Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pump, tractor and hay

New irrigation pump I ordered three weeks ago.... I called the company and they said it will be a week before they get the pump from the manufacturer, then another week for it to be delivered to me.  They said they couldn't have the pump sent directly to me from the manufactuer.

I finally heard from Tim.  He hadn't gotten the calf table from Zon yet.  He didn't bring me the squeeze cute from South Dakota as it was just him when he left and couldn't load it himself.  The tractor I want to buy from him... he said the local John Deere dealer said it was worth $44,000.  Too rich for me and much more than the other model 6400 tractors I see for sale around the U.S.  So I have to look elsewhere for a tractor.  I see a model 6400 for sale in Graham, Washington near where my relatives live.  Maybe I need to pay them a visit and come home with a tractor.

The local phone company added some bogus charges in my latest bill so I had to call and get them to remove them.  I read tonight that Montana plans to sue them for poor response times and poor service.

My neighbor Curt sold me his share of the hay Johnny cut for him.  Johnny is also short of hay so he took his share instead of payment. It is so hot and dry that Johnny was able to cut the hay Monday morning, rake it Tuesday afternoon, and bale it late Tuesday afternoon.  Therefore the hay is greener and much better than the hay my neighbor cut and let sit to dry out for a week before baling.

Curt said last year the field produced 24 large bales.  This year... seven bales. Curt's, and therefore my share, was only three bales.  But it is three more bales than I had earlier.  David, who cuts for Johnny, said he had seen on average only a third of the amount of hay this year than last year.  It is dry here and hay is in short supply.  Johnny, who I bought some hay from this past Spring, said he will be short of hay this year.  He, and I, may have to look east of the mountains for hay.

How did I get the three bales home?  I borrowed Curt's trailer and David was able to load the three bales on the trailer for me after he baled them. Ii then had to roll the about 1200 lb bales off the trailer once I got home.  That was no easy task as you can see the trailer leans down in front.

Four bales down... forty-six more to go.

My neighbor finished baling his small bales Tuesday evening and I got them put away into the barn.  While I usually buy 330 bales to fill the barn, this year my neighbor only had 269 bales for me.  I bought all he had.  He said he only got a quarter of his normal hay crop.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Water, hay and Daisy

Still dry.  I wanted to water some of the hayfield, if only a very small part.  Due to the cattle I had to put the sprinkler on top of a railroad tie in the corral fence.

Wyatt finally started to bale his hay Sunday night - a week after he cut it. He brought me one load of hay.  The rest will be baled and come on Monday.   This year's hay is not the best. It is dry.  Last year's hay - which I have a few bales left in the barn - is greener than this year's hay.

Daisy supervised.

Later she decided she needed to be on the stack of hay.

Unfortunately she laid on the hay outside the barn.  I had to work around her.  When it came time for her to move she didn't want to.  She was giving me the 'stink eye' until I got the camera out.  She closed her eyes because she didn't want to look at the flash.

I tried to lift her off the hay but she was having none of that.  I finally had to tip the bale a little bit to encourage her to move.

Friday, July 17, 2015

No hay, hand, heifers and roof

It rains (sprinkles) just enough each day to get stuff wet.  Therefore my neighbor did not bale the hay on Thursday or Friday.

No hay on Thursday was kind of ok as I saw a nurse practitioner at a local dermatology office that morning.  I have a growth on the back of my hand that is not a wart.  She said skin cancer is often found on hands.  She numbed the site and then used a razor blade to slice off what stuck up above my hand.  It will be sent to a lab for analysis as to what it is and I'll find out in a week to ten days.

Initially they put a band-aid on the back of my hand but when I said I would be tossing hay bales in the afternoon they put a larger bandage on my hand and then wrapped it.

On Thursday the black heifer appeared to no longer be in heat.  By noon Buddy returned to the herd and was no longer laying outside the corral to be near her.  Therefore I let the heifers out of the corral and into the hayfield.  The herd was at the south end of the hayfield so it took a while for the heifers to make their way across the field to join the herd.

Rose should be coming into heat on Saturday.  I noticed late in the afternoon Buddy was hanging around her.  Two days out and he already knows she will be coming into heat soon.  Probably before even she knows.  On Friday Buddy was hanging closer to her, starting to lick her and rest his head on her back.  He looked like he wanted to mount her but held back.  Saturday should be the big day for her.

Rose was the heifer who went 'boy crazy' the last two times she was in heat so it will be interesting to see how she likes what she has wanted.  So far I'm not sure how she is taking to Buddy shadowing her every move.  She wanted Buddy's attention before but since she is not in full blown heat right now she may be overwhelmed with his attention and puzzled as to why she is the special female in his life.

On Thursday I finished the well pump's shed.  The shingle color is Aspen White.  The photo makes it appear to be even whiter than the white it is.

Just as I finished putting all the tools away it began to rain.  What timing!

With the occasional rain I haven't started removing the shingles to work on the tool shed roof.

Later Thursday evening I took the pipes off the old pump and took them apart into their smaller pieces.  With some effort I was able to unscrew all the pipes.  As rusty as they were I thought I may have to cut some of the pipes to get them apart.

The pump is heavy.  I weighed it.  It weighs 80 lbs.  The newer pumps around that horsepower don't weigh anything near that.  The new 7.5 hp pump I am buying weighs 84 lbs, almost as much as the old 1 hp pump.

Friday I replaced my worn out bicycle chain.  Now I need to get a new freewheel as the new chain skips on the two worn cogs.

Also on Friday I fixed most of the corral's loading ramp's gate that Dan's last cow broke.  I have one more board to nail tomorrow after I go hiking.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Buddy, heifers and irrigation pipe

One of the black heifers was in heat Wednesday. I'm not sure if it is the same one as Tuesday.  Buddy patrolled the fence and called for the heifers.   When working on my well pump shed I noticed Buddy might be in the middle pasture.  Sure enough he was!  He had just gotten through or over the fence and was in a very fast trot over to the north pasture fence where the heifers were eating.  Uh, oh.  Buddy knows how to get through the north pasture fence section that is three strands of barb wire.  The heifers were at the area where the six strands end and the three strands begin.

I went out there.   By now the entire herd saw something was going on and they all came to the hayfield/middle pasture fence.  While the fence was damaged due to Buddy none of the other cattle crossed over the fence.   With some effort I herded the heifers into the corral.

Buddy watched and realized being in the middle pasture was not where the action was at.  I got to a gate but by now he had returned to where he crossed earlier.  He jumped over the fence.  Actually half over landing on top of the wires.  He then hopped the rest of the way over - clumsily.  I was holding my breath but he doesn't appear to have injured his family jewels.

For most the rest of the day he haunted the outside of the corral while I kept the heifers inside.  I had planned on releasing the heifers to the hayfield with the herd Wednesday night once the 48 hours of licking the bloat blocks had passed.  But looking at the calender I hope to wait till the heifer is out of heat.  I would prefer to give her three more weeks before getting pregnant.  Getting bred now would mean a calf the end of April.  Three weeks later would mean a middle May calf and I am fine with that if it gives her three more weeks of growth.

Once I fixed the fence Buddy broke Donna and I moved the irrigation pipes I plan to buy from her late mother's estate.  Arriving with my pickup I discovered I didn't have the right type of hitch.  I had a receiver hitch with a ball.  The trailer holding the pipes was a different type of hitch.

Donna got her tractor and used it to pull the trailer with the pipes to my pasture.  We had concerns whether the tractor and trailer would be able to turn into my driveway.  We had ruled out turning in the NE pasture gate.  To turn in Donna had to swing out into the other lane once the traffic let up, but she made it.

Donna and I had spent some time looking for connectors, risers and sprinkler heads for most of the pipes.  We found some but others were missing.  We are sure we had seen them all in the outbuildings when we initially checked weeks ago.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Rain, wires, heifers

I want it to rain, but I don't want it to rain.... right now.  That is because Wyatt cut his field Sunday night and then plans to bale it on Thursday.  So his hay is laying on the ground drying.   That is, until a rain shower came over Tuesday afternoon.  Not in the forecast, not suppose to happen in NW Montana right now - but it did.  *sigh*

The rain also threw another wrench into my plans.   Monday I put the new roof on the pump house for the well.  I didn't use the former tongue in groove boards.  They were old, they were very dry.  Instead I used two sheets of plywood.

The old roof

The new roof

My plan was to shingle it today.   Earlier in the day I had gone to Home Depot and Lowes to buy shingles and the metal edging you see in the above photo.  I already had felt.

It rained before I could put the felt on the roof.  Now I have to wait till tomorrow to work on the roof as I am waiting for it to completely dry.

I prepared the barn for the Thursday's new hay.  A few weeks ago to make room for the electrician to work I cleared the stuff out of the barn's tack room and into the barn itself.  Now I needed to move the stuff out of the barn.  Since the electrician finished the electrical work (other than the last bit of wiring once the new pump arrives), I removed the old wire from the barn.  Once I fill the barn with new hay I wouldn't be able to access the old wiring.

It appears the electrician removed the connections to the old wiring except for the wire that comes out of the garage.  This wire also goes to the tool shed and barn.  Those wire ends had been cut and taped off in those buildings.  When I worked on removing the old wire in the barn I saw a spark.  That is when I then traced back and found the one spot the electrician had missed cutting/un-wiring.  I removed the fuses so I could work on removing the wire from the barn without getting shocked.

Because I plan to re-shingle the tool shed after I shingle the pump house I removed the old wires from the tool shed.  To do so I had to use an extension  ladder to get up the light pole.  The ladder wasn't quite high enough but I was able to cut the wires and remove them by standing on the top rungs of the ladder and holding onto the light pole.  *whew*

While up there I cut and removed the wires going to the barn.  It looks strange now to not see overhead wires going to the barn.   For now I left the wires going from the light pole to the garage.

One of the three heifers must be in heat or coming into heat.  Buddy spent a lot of time Tuesday along the fence next to their pasture.  When he wasn't around a black heifer would stand by the fence and call out to him.   At one point Buddy got his head through the fence wires to better smell the heifers.  Everyone moved away from the fence when I came out there.  I added a couple extra wires to the existing wires to try to keep those wires together to stop Buddy from putting his head through the fence again.