How to prevent “hay” feelings between farmers.

Febuary 14, 2018   We are deep into winter when a hay crisis arises.

The neighbor down in the valley behind us told us to wait and see how the winter went as he would have rounds left. Through our other neighbor, we found out he had thirty and we relayed we needed them. A couple of weeks later, while trying to figure out how we were going to get them with dry rotted tires on the trailer, we found out he sold them all.

The lesson of this is, “Neighbors do not care if your animals starve to death. Apparently you are in competion with them for raising cows, too. If they need the money, right now, they will not come to tell you, but, sell the feed you are counting on right from under you. Money is the key concern to most people, not the rightfulness of their actions. Good christian neighbors are in short supply these days; no matter how nice they treat you.

At this time the farm has four round bales and the decision has to be made which animals starve? Will it be the two pregnant horses or the six non-pregnant? Will it be the twelve cows or the eight goats?

It might be all of them. The hay was so hard to get because of the rains this year, it is in short supply. The neighbor knew this, but, the word of someone is not worth toilet paper these days.

The lesson to take from this is, “Get the hay on your property and leave it nowhere else. If they do not want to sell it, to make sure they have enough, and want to make you wait for their convience, get your hay somewhere else and get it on your farm. They can easily sell what you did not buy to someone else. As a side thought: If the hay is not on your property and you do not have it in writing you are storing it on their farm, or there is a miscount, or someone comes on their farm and steals it; you are the one out. It is your animals which will starve.

Better, yet, find fields no one is working and offer to keep them clear for the haybales. This way you will depend upon noone for hay; and, if your neighbor whom lives down in the valley falls short of hay (or his tractor is stuck in the road with all four wheels off) you can drive by and wave- thinking of how your animals looked guant for ten weeks in the worst part of the winter because all you could do was grain them.

The decision at this moment is to sell off the cows and four of the horses in two weeks. This means even Angel, my milk cow, I wrote about as a calf. Better she not see starvation, if we can not find hay. If we find any at all it is going to be a miracle.

When I sat down to write this I recieved a call for sixty bales. After going to church I came back, fed cows and hitched up the trailer only to find I have two flat tires.  Slowly taking the trailer to the garage for air I had little hope I was making the trip with a double flat. Called and reschuded for the next day. Meanwhile in reaching out to friends one stumbled across a farmer five miles away with extra rounds.  I had made several calls and internet searches leading nowhere and just up the road was a miracle with just enough rounds to get us by.

The push to get all the cows out is now down to getting what we need out and the desired sale of two horses instead of all of them. The goats would have been the last to go as they are the weedeaters of the farm and I love goat cheese.

With a sigh of relief I end the day. Tomorrow the work begins: How to move thousand pound bales five miles. This summer I am buying my rounds from this guy and the neighbor can kiss his tractor muffler while it is hot.

Turtle puts a speed bump in the pond project…

pond frog

froggy

As soon as the weather permitted we began gathering everything for the pond. Last year we put the second pipe in and buried it four times. The pond flooded over and washed truck loads of dirt away. Finally we dug an outlet on the far end of the pond so the pond could simply overflow. Who would have guessed it was going to overflow six or seven more times and start washing the other end of the pond out? Seriously.

In March my brother and I took two pipes too small for the big pond on the other side of the farm. The dam is busted completely out and will take an immense amount of work to fix.  The idea is these undersized pipes will become the overflow pipes for the frog pond.

There is already a metal pipe at the frog pond. The previous owner thought it was a great idea to take the larger pipe first and put a smaller pipe in it. Complete wipe-out.

This all sounds complicated. It was even worse getting it done. The first pipe was on the opposite side of the frog pond. The path was too slick, muddy or steep so using a lot of chain and some boards we finally got the pipe in place. The tractor had to pull from the road above. The pipe landed too far into the pond. The plan was to dig a little and then wiggle it into place.

The weather had other plans.  The pipe was in the overflow ditch when the rain came down in buckets. The water lifted the pipe and overflowed the pond completely. Another truck load of dirt was swept downstream. The pipe floated eight feet backwards until the water could gush through it. More erosion. Sigh.

After digging more dirt off the banks to make a ramp so I could get on the dike, I dug the trench for the pipe. My brother helped lay it in place and bury it over.  Now we had to get the next set of pipes in place.

Okay, to make a long story short, we dragged an eighteen foot pipe  weighing over seven-hundred pounds through the cow pasture in low-gear, four-wheel drive and backwards.  We backed a flat trailer under it after we lifted the pipe on one end with the tractor bucket. Using five heavy ratchet straps we tied the metal sausage in place. The end of the pipe hung six feet off the end- touching the ground.

“Hey, Bro,” I  said,  “how about jumping in the back of the truck to see if we can at least get it off the ground?” The idea gave us half an inch and away we went. It was a quarter of a mile to the pond. I waited to hear the pipe scrape the road surface; a cop come down the highway or the pipe slide off going up the hill, then slither down into Route 218 and take out a vehicle, probably loaded with a million dollar cargo.  None of that happened. When you have our luck you go for the worst case scenario and skip the small stuff.

While my brother undid the ratchets I walked back to get the tractor. The idea was to attach a chain to the end of the pipe, lift, then drive the trailer out from under it. “Ta-Da!” It worked. Giving the pipe a push it was down over the bank and we were out of daylight. The next day we repeated the scenario with the much lighter plastic pipe.

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After lining up the pipes we filled the gap between the two with concrete. Between the initial overflow pipe and these two pipes is an angle that is going to require a homemade concrete box. The argument is how to build the mold. While this dilemma is argued I decided to get started on burying the pipes. Four weeks later it still has not been decided, so, you know this country bumpkin is going to dump some cement in the hole and call it a box, right? Just saying.

pipe bottom

On Wednesday, June 13, I tapped the first pile of dirt in place on top of the dike where it had overflowed a month ago; taking another truckload of dirt down stream. Considering I have a small bucket on the John Deere we named, JD; it was a lot of work washed down the creek. I am a bit eager to get this area built up; now that I can reach it safely.

dam with arrows

The family took a short vacation and most of us were away from the farm for four days. The sad running joke is, whenever I leave the farm something dies. It has happened every trip for three years. This time we made sure the farm  had a babysitter. The renters took precautions to keep an extra eye on their animals and the farm. Came back and not so much as a chicken was missing. Yes.

Monday morning found me taking pictures of the pond progress. I stood on top of the dike where my last pile of dirt was. My eye caught what looked like several white mushrooms. I thought to myself, “How did mushrooms grow that fast in my dirt?” A moment later I am thinking…”Nah, can’t be.”

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Suspicious, I investigated. Giving the “mushrooms” a tap my suspicion was confirmed. Big Bertha, the snapping turtle, had laid her eggs in the middle of my days work! The rain had opened the ground just enough for me to see a few of the top eggs. Only on Greene Acres could this happen.

turtleeggs

Okay, yes, I could eat them. Someone told me turtle eggs are delicious. The thought crossed mind. Unfortunately, I love nature. I have lots of chicken eggs. Turtles are good for the environment. It takes many years for a turtle to grow to the size of Big Bertha. Many of the eggs would probably not hatch. If they hatch, predators could pick them off. If we decide to put fish in the pond we might be picking them out of the pond. We were years from the idea. It would be kind of unique to see them hatch. I mean, how long could it possibly take?

bigger eggs

“Eighty to a hundred-twenty days!” I yelped at the computer screen. “Good grief, Charlie Brown!” Of course, I had to show the family the turtle eggs and make a little video before officially covering them over and tucking the nest out of sight.  I mean, how many people get to see a nest of turtle eggs?

Guess we will just have to work around the babies as best we can. At least she did not lay them in the hole where we have to pour concrete.

snapper 50-50blogturtlecrop50Bertha’s tail is at least ten inches long. The flower heads on her foot are nearly three inches to give you an idea of her size. As she was pretty cranky measuring her was not something my fingers were going to do, but we figured her shell has to be near eighteen inches.

turtlefoot

Pond One Punky None

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It is June and we are still on the pond project. The far end of the pond flooded over and eroded away the front of the pond. My brother and I; through some creative maneuvering involving our grandfather’s log chains and the tractor safely on the road; managed to inch the old metal pipe into place. It is to be a spill way pipe. Before we could get the pipe set we had a nasty little storm go through, flood the pond and of course the pipe plugged the hole perfectly and was floated eight feet down hill. Another truck load of dirt was lost as the flood water spilled over the height of the pond directly above the main pipe we have been trying to keep covered.

Well, try, try again; as they say. I spent seven hours on the tractor tonight. I have been digging dirt and hauling it one little bucket load at a time to the sight. I refuse to pay by the ton for dirt. The big backhoe is down, needing nearly two grand worth of pump parts. When we need it the most it is in pieces. The pond will be done by the time the engine rolls over on “Big Moe.”

In addition to the one pipe I put two more pipes in that will be buried under the front of the pond and exit where the main pipe exits. The catch is having to build a concrete box at the angle. We will  then raise the height of the pond three feet.

snapper 50 We dubbed this big turtle, “Big Bertha.”

After examining the sight I have taken a liking to it. I do believe Mom would love to come and watch the frogs in a screened gazebo. The dam has to be fenced off to keep the horses out. This looks like a perfect spot to put berry plants, maybe a some elderberry bushes, tall herbs, and such. Hmmmm. I see more tractor time in my future.

Ewww. Maybe some solar panels on the roof to run lights and a pump for a fountain in the pond. The fountain would aerate the pond and make fish possible. Some big fat catfish. Hmm. Mom might not like them eating her frogs. She is already on the fence about turtle soup. We might end up with catfish stew.

Okay, let’s just get to the chiropractor in the morning so I can dig up some more dirt before the next storm hits and wipes out my pipe again.

Yet, remaining to be filled is the mold for the concrete box. Can we say, “Twenty bags of concrete all on a Wednesday night? Scritching and a scratching. Mixing and a sloshing. All to pour on a Wednesday night.” Chiropractor for three- Thursday morning. I’ll make the appointments ahead of time.

After all the long hours of digging I came home to this at the front door…

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and little Noah full off high-speed energy. I think he licked the suds off my brother’s Red Bull. Sometimes it is just nice to have a little pup that always fits in your lap. I love my Dane girls, but a hundred-twenty pounds of lap dog is just not happening. Sorry, Maya.

noah 5050Done to DogresiedI

Water Heater Blues

It is winter again and everyone’s electric bills are hitting the roof. I might have stumbled upon an answer. The hot water tanks. It makes sense. The water temperature is just above freezing when it hits a greedy money sucking one-hundred-forty degree temperature demand. The little wheel on the electric heater goes berserk and our wallets get thinner and our tempers get hotter.

The fix seems to be a temper tank; a second tank of water which sits at room temperature and then is piped into the water heater. The idea is great but… where do you put the extra tank in a cramped, tiny, little house?  The tank must not leak. It must not sweat and create a mold condition. It must be open to the heat of a room to allow the water to raise in temp.

The closer to a heat source would be a grand idea. If you have a wood burner I would put the tank as close as I could get.

Where in tarnation do find one of the dagblasted things? The right size? It fits the space?

You can find safety expansion tanks, water heaters, even the inside guts to the tank, but, could someone come up with a dag nab twenty gallon, non-sweating temper tank I can just plumb-in? Good Grief Charlie Brown. I have been on this internet half an hour and I am so frustrated I finally had to sit down and write about it.

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Do you know how much money I could be saving right now? Somehow I think the girls on the couch are thinking I am making a big deal out this. I could buy all their dog food for the extra money this issue is costing! It is a big deal. Stop looking at me like that…

May the electric companies shudder once I find a link to a temper tank and share it with all my friends.

Okay, that is it. I can not find a link to anything for this idea. You know, why not just take and put the cold water line into a big coil of copper pipe? Enough pipe might hold about twenty gallons of water and skip the whole tank idea. Heck, if I had a wood stove I could wrap the copper around the stove pipe and be dancing in the shower by the end of the night… and not even turn on the confounded money hungry water heater…so there Mr. Power Company…Ha!

Hmmmm… I see an addition to the house is needed. Time to pull out the saws, hammers and nails. One wood burning stove with a long black pipe wrapped in a copper spiral standing in a stonewall den coming right up- in about twenty years.

Done to Dogresied

Awe- look what all my ranting and raving has done to the dog. Guess I’ll have to pull out a dog bone to get her  untwisted. Those are in the same cupboard with the elderberry wine- yep- that should get me untwisted, too, in about fifteen minutes… well until next time.. bottoms up.

 

Our First Kid 2017

ladies in waiting

We have been waiting for a month for our first babies to drop. Finally, we got a girl from Roxanne. She was so huge I expected twins. Hours later no new developments. The baby girl was up and bouncing within twenty minutes. The energy of these tiny new life forms is amazing! Bounce! Bounce! Bounce!

Pumpkin Pumpkin arrived 6-20

Finally, Pumpkin settled down for a nap and I finally could get some baby pictures! She is going to be a uniquely colored goat I think. A few times she came over to see if my leg would give milk and followed me around. The best time to bond with a baby is right at birth. Hopefully this little girl will be a pocket goat like her mother.

We brought Mom and baby into the lean-to where I can control the flies. I was hoping for May babies when the flies are not so daunting. I sprayed the walls down while the baby tried to find breakfast. I wish there was a way to kill every fly on the farm. It is always an endless battle of fly sprays and traps. The flies can actually lay eggs on my new baby and then potentially cause problems. Getting her clean was a top priority. Towels!

With the babies coming, it is time for the buck, Boomer, to be moved from the herd and begin his summer work as a weed eater. If I leave him in there his scent will get into the milk and the cheese. That is a strong taste. Oh, milk, lots of milking ahead and lots of time consumed making cheese. Forgot about that part after being out of milk for six months. My schedule just filled up along with the freezer!

It is early morning and time to go check the herd. We will be putting up another charger to electrify the fence and hopefully keep the coyotes out, or the bobcat or the fox.  I am not sure what carried off all my chickens, but, I have not caught it yet and the dogs were barking last night. Kind of worrisome to a Farmer Mom.

Farmstead Distractions

Antique Rose

So never be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties. Each day has enough of its own troubles. Matthew 6:34

The morning started with picture taking. A nice quiet morning. I planned on an all day attack on the rental unit repairs. To keep the distractions to a minimum I called my neighbor to see if she needed any help getting from her bed to her wheelchair today. She had help on the way. Then I drove up to my adopted niece’s place to find she was in need of a screw for her lawn mower handle which she was struggling with. Returning with screw, distraction averted, I headed for the unit.

lastbedroom The last bedroom coming along.

bathrThe bathroom getting walled in.

While my brother picked up building debris I slapped up the first piece of drywall in the bathroom and started cutting the hole for the vanity mirror. We put a false wall in to accommodate the plumbing. Adding real 2×4 next to the 1/2″ wall boards made it so we could put drywall up and now the walls do not move around. How these old trailers did not collapse en-route to their destinations I am amazed!

About the time I really get started to beat the heat of the soon-to-be ninety degree/sixty percent humidity day, my daughter comes in carrying this little surprise explaining it has to be Silver’s. Silver’s babies are already over a week old. Distraction Number One.

babt surprise Buck bunny gives birth?

Going to the barn my daughter and youngest brother in their limited manner, explain where they found the rabbit and that Silver Lady is running loose. A quick examination of the “buck” pen explains everything. Well, the rabbit I was planning on having for Sunday dinner just extended “his” life. I have been growing this extra male bunny big enough for a rarely enjoyed delicacy. Unfortunately the real buck killed the other four babies, but, my daughter’s pet python was not fussy. Waste not want not on this farm.

We raise all our live babies and sell them. After trying to figure out where to put the buck rabbit, we thought we fixed the cage to now harbor the new unexpected arrival. Hopefully the little feller makes it.

Back to the rental unit and making holes in the dry wall, so I thought. I was stopped by the hubby who he told me my brother had locked the place. Hmm. Great. The key hunt was on.

Unlocked and ready for work I just marked out the hole when the hubby asked for a hand to fix the stater on the four-wheeler. I have not been able to use it for almost two years. I was threatening to take it to the dealer and pay four-hundred dollars for the labor, so, the hubby set aside his distractions to get it fixed. Off to the garage we went, and the days heat was already messing with my asthma.

While the hubby searched for tools I happened to look up and see something strange against the ceiling and the cement wall. Yet, another distraction procured this four-foot-three-inch skin from the top of the shelving unit. Two more of three-foot length skins were curled up along a gap in the ceiling. Great, now we have snakes in the garage. Fantastic!

snakeskin4-3in Four-foot skin!

This is how come I never get to finish a project. Sitting back at the house trying to cool off; my daughter again appears with the baby. She and my younger brother were trying to find a board to replace the emergency cardboard I had slapped in the cage bottom. She explained the baby had fallen through the grid and gotten stuck. I examined it, curled it up in my hand. It tried to nurse on my palm.

This poor little critter. Already it had fallen out of the cage and crawled five feet. We think Silver Lady had heard its cries and literally yanked her feeder out of the way, pushed herself through the opening, to set on the baby, which is why I think it survived. My brother, coming in to feed the bunnies disturbed her and he nearly stepped on the baby, which is why they thought it was Silvers. If the poor thing makes it we are naming it Miracle.

While the hubby now took a hand in fixing the pen for our new arrival, I sat and watched westerns; keeping it warm against my own body. At this point nurse Lass heard the baby. She was ready to

15lassbabysitter15 Nurse Lass is on duty with all babies.

lick her new charge. She really wanted the baby! Whining and staring at me like she does when I have a steak on the plate. She even did some worrisome “woofs”; like I had a puppy that might be hers!

Just a few weeks ago, a newborn bunny baby had unfortunately found its way out of the nest and through a gap in the wire flooring we had missed. I brought the baby in the house hoping to warm it, but, it was already too late. While I went out to fix the pen, Lass took the baby out of the towel on the counter and curled up with it, trying to bring it back with her own body heat. This is just an amazing example of the Labrador’s strong maternal instinct!

Determined to get the drywall cut I again made for the rental unit, but stopped when I saw my daughter coming back from the barn. Again- the newborn baby was back. It had fallen out of the nest! Going to the barn I saw where the side boards were pushed out just enough to cause the problem. Putting Miracle back in with Momma bunny, Sunday- the big rabbit’s new name, I stayed put while my daughter ran to find a board, screws and a drill. After averting yet another near death experience I decided to check in on last weeks arrivals. Silver Lady weighs in over twenty-pounds. Her babies are sweet and gentle- and cute!

silver  babybunnysilvers  babybunnysilversallwhite

Out of pure spite toward whatever whimsical power that constantly distracts my time, I went down to the rental and I put a hole in the drywall for the window and the vanity. It was hot and humid, but, by George, that wall was up!

Now, to bag up the 12 quarts of dog food veggies I boiled and  eat my dinner. Guess it is Ramen noodles tonight and venison tips for Sunday’s dinner. Not exactly what I had planned, but, that’s farmsteading…

Pond Repair leads to Naming The Pond

THE FROG POND

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Covering the Pipe

A very necessary work began four days ago. Our top pond, as we once upon a time called it, was blown out. The amount of dirt needed to fix the pond actually started piling up when I widened an entry road to our field two years ago. The necessity of this pond has proven itself time and again when flash flood waters roared in from the rolling hills. I can not call these mountains in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania. I grew up in Tioga County with cliff sides that made cars look like match box toys below my feet.

Though just hills, there is water that rushes down unencumbered. If left unchecked I fear my mother’s home would be wiped out. If Mom-ma is not happy than you know no one is going to be happy. Wet, soggy Mommy is not a good thing, so off to play with the backhoe I go! My favorite toy on the whole farm, next to the horses of course.

 

wild flower Daisy found a log home.

bullfrog   “The Frog Pond” is now my frog loving Mom’s favorite place on the whole farm. She has a big collection of frog stuff. I think a gazebo somewhere would be a great idea. Mom can come and watch her “froggies.”

bullfrog tadpoles  Tad Poles of the bull frog are huge! About five inches in length!

Okay, day five of this idea begins. The first day started with setting the opening of the pipe with layers of mud and stone. Nothing like playing in the mud and having an adult excuse! Remember when we used to do this and called it fun! If I could only bottle youthful vigor and save it for old age days like this. Pond mud is really thick and does not want to be moved. It is kind of like trying to get your tongue of a frozen flag pole- by the way never do that.

Day two was removing the old pipe while the water table was so low no water was flowing. We packed in clay dirt, tamped it with our feet and a tamping bar, then back-filled the top of the dam. The third day found me playing in the ditches to get enough dirt to put the second pipe in. If you are building a pond make sure both of your pipes are the same size. Do not do a “Walter” and put a smaller sized plastic pipe inside a larger sized metal pipe or your pond will blow out. The water will push the other pipe clean out and go all the way around it. Your dirt will go down river.

Second Pipe

The right way is the best way. So, day four saw us filling the big hole in the “dike” with a lot of dirt. About six truck loads. We connected the second plastic pipe in case of rain. We did not attach it by removing the tar seal on the new pipe. We will do that just before we are ready to bury the joint. I plan to gorilla glue, silicone and duct tape those bad boys together. I never want to redo this again.

Day five- back to the ditches for more dirt. Lots and lots of dirt. Some more Ibuprofen for overworked joints, liniment for sore muscles and a beer. Really, a couple of Red’s Apple Ales and an overstuffed chair at 9PM. My tail feathers are dragging. So this is why the guys dig chairs. Ug!

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I wonder if Mom will name the frogs? This one could be “Handy.”

frog11 Peeper?

froggie22 John Deere?

(Top Picture: Hubby on the tractor with my two brothers waiting for the dirt to level itself. That was a joke guys…)

Black Timber Wolf Visits the Farm.

FB

At nine at night last night my niece called to say they see our “coyote” on their front door step. They live here on the farm. I took the gun with me but of course the animal could not be found.

Three times we have seen an animal which looks exactly like this picture. We do have coyote in the area but the description by my niece told me we were talking about the young eastern timber wolf. Only, she said he was huge, almost the size of our great Danes. This would put him in the hundred-fifty pound category and fully mature. So far none of our animals have been bothered by this big guy. It has always appears alone.

The only thing being bothered recently has been the chickens. We caught a red-tailed hawk in the act of killing the only brooding hen on the farm. She was five years old and raised many eggs to hatching. By the time I got to the scene the killer took flight.

A big vixen fox has been visiting the farm early in the morning and now we have the wolf back. It is aggravating to know your favorite chickens are on their menu.  The other problem with this big guy hanging around here is it is taking out our fawn crop. We depend on deer to fill the freezer. Guess I’ll have to hunt up someone who can take out some of the local coyote population and maybe this big guy. With the neighbor’s cows calving the loss to them could be substantial. My niece is also worried about her kids being injured by such a big animal. Usually you could say not to worry, a wolf is more afraid of you than it, but, when you see a wolf right on your front door step those words are not reassuring.

Spring Cleaning on the Farm

calvesAll winter long things piled up. Yes, let’s just say those piles include organic material best suited for the garden. It is clean up the pens time… and it so much fun. Not.

I thought cleaning my house in the Spring was bad. Playing with the John Deere in two feet of “Farm Pies” has got anything in the house beat. The smell is pure methane. Whew! The corral was first, then the calf pen.  No wonder they spent all winter curled up on that pile of hay. I could feel the heat coming off the rotting stuff.

Our four calves from last year are to be moved shortly from this pen.  I have decided to not raise any bottle calves this year. It is not worth the cost. Weaned babies are selling for less so why go through the fuss?  Next year I hope to have five cows provide a fresh batch of calves, no maintenance required. No milk bottles- Yay!

The goat house needs to be lifted and everything pushed off the deck. For the winter I put skids and horse mats in to get them off the deck, then pile it with hay, layer after layer. Their manure is so  garden ready it can be tossed right in, just like the rabbits contributions.

The neighbor came down to grind everything up for me. With this giant tractor and plow he gets the job done in minutes. It really digs and does the job. Just as I started pulling the seeds off the shelf the weather took a wet nose dive. Hurry up and wait seems to be a homesteading theme.

A tractor is an absolute necessity for a homestead. We have yet to buy the plow my neighbor owns so we just send up some deer steaks as a thank you. The plow/tiller is expensive. If we were doing more than a thirty by thirty square garden it would be worth the investment. The tool would come in handy for deer plots and replanting areas the cattle damaged, too.

Even though we have has a completely mild winter this year, an old timer told us not to plant until after mother’s day. Some of last year’s potatoes had come in the garden and were about eight inches high. One morning last week I woke up to frost on the windshield. There went the potatoes and my beautiful wisteria flowers. Young trees lost their leaves as well. Mother’s day is tomorrow. Smart old timer.

 

 

Big Storm Warning All Week- Didn’t even get a Snow Fart

For over a week I have heard this big build up of snow coming. Three storms each worse than the first. The first one gave us five inches, second one flurries and the third- not even so much as a snow fart!

It is bad enough to have a sinus cold, but to have to hurry around because a “foot of snow is coming!”is worse. I could write a book based on one week of this farm living. Because the sky was falling yesterday I came home to the hubby putting up hay early. I just poured myself a cup of coffee and swallowed a decongestant tablet when he came in and told me to get dressed, we had cows out. Great, cows. Put that right up there with the weather forecaster. It was one cow, not plural, and she was happily chewing on the neighbor’s bank far from the main road.

Stepping out of our tiny ranch house, I saw my daughter coming down the road.  I snagged her and a bucket of grain. We hurried to put the cows back in while the hubby disappeared.

Panda, is the name of the cow creating havoc we faced off. She and Number 2 are professional escape artist. If there is a weak spot in a fence line all I need is to put a cam-helm on her head and she will locate every spot! One look at that tasty bucket rattling around and Panda forgot all about the sparse grass. She was back in before the hubby showed up with a round bale. Coming to get me when I’m sick and then disappearing to leave me figure out how to get the animal back in made for a cranky conversation.

Driving along the fence line on the Goodwin Hill roadside, it did not take me long discover Houdini’s escape route. With this big snowstorm coming of course she had to tear out nearly the entire bottom line. I told my  daughter I was going to round up the tools and wire. As soon as she and my little brother could get the feeding done she was to join us. I called Mom, hoping my other brother was there. I snagged two unwilling volunteers.

There was no time for nursing misery. Once Panda found a spot she would take the whole herd through. I chose the hubby’s car with Mom in mind. I did not need a frozen Momsicle, but, the more hands the merrier.

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With pretty views like this floating in the background and the temperature above freezing we started mending. I had put cotton in my ears so I’m sure everyone was talking louder than I thought. There was a lot of multi-flora rose and honeysuckle to be cut out of the way to run the new line. T-posts were pounded in to tighten the old rusted lines. My daughter and the hubby showed up and we spent hours trying to get the line fixed. The company was pleasant once the hubby quit whining.

Finally I had to go to work. If you have no idea what it is like to be locked up in a fifty-foot sardine can with a group of half-civilized loud children I suggest you try it sometime. Mine are fairly well-behaved as they know I’ll stop smack in the middle of the road and won’t budge until the mischief stops. In the worst case scenario I have many of the parent’s phone numbers- gotta love kryptonite!

After all this I ran up to the bank so I could go to the neighbor’s and pick up these little guys. Our first piggies!

PIGS

Mo in the back, Larry is laughing and Curly is in front.

Man, do they squeal when you pick them up! The hubby put his back out and was sulking in his office when he heard our new additions go squealing past. There was no sneaking these little guys in, even with the neighbor’s help. Squeeeeeee Squuueeeee Squuu-squeeee the three little pigs snitched on me!Somehow I forgot to tell the better half I was bringing something new home. Oh, well. It’s been a week since I seen that hairy-eyed half-pissed look anyway. lol

So after I got them settled in, got pictures and took care of an issue with a renter I plunked myself in the chair at seven-thirty. The phone rang and it was Mom and my daughter needing a ride to the store because Mom’s front wheel axle finally bit the big one on their way down the hill. Mom parked under the carport and needed assistance.  Yah, the day is never going to end.