I need to be planting fields

I am getting stuff done on my staycation. Yesterday, I got all of the big bales stacked up against the fence. I backed them up so that the cows could not reach through and eat the backside. We had scavenged enough free pallets this summer to go around two sides of the entire pile. Pile is an odd word since I was unable to lift any bales to stack one on top of another. My row is three bales wide and 13 bales deep. While I was moving hay bales, Mr Professional came out and started mowing field #5 so we can get it ready to plant triticale. The problem was the little John Deere tractor kept overheating. There was too much dust and chaff in the air and it kept clogging up the radiator intake. We finally went to town to get a tarp and discovered that the store was having a huge DeWalt tool sale the next day. This of course meant I had to return the next day. The tarp fit perfectly and we tied down every single grommet to one of the strings on the bales, leaned the pallets against the sides and then distributed pallets all across the top of the tarp to keep it from blowing off or ripping in the wind. The plan is for this to be two years worth of hay for the cows. I plan on keeping the animals out of this field, the pallets along the side are for the deer and elk.

I did go to town first thing in the morning, I made it into the store twenty minutes after it opened. I was able to get the small 4” clamps DeWalt makes for Annmarie. They are the best when clamping together laser projects, they don’t give or slide. I got a hedge trimmer for the lavender and an electric chain saw. These days I really like looking at products that are quieter. As I keep losing my hearing avoiding loud noises without hearing protection is something I try and avoid. When I got home I started mowing the fields with the Kubota. It still tried to overheat three times. I had to blow out the dust and chaff twice and clean out the air intake two more times. I have the triangle still to mow but I am going to get the field ready for seed tomorrow and hopefully plant on Saturday. I will need to pick up seed on Friday. I will be overspreading grass on a couple of fields and tossing out some crumble fertilizer. My hope is that we can get a great crop in the spring. I will be taking the old John Deere baler in next month to get the bearing replaced and the tie fingers adjusted. I forgot to take the raccoon carcass up to the boneyard. That really needs to happen tomorrow before it gets so bad I don’t want to touch it. The chickens are now laying four eggs a day, double what they were before I killed the raccoon.

The field across the creek needs to be disced and leveled. It had some flooding and water gouging from many years ago and it needs some serious work to create a surface that will be safe to make and cut hay on. I just need to remember where I stashed the disc set?

Finish work before we are finished

The seamless gutters got installed around the front deck this week. They are amazing! I thought all the water on the front porch was from the wind, well it was the wind and the rain. Since adding the gutters our front porch is mostly dry all of the time now. Annmarie picked up some new outdoor furniture and she 3D printed a new plastic foot for a small side table we have. It’s metal and we don’t want it scratching up our new Trex decking.

Saturday it was time to start back in on the new office. I started out by cleaning some more while I waited for Mr Tex to show up. He apparently slept in. The place needed more cleaning anyways. When he showed up I had him hide all of the attic vent fan supplies and the laser cutter external fan pieces up into the attic. This was just to get everything out of the way as we won’t need these pieces until we are almost finished with everything else. We had about eight boxes worth of stuff.

Tex started installing more insulation in the west wall. While he was doing that I started working on the picture window frame. This was going to be a surprise for Annmarie but as soon as she saw it in the wall and she saw my order for a light from Amazon she correctly guessed that I was putting in a light box for a stained glass piece. The surprise will now be the stained glass piece as she has not seen it. It took me two tries to get the box correct. I needed a thicker piece up at the top to hide the electrical plugin but after I trimmed it for the glass I discovered I failed to take into account the cut down size. I had to redo the entire thing! Once I had it all cut I tried to insert the glass and unsurprisingly the glass piece is not perfectly square. So I had to trim a couple of pieces to account for the nonsquare window.

Once I had that glued and pin nailed in place Tex and I started in on the wall. He also managed to get some insulation into the attic while I was redoing the light box. We had to squirt in foam around the new door to seal it up before we could put up the siding. I was going to start from the ceiling and work down like I did on the other wall but Tex talked me into starting at the bottom. This was a bad idea that was not fully realized until we got above the door and realized we were going to have to work downwards on the other side. Which meant the entire piece had to be cut the whole length of the wall, with cutouts for the door and light box. I cut it and the door was off by 1/4”, so I just gave up! It was quitting time anyways and it’s never good to do wood work when you are frustrated. It tends to go wrong more often just to further frustrate you.

Mr Professional came out and dropped off six laying hens. We were leaving so I did not stick around. When I came back I had to go out and catch five chickens and feed the horse.

Sunday I opted for mowing the cheat grass! The stuff is taking off and growing everywhere. I had already cut around the machine shed and cars earlier so I did the entire barn lot, the ram pasture and all of field 4b. The field took quite a bit of time, when you are doing several acres a four foot wide swath takes a while to get anything done. I almost ran over a grey cat when I was clearing the road alongside the field. The cat crouched down and hid in the grass and I was within 12 inches of it when I went by. I was pretty impressed that the cat held still. I was super impressed with the new Kubota tractor. It is 29 hp and it would power down but it never overheated and if I slowed down the mower would just keep chewing though the tall wet grass. It was very impressive, it did burn a lot more diesel but now we have the big tank it is not near the hassle to fill up.

I did manage to get a look at the little triangle of triticale. It needs to get cut as soon as the rain stops and we can guarantee several days rain free so everything can dry out.

Haying season has begun!

I brought the tractor home this week from its repairs. It has the back hydraulic takeoff connectors repaired, a hydraulic leak under the tractor and the front wheel bearing seal all fixed. It is no longer pouring out oil from multiple locations on the tractor! They even power washed all the grease off of it. I wanted to drive the tractor home via the back roads and not use the trailer, it would have taken about 90 minutes to get home. Annmarie told me to just take the trailer! I would have needed a ride to drop me off and had to make a special trip to town instead of just driving the pickup to work. I used the trailer.

One of our cows had another calf so 4/6 have now had calves. Unfortunately they are taking their time. So next weekend we are going to herd them all up to the barn and sort them so the four babies can be tagged and banded. We will have to get the other two later. I don’t want to have to tag and band a 8 week old calf. Mr I Need a Belt Bad was excited to hear that we would be working cows next week, we will see how excited he is after he has to help catch and hold them down.

Mr Professional came out yesterday and got the sickle bar mower attached to the tractor. I had to work all week so no weeds got sprayed. I am on a new drug regimen for my post covid pericarditis. It is back to tearing up my gut and the constant chest pressure is starting to wear me down again. I have been instructed by multiple parties that I am to take it easy. So I have added napping to my schedule and only get to do a few light things in the morning on the days I am not working. I hate it. But I am tired and I want to get better and limiting my activities will help.

Today Mr I Need a Belt Bad came out and we set him on the yard first thing. Our front hillside has sprouted with cheat grass and it needed to be mowed. We have some clover coming in and have vowed to not use any herbicide on it in an effort to get it established. So we had him mow and bag all the cheat grass with the mower on the low setting. It did not disturb the clover and it decimated the cheat grass. He had one instruction when I set him up with the mower, do not hit the black hose connecting the sprinklers! That is actually two directives as he was instructed to mow the hillside and not hit the black pipe. I had to use a wire wheel to clean off the sickle bar mower goop so the grass slid over it and was using the grinder when he came over to tell me that he had hit the black pipe!! He had one job! I grumbled and told him to finish mowing and we would fix the pipe later. He was back five minutes later showing me a four foot chunk of pipe he hit that was not connected to anything. I had removed it a couple of weeks ago as it was not needed and had just tossed it to the side. So even though he violated the rule, no hitting of the black pipe he maintained the intent which was to not interrupt our watering capability.

He then got set up with the weed eater, a new experience for him, and yes he had goggles and hearing protection. He did not like the weed eater as much, it is heavy, you have to use a chest harness and it does wear on your arms. He ended up mowing about half the front yard and will finish the rest tomorrow. He should even have some time to work on the garden also. Mr Professional came out and pulled the hay rake out, sickle cut the orchard and worked on weeds. He is also working on getting the chain saw put back together. We need to do some creative repair to the plastic handle. I am picking up a couple of packages of JB weld to create a fix.

I mowed the hay today with the sickle mower. I got about four acres cut. I have maybe another two in one field but it can wait a week and the #1 field can wait at least another two weeks. We are going to try and spread out the cutting so we can get it baled in between and it won’t get too dry like it did last year. I suspect we will be cutting the neighbor’s field mid to late week and starting in on it also. The goal is to get 35-40 ton in the barn, shed, buildings. I still have about 12-14 large bales left over from last year. I use two per week when it is bare and no feed available. We will have to hook up the trailer to the tractor to feed out the small bales. I love the way the grass lays down when you cut it and the smell. It is very relaxing.


Well last Sunday I decided that I needed to mow the upper field #2.  Since Mr. Professional is helping me we have devised a simple way to talk about the various fields. We start from the upper bottom pasture and number them in ascending order 1-4.  Then you have the “pea field” down by mother in laws house then you have lower pasture down by schoolhouse.  This forgets about the 1 acre piece closer to mother-in-law’s house and across the creek.  We don’t talk about that field specifically so it just gets tossed into the schoolhouse field.

I had sprayed #2 field a couple of weeks earlier but it is so thick and tall it needs to be knocked down then sprayed 2 weeks later to kill the thistles.  I drove up there in the tractor and remembered to add on a crescent wrench so I could fix the broken gate.


After fixing the gate, there was some internal dialogue about fixing the gate on my way out of the field, but you never know what is going to happen so I opted to just fix the gate first thing as a safer move.  I think the bolt just came loose and it fell down, I don’t believe it was anything nefarious.

I started mowing on the left hand side of the field first.  It’s the smaller side and I would get to see results sooner.  The pecker poles are amazing!  I knew exactly where the water was and was able to not get the tractor stuck.  As I continued to go around in circles I kept spotting the baby deer.  There were four different deer all had spots and they were about dog sized and running all over the place.  The pheasants are also plentiful this year.  I jumped four juvenile roosters that had their colors but no tail feathers at all.  Since it was almost a 100 F outside I had raised the mower deck about 14 inches off of the ground.  The weeds are incredibly thick and I did not want the mower to get overheated.  My goal is simply to knock them down so that when I drive over the area with the side by side the spray gets evenly distributed.  You could see where some swaths of field had great spray coverage and others were limited by the height of the weeds and spray dispersement.

I was taking a break after the first section was done when Richard pulled out and asked me if I was ok.  He is the one who pulled the tractor out of the mud for me.  He thought I had gotten stuck again as I was parked near where I was buried before.  I chuckled and thanked him for checking on me but no, I was taking a break as the field is very rough and furrowed from the flooding and the tractor is beating me up.  It really works your lower back muscles.

There are hawks everywhere!  We have at least 6-8 living all over the farm.  It is pretty amazing.  I am sure that at least two of them are juveniles as our nesting pair is back but we may now have two pair of nesting hawks.  They used to only be on the upper end of the property but are now the full length of the place.

I started in on the second half and about halfway through tragedy struck!!  The weeds are tall and you cannot see the ground.  I do pay attention as I don’t want to hit rocks and need to stay on the completed line so I can get finished in a timely manner.  I came around in a shorter square pattern, I get tired of doing the entire field and tend to break them up into pieces.  It looks like I am getting done quicker.  I came back around and saw a 1-2 day old fawn on the ground dying.  I had run over it with my actual tractor wheel.  If I had mowed over it the fawn would have been just fine as the mower is set high, but alas of the four foot wide swath my tractor makes only a 2.5 foot tire free zone.  This did cause me angst for the rest of the day.  The fawn never tried to get up or run away and it was so much younger than all the other babies I had been watching run all over the fields.

After mowing I spent another hour digging more ditches.  I managed to not get stuck this time.  There is still water coming out of the ground and forming a small running spring.  This water does not leave the field it ends up running down about half way and getting reabsorbed.   I finished the field and went back and cleaned off the tractor.  A couple of days later I had come to terms with the mowing tragedy.  I took a finished photo below.