I spent 2.5 days dragging farm implements around the place trying to get the fields ready to plant. Mr Rainman has gotten field #1 all disced but the organic matter needs to be moved off of it and some rocks picked. The disc is not really helping on the third pass so we will use the harrow/arena groomer to smooth it out and get some of the large patches of straw off of the field. I have the triangle all ready to go and I got the south side of field #2 ready, both patches will get triticale planted. I have the North side of field #2 ready but it is going to get grass seed planted as it still has moisture in the soil even now. The grass will do well and will let me keep using broadleaf spray on the field to get the thistles under control. Field #1 is going to get oats planted. I still need to pickup oat seed. I need a day to disc up field #3. It needs to be mowed first. So that field will take about 12 hours to get ready. I am hopeful that I can start planting seed in about 12 days.
We are bringing the cows in every night to hang out in the back barn lot area. They don’t have access to water during the 8-10 hours they are out eating so at night they want to come back for water and plums. They stop at the plum tree every night and won’t go past until you give them a handful.
Their are quail all over the farm, I see them every time I go out. I don’t see as many pheasants as I did last year. Pretty sure I found a coyote den today when I was out in the field but I did not see any coyotes but the hole in the ground in the field was new. I filled the hole with some vegetable matter so I will be able to tell if something moves it to get in and out. We still have the bunny rabbit out in the machine shed. It just hangs out and kinda hops out of the way but does not run away when you go in the shed. We got 0.34” of rain on Friday! It was amazing and we need another 0.5” this week. It will be perfect for planting then unless its enough moisture to get the seeds germinated just before a freeze. The stupid sheep have had no more lambs in the last week. We are so grateful we got a new ram, this one is just taking his own sweet time.
I need to get my tire fixed for the John Deere but when I had them repair it they mounted it on backwards so now I have to take it back in and get them to turn the wheel around. I want to plant with the little tractor as the seeder will obscure the tire track marks from the little tractor but not the bigger tractor.
The plumbing is fixed! We have water again, the plumber needs to finish a couple of more things then I can fill in the hole. We like having water. I was able to pickup the three pieces of Trex decking I needed for the front porch and the stair railing pieces came in on Thursday. So all of the pieces to finish the deck are here!
Our daughter had noticed on our hallway calendar last week that Annmarie had written down we were going to have lambs. Annmarie had seen the ram do his duty then marked our calendar with a date five months in the future. I thought it was too early but we sorted the sheep off on Saturday anyways. The cows and sheep needed to be sorted so it was a good time. On Sunday when we drove the pickup and trailer around to the ram pasture Mr Professional did not latch the gate completely. He left a gap which all of the sheep exploited and left the area to go up into fields 2-4 to eat with the cows. Following the rule, I went up Sunday night and pushed the cows and sheep down into the barn lot. I propped the ram pasture gate open so the sheep could crawl through but the cows could not get in. My hope was the sheep would finish putting themselves back where they belonged with no assistance. The self sorting relocation idea was merely a pipe dream, the sheep did not come in to where they were supposed to be willingly.
On Monday when Annmarie opened the gate into fields to let the cows go up the sheep went also. They had not complied with my hidden directive to self sort. Annmarie sent me a text, I told her we could get it that evening it would be fine. She went out that evening before I got home and sent me a picture of the brand new baby lamb! Who could of thunk that would happen? I came home and helped sort the sheep and fed them a big bale. For some reason the other pregnant ewes were picking on the new momma, kept head butting her. So we sorted her off and put her in the barn with some food and water and her newborn lamb. Annmarie gave the lamb some selenium paste. There may have been some “I told you so” moments in the last 24 hours. We did not have any more lambs today. The sheep are now firmly trapped in the ram pasture, behind the barn and in the front barn lot. We walked the perimeter this evening to make sure there were no more lambs tucked away in some corner.
When we were walking around and getting water for the ewe, Annmarie pointed out that the spring needs to be cleaned out. This job requires rubber boots, gloves and a square nose shovel to get all of the vegetable material and extra dirt dug out. This is a perfect job for Mr I need a belt bad! More work for him.
I have been feeling a little better this week. I have been working full time without needing to go to bed at 2000 every night. I had decided that I needed to get out and do some more work but not overdo it. Mr Professional had come out and fixed the tractor and fed the large bales to the cows. He had some extra time so he filled the driveway potholes and drug the driveway.
On Friday I got our old heavy duty bird feeder holders up and working again and took them down to the Mother-in-law’s house to set them up on her back deck. She wants the bird feeders to hang over the air so the cats cannot have easy access to the birds. Since it is about 12 feet up in the air, the cats are going to need to be careful before leaping off the deck at prey. She will need to order some new feeders that are heavier so they don’t get thrown off the hangars by the wind.
I started dragging the driveway with the box blade to get it smoothed out. It has taken me many years to figure out how to rehab the driveway so we don’t have to toss down a few truckloads of gravel every year. It took about three hours but I got it all smoothed out. I even managed to expand the driveway where we park our cars. I had been wanting to do that all last year as we have a tendency to pull the trailer alongside the driveway and it would be nice if that area was gravel. I made it happen and now we just need to let the gravel settle and sink in. I have finally managed to build up the gravel enough in our parking area that there are no longer any standing water issues at any time. This used to be a problem and you had to pick your parking spot wisely so you did not get wet feet. Annmarie reminded me that we are going to have to install a package box near the front gate outside of the fence so the delivery people can deliver packages without having to come inside the yard. I was thinking a top open with hydraulic assist lifts but Annmarie said I can just make it a little taller an have the front upon up completely with two doors. She is right, it would be a lot easier. So I will be adding this project to the summer/spring agenda. I have enough spare lumber from the scraps I bought last year from the lumber yard that I can build the entire frame out of pressure treated wood. I have the rough cut 1×12 to side it all and some scrap metal roofing tin. As an added bonus I don’t have to move around a lot!
We had twins out in the barn Friday morning but the little one was getting pushed around by the momma. I turned the other little one out with its momma, without tagging it, and then pushed the twins under the stairs with their momma. The little brown one kept getting head butted but was hollering lots so it was pretty active. I came back two hours later after doing the driveway and it was off to the side and momma would not let it eat. This meant our second bummer lamb of the season was discovered. I took it inside, fed it and tried to set it down, but every time I did that it started to holler. I ended up watching some bad Korean TV series I am currently trying to finish. Tisha came out in a few hours and took it to its new home. The first bummer she has will be happy for the company.
Hard to believe that the back runoff creek is already running! It is only January and it is full of water and moving toward the ocean. The creek is so much wider after the torrent we had last year so I am hopeful it won’t get out of control this spring.
The damn tractor broke again! The worst part is the hydraulic steering cylinder that broke this summer just broke again! I just don’t understand why this is happening. It’s the bolt in the hydraulic cylinder that is shearing. So I will order another one and we can get it installed. Mr Professional managed to use enough bailing twine to get it to hold in place long enough to drive it back to the machine shed.
The winter weather has brought some amazing color changes to the skyline. I have been trying to get pictures whenever the light has been unique. I do love the changes.
I managed to miss one of the extra roosters. I have two now and need to thin the the second one. He is not very good at crowing, he sits on the top of the coop ramp entrance and blocks the hens from going in when it is getting dark. We have had to round up the hens every night and push them into the chicken coop. He is making me crazy. I keep hoping that one of the raccoons will actually eat the spare rooster. It has gotten so bad we are now using the Border Collie, Mouse to herd the chickens back into the coop at night!
We did tag and band the lambs on Saturday and sorted off the seven ewes that we think are pregnant and have isolated them to the momma baby area. Everyone else is now in with the main herd and the entire barn is opened up to them. I will update the lamb statistics next week.
This week has been a doozy. I ended up in the ER last week on Thursday night thinking I might have a pulmonary embolus from Covid. I was day 18 out from symptoms and had not seen a doctor or taken any meds other than OTC and one amino acid infusion. The chest pain was getting so bad, it felt like someone had a hose clamp around my chest and occasionally they would just tighten it a little more. Luckily, my chest X-ray was clear, no secondary pneumonia and my lab work was all good and no extra blood clotting was occurring. My EKG was its normal abnormal that I have had for 30 years. This caused me to reevaluate my need for a NSAID once a day. I am now taking anti-inflammatory medication three times a day. I went home and slept, rested, napped and laid around for three days and then went back to work on Monday, worked half day at work and home the next day and on Wednesday (day 24) by 1400 I was starting to get dizzy. Almost passed out a few times when I bent over. I called my daughter for a ride home at the end of the day. You have to be careful to not fall over when you work in the ER, they were all giving me a side look waiting for me to go down to pounce on me. Annmarie and work has been telling me to take it easy. I have cut back dramatically and keep moving more work from home. It just cuts down the amount of walking I do and that makes a huge difference. I am still getting headaches with any amount of overexertion and I still get short of breath very easily. This is not just going to go away. I have not gotten dizzy since Wednesday. I have been careful to not bend over a lot but it was probably just a new side effect. My blood oxygen levels are staying up where they need to be but exertion just makes me short of breath. All of this means that Annmarie and now Sarah are doing the outside chores. I have resigned myself to staying inside for now and doing what I can. I have been doing the dishes and I even cleaned the bathroom and mopped the floors and keep vacuuming up the grease bugs that keep invading the house every time the outside temperature gets to 50 degrees F. I am definitely using a lot of bug spray on the outside of the house in the spring and summer to see if I cannot cut down on the bug invasion.
While I was lounging around last weekend I was looking at the online classifieds and spotted a manure spreader. Now I have wanted a manure spreader for a while as we have lots of manure and I have huge piles in the barn lot. The problem is they are very expensive. So I have been on the lookout for a used one that works, I found one this summer/fall and have been working on it. It has a frozen bearing in the upper portion. I have managed to remove the pin after bending several tools and now need to pull the gear off of the shaft. This has dropped in priority but on Sunday I spotted the find of a lifetime, the exact same manure spreader for sale!! I messaged them and went on Monday after work and picked up the spreader!! Now I can use the parts from one to fix the other and I should be able to go another 10 years with parts on hand, a total win for me.
We have decided to feed the outside birds out our back kitchen window. This means every morning we are greeted by the birds flitting around and eating. I have gotten used to the magpies coming in every morning and finishing off the back porch cat food. There are about four of them that do it every morning. I spotted three pigeons out our front window sitting on top of the grain bins. Their numbers are dwindling slowly but the invasive ringneck doves are really starting to take over. There are about 10 that are now living on the property and they are starting to push the mourning doves away from the feeders. I am going to have to work on that problem soon if they keep multiplying. Our Quail are doing amazing this year! It is the one bird we don’t allow anyone to shoot on the property. There are at least 44 still alive from this summer’s hatches. It will be amazing if we get a decent spring and all of them can have 3-5 babies that survive. I even spotted the covey of Hungarian partridges. There were only 6 of them and they would not hold still for a picture. I spot them once to twice a year. They are pretty elusive.
24 lambs born
15 ewes delivered
19 pregnant ewes(maybe)
6 single lambs
9 twin lambs
1 bummer lamb
23 lambs on the farm
160% birthing rate
153% production rate (goal >150%)
100% survival rate at birth
100% survival rate at 2 weeks (18/18)
We had twin lambs born on Christmas morning. The are super healthy and the ewe is very attentive. She is such a good mother that we are going to flag the female lamb as a keeper to breed in the future.