Saturday, October 22, 2016

Messing in the straw

Yesterday I let the cattle into the corral.  The calves hadn't eaten all of the hay in the feeder.  With rain everyday it was matter of time before the hay started to get moldy.  So I let the cattle in to eat the weeds and hay.  They did.  Today I found a little mold growing in the pallet that held the hay off the ground in the feeder.

I have extra straw under the side roof of the barn.  It is protected by a metal gate and a long wooden pallet tied together around a post.  Yesterday Buddy pushed one end of the metal gate up to eat some straw.  Beulah broke the top board of the wooden pallet to eat straw.  Since they weren't standing and going to the bathroom on the straw I let them be.  Cattle don't usually eat straw but occasionally they do to get some roughage.

Today I checked.  The metal gate was laying flat on the ground with straw completely covering it.  The wooden pallet was mostly broken and half laying in the mud and straw.  Four cattle were standing as far up on the straw as they could squeeze under the barn roof.  The straw was a mess.

I chased the cows away and dug out the metal gate and stood it up.  I wrapped barb wire around the gate and the post.  In the other end I pounded a metal t-post through part of the gate and into the ground.

I got three long boards and blocked the wooden pallet side.  The cattle could get their head through the boards but could no longer climb up on the straw.

Later in the afternoon after the cattle left the corral I closed the gates.  I dug the broken pallet out of the straw and mud and removed it from the corral.  The cattle wanted back into the corral.  So I took some of the straw and put it into the long wooden feeder.

First I had to fix the feeder's floor.  With all the rain the boards swelled up and in two places sides of the boards popped up.  I replaced one 2x4 board with a 2x2 board.  For the other spot I had to cut an inch and a half off the board so it would fit flat.

I let the cattle back into the corral.  Now that the straw wasn't in a place where they weren't suppose to go they weren't as interested in it.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Stacked firewood

Another rainy day.  Before the rain started late morning I got one thing done.  I woke up from a dream where the cattle broke into the corral.  Upon waking I realized some strands of barb wire were not attached to fence posts in the north fence along my neighbor's property and I needed to fix this before the cattle found them and slipped through, as I let the cattle into my north pasture yesterday.  I am trapping pocket gophers on the neighbor's land - or trying to, as all this wet weather caused the pocket gophers to stay deep underground.  I have been slipping through the fence in a few places where the wire is not completely attached.  So just before the rain started I fixed this.

Prior to today I have picked up my split firewood.  I got most of it stacked in the pole shed.  The rest of the firewood I stacked under the patio by the house.   The pole shed - where I stack firewood - is now full.  This is the first time that has ever happened.  I had it almost full going into Winter a few times in the past, but never this much.  I'm continuing to split logs and stack the firewood in the patio.  I have more logs to split from the back yard to make room for more logs from the pastures.  If it ever stops raining I can get this done.

The stack of firewood in the pole shed measures 6 ft across, 18 ft long and at the highest, 10 ft tall.   A cord of wood is 4 ft by 4 ft by 8 ft.   Based on cubic volume I believe I have about 8 cords of wood stacked in the pole shed, which should be more than enough to last me all Winter.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

More firewood splitting

In between the rain each day I have been splitting more logs for firewood.  When it rains I cover the split piles with tarps.  Today I started stacking the wood in the pole shed where my previous split wood is stacked.  I got about half the recently split wood stacked.  I believe I will fill the area for firewood with what I have split and will have to find another sheltered place to store the rest.  Usually I am still splitting firewood after the snow is on the ground.  For once I am ahead of the game.

Here is my split wood before I started stacking it.  All split by hand.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Walnut tree and wood stove

Here are two photos of my English Walnut tree after the killing frost.  The leaves went from normal and green to this overnight.

Today I gave in and lit a fire in my wood stove.  I had been delaying using the wood stove because one of the things I want to get done before Winter is to re-do the room/hallway the stove sits in.  Re-do the ceiling, sand and re-paint the walls, rip up the carpet and put down new flooring, and put a sun tunnel in the ceiling for more light.

Up unto October and this wet and cold weather it looked like the room remodel was possible.  I'm still not ruling it out once I get my other outside projects done... but the clock is ticking.  I don't want to do the remodel during Winter.

I didn't want to use the wood stove as I thoroughly cleaned the stove and chimney this Summer and to do the remodel I have to temporarily move the stove.  But... this cold weather finally wore me down.  The inside house temperature today was 49 degrees and I decided not to put up with the cold anymore.  Especially as the weather outside today was in the low 40s, overcast and damp with a chill in the air.  Rain and these way below normal temperatures are predicted to continue into mid-next week.  I want my global warming back!!!!!

Now the temperature in the house is 66 degrees and it feels too warm to me.  I can't win.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Cattle and splitting firewood

Dan came and got the last four steers this afternoon.  I waited for one steer to finish peeing then I herded all of the steers into the loading corral and then loaded them into Dan's trailer.  We took it slow and had no problems.   Dan weighed them and said they weighed 2010 lbs, or 502.5 lbs each on average.  The largest steer (Curious George) was heavier than the others and we think it probably weighs 575 lbs or so.

The clouds cleared off last night and the temperature dropped to well below freezing. The coldest it has been since last March.  The larger English Walnut tree had been resisting the previous frosts but last night gave up and this morning all the remaining leaves were dead.  We had a heavy frost overnight and it took until noon to melt the frost and warm up.

With the break in the weather yesterday and today I spent some time cutting up logs and splitting them into firewood.  A few weeks ago I bought a new chainsaw as my previous chainsaw wouldn't start and I suspected the ethonol in the gas ruined that carburetor.   I bought a Husqvarna 455 Rancher 20-Inch gas-powered chain saw.  This saw has a longer bar than my old chainsaw.    The new chainsaw cuts through the logs really nice and quick.

I had some logs in the yard and cut them up.  Then I got them all split.  With all the rain we had recently the logs are still damp so I left them scattered outside so they can dry before I stack them under cover.  I'll see how this goes as the weather forecast has rain starting tomorrow and going into next week.

I have more logs to split.  I also want to cut up all the fallen trees in the pasture into logs for later splitting: one of my goals for this year before Winter arrives.

Cut but not split

Split.   (what a mess!)