Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Dangers of Farm Auctions

We have some friends that are selling off their farm assets and downsizing fro a couple hundred acres to about 20 acres and from 60 head of cattle to 3. They mentioned that if we were looking for stuff for our place we should come over before they had their auction and look around....we resisted for a few weeks but yesterday we headed over.

We ended up with an automatic head gate, 35 T-Posts, and a bunch of welded steele panels we plan on using for a cattle chute to the head gate...oh and an ARC welder (I think I mentioned this possibilty in a previous post). We resisted a 300 gallon John Deere sprayer, a 1988 Diesel Dump Truck, a couple of tractors, and a bunch of other stuff. And speaking of dump trucks, down the street is a 2.5 tonne 1977 Chevy C-60 with a dump bed...its only $2200 and looks lonely but as much as Holly wants it I have stood fast in resisting this truck that is in excellent shape. Actually, we both like machinery and the older the better so we are a bad pairing.

To round out today, we were hauling some brush to the burn pile behind one of the ponds this afetrnoon when we heard a sound that we first mistook for birds. After a little poking around we heard some little meows from the middle of the biggest brush pile and when I waded into this snake pit and stuck my hand down into the pile (this is literally a 15 - 20 foot high pile) something grabbed by leather gloved hand with its claws. I pulled out a tiny kitten that was half starved and severely dehydrated...then another one was wildly scrmbling to reach me through the brush so now there were two and I got this one as well and gave both to Holly. We didnt hear anything else and were getting ready to leave when the faintest little squeek could be heard and after a bunch of digging we rescued a third kitten. It looks like the rest are dead but these three were taken to Judy's place where she had a cat that was already nursing and they all settled in like a big happy family. Do we need three more cats? Heck no and I dont know what we will do with these three but I am telling you that no matter how hard your heart is looking at these tiny creatures who were so desperate there is no way we couldnt take them in. I try to keep this blog a-political and happy go lucky because that is pretty much how we live but in all seriousness I have witnessed way more inhumanity in this world and the resultant death and destruction than I was ever equipped for and I find myself increasingly drawn to animals and the natural world....and that is where I find peace. So we have a few more cats.

One of our projects today was to put in the gate and fence across the side driveway. We used corral panels and we think it turned out pretty good. The main purpose is as a secondary fence line in case one of the cows gets out but it also serves as a psychological barrier to denote our "personal space...(i.e., past this point is our private realm) and it will be something we can plant against

We got 6 heavy steele panels that will end up as something spectacular...just wait. Some need a little welding but the plan is to create a heavy duty chute that leads into a cattle head gate. We are creative and it will work out fine....but in the mean time each panel weighs over 250 pounds and its a bear to piece together.
One of the things you have to have to be a small time farmer or rancher is an imagination. This looks like a pile of scrap to some but in my head is a useful and practical addition to the old homestead. In fact, that is one of the problems now days, scrap prices are so high that most of this stuff is just getting carted off to scrap which limits your ability to cobble together your own small operation. We will get this sorted out, put up, cleaned up, and painted green and it will be very useful....seriously.

Among (or "amongst" for our British friends) everything else you will find in the bed of the farm truck a heavy duty automatic head gate (once their shoulders hit it it closes and traps the head), a bunch of used T-Posts we got (for fencing off the shop and staging yard), and some other pieces we will incorporate into the planned cattle chute...seriously!

This we picked up and will wait for Holly's (Judy's brother) Uncle Chuck to visit in July. He is a retired welder and helped Judy move to the farm (before we got here even) so he was here in the very early stages and the expectation we have is that he visit, relax and enjoy his visit, and play around with the ARC welder and a 1950s Kohler generator he found in the still awaits you Chuck!!

We work hard but towards the end of the day we stop, relax a bit, and play lawn darts (seen here), or we shoot some golf balls (also seen here to the left), or we have lawn tractor races or whatever we want. Its important to stop and enjoy the fruits of your labor and we have fully embraced the idea of work and play as a mix. We have a frisbee or two, footballs, lots of motorized conveyances, rifles, pistols, etc and we like to compete against each other. Soon, we will have a fishing tournament but first we must buy a very accurate digital scale......and I intend to win!!

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