Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Big move

Today I finished the first round of irrigating the hayfield.  The grass looks good and the alfalfa is growing good.  I plan to take a few days off before going over the hayfield once more.   In the meantime I will irrigate some of the pastures.

When I finished the hayfield I ended up on the east side of it so I had to move all the pipes across the hayfield to the pastures.   It was some work.  Donna helped.  It took the both of us over three hours to move all the pipes and replace a gasket.

The last riser on the mainline in the hayfield leaked when I disconnected the valve to move the pipes.  So I replaced the old/bad gasket on the riser.

All the pipe moves and gasket replacement were done while the pump still pumped water.  Replacing the gasket was a wet affair and I got soaked below my knees.  The temperatures was in the 80s so I dried out quickly.  Donna enjoyed getting wet several times in order to cool down.  The water is from the river so it is not cold, but kind of warm.

When taking Donna back to get her fixed car we noticed a sprinkler head wasn't turning.  By the time I went out to fix it I found a second sprinkler head wasn't turning.  Usually they don't turn or spray well because of a clog in the nozzle.  This time the failure was because a piece of tall pasture grass got caught in the striker that turns the sprinkler head.  Once I removed the piece of grass from each sprinkler they started working again.

Later in the evening when checking on the pump I noticed a small stick in the grill of the intake pipe.  I had to skinny-dip in the river to remove the stick.  I also found the grill was covered with weeds which I also removed.  Earlier I had thought the sprinklers weren't tossing water quite as far as they usually do.

A short time later I noticed another sprinkler head not turning.  Instead of pasture grass a small piece of weed somehow came out of the nozzle and got caught on the striker. 

I'm still working on the south fence.  Progress is slower than I'd like.   I got 13 fence posts in and seven strands of barb wire stretched on them.  104 feet.   After taking a shower this afternoon, eating a later lunch and then falling asleep for a few hours (a recent occurrence this week since the afternoons are warm), I worked more on the fence.  I got 15 more posts in the ground.  Tomorrow I will stretch wires on them.

The newer metal t-posts are six feet.  I did have a half dozen six and a half to seven foot t-posts which I used today.  Using a sledge hammer I usually pound the six foot posts while standing on the ground, but I needed a chair to be able to pound the taller t-posts into the ground.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Car, north pasture and fence

Daisy and I were woken up at 8:30 am from a sound sleep when Donna called.  Her car had broken down and she needed it towed home.

After I towed Donna's car home I finished moving irrigation pipes.  I had gone on an all day hike on Saturday and the irrigation pump was shut off once 24 hours of irrigating was done.  Once I had all the pipes moved Donna and I restarted the irrigation pump.  It took a half dozen tries before the pump started to pump water.

Then I noticed cow #7 stretching though the middle fence to get to alfalfa in the hay field.  One wooden post had broken, and since the ground was soft from my earlier irrigation, several nearby metal t-posts had a lean to them.  Of course is cow #7 as she loves to reach through the fences to eat.  She was really stretching against the barb wires but thankfully they held.  I chased her away from the fence even though that hurt her feelings.  I put in a metal t-post to replace the broken wooden post.  I straightened the leaning t-posts.

After making and eating breakfast I fell asleep for several hours.

After 4 pm I heard the cattle making a minor ruckus in the NE part of the middle pasture.  They were looking into the north pasture.  I went and found Buddy entering the corral.  He has broken the top wire of the three strand middle/north pasture fence and then hopped over the fence.  After putting the small hay bales in the barn a few days ago I had left the barn door open to give them air in case they weren't completely dry.  I quickly went out and shut the barn door.  I had a little trouble as one of the door's rollers had earlier come off the track when Wyatt unloaded the bales against the barn and barn door.  Buddy was relaxed as he walked about the corral checking things out.  I was able to get the wheel back on track and the door closed before he wandered over to see what I was doing.

I was thinking about letting the cattle into the north pasture in a couple days but I guess now is as good of a time as any.  I let the rest of the cattle into the north pasture.  Certainly easier than getting Buddy out of the north pasture.

I then went and fixed the fence where Buddy had broken the wire.

What do you mean I'm not suppose to be in the corral?

The herd in the north pasture

Looking at Daisy

Even with all the tender green grass the calves were fascinated by my walnut tree.   Notice how I have wire on the fence to protect the tree leaves.  Even so the leaves that grow through the wire get eaten.  The cattle love this tree's leaves.

Beulah's calf
Clyde (red calf) and the other calves.

Here is a 29 second video of the cattle in the north pasture:  https://youtu.be/ry-Alzi5g7A

While I had planned on starting to spray weeds today, with the cattle in the north pasture, now was a good time to re-do more of the south pasture fence.  While the cattle never have gotten through this four strand fence, it still makes me nervous; especially as Wyatt's field is not fenced and is mostly alfalfa.

I spent the rest of the day working on the fence.  I am pretty sure the cattle will stay n the north pasture for the time being as that pasture has fresh tender grass.  Still... I don't trust the cattle.   So I am simultaneously taking the old fence posts out and putting new fence posts in.  Most of the old wood posts are rotted and useless.  I am also going with a pattern of one wood post, then three metal t-posts.  Of course 99% of the new posts (on an eight feet spacing) do not match the old posts' location.

Old fence.  Notice how the cattle had stretched the fence wires in order to reach through the fence.

Old fence with one last railroad rail as a post.

Railroad rail removed, along with rotted and bad wooden posts.

Notice how much of the railroad rail was in the ground.  Considering this is July - when the ground gets hard - I was surprised I was able to pull the rail out of the ground by hand and did not have to use a shovel to dig it out.  Last year when it was dry I had to use a shovel to get the rails out of the ground.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Blow out

This morning I moved the irrigation pipes.  By the time I finished moving the pipes and checking that the sprinklers all were working (I had replaced one sprinkler while moving the pipes) Wyatt had delivered another load of hay bales.   After I moved the hay bales into the barn I saw a geyser in the hay field.  A sprinkler pipe had come out of the pipe.  I imagine that the vibration from the sprinkler head as it threw water loosened the pipe.

While the geyser gushed, the other sprinklers operated at a lower pressure.

Once I fixed the geyser all the sprinklers went back to full pressure.  And I was then able to eat lunch at 4 pm.  After that I slept for two hours.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Gate ramp and hay

This evening Wyatt brought over one load of small hay bales from his field.  First I had to protect my irrigation pipe from the weight of his tractor and bale wagon.

First I got some old really beat up railroad ties and dug them into the ground next to the pipe and added extra dirt.

Then I nailed some old boards over the top of the pipe.  This is more for the cattle as I seen their hoofs slipped some on the railroad ties when they walked across them.

The railroad ties seems to have worked well in protecting the pipe when Wyatt delivered a load of hay.

I plan on getting only two loads of hay this year.  Wyatt only delivered one load Thursday night as he initially wasn't sure I was still home as he didn't still see me out in the pasture.  I had gone to the house to eat and rest up for the hay moving work.

I was glad I only had one load of hay to move this evening.  Even though the sun had set and the temperature was starting to go down I was still hot when moving the hay.   It took me 55 minutes to move 55 bales.  I'm slower than in previous years. It is hard to imagine that I moved four to six stacks of hay in one day in previous years.

Wyatt didn't wait as long as he usually (over) does before baling his hay so the bales were greener and slightly heavier this year.   (That is some of last year's hay from Wyatt inside the barn).

If no rain I will get the second stack of bales tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Cattle jailbreak and pump

This morning when I went out to move my irrigation pipes I found two cows and three calves were in Wyatt's field.  The rest of my cattle were taking their siesta in my south pasture across the fence from the five cattle.  Donna handled the gate while I herded the five cattle down the fence line to the gate.  The cattle in the south pasture realized what was going on and raced the five cattle to the gate.  Donna had to hoop and holler to keep the herd from the gate while I herded the five cattle through it.  The separated cows and calves immediately found one another and the calves began drinking milk from their mothers.

After moving the irrigation pipes I went and looked for where the cattle had made their jailbreak.  I maintain a basic two strand barb wire fence on Wyatt's land south of the island. Tall grass pulls the fence down and deer break posts and wire.  Some of the cattle had found the broken spot in the fence and crossed from the island to Wyatt's land and then made their way through the thick trees up to his field.

I repaired the fence and added some dead tree branches to the fence.

After I fixed the fence where the cattle came through.

Since the cattle made a trail to this point, and the fence is puny, I added dead branches to the fence.

Eventually when I rebuild more of my fence I will free up 5.5 ft steel fence posts and I will build a better fence across Wyatt's property south of the island.

The irrigation pipes now cross my front yard.  Guess I won't be going anywhere soon.

Because I went on an all day hike on Tuesday I had the pump turned off after 24 hours of pumping water.  When it came time to restart the pump Donna came with to watch that I did it like she does.  I did.  The pump wouldn't pump water.  I tried again.  Failure.   Donna tried it doing pretty much what I had just done and the pump started pumping water.   Go figure.