday two old guys came out to pick it up. I had sworn I would not move it after wrestling it up to the second story many years ago. It was easier to get down than up and I used the tractor to lift it into the back of their pickup. So it now has a new home and the bedroom has some unused wall space!

I went out Saturday and started working on filling in the culvert in field #4b. I was able to get one side of the culvert done enough I could drive up to the top and dump soil over to the other side. As I was was stealing soil it dawned on me that I should turn this flat spot into a hay storage area! The cows will be fed up here and the hay is easier to feed if it is right there. So we will be working on this also. It just needs a simple fence to keep the cows away from the hay.

I had my lifelong dreams crushed over the weekend. I have wanted peacocks for ever since we moved out to the farm. The reason we have not gotten them is the noise but I was hopeful that I could eventually overcome this obstacle. When I went to get the alpaca there were a bunch of peacocks. I spotted 8 males and they were amazing! The alpaca owners lived right next to this spot. I happen to mention how amazing they were. It turns out they are feral and have been loose for over 50 years. They are incredibly destructive! I had no idea. After hearing many horror stories I will not be getting peacocks. A lifelong goal dropped.

On Sunday, I spent even more time on the tractor moving dirt. I even went up the road to pick rocks and dump off soil. There is one spot in the dirt road that slants severely to the downhill side and this winter when it was wet the tractor almost slid off the road several times. I took dirt down to try and level off the road some. I was able to move it a few more inches level than it was but I need about another ten inches to truly make it safe! This meant I had to load rocks into the bucket to take back to the culvert. I need to line the entrance and exit with rocks to help harden it and to keep the dirt in place. I managed to get about 20% completed and will need to keep dragging rocks back. I need a little more dirt on the far side but it can now be driven over by a vehicle and trailer. Once it all settles down I will sprinkle it with some gravel in late summer.

I did go inside and measure the bathroom closet openings and now have dimensions for the frames. I have one frame all cut and sanded. I just need to assemble it now. We are going to cover the frames with tapestry a good friend of ours left to us. The quail all over the farm now! We see them multiple times a day in our front yard and back yard. They are starting to break up into smaller groups so hopefully they will start laying eggs soon.

Quick thaw

It has been a long week. The weather has of course totally flipped from having to stay home on Monday to dig out the driveway for hours to today a mere six days later driving around on the tractor in a long sleeve shirt only feeding the cows and doing work in the barn coatless as it is 50 F. This change in the weather had the Child and Annmarie out at the back creek fence trying to cut the panels loose. I have only two panels left that hang across the back creek. They are needed to prevent the sheep and cows from going up the dry creek bed in the summer. In the fall I should lift them out of the creek bed but it never seems to happen. Also, once I do that the fence line has a hole in it and the animals have to be kept out of that area. We had a sudden warming spell and Annmarie woke up to the back creek running. This is usually very bad and I end up in waders in three feet of raging water trying to undo the clips holding the panel in place from being lifted out of the water. Annmarie and Sarah spared me this by going out right after breakfast and loosening the panels, they did have to step into the ice cold water to get the center clip loose. They did not have to battle a torrent of water but they did have to get wet with the ice cold water. Two days later and the back creek has dropped to a depth of four inches. I am glad the mountain snow did not try and all melt off, it’s only January and it needs to stay until late May. Mr Professional and I went out this weekend and lifted the panels so they are ready for the spring flood. The weather also destroyed our ancient decorative windmill I had found and rehabbed and put back up. It tore off the tail and bent a bunch of the vanes. It is toast and cannot be easily repaired. I am now in search of another with sealed bearings so I don’t have to grease it annually. This is going to take some sleuthing on the internet to find one we like and think will last in up to 100 MPH winds.

Mr Professional and I got the hole in the ceiling in the craft room cleaned up and he got the sheetrock patch installed and it now has two coats of mud on it and the next coat is going to be texture! I even found some Kilz 2 upstairs to prime it after he gets the texture to match. Once we get the ceiling painted I can take down all the plastic drop clothes over everything and give the room a final deep cleaning. The room will be ready to use again after that.

We went into the barn and worked on installing some more eyebolts. I wanted to be able to set up some more jugs and to do that we had to install 2×6 boards to the wall then install two eyelets for the long pegs to drop through. We currently have enough eyelets installed to create 6 jugs and split the barn into 2/3 and 1/3, using the space under the stairs we have 7 jugs in the barn. We just need three more six foot panels to make this all happen but they are currently on back order through Premier. Once we had that done we created a baby feeding area using our Creep gate. We have never used the creep gate before so this will be a first for us. The creep gate is suppose to keep the big sheep out and only let in the size you set for the babies. When I went out tonight it did not look like any babies had been in it eating the grass hay. I put out a small dish of straight grain in the middle of the area, no momma can reach it so if its gone in the morning some lamb has figured out how to use the lamb only feeding area. I only managed to cut myself twice this weekend and Mr Professional only took one divot out of a finger out in the barn. If he would wear gloves more often this would not happen.

The turn signals and emergency flashers were broken on the pickup and all of the lights on the John Deere tractor were out. Mr Professional cleaned some stuff, changed out some fuses and got everything working again today. I had to get more fuel in five gallon containers so we had fuel. I filled up the John Deere this week and I could see the entire bottom of the fuel tank, it was dry! I don’t know how I did not run out of diesel when I was using it to dig out the big tractor. We have moved over an old 100 gallon double compartment fuel tank, I have grounded the tank and just need to get a tank fuel pump for it so I can start having diesel delivered to the house. I will probably only need the tank filled twice a year. It will be nice to not have to use five gallon jugs all the time. The old fuel tank used to be on a trap wagon they had for cleaning out combines and equipment during harvest.

I will be ordering repair parts for the hay baler this week and some more baling wrap so we may actually get them before June.

Snow drift removal

It has been a long day. It started last night by the realization that I was not going to go to work, the wind was howling. When we went to bed the gusts were over 50 MPH and sustained winds over 40 MPH. It was a long night as the house creaked and swayed the entire time. In the morning when we checked the weather station our peak gust was 89.5 MPH! I did not look at our siding today but will need to inspect the entire outside tomorrow. My decorative windmill out in the ram pasture had a crooked tail before the storm. It is now missing its tail and one of the windmill vanes is missing. It is going to need a lot of TLC. Hopefully, I can salvage it. One of the front porch lights blew off last night, it got beat up by falling ice which cracked it then the wind finished it off. The ice breakers and gutters for the roof are moving up the priority list.

On my way down to the driveway I spotted the old lamb shed, it had been pushed off of the railroad ties it had been sitting on. about ten feet North of where it was. Last time the wind got this high it actually rolled the building onto its side. The roof shingles on Donna’s garage were blowing off also. the building is set 90 degrees to the direction of the wind which allows the shingles to just be lifted right off the roof.

I fired up the Kubota and Annmarie went out to the barn to do chores. We had not checked the driveway but it is prone to drifting so we figured it was drifted shut, we were right. It took me three hours to get the 1/4 mile of driveway cleared with at least an eight foot wide path down the middle. This just kept going on and on. I had lots of clothes on and still had to go back inside and put on my warm snow boots instead of my muck boots at one point.

The temperature heated up over freezing and the wind had cleaned off a lot of snow, so much so that the chickens actually came out of the coop and scrounged in the compost pile that had been building for days.

After I went and dug out two more friends I made it home after seven hours out on the tractor. I dumped off the bucket and got the forks installed. I grabbed a large bale and headed into the barn lot. Yep, even though the barn lot looked clear it was not. I managed to beat through three different drifts and got into the cow area. I went down over the culvert and hit a huge drift on the uphill side. The tractor kept sliding down toward the six foot drop off! I finally just stopped and parked the tractor and walked away. I was just going to dump the tractor over into the spring and then it would have been super painful to get out, neighbors, favors and fence cutting to get enough equipment in to pull it out. It was just not worth it.

The forever shower once I came in and the early bedtime was well deserved.

I managed to dig the tractor out with my little tractor a shovel and 1/3 yard of gravel the next day.