Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunset photos

Sunday night's sunset.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Horses in yard again

Remember when on Thursday July 17 I let the horses into the fruit tree and garden area?

That area is completely eaten down to almost nothing.  So on Saturday morning I let the horses back into the yard.  For two reasons.  First I didn't want them to walk though the NE pasture with the hay bales to get to the north pasture.  Second, the yard grass grew since the horses were last in there.  Usually I only let the horses in the yard once a year, but this year with Tammy leaving I never mowed the front yard to even it out, and the June wet weather got the grass growing again good.

I figure the horses will have the yard re-eaten in three or four days.  Then they can go out to the tall grass in the north pasture.

A difference from last time the horses were in the yard..  now when they take a break they often stand by the house door.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Round hay bales

I got all my hay for the year.  Cross my fingers as something often changes and I need more hay.   I have 9 to 10 tons of small hay bales already in the barn and today I got 24 large round bales.  In the past Dan said his friend produced bales that weighed 1600 to 1700 lbs each.  If 1600 lbs - and these bales look like they weigh this much - then  I got a little over 19 tons of hay.  At 1700 lbs I would have a little over 20 tons.  All in all I should have at least 28 to 29 tons of hay.  This should be enough hay so I don't have to scramble to find hay next Spring.  We'll see.

Dan delivered the hay from a guy Dan knew.  With Dan's flatbed truck pulling his flatbed trailer he could haul four bales total.  If I used my pickup I could only haul three bales on the trailer.   Dan's friend with the hay brought out one load of eight bales so I could get all the hay today.

Why the rush to get all the hay today?  Think of how hard it is to move a 1600 lb hay bale.  I can barely push a 1200 lb bale.   To make unloading easier and quicker I talked to my neighbor Jamie.  He has a tractor but it is smallish and I learned it can barely move the 1200 lb bales he has.  But Jamie - a logger - has a good sized skid steer with a bale spear that he let me use.

The skid steer saved the day.  I hate to think how hard it would have been without its use.   Jamie needed it back by Saturday so that was why Dan and I tried to get all the hay done Friday.  I even canceled going on a hike to Stanton Ridge that I wanted to do for some time.

I got the skid steer on Thursday in case Dan could bring a load Thursday night.  Nope.

Daisy of course had to give the skid steer the once over.

Since I had my arms crushed while operating a smaller version of these back in 1980 I took running it slow.  And moving a 1600+ lb heavy bale also had me going slow.  I didn't want to tip over, even if wearing a seat belt (which is required in order to start the machine).

Since I have a a number of wooden pallets laying around I put the bales on them to keep them off the ground.  I placed the bales on higher ground than where I had the bales last Spring; but still I feel better having the bales off the ground.  They can't help but draw moisture from the ground.

The first four bales...

All 24 bales from above.

Four across...

Six long.

A pretty stout bale.    (The green spots are where the bale spear and two small prongs went in the bale).

While round bales shed water, still, it doesn't hurt to throw tarps over the tops of them.  I'll do that next week.  And I'll have to rake the ground.  Turning on a dime sure tears the ground up - especially when carrying 1600+ lbs.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bucket of bull thistle flowers

Wednesday, after fixing one of Bob's and Jan's underground sprinkler connections, I decided to clip off the bull thistle flowers growing on two plants in my hayfield.  The flowers are getting ready to turn to seed and I haven't gotten to spraying weeds yet.

Once clipped my flowers I noticed all the bull thistle plants on my absentee neighbor's property across the road. After I got on his property I saw there were more plants than I saw from the road.  I thought I would clip flowers off some of the plants, but not all of them as I had other projects to do.   But the more I clipped the more I kept going.  I ended up clipping all of them and filled a five gallon bucket with the flowers.  I only put in the bucket the flowers that had gone to seed (but thankfully not opened) or were turning to seed.  The other flowers I left on the ground.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Garden path

I tried again this year to have a garden. I was late in rotor-tilling the garden area in early June.  Once I got the ground tilled I needed to lay down concrete blocks to have a path along the fences on the west and south sides.  When I had a garden before I had grass paths on those sides and they were a pain to mow in addition to getting muddy when it rained.  And I had various concrete pieces I needed to use instead of having them just sit around.

I laid down some blocks on the west side and then the rain started.  Lots of rain in June.  I finally finished the west path during Tammy's yard sale when she didn't want me around.

Then interruptions again.

The past few days, after letting the horses in the fruit tree and garden area, I thought I could quickly finish the path on the south side.  I finally finished today.

Needless to say - no garden this year.  But this effort should make next year's garden preparation go quicker.

The view of the area after I took up the plastic and boards used to kill the grass.  For the most part they did, but not completely.  It was tough going through the roots with the rotor-tiller.  In the photo following this one you can see how the grass is coming back.

As you can the paths are not straight.  I tried to align the large blocks with the fence posts and the fence is not straight.

Also as you can see, I had so many concrete pieces of different sizes and styles.  As these pieces were gathered over the years, instead of purchased just for the garden I had this and that and not enough of one style.

Function over style once again.  Good thing Tammy is not here else I would get crap on how bad it looks.

The three odd pieces in the middle... odd and ends left over.  They are not part of the path.  I just left them here for now.  They will come in handy when I lay plastic down later to kill the grass for next year's garden.