Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Annual ditch burning

Today I finished my annual ditching burning.  On Sunday I burnt the ditch along the NE pasture .

The smoke in the background is my neighbor burning the hay their cattle did not eat over Winter.

As for the ditch along my hayfield, the wind was from the east / southeast and I was afraid the fire would get away and into the hayfield.  Earlier I had drug the harrow along the fence line a number of times but I saw that there was more dead grass than dirt or green grass.

The wind was like this for several days.   Then a few nights ago I was able to burn some of the ditch as the wind died.  But the wind died too fast.  With green grass growing among the dead grass, and a little higher humidity, I needed a small breeze to move the fire along.  I was able to burn a thin strip along the fence line.  Now if the wind would be from the east / southeast I could still burn.

Yesterday the wind was from the right direction: south / southwest.  But then it rained.

Today the wind was from the south / southwest and no rain.  So I was able to finish my ditch burning.  Even with the wind the cool temperature and higher humidity meant I had to nurse the fire along.

The cattle came to the fence as I was burning.  Several calves were curious and tried to either sniff or lick the flames.  They quickly learned that this was a bad idea.

The unburned section of the ditch is where the truck went off the road a few weeks ago spreading dirt and gravel.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Harrow and flat tire

I started to drag the harrow around the pastures to break up the cow manure.  Not going well.  I finished the north and NE pastures and started on the middle pasture.  Sunday I discovered a flat tire on the pickup.


Monday I discovered the flat was not repairable due to the hole being in the sidewall.

The white circle shows the puncture.

I also learned that because my pickup has four-wheel drive all four tires need to be the same.  They need to be more than just the size of P245 75 R16.  I was also told they need to be the same brand and tire pattern to prevent drive train problems.

The ability of four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles to divide the engine's horsepower between its four tires is especially useful on loose or slippery surfaces such as sand and dirt, as well as on wet, icy or snow-covered roads. However it's important to remember that in order to transfer this extra power, the four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicle's driveline mechanically connects the tires so they work in unison.

Four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles are equipped with additional differentials and/or viscous couplings that are designed to allow momentary differences in wheel speeds when the vehicle turns a corner or temporarily spins a tire. However, if the differentials or viscous couplings are forced to operate 100% of the time because of mismatched tires, they will experience excessive heat and unwarranted wear until they fail.

This necessitates that four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles use tires that are very closely matched. This is because different diameter tires roll a different number of times each mile as a result of the variations in their circumferences. Tire diameter variations can be caused by accidentally using different sized tires, tires with different tread designs, tires made by different manufacturers, different inflation pressures or even tires worn to different tread depths.


The problem is that Goodyear discontinued their Wrangler ST tires.

I have only 19,000 miles on these tires and I didn't want to buy four new tires.  I drove around to some other tire stores to show them my tire.  No one had a similar tire and tread pattern.  I tried the used tire store.  Nope.  They didn't have one. I called a few salvage yards.  They didn't have a Goodyear Wrangler ST.  Then one tire store mentioned that they heard that a pawn shop supposedly had a lot of used tires.

And surprisingly they had lots of tires.  They no longer had a Wrangler ST but he had another tire in the same size.  I found that the salvage shops and used tires stores said one didn't have to match the tire brand exactly.  Especially since I seldom use four wheel drive and only on loose dirt or snow which already has some slip.

So I got another brand of tire in the same size.  I plan to use this tire as the spare tire and use the current full size spare as an active tire.  The same brand of tire and tread pattern even if this tire has no wear and the current tires are half worn.

It was suggested that it was more important to have exactly matching tires on the front when using four wheel drive.  I hadn't rotated the pickup's tires so now is the time.  Or I should say tomorrow as it started to rain after I got the tire.

I used my four old harrow sections and added the two newer sections I bought last year.  I placed a couple railroad ties on the front two sections to hold them down as I pull the harrow.

I also drug the harrow through part of the corral.

The north pasture is done.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

April Treasure Market

Tammy held another one of her Ultimate Treasure Markets today.  She has changed it from two days to one day and held it in half of the Trade Center building at the county fairgrounds.

Friday from 4 pm to 8 pm was the time most people came to set up their booth.  Tammy and I got there before 3 pm.  Between people coming in early and all the stuff we had to do we were still setting up when people started arriving.

Saturday morning the Treasure Market started at 10 am but Tammy and I were there by 8:30 am for the people who did not set up Friday night, or needed more time in the morning to put finishing touches on their booth.

Saturday morning started nice but a weather front arrived after 9 am with strong winds and snow when I was setting up the sandwich board signs along the roads and tieing helium balloons Tammy had purchased this morning.   Tieing a floating balloon can be tricky in good weather conditions.    Three balloons were torn free from their store attached ribbons before I started to tie the ribbons extra to the balloons.

I took this photo this morning before the Treasure Market was open and everyone was completely set up.

The Market was over at 5 pm.  By the time I took down all the signs and balloons, folded up all the tables and chairs, and cleaned the trash it was 8 pm.  A long day for both of us.  Even the balloons lost most of their pep.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

More manure cleanup

I finished cleaning the manure from the south side of the corral.  The last of the manure was where I had fed the calves when they were being weaned from their mothers.  It was deep here.  And mixed in was the hay the cattle dropped as they ate.  It was hard to clean.

What you saw above on the ground was a full pickup load of manure. I have a couple low spots in the north pasture and that is where I dumped it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Corral gate fix

I finished fixing the corral gate that the cattle broke.

Instead of just fixing the broken post, I used this opportunity to change gates.  The chain link gate was too flimsy for the corral.  I usually had to reinforce the gate when the livestock were in the corral to be on the safe side.  And I wanted a wider gate opening.

I have plans to rebuild the rest of the corral fence and replace the chain link gate.   I used this opportunity to add the gate I plan to use: a very heavy duty livestock gate.

This may not be where I will have the gate once the corral fence rebuild is done but it is was easier for now to place the gate here.  Since this is temporary I also used a temporary railroad tie because this tie already had the "hooks" the gate sits and swings on.  The downside of using this tie and "hooks" is that unlike the "hooks" that came with the gate, these "hooks" do not go above the gate hinge and I cannot put a pin in the "hook" to hold the gate on. So another temporary fix is the wire wrapped around the ""hook" and gate hinge to hold the gate on and prevent the livestock from lifting the gate off the "hooks".  It works.

I had ensured the railroad tie was straight up and down when I put it in the ground.  However I had stretched the chain link fence really tight and that may have pulled the tie off of level.  No biggie, the gate is temporary (which knowing all I have to do may mean it will be like this for two or three years).