The toad made an appearance today. We hear him and his buddies every evening and morning. I think there was too much rain for him and he needed to get to a drier location. I was looking outside to see how the rain was beating the ground under the eves.
It rained 8/100” last night so haying was off the table during the day which is good because it has now rained a total of 60/100” of rain since last night and it is still raining, over half an inch of rain today. There is no way any outside work is getting done this weekend if Mother Nature keeps this up all weekend. Instead Mr Flow came out and we went to the custom wood mill and picked up Juniper tongue and groove and some more blue pine. While we were loading it onto the trailer the dude working there noticed a transmission fluid leak coming from my pickup. Now this should be impossible as I just picked it up from the shop on Wednesday after they fixed a transmission fluid leak. Yep, they did not clamp the hose down onto the new nipple. It was clamped to a metal piece that was just sittting on the radiator cooler. Hard to believe we did not lose all the fluid moving those bails out of the field yesterday. We came straight home and barely made it around the barn lot over to the old house before having to shut off the pickup, too much hydraulic fluid had leaked out. The pickup is now stuck there until we fix the hose.
Instead I worked on getting the new equipment room completed and Mr Flow worked on getting the new freezer room cleaned up then insulate the exterior walls. I think we are going to leave the interior walls hollow. He even started insulating the ceiling. I finished the equipment room, it was pine on the walls and juniper on the ceiling. We will finish the pine and leave the juniper raw. I started putting up blue pine on the interior wall. My goal is to get the interior wall finished tomorrow and get the front door roughed in. Once the front door is roughed in then we can put tongue and groove along that entire wall. I finally got a hold of the window shop and the new windows should be here on Tuesday of next week. This has been a big holdup for us.
We are looking for a second calf. This morning I could only find Star’s calf and it was with her. Annmarie went down later in evening and the cows all rushed down to the lower area amongst the creek, exactly were we did not want them.
It was been a long week. We had a wonderful weekend away from the farm, which does not occur very often. On Monday, I had to work late and was even later after I went to the supply store and bought woven wire for our yard fence. We have a few more weeks before the puppy arrives and we need a spot to put them initially that is not with all of the bigger dogs, so the side fence has moved up the priority list. We had several boxes on the front porch which turned out to be the wax dipped wood for our honey bee hive. It will need to be assembled. The back gate on the hillside had been left open and once the sheep discovered it they all ran pell mell for the opening. Annmarie went out and got the sheep back in and shut the gate. The back hillside has foot long grass all over it, the sheep are going to be confined to the hillside for quite some time.
Mr Professional and Mr Flex have been coming out all week to work on odds and ends and to get the hay equipment ready. Mr Professional fixed the gear inside the baler, which means I need to explore an overhead lift capable of handling 4000 pounds. It needs to be easy and safe to work on equipment. Mr Flex got the annual chicken coop cleaning done, this is never a pleasant chore. They started in on skirting the old building and our lawn got mowed twice in the same day to get the height down off of the highest mower setting. We could never get ahead of the lawn, it is very prolific this year due to all of the moisture. Mr Professional got our bee hive assembled and the rest of the parts came this week so I set it out where we are going to keep it. I need to turn the entrance so it is unobstructed. This will also put the entrance so it is visible from the kitchen window. I expect us to do a lot of bee watching this year.
We have had so much rain that the barn door warped and cupped inwards. It would not shut once Annmarie got it open. It really needs a little metal bolted to the outside to slow down the warpage. I had to go out and force it shut. It is already starting to go back to its normal shape due to some dry days this week. We got some scrap metal a couple of weeks ago and one or two of those pieces may work to keep the warpage down.
Mr Professional started cutting around the machine shop to test out the new sickle bar mower for the new tractor. I spent one entire evening into the dark turning the cut hay down by the schoolhouse. There is a lot of cheat grass down there, this makes the hay garbage but where we baled the cheat grass last year there is less cheat grass this year and more orchard grass. So we are going to keep removing it from the fields in hopes that we can decrease its abundance. We will over plant with orchard grass also. This seems to be decreasing the amount of cheat grass that is present. It is a battle but if we keep after it I think we can win. We did not cut any of the upper good looking fields because we knew it was supposed to rain all weekend long. Despite that we managed to get 99 good grass round mini bales into the barn for the winter. We are putting them up a lot wetter this year as we had some serious drying out issues last year. We just baled way too late last year after putting the grass on the ground. So we will cut smaller sections this year and not get so far ahead. Yesterday, when I came home I spent three hours helping pick up hay and get it into the barn. I never managed to get changed into farm clothes as I drove right to the field from work. I definitely need some more new gloves. I forgot what it was like to move hay with holy gloves. We feed 4-5 bales every day in the winter to the sheep.
The cows have started having babies. We had a dead calf already, not sure how it died, maybe drowned in the stream where we found it. We have two live ones maybe? Annmarie and Mr Professional claim two, I have only seen one so far. The mothers are notorious for hiding them for the first 30 days. We have opened up the fields near the mother in law’s house in hopes that the cows will bring their babies into the field and we can shut them all in.
The plan is to work on the office this weekend due to the rain. This is bad for the haying side of the farm but good for office progress!!
Sunday was the most productive day of the weekend! It is always good to have one day where you feel like a lot was accomplished. Mr Flow came out and worked on the lavender garden and the berry patch. He got he grass cleaned out around all of the berries and all of the lavender. I was pretty surprised when I went over to check on him and could smell the lavender plants! There are not any blooms on the plants but the plants have a definite odor. We are super stoked about the lavender and the clover we have coming in on the front hillside. We are going to get a bee hive this year. We have been talking about it for years and have finally decided to do it. The hive components are here, I just need to assemble them now. Annmarie and I watched a video this weekend so I think I can do it now. We are hoping to get 40-50# of honey this year. If we can figure out how to get the honey out of the combs, one thing at a time.
Mr Tex and I worked the cows this morning. We needed to sort off the 6 month old calves and also sort off the bull. This means we have to use three pastures and the bull needs to be two fences away from any female cow. The cows came through the gate down at the lower end and went right up to the top of the hill but as we started to push them back toward the house they started running down the hill. I ran 1/4 mile in my rubber boots to keep them from turning downhill, by the time we got done sorting cows I needed some better fitting boots. Sorting the cows went pretty smoothly. We have seven cows to sell. Our old bull 13 years old, a young bull about 8 months old, 2 heifers and 3 steers. We are going to buy a new polled Dexter bull that is 2.5 years old. We need the genetic infusion and we found two cows today out of nine that appeared to not be pregnant. So I will be advertising him and the little bull soon. Due to the price of hay skyrocketing we will have to increase our beef price accordingly.
The weather app on our phone said it was going to storm but the weather was pretty good today until about 1630 and then it was horrible. 1/4” of rain in about 25 minutes with pea sized hail intermixed in it. I had gone out to the old house and just waited out there for the hail to pass. The new office area was fairly quite but the new freezer room was incredibly loud. I am hoping we have enough insulation to get all of the walls sealed up. My mother thinks she may have some insulation in the garage so I will need to take a look as we will still need to insulate the attic. We need to install a new roof top vent and I want to install an attic fan that automatically turns on when it gets above 105 degrees F in the attic, that temperature may even be lowered to 95 degrees. Since we have the vent we might as well use it. In the last two days we have had one inch of rain and the total for the month of May is 2.6” of rain to date.
Mr Professional got up on the roof and spent about three hours sealing the roof and putting in new screws that had pulled out or were missing their gaskets. The roof was installed over 30 years ago. We need to pull up the entire ridge cap and reinstall the vent foam to keep the insects out of the attic. Mr Tex vacuumed the ceiling floor and attic walls. I sealed up the attic cracks from inside the attic, it did not take long for the attic to heat way up. Once we finished in the attic Mr Tex and myself insulated two walls in the office and installed three California corners so we could install the wall boards. We also ran the wire for the heat pump. Now, all of the wire is run and I could even start to wire the electrical box and get the breakers in place. I am going to add that to my after work job opportunities. I will need a large flashlight and a board so I can sit in front of the panel and wire everything in place. Once the new breaker box is wired then I can decide when to move the power into the box. I am going to have to wait until the new freezer room is completed. Right before we left for the day we installed a handle on the pocket door! I dug around in the shop until I found an old handle from something that will work.
Friday I had to go and buy more 2×4 boards. We ran out and more were needed for the California corners and the rough door frame that needs to be installed for the new outside door. They are running about $1/foot. The price is so high compared to a couple of years ago. I had to go in to town to pickup the three cut and wrapped cows. I delivered 2.5 of them and we got the last half. This took a few hours and finished off the day. Mr Flow and Mr Professional came out for a few hours. Mr Flow worked on the lavender patch weeding and the berry patch. They needed a lot of grass removed and some weeds. Mr Professional and I got started in on the production area wall. I had installed most of the insulation first thing in the morning. We thought we had enough four foot tongue and groove boards to get the walls done. The juniper for the ceiling is in the wood dryer and will hopefully be done this week.
The sheep are looking much better now that we have wormed them. They will need it again in a couple of weeks. We had let it go a little long and the sheep were kinda skinny. We have decided to start worming in the fall and early spring whether we think it is needed or not. The sheep have still not rubbed off all of their loose hair yet. They will look much better when they have their smooth coat. We have been moving the sheep around to let the pastures rest. We are going to let them back up onto the hillside to graze. The grass is very tall there.
The weather is so screwy, we had a thunderstorm roll in on Saturday while Mr Professional and I were working on the production area walls. It rained about 3/4” in under an hour. The rain just poured out of the sky. The back creek doubled in size in under thirty minutes and then three hours later was still muddy but back down to almost pre-storm level.
The hay is looking great! We went up to field 1 and it is six inches above my knee. We are going to need to start haying very soon, probably in under ten days. For the haying venture to be successful we need a few dry days on a regular basis. A couple of the lower fields have a lot of cheat grass and were not in the fields we replanted. We are going to bale them and sell them as weedy seconds for cheap. It will pay for themselves.
Well the office is still creeping along. I think it should go faster but something always seems to come up. I went over to Home Depot on Friday and spent 3 hours digging around and finding all of the stuff I needed to finish the wiring. I have to put a 240V 20A outside waterproof box outside for the heat pump. It took me a while to find the boxes and I got 1 of 3 left on the shelf. Pickings for some items were mighty slim. The plan was for Mr Tex, Mr Professional and Mr Flow to come out on Saturday so we could get the underside of the house finished.
They all did come on Saturday but the weather was miserable for working outside. We had a nice hail storm on top of the rain storms, alongside some horizontal lightening. I finally had to let Mouse back into the house as he had crawled up onto the porch and would not leave my side. Mr Professional and Mr Flow worked under the house for four hours and then left, the weather just kept getting worse.
I sent Mr Tex up into the ceiling to clean up all of the dust and stuff. While he did that I finished installing the outlet boxes in the office area. The only real problem was I managed to buy single gang horizontal boxes at Home Depot instead of vertical. I ended up having to remove all of the vertical boxes and use horizontal boxes so I had some horizontal boxes for the single gang switches. So now all of the low switch boxes are horizontal. I think I have 26 outlets in the office in a 13’x16’ room, with a 5’x5’ attached room. I am positive we will not need all 52 outlet plugs, but we have them just in case. I continued cutting holes in the walls in the second room to get ready for power in that room also.
Mr Tex came down to tell me he could not get into the ceiling above the small room. I knew there was a bird’s nest up there so I knew we needed to get it out. This meant that the entire ceiling had to be torn down. The ENTIRE ceiling was full of straw and feathers. We got it all out and then realized that the support boards were in rough shape and not attached to the wall of the house. So once we got that mess all cleaned up we took out some more of the floor and then started to install the overhead beam. We ended up making two beams as I forgot to make a hollow support and just glued and screwed them together with a 1/2” piece of plywood in the middle. Mr Tex went around and drilled holes through all the boards so we could run cable. I had purchased nail stops to go over all of the cable holes so we don’t accidentally staple the wire when installing the wall paneling. I have decided to go with tongue and groove blue pine for the walls installed on a diagonal. The ceiling will be juniper that will be kept unfinished so you can smell it. If I can get all of the wire pulled we can start installing the insulation. The windows have not arrived and we still have the main front door to reframe into a bigger opening. I want to keep the old door to use between the rooms when we do the other room. This will save some money.
We also started installing the overhead light electrical boxes. We are going to have to caulk some of the walls in the attic and install some screen in the roof peak to keep out the hornets. I think letting off a bug bomb every four weeks is going to have to become a habit until we can get a handle on all the little holes everywhere. We did more cleanup as it seems to be an ongoing issue. The old bathroom has a 5” slant over 6’. So I am going to have to find six 2×6” boards to cut on a diagonal so we can get a new level floor installed in that little room.
Since we had to tear out the ceiling in the old bathroom we are going to have to do the same thing in the freezer room. but it also needs three walls torn out and a new level floor installed. We will have to install both doors first as they are being stored in the old kitchen. Once we have them in then we can tear into the old kitchen area and get the rest of the walls out and outside building sealed. It is coming along but there were no great leaps other than getting the new overhead beam in place.