Sunday, February 18, 2018

New Gates

This winter we did have a few (very few) warmer days.  We had an area where we had 2 fence panels up separating 2 pastures.  For 2 years we have been saying we were going to put a couple of gates up in that spot.  The cows have constantly knocked it down, and we keep wiring it back up.  I finally had enough of it, and we had a warm day so we went and got 2 gates.  It took us a couple hours to get them up.

I knew as soon as the cows figured out what we were doing they would be upset....I was right.  It is very thick with clover on that side and they like to get over there.  One by one they had to come inspect what we were doing.
 This bull (Junior) was the first to inspect.  Almost in disbelief as he just stood and stared at the project for the longest time.  Cows are actually a very intelligent animal, and it did not take him long to figure out what was happening.

 Soon a few more came to inspect.  For awhile we wondered if they were plotting to overtake us...

The finished product.  The tractor, mower, baler and trailer will still be able to fit through this gate.  Later in the spring we will put a blade on  the tractor and come down to level out the ground under the gate. The right side of the gate is further off the ground due to how the ground has washed away.  A few passes with the blade on the tractor will take care of that.  Cows can not get through it, but a preemie calf might be able to.  The gate is securely latched to keep it closed.  Cattle are pretty good at opening gates and also at lifting up the handle on hydrants to turn the water on.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

My Valentine Present

Meet Miss Socks Valentino.

Socks arrived on Valentines Day in the morning.  She is the most lively calf I have ever had.  She is always moving.  Even when she is nursing, her tail is swishing back and forth.  She has 4 white socks, white belly and white on the tip of her tail.  She also has a white patch on the top of her head that is longer than the surrounding black fur  and it tends to stick straight up in the air.

Socks was a surprise, as I did not think she was due for another month.  My other shorthorn was larger than this ones momma, and I thought she would calve first.  Now, I am wondering if the other one may possibly be having twins.  I hope not, as they usually tend to be free-martins, which I don't want.  Free-Martins is when twins are born and one is male and one is female.  In this case, the twins share the placental membranes and as a result, the female is sterile.  If both calves are male or both are female, is ok.  But, one of each results in a sterile female.  The female calf also tends to have more male characteristics.  I guess thats ok if you want them for the deep freeze, but if you are wanting to build up your herd, its not good.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Where are we??

I have received 2 messages, asking if we were ok and where I am.

I am still here, its just been a bad year in some respects, and not much time left to blog.

Husband had surgery at the beginning of the year, then we had the tornado, he had some more surgeries (it was a series of surgeries, could not all be done at once).  Then he had an injury, and more surgery for that, then I had major surgery at the end of October.  My surgery was actually 4 things, all fixed at the same time, 2 of them considered major and I am still off work from mine.  Most likely I will be returning to work sometime in December or January.  Right now I have my days and nights backwards, my hemoglobin is still low so I take several cat naps during the day.

For an update, daughter #4 is back from her deployment, and back at her duty station.  She is my Army daughter.  Daughter #5 is now away from home for the Navy.  #3 changed careers and went thru a state academy and is now in law enforcement.  #1 and #2 remain as they were, same homes and jobs as they had before my blogging "drop out"

As a result of our recent surgeries, we opted to have a small Thanksgiving.  I am not up to long travels yet, so we had it here at home.  Only 2 of the kids were here, but we also had our parents, an uncle, sister in law and a niece and nephew.

On the flip side, its also been a good year.  I have a new niece, and shortly after she was born, one of her older sisters got married.  (yes, you read that right...  My brother has 6 kids ranging from 6 months to 21--they are: 6 months, 13, two that are 18 and two that are 21, and none are twins.  Yet, we have 2 sets of twins..... 

So, there you have most of our year in a nut shell.  And, I will try to do better at blogging.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

I Fixed the Mower!!!

My husband has been laid up the last few months.  So, I have been doing all the farm work--fence repairs, working with cattle, working in the barn, mowing, cutting trees....  Needless to say, a good part of it I have done before and a good part of it has been a learning curve.

I have always done the mowing....and the breaking of the mower.  But, he has always done the repairs on the mower.  Until this time.  Last week I just started to mow.  As usual, the lab comes out and thinks he has to lead the way of the mower.  So, to humor him, I followed.  We cut a few crazy patterns in the yard  (I don't know, maybe he was trying to cut his name in the grass).  Then the mower stops, with a loud bang.  The tractor still runs, but no mower.  I look down and the belt is off.  Further investigation reveals the bolt that holds one of the 7 pulleys on has broken.

So, the pilot daughter and I head into the city to Lowe's.  We got a new bolt and nut (that was an adventure in itself.  New kid working, had no idea bolts "came in metric" or how they were sized....

Today, I got it the broken part put back together and went to get the pulley back on. Even though I had a diagram to go by, it wasn't easy.  I had to watch two different places at once and hold the belt on 6 of the 7 pulleys at once, and push a nosy lab with bad breath out of the way.  To replace the belt  requires 9 hands and 2 heads.  I only have 2 hands and 1 head.  Childbirth was easier.  Finally, I got it back on and pulled the tension rod back.  Still had slack.  Too much slack.  Further investigation revealed that the diagram I was looking at (on the back of a package for a new belt) wasn't right.  The belt fit 2 different models of mowers.  The diagram was of the other mower.  It took me another 5 minutes to figure it out and another 20 to get it back off and back on the correct way.  When I said childbirth was easier, I meant that.  And, I have had twins.  Birthing twins was easier.

All for a broken $2 bolt.

But it worked.  Saved about $250 (what the shop I called wanted to do it--but I will admit, they would have earned every penny of it).  And, I got about 2 hours of mowing in.  Eight more hours of mowing and then I get to start all over.  Yes, it takes 10-12 hours to mow our  place.

Tomorrow, I am going to send an email to the manufacturer.  This mower is less than a year old, and only has a little over 100 hours on it.  This should not have broke.

Burning Hay

Ever evening that it is not raining, I work in the barn.  Even though the barn is now rebuilt, there remains a lot of work to do in it.  The hay that was stored in it was all ruined when the tornado hit.  It is now wet and moldy.  We could not remove it prior to the barn being rebuilt, as the damaged part was partly resting on top of what had been the pile of bales.  Rains and wind, reduced it to a pile of wet moldy hay.

So, when it is not too windy outside, I have been taking small loads of the hay out and burning it.  I also have been burning brush that is from the broken trees that we are still trimming.  It sure stinks up this corner of the county when I burn it.

Hard to tell that at one time, this pile was around 75 small square bales.  I don't think there is a single bale that is still intact.
It definitely puts out a lot of smoke when it is burned.

Hopefully this project will be finished in the next week.  I have a lot more to do in the barn, but this has to be done first.  Having wet hay in the barn is a fire hazard.  It is also in the way of getting the rest done.  At one time, it was partially blocking the door at the end, but that door is now usable again.  I have about 40% of it left.

Monday, July 24, 2017

She did her solo!

Daughter #5 finally got to solo today.  She has been trying to for quite some time, but where she goes to school they have had a lot of wind and stormy weather (much like we have had here at the farm).  This afternoon, she went and no birds nest in the engine, no wind gusts, no lightening, not to hot....perfect conditions to fly.  So, she did and she got her solo in.

She is also a military girl,  so she was glad to get this done before she leaves for the US Navy.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

We have a barn!!!!

You may remember from a previous post that the March tornado was not our friend.  Among the damage we had, was our barn.

At this point, the tractor was holding up the barn.  To remove the tractor a block and tackle had to be put in place.
Our county had so much damage that it took awhile to locate a contractor.  But, we found a good one, and he was local.
And, he started last week.  He did the demo work,  and framing, then we had to wait a few days for the metal to come in.
After the demo work.

Frame work

The metal is actually a perfect match in color.  It just looks different because it is so shiny and new.

Big barn door so we can get the big tractor back in the barn where it belongs.

Tomorrow, the electric co-op will come and set the electric meter back in place.  It was pulled after the tornado as we had live electrical wires everywhere.  The contractor has rewired and put in fixtures, but will come after the meter is in to ensure it all works.
Once I have lights in the barn, I will start cleaning it up.  Stuff is pretty much still where it landed.  Every time I went to the barn, I was hesitant to do much, as it moved when the wind blew and the roof was banging.  I feared it would come down on me.  And, with the end missing, wasn't really much point it moving too much as the wind would blow it around again.  So, clean up, then to install the security cameras and a couple more outside solar lights,and some stall work, and she will be done.

Now that all the damage is picked up, I can get around the barn to mow again. That will be a full days work.  We still have a load of metal to haul off as well.  We wanted to wait until it was gone in case we needed some of the old metal for patching.  Part of the old metal is going to be reused in another project.

We still need to replace the well house ( the old one also needs to be picked up and trashed-it is still under a tree where it landed).  Then, we want to make a hydrant house by the barn.

Not sure if we will get to the projects that were supposed to be this years projects before fall or not.  before the tornado hit, we were going to start on a green house in April and then our summer project was to be a lean to for the water tank.  The barn though did have some left over materials that will be put to use in the green house--part of the posts and some lumber for the framing.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Airlines want to take over air traffic control

This is from my daughter who is a pilot.  It is a copy of the letter she received from the AOPA

"This week members of the House of Representatives are meeting to discuss House Bill H.R. 2997, the 21st Century AIRR Act, which would remove air traffic control from the FAA and turn it over to the airlines.
Please call your member of Congress at (202) 225-7041 and ask them to oppose HR 2997 and protect the freedom to fly. You needn’t provide a detailed response, just state your opposition to the bill.
Also, if you have not sent a letter to your representatives, you can do so here.
Privatization would cost tens of billions of dollars and airlines could dictate policy at the expense of general aviation and rural communities. Additionally, costs would go up for every traveler, and a privatized ATC would be inherently “too-big-to fail” resulting in taxpayer bailouts just as we’ve seen Canada and the U.K."

Now, giving the recent behavior of a few airlines and especially the incident of physically dragging a passenger off a plane, that the airline that who you want in control of air traffic??

Should another 9/11 hit, I sure don't want Southwest, United, American and such controlling the air....

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Making electric fencer parts

This evening, when (if) it cools down some, I have to string another section of electric wire.

That should be a simple job, since the t posts, connectors, ground rod and fencer are already in place.  All I needed was a simple set of fence jumpers.  Of course, our local farm and feed store most likely carries them, but they are closed today.  We went to the nearest Orscheln store only to discover they don't carry them in the store.   So, I spent over $25 buying supplies to make them.  I could have gotten them online for less than $10 a pair, but we need them tonight.  Part of me (the part that worked for the telephone company for years and years) wanted to used old copper phone wire and scotch-locks and jimmy rig it.  But, the farm wife side of me said to do it right.  So, I did.  So, I had to purchase alligator clips, wire, tape, ground rod connectors, and spade terminals.

Here is what I made.  They were also out of green wire, so I had to use black, but I used green tape on it in several places to remind me it was really green.

I know I could have just made jumper wires from an existing wire to the new wire, but I want each wire to work independently of each other.  When you jumper them together, if one strand goes out, they all do.  I want each strand going to the fencer separately.  I don't want the entire fence to fail if one strand shorts out.

So if you are confused (or my dad, wanting to make sure I did this right) the red wire clips to the fence and the spade connector goes into the fencer.  The black wire (which in this case is green, hence the green tape) runs from the solar fencer to the ground rod.  And, my circuit will be complete.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Another storm

Our area got hit again last night with storms.  Some reports they were 75 to 88 mph.  So naturally a few more tree branches and trees in the tree line came down.  The weather reports we are going to get hit with another round tonight, worse than last nights.

We were in St Joseph when the storm hit.  I was in Walmart, in a dressing room with the lights went out.  That wasn't fun.  Associates were telling everyone to get the the front of the store.  My only response was I would if I could find my pants.  In the pitch black all I could find was what I took in to try on, because I could feel the tags.  The only lights were a few generator powered ones, and the lightening flashes when it came through the skylights.  Finally I got out.  Of course no registers were open.  So in the pouring rain I had to run out to the dry husband waiting in the car.

On the way home we saw no lights on until we got home.  Every little town we went through was pitch black and we saw numerous trees and branches down.

This morning when I went into town, the town was still out of power.  We were very limited on what we could do.  No computers, no lights, no phones...It came back on an hour after our normal closing town.  Where I work a second job at, they had to close early due to the same storm cell.

Make sure you have a good weather radio with battery back up.