Tuesday, November 24, 2015


The weather forecast said the Winter storm and snow would arrive at 8 am this morning and that is what it did.  I woke up a few minutes after 8 am and saw snow when I looked out the window.  I went outside and opened the gate to the north pasture so the cattle could reach the hay able.

The cattle were in the middle pasture somewhat close to the north pasture fence and eyeing the hay.  They came when I opened the gate with Beulah and Mama in the lead.  They were so excited they ran to the right to the corral and not left to the hay in the feeder. I walked over to the feeder and called them and they turned and came running to the feeder.

Buddy was his cool calm self and was still grazing in the middle pasture.  He then walked to the fence to look at the herd at the hay.  I called for him and after turning around a few time came to me at the gate and then walked over to join the cattle at the feeder.

Several cattle low on the pecking order had to wait to eat from the hay bale as the other cattle pushed them away while they ate.

At the river I could see clumps of snow floating.

Daisy and I pretty much spent the day inside as it snowed until the afternoon and the wind blew strong and will continue to blow strong until 5 am tomorrow.

I did ride 5 miles on my bicycle in the afternoon.  Riding was slower than usual due to the snowy and icy road.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cattle work, fence work

Monday was a decent day weather wise.  I got more fence work done but did not complete the fence.  The weather forecast insists we will have a Winter storm on Tuesday so this may be the last I do on fences for the year.  We'll see.

First, time was taken up by cattle work.  In the early afternoon I saw that Mama was in the south pasture by herself. Earlier half of the cattle herd were at the river to drink and Mama must have then crossed into the south pasture. She headed to the fence with the south neighbor and I was concerned she would do something bad.  She wanted to join the rest of the herd who were in the other south neighbor's field south of the hay field.  I tried to herd mama but she didn't want to leave the fence and was getting annoyed with me.  She was near the part of the fence I had rebuilt to have more strands of wire and was higher but I was concerned she would go west to the four strand part of the fence which was lower, and then jump the fence.

Then I got the idea of also opening the gate to the hay field in addition to the gate I had opened to the middle pasture.  Mama watched me, and once I opened the gate and called for her, she came over and trotted through the gate into the hay field where she could go and join the herd (who by now saw me with Mama and were coming back into the hay field from the neighbor's pasture).

Since snow is in the forecast, and the cattle have pretty much eaten most of the grass, using the tractor I carried a large hay bale out to the metal feeder in the north pasture.  I'll open the gate tomorrow morning and let the cattle in eat the bale.  Even though the cattle were at the southern neighbor's pasture, they saw me working around the hay feeder and came over to watch me.

The rest of the afternoon I worked on my corral fence.  The railroad post I put in the previous evening was good so I nailed boards to it.  I got two more railroad ties and put them into the ground at the other end of the opening and then nailed boards to them.

Of the 60 foot opening I now have fenced about half of it and have 30 feet left.  Too bad Tuesday won't be like Monday; I would have gotten the rest of the railroad ties into the ground for posts.

'New' 14 ft gate and the back side of the new fence.

'New' 14 ft gate and the front side of the new fence.

Here are the other two sections I built on Monday.  The left darker section was built last year.   This is, as Tammy had called it before she left, my 'redneck ghetto fence'.  The boards were salvaged from a building business's burn pile.

Monday night's sunset as I worked on the fence.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Gate change, etc.

Tuesday morning a Winter storm is coming.  I have my corral fence to complete.  What do I do?  Instead of digging more holes for railroad ties I decided this morning to switch gates in the corral fence I am building.  While the current 12 ft gate is wide enough to drive my tractor through when carrying a large hay bale into that part of the corral, I find I really have to watch out I don't hit my fence.  I have a 14 ft gate and decided now - before I build the fence - is the time to switch gates.

12 ft gate  (bent where Buddy pushed against it in an effort to sniff a couple of cows in pre-heat on the other side).

The problem with the 14 ft gate was that most of the rails on one end of the gate were not attached to the frame.  It is an old gate I bought as part of a group.  My neighbor Curtis has a welder and he welded the rails back to the frame.  He even welded a chain to the frame that I can use to run through an eye bolt to hold the gate shut.

Naturally the gate's hinges would be in a different place so swapping the gates wasn't as simple as 'swapping the gates'.  But eventually I got it done.

Because the 14 ft gate is longer that meant I had to move by two feet the existing railroad tie on the other end.  I got that done before dark.

The previous day I had dug a hole for the railroad tie for the next section.  I had to fill in that hole and dig a new hole two feet over.  I got that done before dark.

I put a railroad tie in the hole and filled the dirt back in.  It was dark when I finished.  Tomorrow I will check to see if I did it right.

I also did a side job earlier.  I noticed I hadn't placed a 'resting post' for a previous gate I worked on this Fall.  So I found a short broken railroad tie piece and dug it into the ground.  This is for a 16 ft gate.  The gate is long and heavy, and over time gravity would otherwise pull one end down closer to the ground.

This evening's sunset.  (I couldn't decide which photo I liked better so I included both).

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Feeder, straw, fence

Saturday's projects...

I fixed the wooden feeder.  I still don't know why the boards didn't fit tight this year.  I cut a new board to fill the gap.

I put up barriers to the straw so that when the cattle are in the corral this Winter they won't make a mess of the straw before I lay it out for them.

I also fixed the barrier to the weedy hay.

I started to finish the fence that will split the corral.  This is the last part of the corral fence to do.  I started on it last year but only got two gates and one section done.

The nights now get below freezing and the ground freezes.  The afternoons get above freezing and the ground thaws allowing for a few hours of digging.  Next week the weather forecast calls for below freezing for a large number of days and that most likely will be the end of fence work for the year.  So I have today, Sunday and Monday to finish the corral fence.

Today I didn't get as far as I would have liked.  I had to spend a few hours finding the boards I will use for the fence. The boards I want to use are the salvage boards I got over the year from the neighboring business' burn pile.  So my piles of boards are a miss-mash of different boards and different lengths of boards gotten various times.

Semi-sorted boards by type and length

Once I found four similar sized boards of the length I wanted for one section of fence I had to trim the lengths to be the same.

Then I spent time taking down the old barb wire and snow fence.  I did get a hole dug for the first railroad tie by the time it got dark.  I covered the hole so it wouldn't freeze tonight.  Then I can work on putting the railroad tie in the ground tomorrow without having to wait until the ground thaws.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Corral light and garage roof

A busy day.

I fixed the garage roof.  To patch the tear I used an eight foot section left over from when I roofed the garage many years ago.   If I had the time and inclination right now I would take off and replace the fascia board as the top of it is two levels making it tricky to nail the roofing to it. Why two levels?  I'm not sure.  Perhaps the boards are really meant to be used next to one another and the levels would then overlap.   Also parts of the top of the fascia is soft with rot.

Over the past three days I added a light to the barn in the corral.  Dan and Donna both told me I needed a light for the corral, especially if I have to help a cow calve in the dark.  Two times the cattle got out into the yard in the dark, once with Tammy and once with Donna.  Both times it was a challenge to count the black cattle in the dark when making sure we got them all back into the corral.

Installing the light should have been easy as it wasn't a complicated wiring job. Of course, I had problems, the last being the light wouldn't work.   Thursday morning Curtis helped me with his electrical testing equipment.  Initially the tester indicated current in all the wiring to the light.  Then did the light bulb get damaged since I tested it prior to installing the light?

I wondered about the light switch as it had three connecting screws.  Not knowing I assumed the third screw was a ground connection.  It wasn't.  It was a three-pole switch, useful when one wants two switches to control a single light.  I replaced the switch with a two-pole switch with two screws.  Also one of my hot wire twisting connections wasn't that good.  Initially it was fine but after moving the wire around when checking stuff the connection got loose - further complicating and confusing our debugging of why the light wouldn't work.

But it all works now.  The light lights up the corral very well, much more than the following photos indicate.

The upper two boxes and wire are what I added.

Mounted up high.

I also rode 40 miles on my bicycle on Thursday.