Today was the day, in eight hours we got the entire orchard fence torn out, leveled off and reinstalled! Now it did take three of us to do it but Mr Professional spent the first three hours spraying thistles while the Future NASCAR Driver and myself did actual manual labor and tore out the fence.
Mr Future NASCAR Driver and myself first had to clean up all of the flood debris. My contribution was driving the tractor as we used it as a wheelbarrow. We did have to skid out a couple of logs with the tractor and we had to pull the bridge from the barn lot away from the fence! It managed to travel about 100 yards through three fence creek crossings before catching on the fourth fence line. It is still intact, I am going to create concrete footings for it and just drop it back in place in the barn lot! Once we had all the fence down and all the debris on the burn pile I used the tractor to tear up the ground and create a nice even slope. There were a couple of high spots and one spot where we lowered the ground level almost 12”. I used all that dirt to fill in the very large hole in the ground from the flooding. I was able to build back two feet of dirt line. When I combined the new dirt with moving the fence forward about 10” the new fence went right in.
Future NASCAR Driver and myself hand dug three railroad tie holes and Mr Professional came over and did the fourth. We created two H braces on the left of the new breakaway section and one to the right. The center 16’ section is suspended by a 1/4” cable between the H braces, it is clipped at the bottom with a flimsy clip that will only hold about 300# of material. I then took another 16’ panel and laid it under the breakaway and had to bend a 10” section upward at 90 degrees to cover the U shaped bottom. That section was clipped with heavy duty clips to the breakaway section then about 1500# of rocks piled onto the panel laying on the ground. When the water hits the upright side it will create a dam and the water will push the bottom out and wash away the rocks allowing the panel to lift up and allow the water and materials to pass through the fence with minimal to no damage to the fence. This is my hope and wish and dream.
As we were cleaning up and trying to get three rigs back out to the machine shed I asked the Future NASCAR Driver to move the pickup. He doesn’t drive. So I gave him the low down on the tractor. He was not super comfortable with it but I figured he could get the 4’ wide tractor over the 10’ culvert. Mr Professional had him drive the side by side as there is only a gas peddle and a brake pedal and he still had to holler at him to only use one foot and touch one pedal at a time.
We started the burn pile on our way out of the field and moved the bridge to behind the barn.
We did attempt to put the sickle mower on the tractor but I had bent the three point hitch adjustable bar earlier last week or the week before and did not have a replacement on hand. We managed to get to D and B store 2 minutes before they closed. I got the part and will be mowing hay first thing in the morning. We are going to work on the far barn lot fence. Once it is done we will be able to sort the cows in Alcatraz and let the bull out with the female cows, let the ram out with the sheep after we sort off the cull ewes and female lambs and let the main sheep herd down with the cows. I won’t be much help this weekend as I will be covering night shifts at work. I will try and help out when I can in between sleeping.
Yesterday when we brought the sheep in we noticed three more babies, this morning I saw a fresh placenta on the ground and Annmarie just brought the sheep in again and says there are at least 6 untagged babies already. Yesterday, Annmarie spotted a dead lamb up in the Upper Prime Pasture and had me go up as she thought it had been killed by a coyote. It had no tag and was between two logs, I suspect it went down head first and broke its neck, Mother Nature does her own thinning sometimes. The sheep are a pleasure to work as we have an amazing group of calm lambs and ewes.
Stewart Creek is officially no longer running. This is the latest it has run as it is fed solely from winter water runoff from the mountains. We have a couple of water spots still but it is no longer running down the creek bed. I have been working on spraying the star thistle both days. I have managed to get about 75 gallons of spray on the ground as of noon today. I can only go out during the mornings due to the temperature. I only tried to roll the tractor three times going up and down the back hill. The one right behind our house is the worst as it is the steepest and the rockiest. I try to do it first so I am very cautious the rest of the time.
Yesterday we had three of Annmarie’s cousins come out to visit the house. It had been over 6 years for two of them and one had not seen any work on the house. They were amazed at all the work we have done and really liked it. It is always a pleasure to show the house to people who used to come visit or remember it when Annmarie’s grandparents lived here.
Annmarie found a marble in the barn lot yesterday when she was bringing the sheep in! I have added it to our collection in the living room, there is about an inch of space left in that container before I will have to start filling the container in the office I set up for marbles.
It’s hot outside and I am supposed to be relaxing so I took mink oil and oiled the entire outside of the wooden chest we got at auction. It is a leather wrapped chest with metal and wood strips over the leather. It did darken the leather but I am super happy with how it turned out. I just need to let this dry for a few days then I will take a lint free cloth and clean up the chest one more time. Once that is all done we will make a spot for it in the craft room and I will start looking inside the chest and figuring out how to preserve the inside. We emptied some of the stuff out but I think the rest is going to go into the trash can, its mostly old yarn. We learned the hard way that super old yarn just becomes brittle and not worth working. It looks like the inside has a wallpaper lining so I most likely will just wipe it down with a lightly damp rag and call it good after I vacuum out the dust and paper flakes. This was a great find for $70.
Sunday of this week Tex came out and finished fencing on the upper prime pasture. It needed wooden stays and to fix the spring crossing. He worked on that all day while the sheep continued to mow our front lawn.
I spent the day on the tractor trying to spray our upper middle field. It is growing gangbusters but it needs some weeds eradicated. I am only able to spray about a 6 foot swath at a time. I went to a fixed sprayer with no boom but the pump cannot keep the pressure up in the tank so it varies in its spray application rate. Its causing me enough problem that I have started to look back into a boom system. Luckily, I kept the 12 foot boom from the old four wheeler, I tossed it over by the metal scrap pile and never made it go away! I just need to mount it on the 55 gallon spray tank frame. Using that I can change out the size of the nozzles to control flow rates. I will be able to spray about 50% faster than I currently can.
I spent all day on the tractor and simply ran out of time. The middle prime field is done! There is about a half an acre of soggy ground in that field but the grass looks great.
Annmarie and I talked about it and I am going to dig a ditch to collect the water and make it run in a narrower channel. Hopefully, this will prevent it from forming fingers throughout the entire field.
I spent the next three weeknights after work trying to get the upper field sprayed. I found even more wet and muddy spots. There is about 1/3 of the field that I cannot get into due to the mud and soft ground. This is going to cause us some problems.
My hope is Tex and I can crank out the machine shed this upcoming weekend and I can get back to spraying.
I may even have to mow the lawn. Annmarie is getting tired of the dogs rolling in sheep manure and Gizmo keeps making himself sick from eating too many turds. It starts to make the cost more than its worth.
Annmarie and I took a walk up the pastures yesterday to see how they were doing. The middle prime pasture looks great. It does have some thistles and weeds but the grass is very thick. I am going to have to spray it first. Today I started spraying that pasture. The upper middle pasture is mostly broadleaf weeds. I will be doing it after this one. This means most evenings I will be sitting on the tractor. The grass is almost 18 inches high already. I sent an email to the company that we bought our hay equipment from and asked when it was going to be shipped to us.
Tex and I finished the fence over by the lamb shed. It is all secure, more wooden posts and T-posts to stiffen the fence and two more strands of barb wire. We even cut the metal panel out of the way so the gate will now swing either direction. This took most of the morning. I had to patch the fence in three areas once we got it strung up. There is a downside to reusing old fence.
We went ahead and just cut the leaning fence apart and will work on getting it redone. The water had dammed up behind woven wire. All the sticks and brush made a very nice blockage and the water spread out and got deep. Since Tex was going to fix the fence while I sprayed after lunch I brought over all the supplies he would need and we even dropped the culvert into the ditch.
We had tamales again for lunch! They are very good. I am unsure what to make for lunch tomorrow. I got out some ham for breakfast but lunch is still up in the air. I am thinking chili and Hill’s all beef wieners. I like to brown the hot dogs while the chili is cooking then mix them both together, toss cheese and onions on top and eat! It is very good.
While I went up and put 50 gallons of spray on the field Tex got the fence back together. We piled up rocks at the entrance and exit of the culvert and I will keep adding dirt to it until we have a nice level crossing. I opted to not have both culverts placed here as I will need the other one some where else on the farm.
The panel is clipped into place with little aluminum clips that the water can bend if there is too much pressure on the panel. I still need to do a little work on the waterway as I would like to add some small rocks into the channel to help cut down the erosion. We need to rehang the gate also as the H brace did get pushed upright but Tex didn’t add enough gravel and tightening the fence caused them to be a little crooked. We will move the gate around to the opposite sided H brace so hopefully we can get the gate working again.