This has been a crazy month. I have just not had time to keep blogging. I usually shoot for 10-15 posts/month. I am working way too much this month at my paying job. I did try to get the barn lot fence finished. Still not done. I have a large chunk of woven wire being held up with a fence stretcher. I really only need about 6 hours to finish the whole thing but I keep finding other things to do. I have started to clean the house for our company coming next week. Yesterday, I burnt the scrap wood pile in the barn lot. I started the fire first thing in the morning and then drug all the tree branches from the ram pasture onto that pile. It took a few tries to get it lit. The paper was covered in frost and I had to go get a little weed burner to get it started. It was so cold the weed burner did not give off much of a flame. It was enough.
I went in and had coffee with Annmarie's grandmother, Ruby. I try to stop by every week and see her. She needs some rose bushes moved in her yard, but she has a very sheltered yard and all the roses still have green leaves on them. I will try again in a couple of weeks.
I was going to change the oil in the tractor (I had already purchased the oil and filter) but after reading the owners manual I don't have to do that until 50 hours of use. I am at 11 hours now. I also have to change the transmission oil and filter at that time. Next Summer's project for sure. I won't get another 40 hours on the tractor for quite some time. I decided to use the tractor since I was there and I had my rain suit on (very farm like, bright purple/blue and black waterproof bicycling suit leftover from when I was in the Navy riding 100 miles/week). I was styling! I went into the ram pasture and drug the box blade over a high spot and attempted to smooth out the hill so I would not bottom out the mower in the spring. I had to drive through the creek and realized that I might be able to dredge the front spring with the tractor. It was not easy and I almost got the tractor stuck repeatedly, even with four wheel drive, but I got as much cleaned out as I could.
Since I was burning I decided to start piling all the tree limbs from the orchard into another pile. We had a couple of pieces of tree out front of the house that had not burned completely a couple years ago. I hooked onto them with the tractor and drug them over to the orchard burn pile. It took a couple of trips to get that onto the pile. I then snagged some old wood that was buried in the weeds and not visible until this year. The only thing left is three pieces of a large tree I tried to burn up a few years ago over by our house. I grabbed onto the first large chunk and was dragging it to the burn pile when I noticed the front irrigation ditch/spring had a leak in the ditch wall!! This ditch so needs to be cleaned out with a backhoe. The entire ditch is full of cow shit. There is at least a foot of cow manure on the bottom of the ditch the whole length. I scooped up a whole bucket of dirt and dumped it over the leak then tried to dig out the ditch with the tractor. The one side was low enough I could drive up and reach down then drive the front tires into the ditch. Sometimes I could pick up the mess other times I had to dump it on the far bank. The weight was enough to stop me from getting out of the ditch. As it was I had to rock the tractor several times to get out of the ditch. On a wiser note, I am wearing my seat belt on the tractor all the time! Next summer the ditch has to be dug out, no question that it cannot wait any longer.
I also managed to finish moving dirt in the orchard so the tractor tipping ditch is flattened out enough I won't dump the tractor over when mowing. With all these bare spots of ground visible I need to get some type of pasture grass to seed next week. I will stop today and see what is available. That way in the spring it will just magically appear. Most of the areas are far enough away from the chicken coop that I think the chickens will leave the grass seed alone.
I happened to spot an "uh oh" moment yesterday. I was stepping up onto the front porch and noticed a dark spot on one of our columns. The columns are wrapped in white steel from when they did our siding. I thought it was just a little dirt. Upon bending down and scrutinizing the spot it turned out to be a bullet hole. More precisely, it was a .22 bullet hole. Now I have been very careful to not shoot the house or old house when I am out and about. On the other hand I did not have a raccoon attack me on the front porch. Annmarie admitted that when she went outside the second time (to go to the hospital), she saw eyes glowing in the front bushes. So she started blasting the evergreen bushes with bullets. She figured if it was a cat it was on its own. Turns out it was the raccoon and it came out to the end of the porch were she shot it. So besides the scar on her left knee we have a bullet hole as a reminder that mother nature is not always predictable.
I will get the chicken reports out this month.