Spring is coming, maybe

Every year without fail the snow melts in the mountains when it warms up and the back creek starts up and eventually when the winter runoff is completed it dries up again. This cycle happens every year and one would think that I would plan better for the changes but they always seem to catch me by surprise. I knew the back creek had started up and I knew that it would get deeper eventually. The real trick to being a procrastinator is knowing when it is essential that something be done. This “art” takes some dedication and a real zen type sense of impending doom.

I came home from work on Monday evening and the back creek was roaring! The temperature had gotten to over 50 degrees F after all that snow. I had failed to accurately predict when the runoff was going to occur, this seems to be an annual problem. I had Mr Professional come out with me and we both stood on each side of the roaring water and worked to pull the panels out of the water. The panels had already started to collect debris and back the water up even higher. The only real downside to this endeavor is that you have to climb out to the middle of the raging stream while staying on the fence above the water and remove the metal clip that holds the middle of the panel in place. Without releasing this clip you cannot lift the panel out of the water or remove it completely. It is a crucial part of the operation yet you cannot stare at the moving water as you are looking down or you will start to develop vertigo. You must maintain a hyper awareness to your surrounding so you don’t accidentally let go and end up in the water. We managed to get the only two crossings out of the water. I pulled two others and just don’t use them much and if I do I only use them in the spring and pull them up in the summer. I need the two near the house and don’t seem able to remove them. I do need to pull them out of the DRY creek bed the first week of January. I say this now but for the last ten years I have scrambled in the dark or late evening to pull them out of a raging waterway, maybe I have learned?

This is winter

Hard to believe that the back runoff creek is already running! It is only January and it is full of water and moving toward the ocean. The creek is so much wider after the torrent we had last year so I am hopeful it won’t get out of control this spring.

The damn tractor broke again! The worst part is the hydraulic steering cylinder that broke this summer just broke again! I just don’t understand why this is happening. It’s the bolt in the hydraulic cylinder that is shearing. So I will order another one and we can get it installed. Mr Professional managed to use enough bailing twine to get it to hold in place long enough to drive it back to the machine shed.

The winter weather has brought some amazing color changes to the skyline. I have been trying to get pictures whenever the light has been unique. I do love the changes.

I managed to miss one of the extra roosters. I have two now and need to thin the the second one. He is not very good at crowing, he sits on the top of the coop ramp entrance and blocks the hens from going in when it is getting dark. We have had to round up the hens every night and push them into the chicken coop. He is making me crazy. I keep hoping that one of the raccoons will actually eat the spare rooster. It has gotten so bad we are now using the Border Collie, Mouse to herd the chickens back into the coop at night!

We did tag and band the lambs on Saturday and sorted off the seven ewes that we think are pregnant and have isolated them to the momma baby area. Everyone else is now in with the main herd and the entire barn is opened up to them. I will update the lamb statistics next week.

A little flash flood

It snowed yesterday and then rained all night.  I of course had not taken the fence out of the creek crossings yet.  I had been talking about it for the last two weeks and just never seemed to get around to it.  This morning while it was still dark I told Annmarie I was going to have to come home early and get those fences out of the back runoff creek.

As I was headed out of work early this afternoon, a coworker texted to remind me I was going to show him around the farm so he could come out and shoot coyotes.  I had of course forgotten this and had told him he would need to send me said reminder but this dovetailed nicely with me needing some help to get the panels out of the back creek.

My Doppelgänger came out and proceeded to help me pull the panels out of the now raging back creek.  It has rained 0.68 inches in the last 24 hours and has rained 5.63 inches since Jan 1, 2020.  We used to get 12” of rain annually.

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We pulled the fence out of multiple crossings and at one point I noticed my Doppelgänger was bleeding all over the fence.  He managed to cut himself on the very first piece of panel we moved.  This did not slow him down and I managed to not fall into the rampaging creek.  I escorted him over the property and showed him where the coyotes were most likely to be hiding and were it was safe to shoot.

Best last minute didn’t know they were gonna help, help I have ever had.  I would have been at it for at least a couple of hours trying to wrestle those panels out of the runoff by myself.  On the way back to the house we stopped off at the barn and Mr Doppelgänger and his girlfriend helped me feed the sheep while they played with the lambs.  Lamb snuggles are worth the wait.

My baby chickens have not been liking the rain and have started to protest and not lay eggs.  They need to just get over it and start laying consistently.

 

 

Vacation prep

I am supposed to go on vacation this next week so I spent the weekend prepping for my vacation. It’s really a staycation as I am not going anywhere. Our front upper spring has quit running. It is amazing as it did it midSeptember. I need to harden this outlet by piling in a bunch of rocks. I am going to pickup rocks from the barn lot and dump them all here. I have been working the barn lot to smooth it out, this in turn has caused a lot of rocks to surface. I now want to plant grass seed in the entire barn lot to hopefully choke out the cheat grass next year.

It was the Pendleton Round-up last week so I had to work lots and Annmarie did her first stint in the Mounted band. This caused me to not put the sheep away every night. It is now the weekend and I have no more excuses so I am traipsing up into the upper field every evening to put away the sheep and horses. One may ask why it is always me at night? That would be because Annmarie traipses out there every morning to let the sheep and horses out of the barn lot, same reason I do the dishes if she cooks dinner. This little fawn kept running up toward me after I got the sheep in and was in the process of shutting the gate. I have a buck tag this year but we only have about 8 deer on the entire property. One of them is a little buck that I keep seeing every few weeks. I am hoping he is here during deer season. I have yet to draw a doe tag.

I spent two days working on the front fence. I blasted it with high pressure water one evening then scraped it with a wire brush the next day after it had dried out. I spent 7 hours the next day painting it. Painting is my least favorite job ever. The entire fence has a single coating. I even took the time to use the pressure washer on the concrete walkway. It looks much better.

Relaxing weekend

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.