Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Farm 3, Predators 15

Well, I am losing ground quickly this year.  I lost another chicken last night, one of the leghorns.  We were getting ready for bed around 2230.  I was opening the bedroom windows wider (more cool air) and thought I smelled a skunk.  This necessitated a night time patrol before I could go to sleep (Annmarie just tells me to go so I don't keep her awake).  I had worked on the chicken butler last evening and got it working again.  I had to re-position a micro switch so the door could operate.  So I knew the chicken butler was functional, but we had the clouds come in and cause it to get dark suddenly.  As I approached the coop the chicken door ramp was festooned with live birds camping out at the door.  I tried to toss them inside the coop through the door (after I opened it) but the hole is kinda small to toss a flapping bird through and the other hens kept trying to peck me.  After the third time getting pecked I gave up.  I did a search of the coop yard and found lots of loose white feathers.  On the way out I shut up the coop yard door.  

This morning I counted chickens again (kinda like counting coup) and found out I had lost another teenager, one of the leghorns is missing.  I know have five leghorns and 7 brahmas from my initial 18 chicks.  So now I have to purchase a timer so the butler will work when I deem necessary. 

I sprayed weeds all day yesterday.  This doesn't seem like a strenuous activity but the mule was bucking all over the place and I had to stay inside.  It wears on the muscles.  I made a first pass through the orchard breaking ground through ten foot tall milkweeds and lost a spray nozzle.  After turning the spray boom off, tying the boom arms up in the air and installing the spray wand to the tank I made a second pass through the weed jungle.  My whole boom setup fell off the mule.  It took off one of the spring cotter pins, bent one of the holders and loosened another bolt.  So now I will need to re-install the boom next week.  I have a plan, just need some time to complete it.  On one of the later passes a fawn deer jumped up and ran just before getting run over.  I tried to get a good view but all I was graced with were flashes of brown running and jumping through the weed jungle.  I did make it to the far end of the upper pasture and found an old hay loader that attaches to a wheat truck and lifts the bales up to the bed height.  It is ancient but looks like it still works.  The only thing I could not find on it was a way to attach it to the truck.  I chased three more deer out of the upper pasture.  They were all does and they all circled back around, which tells me there is a baby hiding in the grass some where.  

Sarah started the weed eating process out front near the bridge.  We need to knock down the weeds so we can start tearing out the bridge.  My concrete expert tells me I have to use rebar and let the posts cure for a week before using them.  So I need to get that done so when my help arrives we can just dig in and start building.  Tearing out the bridge and pouring the posts is this weekends project.   

OH, and I ran over the dog yesterday.  She has been chasing the pickup when I am driving around the farm.  I had told the wife and child that it was just a matter of time before I ran over the dog.  We were driving into the CRP to pull the mule out of the fence (I had been driving along the fence line squishing down the tumbleweeds put the drop off between the fence and the field kept getting steeper and the two wheel drive mule got stuck next to the fence) when we heard a yelp.  The child started ranting until I stopped her and told her this was going to happen.  Luckily for the dog, it happened out in the field.  I ran over her head and she ended up with a split eyebrow.  Other than that it turned out great.  The dog is doing fine today.  Has a little bit of a limp in that front leg this morning when she first got out of bed.  I am hoping that she is cured of her pickup chasing now.  Will know this weekend. 

Sprout actually let the horses sniff him this morning.  He has been avoiding them since we got them.  Not sure why he decided they were not evil today.  Annmarie would like to teach him and the horses to ride on the horse with her.