Sunday, October 16, 2011

Projects multiply

Everyone in the ram pasture today.  The sheep had been roaming.
I was supposed to finish the horse enclosure today.  Sarah picked up all our outside water hoses and placed them in the wood shed.  Annmarie and I had talked last night about how to get the horses to cross the creek in the barn lot.  We came up with a culvert covered in dirt.  The front creek crosses through one out in the orchard (size to be measured as we could not agree either 2 or 3 foot diameter).  Great idea, but I don't have any spare culvert and am still trying to pay for hay so this was not going to happen any time soon.  So, I decided to build one out of materials we already owned.  I threw down two cut pieces of railroad tie in the creek next to the bank and then dropped five railroad ties across the creek.  All of these were dragged behind the barn with the tractor.  Unfortunately, the tractor left them about 30 feet from where they needed to be.  I had to drag them in place by hand.  I saved the smallest one for last and it turned out to be the heaviest (just my luck).  After those were in place I used some old discarded one inch plywood (from my parents concrete stairway) across all five beams and screwed them all in place.  I then used the sawsall to cut the edges.  Very nice, very stout bridge.  Annmarie tried to get the horses to cross later, no go.  They stopped at the bridge edge and she was on the bridge tugging.  The horse wins every time in this contest. 

New bridge and path.  My soon to be burnt pile on the right.

I suggested Annmarie just throw some dirt over the bridge to fool horses.

 I then went up to the horse enclosure and started cutting out the last two beams.  I had to add some supports and then go at it with the sawsall.  The beam was huge I could not get through it.  I had to retry three times and then beat on it repeatedly.  No wonder, they were so clever a long time ago.  They had built in a drainage ditch in the back 1/3 of the milking barn so all waste could be shoveled into the ditch and sluiced out daily to keep the milk barn clean.  I had no idea this was here. 

Old wooden sluice in milk barn, below floor level.
I threw the beams over the wire and into the sheep area.  I want to store them in the barn for future use.  All but one were reusable.   It took me almost two hours to dig out the area with the tractor.  About half way into it I realized that the roll bar on the tractor was bumping into the door opening and had to be lowered.  I thought there was just a little dirt to be moved.  Not at all.  I moved almost three feet deep dirt across the whole area.  it was good practice for the tractor.  I did have to used four wheel drive, as the area was pretty wet from the rain last night.  I just dumped all the dirt and crap over the hillside in a low spot.  I did end up having to do about an hour of hand digging near the edges.  I just could not maneuver the tractor in to all areas.  I would have needed a backhoe.  I don't have a backhoe.  So I got to dig for an hour by hand.  I did remember to park the tractor under cover.  I have less than 8 hours of run time on the tractor so far. 

I need about another hour with a shovel.  Hence the wheelbarrow...

Dirt and sheep dung from the horse enclosure.  It needs to be raked by hand.