Monday, August 29, 2016

Buddy breakout

A little after 8 am this morning I heard the shrub outside my bedroom window rustle loudly.

I got up to see once of the black cattle rubbing against it.  I immediately went outside and ran to close the driveway gate.  After that I then saw the only cattle in the yard was Buddy.  The rest of the cattle were off in the pasture eating and oblivious to Buddy.  That didn't last long as the herd noticed my interaction with Buddy and came running over to the fence.

I noticed the broken fence was near the road so to keep the cattle from coming up and noticing the broken fence I tossed them a bag of apples into the hayfield for them from the back yard.

Buddy came walking around the house to see what I was up to in the back yard.  I attempted to keep him moving but he then saw the many bags of apples in the patio.

Uh, oh.

Buddy insisting on walking over to the bags.  He grabbed one plastic bag full of apples with his mouth, lifted it, took a step back away from the patio and then shook his head all around.  Apples flew all over the place.  Once there were only a half dozen apples left in the bag he dropped it and began to eat the apples on the ground.

I used more apples as a bread crumb trail and Buddy walked along eating them and then followed me and another bag of apples into corral.

The rest of the cattle had eaten their apples by now and were mooing up a storm.  Once they settled down and Buddy ate the apples and checked out the corral, I got him to come through the gate to rejoin the herd in the hayfield.  Of course when I opened the gate for Buddy to walk through the herd got up from their siesta and came over to stand outside the gate.

Here is a 15 second video of Buddy in the back yard.  Of course when I started recording the video most of the cattle shut up.  Only one moos.

Once Buddy was back with the cattle I went about repairing the fence.

First I noticed they had pulled the field fence off the caragana bushes I had loosely wrapped with the fence to protect.

The following board wasn't broken - just badly warped.  Since I was fixing the fence I replaced this board before one of the cattle could break it.   Notice - the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

Buddy has knocked the middle board off also.  I took this photo after I nailed the middle board back onto the fence.

I put the warped board in the space between the new middle and bottom boards because I felt the gap would be too inviting for some cow to try to put her head through to reach the grass in the yard - and then the fence would break again.

Why did Buddy break the fence at this location?  Perhaps he was trying to reach the small walnut tree on the left side and then the boards came off the fence.

I am happy Buddy decided to come check out the house and back yard and did not go through the nearby driveway gate and out into the road.  Tonight I closed the driveway gate in case Buddy decides to test the fence again in the morning.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Bicycle upgrade

Today I finally fixed/upgraded my bicycle.  If you remember from last January and my collarbone accident my chain was starting to slip. It has only gotten worse wince then. I've had the new parts for many months now but always put off the upgrade. My bicycle still worked though not as efficiently as it could be.   I knew the upgrade would take much of a day, would be messy and greasy, and would be frustrating.  Yup.  It was.

I replaced:
  • the chain,
  • freewheel,
  • front crank-arms and chain-ring, and
  • the rear derailleur.
All were very worn out.

Because my bicycle is from 1983 none of the original parts are made anymore.  So I had to find replacements that could work.  While I had to make adjustments to get some of the new parts to work properly, it appears all but the front chain-ring was a good match.  The front chain-ring is different enough that my front derailleur only works with two of the three chain-rings.  It will do for now.

The hardest part was removing my pedals from the old crank-arms.  Steel pedals spindles into aluminum crank-arms can corrode and bond together more tightly.  Also the thread pattern is such that as one pedals it works to tighten.  That is why the right pedal is the normal clockwise to tighten, counter-clockwise to loosen.  And the left pedal is the opposite.  If the left pedal was the normal thread pattern the pedal would screw off the bicycle as one pedaled.

Since the pedals had been on the crank-arms for years (maybe decades?!), I had a hard time getting my pedals off my crank-arms.  I had to use a cheater bar on the wrench for extra leverage and a blowtorch on the crank-arm to expand the crank-arm slightly.  Then with effort I unscrewed the pedals.

The bicycle rides very nice now.  No energy is lost while pedaling.  I should have done this a while ago, but I then remember why I delayed the upgrade.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Corral gate replacement

I replaced a corral gate.  Buddy bent the other two gates in that location when I sequestered him from the cows each Spring.  This gate is so heavy duty and strong Buddy will not be able to bend this gate.

The gate is so heavy I had to place in the ground under the far end a railroad tie on which the gate sits when closed.  Otherwise the gate pulls sideways the railroad tie the gate is attached to as the railroad tie is in the middle of a fence instead of at one end of a fence.

The gate is 14 ft long - the same length as the previous gate.  But this gate is attached via plates that screws into the post - not via lag bolts.  The other end has a latch to lock the gate in place instead of a short chain.  Therefore the gate's footprint was a touch shorter than normal 14 ft gates. I had to add an extra post in which the latch catches.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Second cutting hay bale weight

Earlier I had posted about weighing a large hay bale from my first cutting.  That bale weighed 1180 lbs. 

Differences between the first cutting bale and the second cutting bale:
  • first cutting hay dried longer before baling,
  • it was over six weeks from cutting to weighing the bale, allowing for further drying,
  • the first cutting was alfalfa and grass and the second cutting was mainly alfalfa,
  • the pickup between weighing empty and with a bale had a change of a quarter tank of gas.

So today I took one of my second cutting bales to CHS to be weighed.  Harvest season is in progress so I had to wait in line among the grain trucks.  One guy let me in front of his truck as I was only weighing a bale and he was unloading grain.

After I weighed and then unloaded the bale I immediately went back to weigh the empty pickup.

My bale weighed more than I thought.  It weighs 1460 lbs.  This is 280 pounds more than my first cutting bale.

Wow.  I like the heavier weight.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Shakespeare's Richard III

It's that time of year again.  Once again Montana's Shakespeare in the Park traveling show stopped in Kalispell.  This year the play was: Richard III. A drama.

I have been losing my enthusiasm for Shakespeare's plays but since this was such a famous play - and one I was not familiar with - I decided to go.   Donna came with me.

This year we arrived early in order to get a good and closer location in which to set up our lawn chairs.  We arrived 25 minutes before the play started and already the lawn was full of people.  What???!!  I hate to say it, but next year I will have to show up even earlier.   I ended up sitting behind a big guy who did not slouch in his chair.  And occasionally he would adjust his hat further blocking my view.  I had to watch the play on one or the other side of him depending on where the action was on the stage.

The play was good.  Maybe the program booklet's synopsis helped but the play was fairly easy to follow along.  Since some action usually occurs off stage in Shakespeare's plays sometimes I lose track of some goofy named or minor character who dies off stage.

Having such a strong villain helped the audience engage with the play.  And the company's actors did a very good job with the play.  The play was two hours long and the time passed quickly.

Richard III

Richard III proposing to the wife of the man he just had killed.

Richard III plotting a scheme to get the public to ask him to become King.

The public asking Richard III to become King.

Richard III accepting the offer to be King.

After Richard III killed his wife, he is asking this woman to convince her daughter to marry him after Richard III had her husband and sons killed.