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 overbooked.....is 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.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Another reason to homeschool

This is my hometown school district .

Warrensburg MO

It is sad to see it in the news this way, in a negative light (for the second time, the first was an incident at a basketball game)

We own property there, so our real estate taxes help the school district.  And, this is what happens.

Basically, in a nutshell, a teacher and a group of students went to the white house in Washington DC.  In front of the students, the teacher flipped off the white house.  Then, apparently he posted it on facebook.

What happened to teaching your students respect?  Respect for our nation?  The president (respect the office, even if you don't respect the person holding it at least)?  And, being a good example to your students?

This would never have happened in the 70's when I was in middle school in Warrensburg.  Never.  And, if it had, the teacher would be gone, and not defended as he is currently by the school superintendent saying no laws were broken and he had the right to freedom of speech.

If its not allowed in school or by a student, then it should not be allowed to happen on a field trip or by facility.

This is a poor example of leadership.  Our country is getting to be too liberal, all about "me", too disrespectful and thinking everyone owes them something.  Its sick.  It needs God put back into schools and the public to heal it.  If we don't start fixing it now, what will it be like in another generation or two?

Meet Little Leo

Little Leo was born today.  And, he is little.


Momma had him on the bank of the far back pond.  She is rather protective of him too.  I was checking him over, and she more or less tried to encourage me to get into the pond for a swim.  I decided I had checked him out enough.  He is by far the smallest we have had, smaller than last years bottle calf Norman.  But, he is very lively and was nursing.  We will have to keep a close eye on him due to his size, but Momma seems to be doing a good job.  Momma's name is Sharlene.  (I might add that was her name BEFORE I met my coworker Sharlene...).  Hopefully the coyotes will leave him alone.  Hard to move them to the barn when the barn is still waiting to be repaired.  But, we do have a contractor now and hopefully he will be starting on it in about 3 weeks or so.

We got the top line installed today on the hot fence in the pasture.  One more line to put in, and a spot on the other side that we need to put up a couple of gates, hopefully we can get that done before the hay gets cut, but the trailer is still full of tornado debris and the truck and trailer is going to be borrowed this weekend by one of the girls.  So the gate project may have to  wait another week. The fence is good in that area, it just has panels where we need a gate.

Our road has had a rash of idiots robbing farms.  What kind of lowlife comes down a road where it is obvious that a tornado came thru, as homes, barns, sheds are all either in a tangled up mess or in the process of being repaired or torn down, and then breaks in?  I guess it takes all kinds, scum bags included....  Hitting a family when they are already down is pretty sick.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Another Tornado Update

House is 99% done.  All that remains now is to replace a broken outside fixture.  We have it, it just needs to be put up.  Our roofer is going to do it, he just couldn't at the time when he was here because we were not here to let him in to turn off the power.

We have a contractor who looked at the barn Thursday and seems very interested in the job (unlike all the previous no shows or never got back with us characters).  We have a very good feeling about him and I did some research on him.  It appears he does very good work, and has a very good work ethic.  So, hopefully his estimate agrees with the insurance companies payment.

Saturday we started the re fencing on the back pasture.  All the post are up now,  and about 1/5 of the electric fencing insulators.  We would have gotten all the insulators up, had I not had an accident with a knife while cutting open the last bundle of t posts.  I managed to cut thru the fingernail and into my finger.  So, I had to take an hour break to get that dealt with.  FYI--duct tape makes a better bandage than butterflies...  Anyway, this is just a temp fence until all the downed trees are dealt with--but probably a couple years.

Identify your Poisonous Plants


Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day 2017



New roof is on!!

Finally, the weather  calmed down  with the rain and winds long enough for our roof to be finished.  We had to wait a few days for the back ordered flashing to come in, but it is all done now.  We still have a light fixture above a door to replace-we have it bought, so just needs to be put up.

The fencing around the flower garden is back up--but, I decided to enlarge it some and I bought an antique gate, so we need to get the gate and a couple of panels up, and it will be done (until I get more plants in or want to extend it).

All the trees that came down have been moved to the tree line (we have been letting people come cut wood from it).  Most of the outside play structures have been replaced.  (Still have 2 pieces I need to go pick up)

So, that  mainly leaves the barn.  We have a contractor coming to look at it later this week.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Tornado Update

My parents came up for a visit and my dad and husband got a bit more fencing done.  Roofers (finally) started today.  It has been a challenge to get going on the roof.  We had rain daily for over a week, then high winds, then back to more rain.  Today they started on the shingles.  The flashing was ordered, but did not arrive, and we still have to locate some siding to match our existing siding.  It was rather interesting that they found someones household heat/ac thermostat in the guttering.

We had a guy come look at the barn to figure an estimate, but we are still waiting for him to give it to us.  Another is coming to look at it tomorrow, and we have been given the names of 2 more who may also be interested in rebuilding it.

Mowing since the tornado has proven to be rather interesting.  First, I have to walk the area.  Then, I have to mow it at the highest setting, then drop the blades and go over it again.  Even by doing all this, I still am finding boards with nails and metal.  Tonight while mowing I found a glass salad cruet in the yard.  Last week I found a doorknob.  I think we will continue to find things for some time.  I still can not mow around the barn remains, there is still a lot of debris and since metal is still coming down with wind, its too dangerous.  We will probably spray to kill the grass, then go over it with a metal detector to get up all the nails that I keep finding.  So far, no flat tires on the mower.

Trees continue to come down in the tree line.  Tonight I noticed there is a hedge tree branch stuck in the weeping willow tree.  And, I think another tree in the back yard has died.  We have been letting people come cut free firewood-we just ask if they can cut a bit extra for us since we are supplying the wood.  We estimated we can probably heat about 12 homes this winter with the amount of wood that is on the ground.  About 5 or 6 have come and cut wood, and you can't even tell they were here.

Meanwhile, the Navy daughter is home for a bit, then she leaves to go to summer semester.  Her ship date falls during the fall semester, so she is going at least one session of summer school, possibly also the shorter accelerated session as well, if there are any classes offered that she needs.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Neat idea to teach fractions

I wish I had thought of this when I was teaching.  I used pizza and measurements when baking to teach my girls their fractions.  (That way we could eat afterwards!)

Saturday, April 8, 2017

We dug a post hole, and got a well

This afternoon we worked outside on more tornado clean up.  It finally quit raining on Thursday evening, so we can finally start to do a few things.

We finished hooking up the post hole digger on the tractor.  I went to fed a bale of hay, then noticed part of the post hold digger had come off.  It took us 45 minutes to locate the part that fell off (luckily I realized it so drove the tractor back to the house taking a different route, so I would not run over it).

So, we put the part back on and started in on fence work.  We took down the remaining fence and moved it all aside.  Most of it we can reuse, but one section I think is not usable.  Then, we had to pull up the t posts.  We used the tractor front loader to pull them up.  I thought after all the rain they would have come up easier than they did.  We originally put this fence in with t post, because we were not sure exactly where we wanted it.  This time, we moved it back some and now we know this is where we want it, so we are putting it in with wooden posts this time.

We dug our hole and set the first post, then we went to the other end and measured back and to set the corner post.  Then, the fun started.  As soon as the auger came out of the hole, I went to measure it to see where we were at.  When I looked into the hole, it was rapidly filling with water.  I looked 3 times, still more water coming in.  I told the husband he better get out of the tractor and come look at this.  I think he thought I found a snake or a body, because at first he did not want to get out.  Yep, we had hit water.  Not a water line, just water.  Water at 4 feet.  50 yards away is our well, which they had to drill 80 feet to find water.  When they dug the well, they told my husband that they had hit an underground river.  Not sure if this runs into that or what.  But, water at 4 feet was not what we were expecting to find.  It was literately bubbling out of the ground and into the hole.  We put the post in and out of it several times to mark how high the water line was.  The last time, it was up 7 inches.   I am thinking this may be a good place to put a willow or birch tree, since they like the water.

Even weirder, was, as it was filling up with water, these little tiny crawdad things came out of the dirt and started swimming in it--3 of them. Our farm has several springs on it, I think this must be another one. Wish it had been oil, or gold, or even a buried box of money (this is Jessie James country after all, maybe the outlaw did forget where he hid some?)  At least if there is a drought, we know where to find more water.




Tuesday, April 4, 2017

More rain

It has been raining almost every day for last 2 weeks.  Due to the rain, nothing has been done on the roof (other than the temp patching) and we now have a few leaks.  Nothing has been done to the barn.

Since the tornado, we have managed to get the downed trees out of the yard and easement up by the road and moved over to the treeline, for the wood cutters to cut; got all the debris picked up; and have gotten the new posts and fencing materials.  But, since it has been raining, can't cut wood, can't work on the house or barn, and its too wet now to dig the post holes.  We have to be careful we don't get the tractor stuck when putting out hay, let alone digging with it.

I have tried to burn some of the brush that came down (and what I cut off of some of the trees), but the wood is too wet to burn.  So, I have about 1/2 of a small burn pile burned.

We just need about a week of dry sunny days.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Wow. Its been a year.

I'm bad.  It has been a year since I posted.  I will try to do better.

In that year, the youngest twins graduated from high school, I have had surgery, one daughter joined the Army and her twin joined the Navy.  One daughter moved from Ireland back to the USA and another left the USA to go to Poland then Germany.

The latest news, is last month, we got hit by a tornado.  As a result, we are getting half a new roof and half a barn.  The tornado came about a third of the way back across our property.  It took the back half of the barn off, and most of the house damage is to the back side.  It also took down a bunch of trees, carried off the little tykes climbers, slides, well house, fence and lawn furniture.  It moved a grill off the back kitchen deck, moved my rain barrel from the back of the house to the front, took the liners out of the feeders and into the pond, got a stock tank, damaged the horse stalls and quite a few things just blew away and still have not been found.

Our neighbors between the blacktop and us all got it worse that we did, one lost 1 entire barn, 2/3 of another and their house.  Others lost parts of their roof and barn.  The next farm down from us lost part of their barn roof, kids toys, lean to and shed and had a horse injured.   Friends of ours a few miles away lost 2 barns, top of a third barn and damage to their house and their fencing was all laid over.

Strange how tornadoes are.  They take the roof off of the barn, but leave the shelving and don't knock over oil cans sitting on the shelf.  They lift the house off the foundation, but leave the floor and the trophies sitting on top of the trophy case and leave the pictures hanging on the one remaining wall.








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For the first 4 days following the tornado, our barn was literately being held up by the tractor.  The first remaining undamaged truss was resting on the tractor cab.  We had to call JD's friend out who has a tow company with his big boom wrecker.  They had to rig up a bock and tackle system to lift the barn off the tractor, then pull away the debris so we could drive the tractor out.  I still don't know how we got it out without getting a flat tire (those tires are $1200 each).

The lab refused to sleep outside for a week following the tornado.  He was in the barn we think when it hit.  So, for 7 nights he slept in the house on his rug, and had bad dreams.  He is doing much better now, but won't sleep in the barn.  Instead, he now stays on the front porch.

So, we are now waiting for it to quit raining, so the roof on the house can be repaired and the barn.  In the mean time, we have been cleaning up the yard and moving the fallen trees out of the way.  Hey if your near us and want free firewood, come cut all you want!  Just leave us a portion of what you cut for the opportunity to take what you need.