Ouch, is it quicksand?

It has been a long two days already and there is one more left in the weekend.  First thing Friday and Saturday I got out of bed, made coffee and went out to spray fields.  We are trying to eradicate the star thistle and other thistles.  So I am spraying 2-4-d and Milestone on the fields and so is Mr Professional, between the two of us hopefully we will have it finished this week.  I keep running out of spray, last year we didn’t buy hardly any spray which may explain why we are spending so much this year.  I suspect we will end up with about $1500 worth of chemicals on the property, for around 70 acres.  The amount of rain we have gotten this year is causing the weeds to just keep coming out of the ground.  This has led me to the conclusion that the battery I got for the side by side is too small.  We keep having to use the external battery to jump start it.  I should have just gotten the kit that allows me to install a large marine deep cycle battery under the driver’s seat.  I will be doing that and getting a new battery that will just fit in the battery holder.  I need as much battery as I can get, even the trickle charger is not helping.

I did have to pump up the front right tire on the tractor on Friday.  I suspect I may have run over a nail.  I still need to replace the left front tire rim and both front tires are the originals and are almost 8 years old.  We now park the tractor in the machine shop but it used to sit out most of its life In the weather and sun which is reflected in the tire condition. It is time to get new ones.

Annmarie and I spent the late morning spreading out the rest of our ground cover tire bark on Friday and she took me to town to feed me lunch so we could get the rest of the parts needed to install a drip line on all the berries.  The berries and the lavender are both now on timers and drip lines.  We have about 20 bags of tire chips leftover.  I want to get the greenhouse up and use it on the floor as a heat sink.  Our wheat fields should be harvested next week.  I love the wheat when it is at this stage, I think it is at its most beautiful.

We spent Saturday morning fixing the drip lines on three herb containers in the back garden and I finished spraying the far field.  After breakfast and conversation with my mother I went out and put away the baler in the machine shed and decided to go up to the second field and dig more ditches.  The ditches I dug last week had water running in them and the surrounding ground has firmed up nicely.  I would like to move some dirt and fix all the runnels in the field that the flooding caused but there is still a pretty wet spot in the middle of the field.  My plan was to just dig some interconnecting ditches to help the water flow better.  I took flags with me and walked around the wet area and marked the borders so when it dried out I would know what was going to be super wet ground again in the spring.  I have pretty much convinced myself I am going to have to install pecker poles, some people call them vineyard poles, they are only 2” around and pressure treated.  I can drive them into the ground and they should stay for about 7 years.  I need to know where it is wet when I am cutting hay so I don’t inadvertently get out into the mud.

Why you ask would I like to avoid the mud?  Well it is wet and sometimes the bottom of the mud hole is hard to find.  I started to dig right at the top of a running waterway and got the front tires stuck.  I tried to back out and push out with the bucket but the bucket kept sinking and not finding a lot of firm ground.  I then went forward deeper into the hole and tried to pull myself forward with the bucket.  This let me get forward another three feet which put me nose down into a hole.  I was at the far end of the property and had no tools or vehicles except for two railroad ties laying over by the gates.  I had seen them there and was saving them for use later.  I hoofed it over and grabbed the first one, put it on my left should and walked the 200 feet to the tractor.  It was heavy and I could feel it digging into my skinny shoulder.  I wedged it under the front left tire and went back for the second one.  I simply could not squat down and get it up on my right shoulder, damn thing was over 100# and I was hot and tired.  So I put one end of the tie on a cross beam about three feet off the ground, lifted the other end and got under it.  I hoisted it onto my right shoulder and made it about 50 feet before saying no way and tossing it on the ground.  Mind you I think the tractor is sinking into the mud as I mess around with the railroad tie.  I grabbed a 3/8 chain I keep on the tractor and wrapped it around one end, made a yoke by hooking the other end to the tie, stepped in and started to pull it toward the tractor.  I was able to use my legs and whole body to move the railroad tie and got it to the tractor, I tossed it under the right front tire and a piece of cattle panel went under the back tires.  Nope, all this did was cause the ties to stand up when the front tires starting putting weight on them.  I needed a shovel to dig out a horizontal path for the tie.

I was keeping the tractor running because when I manipulated the bucket the front end of the tractor would fall into the water submerging the exhaust pipe.  My next trick was to pull out one of the ties and lay it just in front of the bucket.  The tie was wider than the hole I made so I figured I could push off the tie with the bucket.  This may have worked but when I lifted the bucket I rolled the tie toward me.


I wanted it to be in just the perfect spot, unfortunately I rolled it too close and was unable to push off of it with the bucket.  I could kinda keep the front end out of the water only.  I then took the other tie and tried to get it under the front of the tractor.  Nope, it was just sinking faster and now the exhaust pipe was fully submerged.

In desperation I jumped off the tractor and gabbed the closet railroad tie and tried to stick in under the bucket at 90 degree angle to the other tie.  I figured the bucket could easily push off of that but I was not fast enough.  I tossed it quickly as the tractor had blue smoke coming out of it and was making a funny noise.  I tried to use the bucket to push me up but had to just turn off the ignition before I sucked water into the engine.  I had managed to get stuck more than any other time in the tractor’s life or my experience.  I called a friend, Mr Richard Hemphill who came out, looked at it and went back to get a bigger tractor.


I tried to take a nap while waiting but surprisingly the ground was very warm with the sun beating down on the ground.  I gave up and drank more coffee.  The very large tractor showed up, we hooked the tow strap on and it just pulled me out of the ground!  Once out Richard said start it, I had to dig mud out of the exhaust pipe first and since the water never got to the air intake I fired it up and it started on the first try!

I spent over an hour with a hose getting all the mud off the tractor and out of the radiator.  There was mud caked all over the engine and both side of the radiator.  I am going to leave it to dry overnight and will move it in the morning.  I will be done with the tractor until I get new tires, the front right tire is flat again.

On the plus side, my baler part from Italy will be here in two weeks!


Spring is back


The weather is better every day.  The sprayer rig is completed.  Mr Professsional has been out for a couple of weeks helping me.  He has got the sprayer fine tuned and all of the bottoms have been sprayed with 2-4-D.  The upper two pastures that had grass in them last year that looked good last year look great this year.  The boom nozzles needed screens and of course we blew out a chunk of hose.  There is enough hose to redo all of the exposed lines and if I continue to store it in the machine shed it should not get sunburned and all brittle.

I really need another metal cabinet so I can store all the parts for various equipment in it.  I have a little one but it is filling up fast with all the assorted stuff.  I would like a shelf for each piece of equipment.  Keep it simple and I could label each shelf and outside the cabinet.  Something to think about.

I have been trying to work on the upstairs bathroom.  It has been fraught with the usual bad choices.  When I first installed the lights 12 years ago I did not make them level with the lights on both walls.  I also did not plan for installing a mirror.  I had to move the one light to fit the mirror then I needed to move the two lights opposite so they were at the same height.

This turned out to be a much longer process than one had imagined if that one was me.  I marked out the spots and as I was moving the boxes realized that some of the wires were going to be just long enough to stay in the boxes but not long enough to attach to anything so a jumper wire was necessary.  I spent three days a couple of hours a day getting everything moved around.  I then flipped the switch and only one outlet out of three worked and no lights.  A couple of days later I tear apart every connection looking for a loose wire.  Then I start testing all the switches and lights to check for continuity so I can start drawing the  wire diagram in my head.  This would be the wire diagram that Annmarie asked me to draw out on paper 12 years ago.  I know that you will all be shocked to hear that I did not draw it out.  I told her it was all in my head and the wiring was done anyways so it did not need to be written down.

Six hours later I still could not figure out why there was no power.  I started tearing boards off of the wall and sticking my phone in the wall and taking pictures.  This was how I discovered that I had let the power wire drop down into the wall.  It just needed to be attached and everything else worked, after I put it all back together again.  So now we have lights and power in the correct places.  We are trying to create a dark to light pattern on the walls from the doorway.  Will see if we can get it to turn out.  We have decided to just use some Danish Oil on the walls as finish to bring out the blue pine color.

Annmarie made homemade Focaccia bread in a cast iron pan.  It was amazing and she made my favorite pasta dish for my birthday dinner.  We normally go out for our F03C4224-7B12-4382-BEC8-5B0C14D966D9birthday dinners and I have to say that I think this was one of the better birthday dinners I have had recently.  She did an amazing job on the entire thing.









Catch up weekend

I did work on the house over the weekend.  Mostly catch up kind of stuff, which always seems to grow.  We got a couple more tables for the office so Annmarie can sit in front of the window when she does her Zoom teaching sessions and have the best natural lighting.  The tables went together fairly easily and we got all wooden ones so there was no particle board to tear up.  The sheep were taking it easy in the front yard and one lamb even decided to use the wooden bench as a resting area.

One of my egg customers asked me how I cleaned my eggs and whether I used a candle on them.  So I took this picture of my fancy egg collecting basket and told her that I just take the eggs out of the fancy basket and put them into the cardboard egg carton.  If the egg is covered in poop then I run it under hot water.  That is the extent of my treatment for our farm fresh eggs.  They taste good!!

I swept up the upstairs bathroom floor and cleaned up my mess.  I swept and mopped the floor.  Once that was done I realized I needed to do a little more work on the closet before I could start putting up the tongue and groove boards.  So I made a wall with shelves built in for the closet.  I don’t want the space to go to waste.  I still need to create the top part and angle.  I am looking at putting in a sliding door to cover the closet opening.  It will look like a barn door.  Slowly but surely I will get the sprayer up and working.


Zeke keeps getting out so I finally had to add another wire to the top of the front fence.  I drilled a hole through the posts so he could quit crawling under the wire!  He is the worst when it comes to trying to contain him.  So far he seems to be staying in the yard.