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.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hayshed gate

A few days ago I noticed the horses pushed against the hayshed wooden gates and broke part of them.  I fixed the gates.   Then I decided to finally fix the north gate's lag bolt hinge.  The lag bolt had come out of the supporting post and board.  Past attmepts to fix the lag bolt resulted in the hole getting stripped out and enlarged.  I had to be careful when opening the gate as the bolt would pop out.

I cut off the bad part of the board and replaced it with a newer one in which to screw in the bottom lag bolt.

I also wanted to have the gate sit slightly higher as the gate would catch on the ground as I opened it.  The top bolt needed also go slightly over to one side so the gate would not track down when opened.  I got distracted talking with the neighbor lady and my brain checked out slightly and I drilled the new hole lower when I needed to go higher as shown below

The gate now opens smoothly and doesn't drag against the ground.

 The horses naturally were interested in what I was doing.  Here one horse inspects my fix.

Daisy kept me company while I worked.  She was inside the hayshed and when I finished she hopped up on the gate.  Here you can see how much I raised the gate.  It used to be even lower than the other gate on the left.

The horses inspecting my tools.

The next photos show how I have to protect my little trees from the livestock.   The cattle especially will chomp on the trees.  That is why the tree below is narrower on the lower half than the upper half.

Other makeshift tree protections.  Some trees are out growing their protection.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Final fence rebuild for now

I have rebuilt quite a bit of fence this year and am tired of it. I also rebuilt part of the corral fence for which I haven't gotten to posting photos of.  On my to-do list.

After completing the fence rebuild by the road last week, the last fence rebuilds were fixes for rotting posts.  First up was the front yard fence.  July 15 I replaced three small rotted posts at one spot with one newer solid post.



That didn't take too long so I went to fix the rotted corner post between the hayfield, south and middle pastures.  Being a corner post this called for a railroad tie.  And a secondary smaller railroad tie to make a solid start to the fence.  While the next gate on my list to be replaced is a short distance (50 ft or so) away, I am so tired of rebuilding fences that other than the corner posts which had to be done, I didn't rebuild this short section of fence as I knew it would take a few days.

New corner posts.