Monday, October 16, 2017

Painting again

Annmarie is gone so I have started painting again in the craft room, which was going to be a library. I had these great ideas about making custom bookshelves for the entire room but I have come to realize that the floor loom needs a home. I would love to get the sewing table out of our master bedroom. We need a craft room. 

I usually make better progress when she is out of town. I work whenever I want and eat or don't eat whenever I want. This cuts down on my schedule demands. Now it's not good for me and I do recognize that. There is a reason that married men live longer than single men. 
The dogs have been demanding to go outside. Gizmo thinks he is a big dog and loves running around out in the yard with the border collies. 

We have decided to go with color this time around. I keep hoping that I can get the color on the wall and only have to paint one coat. It never ever works out that way. I always have had to paint two coats. It doesn't matter how many times the salesman tells me it will only take one coat, they are always wrong. 

One more coat to go. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Water line version 2.0

The baby is very cute. It's mother is the not so crazy one so it has been much safer to walk through the barn lot without the dogs. Annmarie took this picture and I love it. 

Annmarie sent me this picture Wednesday afternoon while I was still at work. I already knew there was a bad water leak. First thing after soaping up in the shower the water drops to a slight trickle. I barely managed to get the soap out of my hair and off my body. I checked my repair by the faucet on my way out the door. Usually, when I do plumbing it has to be redone a couple of times but no leak. Mind you by the time I got home it was raining and dark. This summer I had picked up some waterproof bibs, at a yard sale, and this was my first chance to try them out. So I donned a waterproof hat, coat, bibs and boots. I looked like an all weather tire commercial hawker. I spent three hours digging out the leak by hand. At one point I had to go get a gallon can so I could bail the water out of the hole as I dug down farther. I was certain after looking at the picture that the leak was near the well casing. But after exposing four feet of pipe I could not see the leak. I opted to have Donna turn the pump on for a count of five to determine where the leak was located. Nope, I had to dig another three feet distal to where I had my large hole. The pipe had a bunch of glued unions from multiple breaks. After more bailing and digging I finished for the night. I needed a shower. 

The next day I called the plumber and they came out and fixed it. They cut out one large section with multiple repairs and replaced it with one intact new pipe piece. Donna said it took them a couple of hours. The bill will come in the mail next week I am sure. I flushed the system out through the outside faucets and then finished filling in the hole with gravel. The gravel makes the hole much easier to dig but does let the water run and deceive you when it comes to leak location. 
The water pressure is great now but these things come in threes so I have one more hole to dig in my near future. 

I came home tonight and found the bull in the large wheat field. He was mooning over the cow that had just had her baby. Now mind you he had to push the upper hillside fence over and run around the upper prime pasture fence because he couldn't get through it. We just repaired all of it this summer. Once above that fence he had to go through the eight foot tall weeds and find the one open gate on the wheat side and then walk all the way down to the barn. I just opened up the gate on that side and he shuffled right in with no fuss. Annmarie and I had talked about running all the cows back together but I wanted to tag and possibly band this baby first before letting them mix together. 
There was no barn kitty waiting for scrunches when I fed tonight. I have only been able to touch it once. It loves Annmarie.  

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Baby cow.

Surprise!!  We have a baby cow. Our cows are the hardest thing for us to keep track of birthing times. They are all out of sync and if we try to pull the bull off we have no secure area. He just goes through the fence. We need a small area with access to water that is made out of all buried wooden posts with two layers of woven wire about 5' tall to keep him in. This will eventually be in the barn lot attached to the new gate I installed in front of the old lambing shed. The real problem is it's about $1000 in wooden posts and then I have to drill out all the post holes and install the posts. This is lots of work. I will finish getting in corners and gates for now till I am ready to build the bull area. We would also like to be able to put our rams in the same area. This way we will have a secure area for all our boys that will allow us to control birthing times. 
The baby was just born today as I had not seen it yesterday when I was checking in the cows. I went down and fed the other half of the cow herd from the back hillside and there were no baby calves with them. They tend to hide them better when they are on the bottom pasture. Mama was giving me the stink eye while I was taking the picture just outside the fence. I didn't want her to force the baby to move so I didn't get any closer. Also, the cows are super protective at this stage and it's not safe to be alone in the pen with them. The best way to get to the calf is to put the dogs opposite of you and the mama will go for the dogs allowing you to get much closer than if the dogs were attempting to push her off on your side. 

Annmarie did fantastic at the medieval event and managed to sell off about half our trailer. Most of the garb and fight gear is all gone. There are still several cool items. We are going to offer the trailer for sale now as is.  You have to hook up to it and drive it away with all its contents. It will be like Christmas when the buyer gets home and gets to empty it out!  We are asking around $2500 with some wiggle room, cash is king! 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

It is amazing!

All that is left of the hay that needed to be brought into the barn is about 8 bales that did not survive my haphazard tractor created pile. Since the sheep got out of the back hillside Thursday evening and Annmarie had to put them into the barn lot with the assistance of both dogs and our child and friend. They probably need some food. It's pretty slim pickings on the barren hillside and dried up bottoms. 
I had already thrown a broken large bale over the fence last week so we opened up the gates and let the sheep and cows clean it all up. The horses are greatly incensed by this as Annmarie has decided they need to be confined until their feet are trimmed. They let me know this in no uncertain terms even after feeding them first thing in the morning and again this afternoon. 

The brothers got dropped off by dad on his way to work. I had got back late last night and did not have time to do the prep work for jambalaya. I wanted to get the sausage cooked and onions sautéed. Annmarie is gone so the dish is going to be something we would not eat together. Which is why anything with beans is usually the menu choice. But I had some shredded chicken I needed to use up and some corn and some sausage. I had some leftover bacon so I threw that in there. I did only put in half of a huge onion, I considered the whole thing but it is our last onion and I didn't want to be without. 
So I was finishing up cooking breakfast sausage when the boys arrived. They said they had eaten so I finished cooking. I had the jambalaya doing its first 20 minutes of cooking. I went all out and use Zataran's boxed jambalaya. I had added a can of garlic tomatoes and I used chicken broth instead of water, it was leftover in the fridge also. I went with the spirit of the fridge for my main ingredients. I had one of the boys feed the horses while I fired up the old tractor. We needed to empty the trailer first. It started right up!  The minute I tried to drive it or put a load on the engine it started to sputter and died!!  This is not good!  We had to unload the trailer by hand and stack it into the machine shop. I figured we would start with those as they are the heaviest bales. I sent the boys to start filling the barn and cautioned them to alternate bales and rows. I went and took some more broken bales to the cows. By the time I had gotten back to the barn the boys had filled the entire floor of the barn with one layer of hay faced all in the same direction. The bales are loose so very fragile. Not to mention it's hard to walk across hay. I made them pick up 80% of it and we discussed working from the opposite corner from the door and forming two wings with a ladder arrangement that lets you get bales to the top as fast as you can. This concept of gravity and always working upwards had to be reinforced throughout the day. You need a bale on a lower level you pull the unattached one from above!  Constantly reminding them the goal is to stack it to the top and it was past that level so it needs to go higher so work and effort are not squandered. They were catching on by the tenth ton. 

By 0900 I remembered what it is like to work with brothers. I have had three different sets of brothers out over the years and it is always the same. I finally had to put in a no complaining clause until 1400. I was then questioned as to why that was a good time to complain. I informed them that they would be sore and have a full stomach from lunch and would have a good perspective on how much work was really left. This cut out the complaining. I was instantly rewarded for my quick thinking, little did I know. The weather was perfect and miserable for moving hay. The wind was blowing 20-25mph and the temperature was pretty cool. I moved hay all day in a tshirt and super lightweight long sleeved shirt and I never broke into a sweat. The problem was when Annmarie called me with updates I would hold still and began to get chilly. It started to rain so I told the boys to pick up the pace. I went to check on the kitty for the third time as I had not seeen him today. I spotted the orange tom eating his cat food so I refilled it for the kitty. He showed up and so did Gizmo. Now it was 1100 and Gizmo had been outside since 0730. He was cold, face and legs covered in stickers and shivering. I pulled all the stickers out and took him into the house. When I went back out the boys suggested we could work past lunch and eat a little later to get the hay in. It stopped raining so by 1207 there was some clamoring for lunch. Now mind you no one is wearing a watch. I had my cell phone playing music and had been explaining various songs and meanings to the boys. Early on when explaining that we were having gumbo for lunch, yes I did mess this up, they said what's gumbo?  So I said Cajun food. What is Cajun food? was the response I received. So I then proceeded to give them a lecture about growing up in a small town does not mean you have to be a hick. They asked me what a hick was?  I finally got all that straightened out and worked in a math lesson when someone asked me how much hay the animals needed each day. We did some extra math and shortcuts and discussed the joys of using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division all at once to make difficult math problems simple. Break the problem down into manageable pieces and get an answer. 

It's lunch time and I am reheating the jambalaya on the stove and zapping my last two ears of corn to be cut off the cob and added. I forgot to do it in the morning. Now I should mention that no one really gets any say in what they get to eat for lunch. I don't usually ask anyone's preferences. I figure they are teenagers or young men and will eat whatever is put in front of them. So I dished up bowls for everyone and we eat. It's good so I ask the boys how it is. They say it's good. Then I start getting the input on what they do and don't eat. Neither one likes tomatoes but they both eat spaghetti and tomato soup. One doesn't like onions but is sure he doesn't taste any. Neither one likes plain rice but if it's flavored it's all right. I had my third lecture of the day about them really liking tomatoes but maybe they didn't really know what it was they wanted. They both had seconds and there was half a bowl left so I could eat it for dinner. 

At 1404 I was asked if it was past 1400 yet as no one had a watch. I informed them it was and the grumbling started back up. Having set this up myself I suffered through. The wind was so bad it looked like upward hay snow in the barn. It was horrible. Lots of coughing and hacking and drinking water. I was informed by one brother he had a sinus infection and was stuffed up. I told him to use a netti pot to rinse out his sinuses. What's that? Was the response I got so we went over that also. We finished up just before 1600. This was even after straightening the horse side of the barn and getting that room ready for four tons  of straw. So we cleaned up, picked up yard tools that were strung all over the farm and put them away. I had just found my battery sawzall and drill last weekend. They were out in one of the old stalls in the lamb barn. They were hidden so the animals would not get into them. Unfortunately, I had forgotten them and they have been missing all summer long. We drained and picked up all the hoses. Put away all the sprinklers and moved our new round horse trough into the backyard to add to our elevated garden. 

This was way more than I anticipated and we were headed into the house to get money to pay them when I decided they needed to help me get the safe into the house. This was accomplished without too much hassle. The only real problem is our living room is collecting things. Notice the picture below. You will see a large floor loom waiting on me to finish painting the craft room. You will see a newly acquired cedar chest that has no home yet. In the far left corner there is an end table that needs to go back to grandma Donna's house. On top of it is an antique chest that we have not chosen a location for yet. I decided that the middle of the living room was a great place for the safe. 

The boys were a great help and I really appreciated them sticking with it. They only zoned out a few times and I snapped them right back to reality each time. It was worse once they got tired after lunch. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Just barn it

I am closing in on winter hay but not without a few trials. I have about 12 ton piled outside the barn. It will be moved on Saturday with the help of two unsuspecting teenagers. They are getting paid to help. They have agreed to help. I just don't think they really know what it means to move that much hay into the barn by hand and stack it. I still have not gotten a hay elevator. The need is growing more urgent. 

I am trying to get Annmarie and our medieval trailer out the door today. It has sat idle for nine years so we are going to sell it and buy a stock trailer. We found a local group event outside the Tricities and she is going to spend the weekend vending that portion of our life. A medieval yard sale. I now remember how many things used to go wrong the closer we would get to an event. Annmarie had a flat tire on her car this morning. 
I just needed to unload hay from the flat bed so I could hook up the enclosed trailer. The tractor keeps doing the "vapor lock thing". I have a sneaking suspicion there is more to it. Tractor keeps dying. I cannot get all the hay unloaded and now the tractor is dead in the driveway. We will have to finish unloading by hand. I am currently trying to pump up Annmarie's car tire to see if it will hold air long enough for me to drive to town. After it has air I am going to try and get the trailer hooked up. I suspect I will have to change the ball size on my stinger. They are hard to swap out! Plus it  will be amazing if the trailer tires don't need work and I am running out of time quickly. 
I needed a new sign for my chicken coop. I need a beware of predators sign. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Oh yeah winter is coming!

I can always tell when winter is coming by when our water line leak decides to surface. Now Annmarie and I knew there was a water leak. We can always tell by the loss of water pressure in the bathroom. It still takes several months to surface. It's always a guessing game as to where it will appear. Annmarie sent me this picture Thursday morning!!  Ugh. I knew it was happening I just didn't know when or where it would appear. 
The first and most important thing to do is to call a plumber!  Which I did but they cannot come until Friday late morning. This is good as it will give me time to dig the hole. In this day and age most plumbers charge extra to dig a hole. So I had a plumber but I needed to be the general laborer. Annmarie got her mother to turn off the water around 1000. I arrived at home around noon and started digging. I dug the entire hole by hand and discovered that the leak was only a broken joint. 

The joint actually failed along its fusion seam. I was able to drive to Pendleton and get the $5 part and install it. I filled the hole back up by hand and we had water by 1700!!  It was the cheapest plumbing fix ever. I even amazed myself. 

We picked up this trunk from a yard sale. It went to college in the 1920's.  We just need to clean it up now. 

Some weird bug out on the bridge. It looked like a beetle of some kind. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

It's raining

Does this look like I am ready for rain?  I have been trying to get our hay into the barn. Now I cannot do this if I don't have hay here at the house. It takes me almost two hours round trip to get a load and get it unloaded and back. So I can only squeeze in one trip in the evenings that I and the seller are free. I am trying very frantically to get it all here on the farm and then I can get it into the barn. I currently have three loads "stacked" outside the barn doors ready for me to move them inside.  It picks this week to rain!!  Now I have to wait a couple of days before I can stack it inside the barn. Just another added delay. 
I just about have unloading down with the new tractor but I keep dropping one or two bales which makes for uneven stacking. This has caused my stacking job to look more like a pile than a stack. On a plus side I am just going to grab them and toss them inside the barn to then be stacked again. Neatness doesn't count midway through. 
So Thursday we have a nice steady light rain coming down out of the sky. Hopefully the bales won't get too soaked.