Friday, April 10, 2015

Irrigation progress

Irrigation pump starting.
Yesterday was the day to get back to the irrigation system.  We know the motor turns and the electrical panel works so now I need to see if the pump will draw and pump water so it can actually be used.  Unfortunately, it is not that easy a task.  Over the years without using the pump the dirt has built up and taken away the pond area that is needed to provide a ready water source. Ideally, I would own a backhoe, but as I have not won the lottery yet other means of digging were utilized.  I attempted to drive the tractor with box blade straight across the creek.  The box blade hung up on the steep bank.  Luckily, I have the quick disconnect and just dumped the blade in place and managed to rock the tractor back and forth enough to get out of the mud.  It looks like the stream is only two feet wide but no, the mud is about five feet wide and the grass is deceiving you like it did me.  Once across the creek I tried to flatten out the hill that keeps growing from dirt getting dug out of the ditch.  Then I started to dig into the dirt with the tractor.  I kept digging until I was so unsteady on the tractor that my fear of tipping over out weighed the painfulness of digging the ditch by hand.  With enough three wheeled maneuvers and instability issues even I will quit.  Once fear forced me to quit I drove back across the stream and picked the box blade up and reattached it to the tractor.  I then dug the ditch from the left side of the stream until I got the front tires stuck and could not use the bucket to push myself out.  Phil had to come pull me out with the pickup.  Phil worked on gluing and screwing all the 2x4's together to make two new wooden platforms for the pump.  We installed those and removed the old decayed boards.  It is amazing that the pump did not fall through those old boards, there was hardly anything left to them.  We then spent 2.5 hours digging by hand.  After that amount of time my entire body was ready to scream UNCLE!  I have muscles complaining that I had forgotten I even had.  I think it will take at least 12 more hours to dig out the ditch and pond area, maybe 25 hours.  I will work on it 2-3 hours a day and see what kind of progress I make. 

The bull got onto the back hillside after we worked on the fence.  I think he crawled through the barb wire, but I am not sure.  I will need to install the sheep woven wire sooner than later to prevent this from happening again.  Annmarie let him in with our two yearling heifers so he was very happy.  Unfortunately for him, they are not in heat yet.  He will have to wait a few weeks for them to cycle again.  All the cows are now out by the vehicles.  The sheep are now in with the horses and need to be pushed out of the barn lot and back onto the hillside so I can open up the barn area to the back hillside.  The fence on the back hillside is nonexistent but the horses won't wander away.  Who knows why not but they stay on the hillside unlike the sheep or the cows.  We want them to get up there and eat some grass. 

I lost a few more baby chickens.  I am down to only three chicks, 2 buff and 1 dark Brahma.  A 75% loss due to noxious fumes.  Annmarie is going to order more chicks today.  She also came up with the great idea to wax our new stove cabinet.  Furniture used to be stained and wax used as the finish so I will have to call someone who knows more than me about furniture, Doug that is you.  I like the idea and am willing to give it a try. 

Day one of digging with new platform.