Sunday, May 21, 2017

Frustrating Spring Week




 I have been really busy on the ranch this spring. I have 800 acres I have been getting into shape. Brush hogging between rains knocking down broom sedge grass and stickers and blackberry patches as big as you car. Trying to make the place more productive in grass growing and less weed spraying.That means trying to brush hog the weeds out before the grass really starts growing. If I can get the land in better shape to grow good grass we spend less money on hay and weed spray. We spent $7000 on hay last year. So far everything I do looks really nice. I have to dodge the spring rains. So when it has a dry day I have to pick my spots so I don't get stuck or make ruts in the ground. I am working on a 40 acre spot right now that will be really improved when I am done. So that leaves 760 acres to go! LOL
   When I get everything I can ready for the better quality grass it will be time to check fences again and fix the water gaps ( places in the creek where the water washes the fence away) that the spring rains have washed out.
  I have most all the fences cleared out at least enough we can drive down and fix things without having weeds up our tails. I need to find someone to finish pulling up round hay bail wraps and take limb loppers or a chain saw for tree limbs and get small cedar trees off the fence.
I have only 3 places of 160 that has at least one fence I can't do that with because of woods or terrain I just can't get to it but most all the other places we can drive by all the fences without problems.
   Hubby hasn't wanted to do much the last few years and finally turned me loose on the 66 horse 4x4 John Deere cab tractor with the brush hog. I can only handle 2-3 hrs a time and then I feel really beat up in the shoulders and arms but I'm getting it done. I have places that look like a golf course right now that are soooo pretty!
    Lots of catching up to do but it's getting there.
I would like to get me some lavender and chamomile flowers planted but I don't know if that is going to happen. Will see.
I need to get my humming bird feeders out since they always show up around my birthday.

Last we
ek was rough to say the least!
Beginning of the week started with a 13 yr old cow going down on us. Weak and couldn't even stand up. Skinny butt and all that. Don't know what happened so we gave her antibiotics for 3 days and fed her by herself since she couldn't get in with the other cows. On the 3rd day she was up and walking around thank goodness! If it had been 100* weather she would have died. We boosted her feed with some high powered vitamins that helped. Today we Sprayed her because the ticks were just sucking her blood dry they were terrible just making her weaker! Hopefully in a few days she will feel strong enough to ride the cattle trailer and bring her closer to the house so we can get her even better. If she makes it we will have to take her to town to sell.
   Well we finally saw her up and moving with the herd and she was even baby sitting the baby calves. That is a huge improvement! We still tried to isolate her and feed her some really good feed on her own. Even had to fight off the other cows wanting to steal her good feed. We decided she was well enough so we hooked up the trailer ( I don't know what was going on with me this day, I had to back up to the trailer I don't know how many times before I finally got it lined up rite! ) and went to get her and the bull on that place to move closer to the house. Well we thought it was a good idea until we figured out she was still too weak to step up into the trailer! We had loaded the bull up with  no problems but she took some persuading. She finally got in and just sat down in the trailer. Crud! We just hoped we could get her up and out! Took them to the house and we drove the trailer out in the pasture into a kind of dip just enough we could open the gate wide but she could just walk out level with the ground. We finally got her up and she stumbled out then we let the bull out. The bull was a happy camper! He went around checking every cow and heifer there to see if they wanted to party! LOL The cow was doing pretty good. Hubby called them all into the small pasture behind the house and the next morning took everyone out but the sick cow. She sure did like having the place to herself and not having to fight anyone for anything. She was moving around good to the pond and shade trees and grazing some nice tall green grass. We looked out today she was out swimming in the pond. I hope she was just enjoying the cool water and didn't have a fever or anything. We will give her time to get strong (I hope)  if we are lucky give her a month and we can sell her. Won't get much in her condition but we can get something at least.
         We finished moving cows and thought we would repair a log chain that broke when hubby had to give the gas delivery truck a tug and get him unstuck. Well wouldn't you know it the welder battery was dead! Of course! Just par for the course today. So I cleaned up and went to town to get a new $120 battery, came back and we installed it. We had recently installed new ones in the other 2 welders we use for emergency generators so I guess we got everything all caught up now. We repaired the chain and decided to fix the four wheeler tire with some fix a flat since it just kept having a slow leak. Naturally the battery was dead on that one! Hubby put the charger on it and I pushed it back enough we could get to the tire to repair it. This was all in the shop and it can get crowded in there. We go to get the air hose to air up the tires and figure out the nozzle that holds the attachment on the hose was broken! Great! Looked for a extra and couldn't find one. Never had one of those things break on us in all these years but daughter said it happens to her all the time. Hubby said," You feel like another trip to town?" I said sure why not. So here we go again, changing clothes and I said to heck with the hair this time. Made it to town and showed the man (long lost relative that owns a part store) what size we needed. He pick out one and I told him get 2 so next time we would have a extra. $15 and a few minutes later I was back home and helping to get it all back together.  Finally got back into the house and cleaned up. I told hubby he is getting a Marie Colander pot pie because I can't wiggle!
    After all that day we wake up the next morning thinking ok we got all this fix it stuff done now lets get something else done.
Today my aggravation was hubby decided to let me put on the bucket and blade on the tractor to smooth out the driveway and to go to one of the places we feed and use the bucket to fill in some really bad holes in a crossing so we could once again drive the truck across without getting stuck.
    What happened??? Sure I learned a lot using stuff on the tractor I have never used but the bad part was when I used the front bucket to get the dirt for fill he had me dig a 3 or 4 foot deep hole the size a truck could fall in! I am trying to level things out for smoother ground not dig damn holes to fall into when I am working!!! GRRRrrrrrrrr. Done exactly the way a man does things! Ok it's done and it was quicker and it works but damn it I now have a big hole I didn't want! My daughter from Arkansas called when I was driving the tractor home and I was fussing and cussing all the way home driving the tractor about it. She was laughing at me because she has the same problem with her husband doing things only the way a man can do it!
    The next day I told hubby to open the gates for me and I would try to smooth out the crossing we worked on since it had some time to dry out. Oh my, that was interesting! You learn real quick the hydraulics for the blade are just not a sensitive as you need. I am trying to get it a certain distance high and it just wasn't going to do it for me. It took a bit
and a few back and forths and using the bucket but I finally got it smooth enough the truck wasn't going to bounce too bad. We had another place we had been using to go around this spot that had some holes and I tried filling that up. I went back to the "pit" hubby had me dig since it was already started. I tell you what..... doing this without someone up front telling you how far to dig down and when to push forward is not a easy thing! He had me getting whole buckets full but when I was doing it "blind" you wouldn't believe how many "spoonfuls" of dirt I got in the bucket! This is a big 66 horse cab tractor. You really can't see what you are doing with the bucket like that. I finally learned to look to the side and I could see when the bucket was on the ground and then I would tip it and when the bucket raised up a few inches I could see how deep I was digging. I would push it forward and when the wheels started spinning I would stop. You don't know if you got a bunch of dirt or hit a rock and just can't go any more. Well after a few spoonfuls and even a few 5 gallon buckets LOL maybe I finally got some holes filled. Hubby fussed it wouldn't do any good because it would just track out on the wheels the next rain and I told him well at least we won't be falling in a hole for a while! We need some gravel in both places but don't have the money for that. The next day I told him to open the gate to another place a let me see if I could smooth out some rough places with the blade. Well I tried! It had rained a few days before but the ground was already dried out enough it was just a joke to do anything like that. I gave up called him and told him to come open that gate and let me out.
    That 66 horse JD cab tractor is great for a lot of things like cutting and bailing hay, moving hay bales to feed and brush hogging but when it comes to dirt work it is like using a rinky dink tonka toy ! So aggravating! I called daughter in Arkansas fussing. Told her I need that CAT 305 excavator I got in my name on over here to do some work! She said hubby is using it in some town in NW Ark now. I told her I know but it sure would be nice to play with over here.
    I was planning on getting on the tractor this weekend and doing some brush hogging. Hubby said he had birdhouse work to do and no time or energy for much. So I talked him in to unhooking the bucket and the blade. With me driving and him directing and unhooking that isn't too bad. Went out in the pasture to hook up the brush hog. I backed up to it pretty good. Aiming for a quick hook up attachment with just a couple of inches wide is a challenge for sure. I finally hit the hole and hubby had the shaft trying to hook it up to the tractor. I was told to move the hydraulics up or down so he could hook it up. I don't know what was going on with the hydraulics. It was doing something crazy. I would move it a whole bunch but it wouldn't respond and when it did it was sudden and too much! Well hubby had the shaft under the tung and when it came up it bent the shaft. !@#$@@ !!! I moved the tractor and he unhooked everything. I got off to see what kind of mess we had. Couldn't even pull it loose to take the front part of  shaft off to see how bad it was. It was bent
royal. I was surprised how calm he was. You see last fall? he whacked a rock and had to get some new parts for the brush hog and had bent the shaft just slightly. Well I just finished it off.

    The next day Monday we get the helper to use his big 6'5" 250# muscles to pull it apart. Well evidently the metal relaxed and it almost fell off. LOL Didn't really need his muscles. LOL Great! So we go to feed cows. We feed and check the cows about every other day on all the other places when there is good grass and water available like in the spring. We count, make sure everyone is there and check them out. Well considering how last week was I was really hoping this week would be better. NOPE! The second pasture we go to we are greeted with a cow that has a dead calf hanging half way out of her! Oh crap! We can't handle this by ourselves anymore. Just too much energy is needed. We go back to the bird house and get the helper. Gather up all the tools like gloves and the but* jack to pull the calf out. Put Heidi Ho in the garage since we sure didn't need her help any. Grabbed some antibiotics and drinks and headed over there. Hubby got lucky and got her into the corral earlier. So when we got there we unloaded everything and hubby got her into the chute. We don't like this head catcher because it is one of those you have to use pully's to pull up the gate and stuff. Too much energy and too many hands to use it but that is what was there to use. Got her in and head caught up the helper was behind her and hubby was on the outside showing the helper how to use the but* jack.Got every thing situated with the chain on the one foot that was out and started jacking that calf out of her. It was a big one but it had one leg stuck behind it and couldn't come out. If we had been handy and seen it we could have helped her with pulling the other leg out and she would have had it just fine. This happens all the time the vet said one time but it has never happened to us. The helper was having to really do some work on this calf, it was stuck good. Poor cow was past pushing but now had started to try and deliver again. Helper had to kind of pull it down and jack out the baby at the same time. Finally go it out. Thank goodness he was here! Hubby could not have done that anymore. We gave the helper $50 for doing it which is much cheaper than the $100 plus vet bill we would have had. Goodness, that calf came out and that cow emptied out at the same time making a heck of a stinky mess! I was getting the syringe ready and I stayed way the heck away! I told them I don't know how they could take that smell. It was nasty! Yes it was dead but I don't think she had been in that shape too terribly long. It could have smelled worse. She got her shots and turned her loose. You know she felt better for sure. Hooked up the dead calf to the back of the trailer hitch on the truck and pulled it way to the far west side of the place away from everything for the clean up crew to take care of it. Between the coyotes and the neighbors dogs it won't be there long.      Well that was our Monday morning. I had to get in the house to clean up to go to the lung doctor to do the yearly bribe so I could get my medicine renewed. Funny for a 3pm appointment it takes forever to stop everything get cleaned up and drive almost a hour away. Then I have to wait almost a hour to get in. Naturally I have to get weird when the doctor walks in...... I suddenly was feeling a sick stomach. It wasn't me either it was him.... something to do with him.  I asked him if he had a sick stomach or had been around someone that day with one. He said it was going around but not contagious. Like I couldn't catch it from him. I told him no..... I was feeling it now but it wasn't me. I also pointed to a spot on his stomach on his right side that had a problem. Finally after a few minutes my stomach behaved and wasn't so distrstracting. At least I didn't scare him off. Evidently he has encountered people that are sensative as he says. LOL   Walked all over the place for ex ray etc. I was way past my breathing treatment and in a world of literal hurt. I finally made it out to the truck and a/c and sitting still. Got something cold to drink on the way home 30 minutes later and recuperated enough I could actually get out and shut the gate. Made it into the house got a breathing treatment and fed hubby. My pulse was 125 with O2 of 90. I had to just stop and sit and rest. I was about to pass out. Hubby was just fine since he was getting fed. I told him he is going to be picking me up off the floor if I don't get done here. I sat down ate a little bit. Took some belladonna to calm the pulse and I guess I passed out about 7 pm. Woke up about 11pm.  
    Tomarrow is another day. I am going to be so sore and hurting but surely it will be better. Have the yard being mowed by someone now and hubby is one happy camper not having to do that! The shaft is fixed for the brush hog now. Don't know how much that is going to cost but at least it is fixed. I think I will rest up and not do anything but what I have to. It is Tuesday and I will be going Wednesday to the city to deliver birds with hubby. Surely this will be a much better week! 
    Turns out the front part of the shaft was repaired but when we tried to put it on the back part of the brush hog shaft was bent also and we had to get John Deere out to take it off because we had no clue how to do that one. I told hubby to watch him so we can do it ourselves if we needed to.It took a few days but we finally go the back shaft repaired, put on and I had the man check out my hydrolics to make sure everything was adjusted correctly. Much better! So a total of about $1300 later we now have a brush hog that is not only working but doing a much better job than it has been the last few years. Yea!!!
      We finally had some comic relief. Here is 81lb Heidi Ho carrying her bowl around . No she isn't hungry. She has never done this before. There is dried on canned dog food around the edges. She must think it has a few good licks in it! Lol She even had hubby open the door so she could enjoy it outside. It's the little fun stuff like this that let's  the tough days be a little easier.
 

   Oh yes.... I forgot..... last week I also went to the lady doctor. That is such a whole nother adventure. Hadn't don't that is 30+ years so with testing and all it was something else. That is another seperate story. (aren't you glad?LOL)

Love
Ranchmama
(P.S. ..... This all happend about 2 weeks ago. Seems like things got busy and it took a while to get this typed up. )