January 2009


This past week we began and completed the third side of our back pasture fence.  Just the two of us!   I am just amazed at how a couple of amateurs can do things like this as well as we can.  Hey I’m a city girl!  Or I WAS . . . img_0891

On Monday, the 19th, DH and I got a late start but finally managed to get out at about 1030.  Our goal was to “plant” and set 50 posts into the holes DH had drilled the day before.  There were a lot of holes as you can see above. 

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My initial job was to measure 30 inches from the end of each post.  we wanted that much below the surface.   So then it would be put into the next hole. 

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Next, in goes about a fifth of a bag of concrete; that is about 10 pounds or more.  It’s a good thing DH is a strong man; those bags were big and heavy! 

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Then we “water” it.  Can’t plant anything without a bit of water!  That’s my job.  I get it from the water tank behind the concrete shelf  behind the Gator.

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Water helps mix the soil/sand with the concrete and sets the posts in the ground.  We push the soil down and tamp well.  Not a bad picture taken with my left hand, huh?  You had no idea I was ambidexterous, did you?  Heck I didn’t! Don’t you love my pink gloves?  I normally don’t like pink, but I wanted gloves that I knew wouldn’t walk away. . . .

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We had quite an operation going when I looked up and saw a golf cart driving across the pasture.  I didn’t know whether it was Mona or Bob, but I knoew it was one of the neighbors. . .  It was Bob; he asked if we had heard the weather report.  It called for 3-5 inches of snow.  We hoped that we could finish this section before the weather got wet!  Thanks for the motivational speach, Bob! 

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 So we kicked up our heels and restocked the Gator. .  I got to drive this time!  

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Well we ran out of concrete before all 50 posts went in.  But we did get 47 set.  It was a good day.  Later in the week DH finished that side by putting the rails up.  He does that better without me, so I puttered inside.  You’ll see pictures of that in my next post.  We’re taking a break now!  img_0909

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We awoke to a blanket of snow this morning. And when we looked out on the pasture the ladies were covered with it. They had apparently stayed out of the shelter again last night and had literally blankets of snow on their backs.

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DH believes that the hut rattles noisily in the wind and scares the girls so they often stay out in the open on windy nights.   We need to do something about that. 

Anyway it is an oatmeal kind of morning.  Steel cut cooked with raisins.  And hot tea.  My mother would be proud and perhaps surprised at my eating oatmeal! 

It is supposed to snow most of the morning today; quite unusual for us in these parts.  I should go out and spread some seeds for the birds that are still around.  While we were putting up fence posts yesterday there were at least 100 or more Robins in our back pasture.  I don’t know what they were eating, but I hope it wasn’t grass seed!  We are trying to grow rye back there!

It’s been cold here lately. But, since I grew up in the Northern area of the country until it snows it doesn’t feel like winter to me. Okay maybe I’m exaggerating a little. When the temperature read 7 the other morning I knew it was winter.

But the forecast for this evening and tonight is for 2-4 inches. We learned this while DH and I were setting another 50 fence posts. Neighbor Bob came by and gave us hte news. I do believe it was more to tell DH that if it is too bad, they will call the “guys” at work and tell them not to come in. Neighbor Bob and DH are the bosses. It must be good to be King!

I am on leave tomorrow anyway since I worked on Friday which was annual leave. So I had intended to get some things done without DH being here. Now, not only will he most likely, be here he wont’ be able to work outside. Oh heck!  Maybe I can get work done in the den. . . I hope!

Happy Snow Day in the Carolinas. . .

   Our farm life now consists of seven cattle.  Our largest is Angie who is a Dexter/Lowline cross.  She’ll always be larger than the others until we get another Lowline.  Observing Angie, I now have some idea where the term “bullying” comes from.  When it’s feeding time, she makes sure she’d the first one the reach the trough.  If she wants to move down the trough she just does it and they let her!   

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When it’s feeding time, she will call you and let you know she is waiting.  She’s not very shy about looking for treats either.  I just wish the rest of them would trust us like she does.  Or is “trust” the word? 

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Gretchen is the next in the “pecking order”.  Here she is decorated with hay from the overhead feeder.  When the ladies feed from the trough some of the hay gets all over their heads.  It’s quite amusing.  That Gretchen, she’s such a clown. 

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  We also have two still very shy girls in Brown Sugar and Martina.  They are very best of friends and can be found close to each other in the field most of hte time.  Sugar is a wonderful shade of chocolate; not too dark but not creamy milk either.  She has a patch of white on her under belly too.   DH would love to show her.  Her friend Martina is a very cute girl.  She is a bit smaller (about 40 pounds) than her friend Sugar even though they were born the same day.  Hopefully she’ll grow out some soon or I may have to worry about her a bit. 

Jack was our first steer.  He feels that he is Angies “man” because he has been with the girls since the start.   He’s our #1 just like the number on his ear tag!  He is not at all shy and will take a treat from your hand just as Angie and Gretchen will.  I’m not sure he like the molasses taste, so I’ll have to find another one for him. 

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  Then we have On-Q and Mr Popularity (his sister was Ms Congeniality).    They came to the Smiling J before the others, so they are not as much a part of the herd as Jack.   Q is less timid than Pop.  when we brought the others to the pasture it was interesting to see Q and Angie “have it out” to see who was the head of the herd.  It was only a bunch of head shoving, but interesting at that.  She won. (Because of her size I imagine.) 

Anyway that is our herd.  I was concerned abotu them when it was 7 degrees on Saturday morning.  But they seem to have done alright.  Hopefully the rest of the winter won’t be as bad as it has been predicted.

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The next phase of our farm set up is the back pasture fence.  I believe the pasture 470 feet by 400 which will require about 2000 feet of fence.  That will include a 72 x 72 square pen with a pen (needing serious renovation!) which we plan to use as a birthing shed.  So I got up front and personal with the process of setting 8 foot posts in concrete this past Friday.  Dearest Husband and I worked very well together; having specific duties for each of us helped immensely! We didn’t get in each others way and set over 50 posts.    The hay bales belong to the farmer behind us. 

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The debris is from the previous fencing.  Cutting the wire fence and pulling old posts out with the tractor was another interesting project.  Too bad I didn’t get pictures of that phase.  It was not as easy as I thought it would be!    

 While we were setting posts, I was the water girl and the “tamper”.  On occasion I would assist DH in lugging the concrete bags.  They were 80 pounds each. 

The more difficult part began when I started to assist in the placement of the three rails for the fence the next day.  In spite of what DH thought, it was more physically demanding for me.  The boards he had were 16 feet long and we had to man-handle them over to where they were to be added to the posts.   

I found the maneuvering of the boards difficult and often walked the wrong way or didn’t put the board in the “right” place. My “helping” just wasn’t working out.  So I decided to take a few pictures.   

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Above is the Gator with the air compressor and generator to support the nail gun.  DH likes to work with lots of toys.  They really do make tasks this size much easier, but teasing him about them is part of my job. . .   And of course I made and brought lunch for my man.  He was working so hard. 

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        Here is the shed in what is going to be the birthing and weaning pen.   Okay it’s pretty shabby, poor thing.  Perhaps pathetic. . . Once we get the aluminum pulled off and replace it with wood it will look much better.  I’ll update the photos then. 

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     I know this picture is a bit hard to see, but the pen is now finished and the fence is half way completed.  My man has worked hard so today it was steak and mashed potatoes for dinner.  I’m proud of him! 

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I am a
Violet


What Flower
Are You?

    I’m a violet?  How can that be?  Have I changed that much over time?   Since 1997 I took have taken a few of those tests like Meyers-Briggs and others.  I have found that I am a closet introvert although I always thought I was an extrovert. 

    Maybe I’ve always been a closet introvert and used the extrovert in me as a defense mechanism.  Things that make one go hhmmm… Perhaps I should do more introversion. . .

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The “girls” or “ladies” as I’ve begun to call them are adjusting well as far as I can see.   Since I don’t know the nature of cattle I can only assume that they are adjusting. img_0817

 When HD goes out to feed in the morning they run towards the gate to “greet” him.  The largest are not shy about making sure they get to the trough first!  My guess is that it’s Angie, Gretchen and “hamburger” Jack.  Okay that isn’t his real name.  Jack is one of our steers who will share the table with potatoes, salad and dessert some day.  So it’s helps me to give them nick names above their given one.   Jack is “hamburger Jack”, Mr Popularity is “Pop roast”, and On Q is “cubed steak”.  It reminds me of their fate; to be here for a short period of time.  We won’t go into that right now.

Alright back to the original topic:  once DH gets to the trough, he pours some feed into the trough and adds hay to the top feeder.  Angie will attempt to bully her way to the front of the line and push the rest out of the way.  They will eat the feed that is added to the trough and then the hay.  Once they are “done” they make their way around the field. 

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 So around and around the pasture they roam nibbling as they go.  Occassionally a few will chase each other or they will hear the Gator and assume that there is more feed to be had. 

   These pictures are all taken from the front porch.  Okay it’s more like a stoop, but this is the country so we don’t call them stoops and three steps high is much more than a stoop!  My point is that this is the view when I sit out front on the steps.  Isn’t that neat? 

This is such a different life for this old city girl.  The views I grew up with were other homes and streets; one was a state highway.  Even in condos I saw either parking lots or small back yards.   But a “front  yard” that is seveal acres and a back with as much or more is so cool.  At night when I stand in the front yard, the stars are amazing.  But that is for another blog. . .

    I love having the ladies out front.  I’ll miss seeing them out front when we finish the back pasture fence and rotate them amoung the pastures.   I like this new view. 

   Have some patience with me and I’ll get individual pictures and tell you more about each.  Thanks for reading!   

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