Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunday Reading - Clearing the Remains

The tree cutting part of the fence project is now complete. I even managed to get all the left over small limbs removed from the paddock area and stacked up ready to burn as soon as I get a nice calm day to do so. Of course around here that may not be until Spring now.

All told I cut out five weed trees from the paddock area and fence line and left two large Mulberry trees and one smaller one for shade in the Summer. Honestly Mulberry is pretty good burning wood but you really don't get as much firewood for the effort because they have so many small branches on them. I ended up making four large piles like the one you see above and probably barely got a full load of firewood out of it. I also wasn't being as particular about trying to get every reasonably sized stick off the limbs either because I am in a bit of a rush.

You can kinda see what I am doing in the above picture. The wood I am saving to cure is scattered there but you can see about how big the new ram area is going to be. About half again as large as he is used to. The end of the red building you see in the back will be one wall of his shelter I hope to get started on tomorrow.

Of course the hens came running when they heard me working over there. They are always underfoot it seems and when the hens come the roosters are soon to follow.

Yes I said roosters. We now have three roosters as the only two surviving chicks ended up being roosters. I figure there is some kind of natural law that made that happen. Now that the two chicks have grown into roosters and started crowing and gang raping the hens Rueben the older rooster has started getting kinda mean and aggressive.

Or maybe it's just because he is over a year old now himself. That year to year and a half mark seems to be the time when the meanness kinda starts coming out.

Anyway it seems to first victim of a newly aggressive rooster around here is always my son. Not sure why that is but it's happened twice now. Mornings seem to be the worst times too. I noticed Thursday when I was getting ready for the market day move than Reuben was doing that little sideways walk towards me and pretending he was eating when he wasn't.

When I got home yesterday my son told me he had killed Reuben. Apparently the rooster attacked him from behind while he was attempting to wire a part of the fence Frazier was busting through but my son had his shepherds crook with him and took a swing at the rooster knocking him flat. When I got home he said the rooster hadn't moved since he hit him and that was over an hour ago. When I went back to investigate however there was no rooster body to be found.

A few hours later though Reuben did in fact show up hiding in the coop. He didn't come out the rest of the day either and has made it a point to stay far away from people ever since. Maybe he learned a valuable lesson?

He better have because we got two new roosters we can try out already. As I said roosters are a dime a dozen so no reason to put up with a mean one and so far every one we get eventually turns mean.

So anyway I am about on schedule so far. Still hoping to have the shelter built and fence wire up by the end of this week just in time to turn the ewes out with the rams and then start work on the east pasture. I have plans for a brief stop tomorrow afternoon to spin out the honey I harvested last Thursday and then it will be right back to fence work once again.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Still Going

The new control paddock survived the Frazier test but only just barely. I swear if these ewes don't stop teasing the poor rams I am going to lock the whole bunch of shameless hussies out in the far pasture and leave em there until November 4th, which is our usual first day of breeding season.

The amorous ewes are doing everything in their power to entice the two rams to come through, over or under their fences for a bit of fun and Frazier has almost managed it twice now. Each time the new fence held but this last time he managed to actually pull the bottom half of one section through the 1 inch staples holding it to the post.

I was finally forced to close off Frazier's access to the barn once again and using the temporary fence create a buffer zone between him and the ewes. This buffer space also worked for a really nice separation area for market day yesterday. In fact it worked so well I have now added another two swinging gates on the list to create a holding space within the control paddock for now on.

Speaking of market day. Man I sure am glad that is past us now. We took 24 lambs, 3 yearlings and 1 older ewe to market and made more than enough I believe to finish buying all the rest of the fencing material I need.

Market day killed most of Thursday but I managed to get more trees cleared and then some rain moved in so I switched to getting the shop set up for the final honey harvest. Today after work I hit the fence project hard again and am now almost ready to start construction of Frazier's shelter. With any luck I might actually be caught up on all this by the end of next week.

Ya I know believe it when it happens.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Hell Week is Half Over

Actually it's more like Hell three weeks but this one in particular shaped up to be the worst of them all.

As I said I have about three weeks to get three months worth of stuff done before it gets too cold to do a bunch of the things.

Today I managed to rake the front hay field. Get a small honey pull out of the way. Not a full big time pull, it is rather late to be taking that much honey from my remaining hives, I took just enough to satisfy our needs for the rest of the year. This includes Christmas presents and a few special customers that will just get a free jar now. One co-worker in particular is moving the end of October out of state so I want to send her off with at least a quart.

I took about 120 lbs. worth of frames off the hives more or less. Should be more than enough to get the limited demand of this year taken care of.

Then I jumped on the diesel with the baler still attached and baled the front field since they are now calling for rain tomorrow morning.

I didn't get many bales, only about 27 all told. Last cutting I got almost 50 if I remember right but this is the third cutting and the Johnson grass is taking over that field. The problem I have been having is that the brush hog just doesn't cut the Johnson grass well enough to bale. It tends to knock a lot of it over which in turn gets caught up in the rake and jams up the baler. If things go according to plan however I should not be baling the front field ever again anyway as I plan to have that turned into the South pasture by Spring.

If I remember right, since I didn't keep accurate records this year, I put up about 320 bales all told with this last cutting. I had about 40 ruined by rain overall though. All in all that puts my hay yield at about 100 less than last year. Of course I think by weight I might actually be over last years harvest since I really clamped down on the tightness of the bales this year too. Doesn't really matter because with the remaining retired old nags we are going to have to buy hay anyway so we will have enough.

Market day is Thursday early AM. I took off from work that day and so tomorrow is final sorting day and replacing lost ear tag day. There are still a few yearling and lamb ewes that need to be sorted out of the market group and I need to chose 2 or 3 slaughter lambs as well.

Anyway this day is done and tomorrow is another busy one. I got the bales put in the barn just as the sun was going down and I didn't even stress about the two that broke on me as we have plenty of sheep stuck here and there waiting that none of it went to waste.

After the time sensitive stuff is done the baler, rake and tiller need to be cleaned and put up for the Winter while the manure spreader will see some November use I imagine.

14 more days until breeding season starts and the rams are not wanting to wait.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday Reading - Front Hay Field Cut and a Surprise.

Once again I been neglecting the blog shamelessly. I have about 3 or 4 weeks to get around 3 months of work done before it starts getting too cold and still have to deal with the million little problems that crop up around here on a daily basis.

For instance we had the Whether who suddenly wasn't a whether trying to breed a ewe a mentioned the other day. This caused Frazier to go berserk and begin attacking the fence with such force I am surprised he didn't break through honestly.  I then had to drop what I was doing to and deal with that emergency which was followed closely by water hose breaking it's end off that I also had to stop and deal with.

Today's unexpected issue was the battery went bad on the 850 tractor. I had it tested at one place and then tested it myself at work. Yep. Bad. Replaced it and the old girl is running perfectly once again. Of course all that took time I really don't have right now but I was able to get her back up and cut the front hay field.

The guy who finished cutting the back field for me said he was going to come by and cut the front but of course he never showed up and with the week forecast as being hot and dry I am out of time so I used the brush hog once again. The real issue with using the brush hog is it tends to knock a lot of the Johnson grass over rather than cutting it and in turn the uncut stuff gets picked up by the rake and then isn't dry enough when I go bale it due to the added grass. With a little luck if I let it stand an extra day after raking I might fix this problem and hopefully by next season I can find a good used disc mower or a sickle mower that works.

As usual the chickens really like it when I mow the big fields and two of them managed to photo-bomb me when I was out taking a picture of the freshly mowed field.

I then spent the rest of the afternoon continuing to tear down the old ram's paddock fence. Not much left there that is going to be salvageable. The panels that were used for his fence have been heavily bent and Frazier has an issue with grabbing the thicker wire panels with his mouth and pulling on them. Eventually he manages to break the welds and begin taking the panels apart. Still there are some section I can cut out of the badly bent panels for use in other places.

While pulling down the last panel I was right next to a swarm trap I never managed to take down. I figured it was full of wax worms like the others and thought I would get to it eventually once the more important stuff is caught up.


It's full of bees. I watched as a few dozen came and went laden with pollen (although what is pollinating right now I don't know) and nectar. I doubt it's a very big swarm and it has a pretty slim chance of making it through Winter but I will attempt and get it in a hive box this week. I got to move them before I can finish taking down the last panel as the panel is right up against the box and messing with it pisses em off as you can imagine.

So tomorrow needs to be a bee day. I need to do at least a small honey pull and bring in the other two dead out hives so I can clean them out this Fall. Looks like adding an after dark swarm trap move is also in order.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

And This Is What It Comes Down To

In most Presidential elections over the last few decades the real deciding voting block in this country has been White Women. The female vote has rendered all other types of voting blocks insignificant especially the White racial vote and honestly is the main reason we are in the mess we are in today. There really is no other way to state it.

It wasn't the Black vote or the Hispanic vote that put the Golfer in Chief in office. It was the White Female vote. This is why there is no such thing as a White vote yet all other races get to have a fairly cohesive voting block. From that point on it has degenerated as the Femocrats have deftly managed to make sure any so called "Diversity" benefits White Women as much or more than any other "Minority" group.

The question that nags at me these days is has it finally gone far enough? Have normal White Women finally seen the damage this feminist movement has done to their brothers, fathers, sons and husbands? Can they now see through the lies of some tramp throwing herself at one of the few White Men still around who made it only to claim years or decades later it was all a one way street?

Interestingly enough in 2012 the Married White Female vote went slightly to Romney. A change from decades of Femocrat support with all White Women across the board. This gives me some hope that maybe, just maybe it was the beginning of a trend. It is almost our final option.

The truth is that isn't the final option though. Hoping that as a group White Women wake up is actually the second to last option. The last option, what it will finally come down to, is when White Men just say "No" and refuse to follow the silliness numbers have forced on us.

Yes numbers. White Men are out numbered. Nothing new there we have always been out numbered BUT we ultimately decided to try building a society were numbers meant something and the only way to do that was to adopt an experiment in Mob rule democracy. The only place where numbers actually count enough to cancel out almost all other factors. Intelligence, ability, will, strength, stamina all these things count for very little when it comes to elections. In elections numbers reign supreme.

If the elections fail us and finally push us too far?

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Culling The Flock

Man what a long day. After work I started clearing out the ram's paddock in preparation for the next stage in the fencing project. While I was dragging the limbs and tossing them over the fence I heard this loud BANG only to look up and see Frazier (Our terminal ram) charging and head butting the new gate I just hung full tilt. He bent one of the cross tubes and was looking like he was going to take the entire gate down.

I then figured out why he was is such an uproar.

One of the ewes is really in heat due to the lovely cold nights we been having. Nothing new about that it happens every year and so far the rams have never been teased so much they started tearing the fence and gates down.

No what got him so pissed off was the fact that one of the lambs either didn't get de-balled all the way or was somehow missed and he was taking care of the ewe that was in heat.

So it quickly became emergency flock separating day.

I hate flock separating day :(

This year there is going to be a much more drastic culling than we have had in previous years. I am getting rid of a couple of older breeding ewes that seemed more prone to the barberpole worms and one or two that are just plain too wild to handle as well as most of this year's lambs.

Quite frankly the flock is getting too large for me to manage easily and the couple of wild ewes we have make it just that much more of a headache when I do need to move em around and separate em out.

I ended up getting all the breeding ewes into the west pasture. All the new lambs and yearlings I am thinking about getting rid of into the barn lot and I had to move Frazier back into temporary quarters and use the new section to put the new not-quite-a-whether into a pen by himself....

Hey gonna act like a ram your gonna get treated like a ram.

He may just be shooting blanks but he is obviously doing more than the standard play humping the other whethers sometimes do.

Tomorrow I will move the breeding ewes out into the main pasture/hay field and move the yearlings/lambs/cull sheep into the west pasture where they will stay until market day next week. This will give them a nice buffer from the rams so there won't be any more issues in that area and allI will have to do is separate out the few from them that I am keeping. There is one really nice ewe in there I am keeping and we need four slaughter lambs for this year too.

Either way I still have two more separating days this year. Taking the few remaining keepers out of the cull flock and then splitting up the rest into their breeding groups and the non-breeding group. Then in February I will need to pull out the slaughter lambs.

At least the first major separation is done though.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Control Paddock is Done!!!!

I got the last little stretch of fence for the control paddock put up. This including three more post holes, setting the posts and installing the horizontal supports. Ran the fence and used some odd pieces of cattle panel for the triangle corner section.

This section is an important part of the whole set up. I have the gates set to swing into each other thereby allowing someone to open the gate to the ram's paddock and create a "safe space" in case the ram decides he would rather headbutt than go out into the pasture. This was an important feature for the women-folk to have so they can let him out even if I am not home.

Even if the ram is uncooperative the ladies can slip right out the other gate locking it behind them and the ram is still contained. This will let us allow the ram to graze whatever pasture the ewes and lambs are currently not using all year around if we desire and give the old boy a chance to really stretch his legs some too.

I am finally getting a bit better at hanging the gates too and measuring the right width for the posts. The ewes and yearlings are currently able to get into the ram's future paddock and I am using the control paddock for the ram until I get his new shelter and fence done. I need to have it completed by the end of October because breeding time starts in November and the ewes are wasting no time teasing the rams mercilessly already.

Here's the woodpile from the trees I had to clear out for the control paddock. I hated to take the shade away but I wanted the option of being able to run the tractor through there is needed and the trees were right in the way. They were also covered in Boxelder bugs which the chickens won't eat and are a real mess when moving the limbs around. After the ram's permanent paddock is finished I will take out that tall stump and get rid of the ugly temporary fence you see in the background. Now that this is done I can also leave the sheep out in there at night to keep the weed growth down as well.

That means less mowing next year!!!!!

Next step is building the new shelter and taking down what remains of the old Ram paddock fence. Oh and getting all the limbs hauled off.

I just hope the weather holds so I can get this all done before breeding season get's here.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sunday Reading - My Favorite Season

Fall and Spring are the two best seasons around the Small-Hold. The temps are usually in my major comfort range and each bring welcome change but I think Fall is the best out of the two. Spring brings with it too much rain and the specter of constant weed growth along with more and more heat each day while Fall usually means there will come a point when I know I can relax a bit more. Especially this year now that I have managed to really build up a good firewood reserve once again.

The fields begin to look cleaner and the impenetrable weeds around the edges start drying up and dying off. The sheep especially become much happier in the cooler weather and the slight bite to the air brings me out of a morning foggy stupor faster.

This Fall of course I will be focusing on the never ending, takes forever and seems to make small progress fencing project. In fact I hope to get a huge portion of it finished today. Frazier has been moved to his temporary holding and the forecast is for sunny skies and very mild, cool temps so I hope I can get it done. The next step will be to build Frazier a shelter for his new paddock then actually fencing the paddock itself after I drop a few larger weed trees that have grown up in the fence. So far this little section has been the slowest and most difficult to coordinate out of the entire project but it is also the most important section too.

The forecast is looking mild and dry all week as well so either this evening or tomorrow I will cut the front field for the last time and then put away the hay equipment for the year.

Like I said things are winding down now and the to do list is seeming a bit more manageable for a change.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!