Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Outside chores during weather break.

scrap metal pile on south side of machine shop.
 
Sunday, I had a couple of hours of decent weather and went out to work on straightening the used T posts I got from the scrap yard.  There were a couple I could not straighten.  I just tossed them in the scrap metal pile.  Every time I go outside and the ground is thawed out I pick up more scrap metal.  Sometimes I think it grows under the ground and just erupts from the soil when it is ready to be harvested.  Every spring I find lots of metal and start building piles all over the farm.  I work on it every time I am outside.  Sometimes 5-10 minutes other times a few hours of just picking up trash, old wood pieces and scrap metal.  It is starting to pay off, the place is looking much cleaner.  The scrap metal still astounds me in shear quantity.  I have five growing piles all around the farm not including the little pieces that get thrown in the rock cribs. 



Zeke is watching the cows. 
My T post pile consists of crooked and sorta straight.  The sorta straight ones are the ones I have bent back into shape (kinda) and I think they will be able to be pounded back into the ground without crumpling.  It is a slow process but I save $4 for every one I can use so I keep at it.  These will go down by the back creek for a subdivision of the lower bottom.  I have all the cord and wooden stakes to mark out a new fence line, but I am waiting until all the posts are ready and the ground is ready before putting up a string fence.  Why not just start pounding stakes in the ground?  The spacing is never right and the fence is not straight.  I use some wooden stakes and light nylon cord to mark the fence line then use a tape measure and some marking paint to paint a mark every 10 feet.  That is where the T posts go.  This lets me layout the design.  This fence line will have two jogs (bends) and two cow panels near the creek that will allow the animals to get water year round.  No troughs or buckets needed for watering.  I have managed to get every subdivided fence to touch water so far.  That is going to go away as I subdivide further up the creek.  Those will not have water readily available so we will just have to keep them open to the barn lot so the animals can come back and get water when needed.  

I have a fencing budget of $2000 and spray budget of $1000 for this year.  I will have to purchase some RoundUp this year to kill down the driveway and fence lines.  Last year I only used 2-4-D.  The animals have helped reduce our herbicide use dramatically.  I have held off purchasing any fencing supplies until the weather improves.  I am itching to get some fence done, but Mother Nature is not cooperating.  It will take 70 T posts, 8 wooden posts, two 18 foot or 20 foot gates and one 4x4x8 board to fix the fence out by the road around the old barley field.  It is falling over and will be much easier to repair before it is all crumpled up on the ground.  The old barley field already has 50% of the fence repaired.  If I can get the rest repaired then after the wheat is harvested we can hopefully run animals on it until it is ready to be replanted.  This will help us extend out the pasture ground.  After that the lower pasture addition will need one 6 foot metal gate.  The back fence on the orchard needs retightened and another two gates added.  Also it will take the addition of three H braces to be built.  Lastly is a new fence in the upper pasture just past the old well.  It will take the addition of two 16 foot metal gates and a bunch more used T posts that have not been straightened or collected from the scrap yard yet.  The scrap yard is collecting them and woven wire for me again.  Everyone else is trying to get rid of it and I keep adding more!

On a plus note my chickens just up and decided to start laying eggs again.  Who knows why, we are getting 6-12 eggs/day.  This is good news!  I am still not sure I will be positive again for the year.  After having to buy eggs in the grocery store I may have to raise the price again on a dozen farm fresh eggs.  I am going to hold off until later to recalculate the overall cost of production.