Sunday, March 11, 2012

Ahhh Life is Good in the Spring

Flowers are blooming, winter is but a mere wisp of memory and we are already working on the tan. To our Alaska friends and family.......sorry. Seriously. I am just a couple weeks from my last day of employment with the Sheriff's dept, we pick up our pullets from Cackle Hatchery on Thursday and its supposed to be in the mid 70s to low 80s all week.

This is a time of frenetic activity and we are busy plowing, starting seed in the green house, and getting projects done. Tonnes (yes thats how its supposed to be spelled thanks for asking) of fencing, window replacement, renovation of the out buildings, etc have been started and we are enjoying the start of spring activities in this part of the world. We have been to Baker Seed where we bought seed and had a great vegan lunch, we went to Cackle Hatchery and took a tour and ordered our chicks, the trout season just started and the Wild Turkey spring hunting season is soon to start. We have seen hundreds...withbout exageration, of wild turkeys running all over and strutting...the mild winter seems to have been to their liking. I have also seen recently a big increase in the number of quail flying about and road you didnt know we had road runners eh?

So life is pretty good right now, we are shutting down the outside wood boiler as of tonight, and its amazing how your attitude improves with warmth and sunshine.

Spring plowing....we turn this earth because we are still building the tilth and trying to kill bugs. For the tractor the rear tires dont exactly match but they both hold air and if you have priced the price of agricultural tires recently (even Chinese) you understand.

I have sure enjoyed this International Harvester tractor. No power steering or anything fancy but the sound of an older tractor cant be beat and it is a lot heavier than the Kubota so it plows a lot smoother. A little red tractor just seems right on an old fashioned farm and its kind of a fullfillment of a dream for me.

It gets the job done just fine but it is old (not as old as me but close) and you have to have an understanding of older machinery and its ideosynchrocies to actually operate it which somehow pleases me.

Go to YouTube and listen to the old tractors like this one and then imagine the smell of newly turned earth and the crisp smell of spring and you might begin to understand how satisfying this is. We are using a middle buster plow to break the ground, then we will add amendments to the soil, and till it with the Kubota and rear tiller. Its a lot easier this year now that we are in the third year of this and picking rocks.

This was the site of our corn patch last year and since we will be rotating crops I am thinking this will be some sort of nitrogen fixing crop...

The upper gourd and pumpkin patch got the same treatment and here we are picking rocks and putting them into some field fencing we have made into round cages to hold the rock. They make nice corner posts and are common in the Ozarks.

The workout routine is coming along nicely but I am personally disproportionately developing my back and upper body due to all the physical labor around the old farmstead. I dont really know of a solution since physical labor is what I enjoy and these things need to be done..but...

Judy dug up the overwintered carrots we had missed and got a nice bunch

I am not a fan of carrots from the store but these are sweet

We continue to eat off the spinach patch...also overwintered

And some of the onion sets have been put out.

One of our projects this year is renovation of the out buldings; specifically the well house, rock garage, and dairy barn. This well house is the first step. New windows, re-tuck pointing the mortar, and a roof redo.

The new windows and tuck pointing is done....

This back window was original to the structure and was redone but was in so bad of shape it will likely need to be replaced in a couple years.

Redoing the mortar and windows made a big difference. Unseen but equally important was the re-fastening of the roof tin and patching the concrete interior. You see Whiskers the cat in this picture....he is Judy's cat that we rescued from the vet and he is a real character.

Both wondows of the stone garage have been replaced and the double doors will be worked on next.

But one day last week I looked at the pasture and it just looked bad because of all the cow manure in piles around the needed to be dragged with a harrow or pasture drag...but they want hundreds for them. So I took a cattle pannel ($18.50)....tied some old tires from the barn to the top...and then chained it to the back of the tractor 3 point and Viola'....a cheap pasture drag that worked great.

Cheap or free is good and this old tractor is a blast to operate.

If you have pasture and manure you will relate..this was simple and cheap

This is in front of the pole barn shop and is only included because I like it. The girls like to be nosey and follow us around when we are in the pasture like we are celebrities.

And we finally started replacing the windows in the house garage. Last years project delayed by back surgery and weather. We took out the old window (pictures will be included in a followon post) and I found I had to re-frame the entire window opening.

This is just the start..pressure treated lumber, concrete,......way more complicated than it had to be but we only have 2 windows to do.

And to end this long tome....Whiskers likes to help out in the green long as he doesnt have to exert much energy...and you feed him catnip....

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