Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Outside catching up

Annmarie had a whole list of things for me to do today.  All of them outside in the freezing cold.  Her number one concern was the back fence.  The back creek had started to dam up against my fence.   This is not good and could lead to the water tearing down my entire fence.  So I needed to get out there and dig out the tumbleweeds and leaves and raise the panels above the water level.  I had every intention of just going outside and doing that this morning, but I got distracted.
I found someone on Craigslist selling hair sheep over the weekend.  Annmarie called them and arranged for us to purchase and transport them home this up coming Saturday.  We got a good deal $60/each.  They are still teenagers.  I believe they are only 3 months old.  At 6 months old they go into estrus.  Now the problem with this is we still do not have  trailer.  Plus, the racks on our pickup were pretty bad, so I have been slowly taking them apart to use as wire tighteners in the fence I have been building during the Summer.  Luckily for me, I slowed down on the fence building and there was still uprights in the pickup bed to build onto.  So another one of my jobs for today was to build new racks for the sheep, plus the lady selling us the sheep was worried about the cold and weather so it needed a cap to keep the weather out.  Sarah reminded me this morning that we needed another feeder for the sheep and wouldn't it be nice if the feeder was just under the open window where the baby enclosures were.
So I went into the barn leanto and moved the baby enclosures and drug another feeder from the other end of the barn into the sheep area.  I re stacked the hay to get it away from the open window and filled the feeder from all the loose hay on the ground.  I scavenged the wire doors from the front of the baby enclosures for the back of the pickup.  Next I went to the old granary and dug around inside for some scrap wood.  I ended up cutting a large chunk of conveyor belt (made out of wood, canvas and leather) to use as the walls.  I pulled the pickup into the yard so I would have easy access to power and began my new pickup racks.  I added a four foot deep lid made out of two pieces of OSB with a blue tarp sandwiched between them.
 Who really knows where the conveyor belt came from?  It was probably some old combine but I don't know for sure.  It was just sitting there not doing anything.  Eventually, I am going to use up all those old things and go wanting.  But at least they will have had a second life.



Now nothing goes this smoothly.  I had to take a break before building the racks to cut down a pine tree (the chain saw was on the old house porch in my way).  So I fired up the chainsaw, it was fairly easy, and it died.  No gas, so I filled the gas and oil and fired it up again.  I went over to the tree, decided my plan of attack (the tree needed to fall into the orchard not our yard or on the house, of course it was leaning toward the back creek) and started cutting.  I would have made more progress with a butter knife.  After five minutes I had to stop and go sharpen the chain saw blade (another 30 minute operation) and then reattempt cutting the tree down.  It took me 3 tries to get the notch right and then when I came in from the backside the tree fell just where I wanted it to go.  I guess all that hard manual labor cutting firewood as a kid paid off.
So after finishing the pickup rack I went out to lock the chickens up and every door was wide open.  So as I am closing the door inside the coop that goes to the supply room (my chicken supplies and food and access to all the nest boxes is in a separate room that the chickens cannot get to.  I hear frantic scrabbling, some of the kittens are inside the coop.  So I had to leave the inside door open so they could get out.  I did lock the chicken yard gate down so the cats will have to spend the night with the chickens.  If they don't like the chickens then they will be a little more careful tomorrow.