Plans interrupted, second 100 year flood commencing

Sunday was the day we were gonna really get cranking on the office. It was supposed to rain most of the day so working outside was just not going to be an option. Since we had the new door installed on the new office we could turn on the little heater and get it fairly comfortable inside. I had decided that working on the ceiling was going to be our project for the day. Our rain indicator showed that in the last 24 hours we have gotten 1.96” of rain and the back runoff creek Stewart Creek was running muddy and starting to finally rapidly rise. It was still contained in the banks so I was not too worried. Mr Professional came out and we started our discussion on how the ceiling was going to be installed. It turns out that the Juniper wood we purchased from a local mill has a lot of knot holes and cracks in it. This means there are gaps and holes so we needed the intact old intact ceiling to be able to use the new wood. The best part is the old ceiling will peak through the new ceiling. I wanted to just install it in horizontal rows, while this is fairly boring it is the quickest install. Mr Professional talked me into going across the ceiling in a 45 degree angle. We managed to get about five boards installed when my daughter came out and asked us if we had seen the front spring?

We had not but holy moly! The entire front spring was now a raging torrent. The only way this happens is if the creek has diverted upstream and is flowing down all of the hay fields. Mr Professional and I put on waterproof clothing and started going upstream and cutting the panels loose. The metal clips were supposed to break under pressure of the water. This did not happen, the 500# rated clips were holding back a few feet of raging water. We started cutting the cables and clips or grinding through them to release the water and pressure on the fence. This was done blindly sometimes as the water was very muddy. Luckily, earlier in the week after moving hay I had trouble keeping my glasses on due to all of the sweat. I put on these little silicone wings that grab the ear pieces and wrap a piece of silicone around the bottom of each ear. This was essential to me keeping my glasses during the storm. I cut a panel loose and it scratched across the left side of my face and ripped my glasses off of that side of my face. The only thing that kept my glasses on my head was the silicone piece on the right ear! Mr Professional hollered across the water that I was bleeding. There was a short discussion about the known saying ”all bleeding stops eventually!” The bleeding did stop so we continued on and continued to release the breakpoints in the fence the entire length of the property. There was 8-12” of water across the entire bottom grass fields with three feet of grass, by the time I got to the far end of the field, I was utterly exhausted. Mr Professional had gone back to get the side by side so I could ride back and not walk.

The side by side has some major issues and we have known this. It sounded rougher than normal but I concentrated on drinking water and getting back to the house. Annmarie hollered when we got down to the end of the driveway. It turns out that Star, our only white stripped cow had lain her baby down on the wrong side of the raging torrent of water. We ended up catching the calf, who did not like this and were going to just take the side by side up and around the hill and drop off the calf with her mother. The side by side gave its final cough and died as soon as we got to the driveway. It is dead! It will need some major engine work or a new engine to correct its current state. Now the calf is stuck in the side by side with me waiting for a ride. The pickup transmission problem has it trapped in the ram pasture and it is now pinned between two raging water torrents.

So Mr Professional and Annmarie went to obtain her Subaru all wheel drive vehicle. Clear plastic was tossed in the back of the car, I crawled in and held onto the calf while Annmarie drove us up on the back hillside. I let the calf out and it promptly ran in the wrong direction. Annmarie went out and chased the calf down. It was reunited with its mother and all was well.

I was exhausted. A shower was had, 16 ounces of dip and chips consumed and an hour long nap on the couch was needed. As soon as I woke up I talked the wife into driving into Pendleton to “check on the reservoir level” but as soon as we got to Pendleton we went to Dairy Queen so I could eat a banana split!! I wolfed it down, we went home and it was bed time! Not exactly power food but it sure was comfortable and well received. I was supposed to eat some real food in there somewhere. My scratch got scrubbed clean and bacitracin ointment applied. If It scars then I will have a cool ”pirate” wound.


Saturday evening Annmarie and I had to go down to the far end of the property and get the sheep. They were in an area they were not supposed to be and had to crawl through a hole in the creek crossing. I knew the flood had damaged the creek crossing fence but had not been down to repair it yet. The sheep found the hole like they always do and went through. This area is still fenced but I just did not want them in there yet. I took Mouse as he doesn’t work well for me and we are trying to reinforce the dogs training and obedience. It took a while, it would have been faster had I listened to Annmarie, this does seem to be a trend in my life. She really is the smarter individual. It got done and Mouse listened much better to me then he had at any time this year.

Mr I Need a Belt Bad came out again on Sunday. I had some things to do inside and it rained again last night, so mowing the lawn was not going to happen again. I turned him loose on the grass and weeds in the back garden area. There was a jungle and lawn attempting to grow and he tackled it with a pair of bent needle nose pliers! He got the entire area cleaned out, I have a few stragglers that I will hand spray with Roundup and put them out of their misery. I even went and got the leaf blower out and blew all of the winter leaves out and cleaned up the area. It looks much better and this needed to be done.

I stayed inside and did some inside chores, cleaned up and even hung up another oil lantern. Annnmarie’s grandparents had these drop down cast iron stands for lamps. I took one last night and scrubbed on it nonstop and got it fairly clean. I also cleaned up an oil lamp from them also. The lamp was stunning! It had an amazing color to the glass and we wanted to showcase it. So I hung the lamp shelf in the bathroom on the slanted wall that was never going to have anything in it. The lamp looks great and it will be a nice reminder of them.

After 24 hours without a front porch I was ready to be done, using the back door nonstop is going to be painful. So we finished pulling nails out of the porch and laid down temporary sheets of OSB I had out in the machine shop sitting around. The dogs and everyone else appreciates the return to our routine. Once we start back up with the supplies this is going to be a big incentive to get things completed in a timely fashion. I may even take some time off to just see it through to the end. I think we could be done in a week.

Mr Professional came out to look at replacing the front bearing seal on the tractor. Once we figured out you needed a hydraulic press and had the potential to damage the bearings we just hooked up the trailer and loaded it up. I will drop it off at the dealers tomorrow at lunch and get it fixed. We will need it in a couple of weeks to mow. I need to get the parts for the second sickle bar and get it up and ready also, we may get to make some hay this year. We are working on adding a large marine battery to the side by side. It will go under the drivers seat so we can hook the sprayer up to it and it has a voltage sensing switch that will isolate the main battery if it starts to go low so we will always be able to start the side by side. I am draining the little batteries trying to run the sprayer as much as we do. The sprayer hose all needs to be replaced, I have all the parts but just have not done it yet. I need to weld on the extensions and just get it done. There is always something. I have one good day in me on the weekends and then take it easy on the second day. I am feeling better but I am not out of the woods yet with my post Covid symptoms. It has been five months now since I caught it.

Spring is here, finally

I had big plans to get stuff done this weekend but you only have so much time in a day. On top of that its Easter weekend so we have a family dinner during the day and I don’t do any work. I know its not very common for me but I do take a day off occasionally. Since the beef needed to be cut up that occupied all of Friday. It took about ten hours to cut it and wrap it all, that included the clean up time at the end which is essential or the entire house will continue to smell like raw meat. The meat is incredibly pale and Mr Professional and I had steak, eggs and toast for dinner and it was amazing. Annmarie is busy all week with Easter and helped for a couple of hours before having to go into church. Our biggest problem is the two freezers are full! I had to move a lot of stuff around to make room for the unexpected beef. We filled the tractor bucket with all of the bones. Mr Professional was out after dark putting stuff in the pickup and heard a commotion at the tractor, the cats had figured out where we were piling the scraps! We have two cats living in the machine shed, we must need a few more since the mice got into the air intake on our side by side.

The side by side was ready to spray so I got moving early on Saturday and was out spraying weeds by 0830. I realize that this is not especially early but I did cook breakfast, sausage and waffles, first and then had to drop the panels over the back creek to keep the sheep near the house. We wanted them to be able to go up on the back hillside and eat. For two reasons, one the grass is growing and two they are eating lots of hay. Due to the changes in the creek banks from last years flooding I had to cut the panels to fit as they would no longer occlude the opening like they used to. While Annmarie was letting the sheep out onto the back hillside she asked me if I could see Big Brown, our old ewe. I did not spot her, but once Annmarie came into the yard she reminded me we put her into the orchard with the weanlings to give them some direction. We chuckled as both of us had forgotten this detail. Once that was done, I went out and sprayed. Our side by side has a 50 gallon tank on it and when it is full it makes steering the side by side very hard. The front tires are not really gripping the ground very well and any turn takes twice the normal radius. I need to get the welder up and going so I can make some tractor weight holders to mount on the front of the vehicle. This should help the steering immensely. I sprayed the orchard first by just spot spraying with the wand. It didn’t need the entire field but it did have some patches of thistles that needed to be killed. I found the old Big Brown ewe dead over by the far gate. She had died in the last 24 hours. I finished spraying out the first load of spray then went and picked up Mr Professional. He took the beef bones and Big Brown ewe up to the boneyard.

Once he came back from the boneyard and saw all the green grass and the flood damage he wanted to start planting the bare spots. I told him nope, the plan for the day was to spray weeds and finish the bathroom, nothing else!! We cannot get distracted, there is a lot to do and limited time to do it. We must prioritize or the necessary things will not get done. This is the sole reason to keep a running list of to do’s and keep juggling their priority. He finished installing the four boards in the bathroom and rehung the sliding door so it opens and closes correctly and stays shut. I did not have it level.

I managed to spray all of our upper field, #1 including the fence lines and the ditch. I even managed to get 1/2 of field number 2 sprayed. I also sprayed the triangle near the wheat fields that is a breeding ground for thistles. At one point I overfilled the tank and even managed to spray all the area behind the grain bins. The side by side really needs a ring job, it is burning lots of oil. Before the engine got warmed up I thought I could merely drive over the weeds and smoke them to death. I was getting ready for tank number four when all of a sudden our power went out. Mr Professional was upstairs and hollered to look at the power line, it was waving back and forth. Our up stream neighbor was having some trees cut down. So we drove up there to check and sure enough they dumped a tree on the power line but had no cell service, we drove back down th road until we got service and called the power company around 1330. We did not get power back until around 2315 last night. Before the power company was done they had 3-4 vehicles and a backhoe out there and ended up having to replace a power pole.

Since we had no power, Mr Professional and I went out to work on stringing up the new fence line that runs along the edge of the wheat field. I now use the 5000 foot bailing string to run fence lines and it is the best! We used the T-post tractor pusher to set the T posts, it is the slickest thing ever. We put a few extra right by the horse’s resting area so no one runs over it.

The sheep had gone down to the schoolhouse. My fence repair was supposed to stop that, but fixing the fence does no good when you leave the gate open! Luckily the sheep put themselves onto the back hillside with no prompting and the gate just had to be shut. They even came down and slept behind the barn last night with no prompting! As always, when the sun is out shining it is hard to tell a live alpaca from a dead one.

Sometimes it is all about the little things

I keep wanting to be more timely with the blog.  I am learning that after working all day on the farm I am tired and don’t have the gumption to sit down and write.  Also, Annmarie tells me when I do write something at that time it is very dry and factual because I am too tired to be animated.  I actually agree with this statement so I have taken to making notes so I can remember what was accomplished and can sit down and write it all out when I am not exhausted.  I had to work at the paying job on last Friday so the only thing I managed to accomplish was ordering the extra battery cable and a charging control switch so I can mount a large marine battery under the driver’s seat of the side by side and run two batteries.  I already have the trickle charger on it and we just purchased another new battery as the other new one was destroyed and would not hold a charge any longer.

Saturday morning Annmarie wanted to go up and check on the cows.  She swore that the green tag cow was bursting at the seams pregnant.  We went up first thing in the side by side.  The side by side needs a tuneup bad!  The new battery is nice and the second battery will be nicer.  The far upper gate was off its hinge and open.  The cows were all still in the correct field but Annmarie was convinced the cow had a calf.  We drove back and forth over the entire upper field to make sure there was no calf.  I do not believe she was pregnant but sometimes its just better to listen and do what the wife wants.  This is not a common theme in our marriage so it is something I am working on.

There was no calf.  I went to town after that and picked up tools, yard hoses and an electric mower.  We are also now watering our yard so I fired those up before I left for Pendleton.  While I was in Pendleton I priced a new calf table for a paltry $1650!

I came back and cleaned out the baby area in the chicken coop.  I had  friend want to give me straight run 3 week old chickens but they needed a home.  So I dug it out and refilled it with pellets, wood chips, food and water.  I called my buddy and told him he could drop them off in the coop at any time now that it was setup.


I took the tractor and drove the few miles down back roads to pickup the manure spreader!  I know it needs some work but the price was great and all but the top piece spun around.  After I got it home I started in on the bolts and grease zirks with an all wire brush and some W-D-40 attempting to get the 40 years worth of buildup off.  It’s going to take a few days and a couple of cans of W-D-40 to get the fenders off and hopefully all the parts moving!  I may have to weld in one piece of angle iron at the base of the machine on each side to accommodate the chain.  It needs more cleanup and some more W-D-40 to get a couple more bearings free.  All of this is to be expected for the fixer upper price I paid for it.  It will probably cost me about $500 to get it up and running.  I have been looking for a manure spreader for years.  Everyone that has been getting composted manure from the barn lot pile is going to be disappointed.  I will only be letting the manure sit for one winter then spreading it out the next year.  I am hoping this can prevent me from having to purchase fertilizer.