Saturday, March 9, 2019

The Fence and Barn, 1 year in.

It doesn't seem like we have had the new paddock system and barn rework for a year now. Well actually  13 months.

Time does fly.

January 2018 saw the new fences complete and a lean to, new roof  and doors on the Tobacco barn. We were so pleased.

The Barn just days after it was finished.

Cows behind beautiful fence.

Now after a year we are still pleased overall but have learned a lot about gate placement, livestock travel patterns and mud.

We made one major mistake with the gates. We hung them in the standard fenceline configuration. This means the hinges are in line with the fence wire. The gates hang well that way and are fine if the gates are opened to let livestock in and out then shut again.
However if your intending to leave the paddocks open to a lane for watering the animals....they need to be able to open fully and lay alongside the fence out of livestocks way and secured against wind.

This requires the hinges to be drilled through the posts opposite to the direction of the fence...the hinges then need to be cut flush as not to hurt livestock.

 *Note the top hinge is upside down, this stops the gate from getting lifted off its hinges if stock rubs it. It doesn't impact the strength of the gate or how it swings.

This mistake has caused two gates to get by wind getting it swinging and bending it,  the other was "Mischief" damage.  She had an itch!!!

Mischief itch damage!

Our plan is to re-hang all the gates but two.

One of the other problems is mud. The gate into paddock 4 was a problem right from the start. Our land slopes, the slope from paddock 4 to the working lane is the steepest of all the gateways. Sadly it was the only location to have a gate that stock could see and would be worked through. We have discovered it is also a drainage for paddock 4. This never showed up the previous two winters but this winter has been exceptionally wet and for the first time we also have livestock.

It is a mess and the sheep don't like it at all. Plus continuing to use the gate makes the situation worse.  Fortunatly we have a second gate to paddock 4 from the hayfield. The sheep will follow Ralph anywhere when he has a bucket and we are using the upper gate. The main gate will get a load of heavy crush in it this summer, in fact there are several places we will be using gravel to help drainage.

Cows tend to cut corners, here is damage where they come to the barn.
 We will spread a gravel pad around this corner to keep the strength of the corner post intact, plus there is nothing like washing clay splatters and gobs off a milk cow when your going to milk her.

This is the other side of the barn where we spread a lot of large crush. We thought it was too much but now we see it was just right. The traffic area stays dry. 

The Orchard gate, there was a washout under this gate from corral drainage, we filled it with about 2 feet of crush.  The water drains through the gravel and the gate remains dry and useful.

Now with spring in the air we are planning the first year of serious pasture rotation. Last cycle we did not have anywhere near enough stock to deal with the peak grass growth. With the sheep and cattle we have now we should be close to the right number. We will have to pay attention though, the Farmers Alamanac says a wet summer ahead. We will be using single strand hot wire to divide paddocks as needed.

We are totally pleased with the barn rebuild. The Lean-to gave the cattle great shelter in rainy weather and has enough room to store equiptment under cover. The addition of lights makes it extremely useful.

The lights are mounted under the edge of the roof. They are set to shine out into the paddock. 
There are two dust proof barn lights mounted on the inner wall and there are also plug ins.  For calving and lambing this gives us extra space we can work in.

 The fence Energizer is mounted in the rafters and is high and dry as well as out of reach of stock.

The sliding doors have made the barn so much less drafty on windy and rainy days. We have them set up to latch shut both from the inside, if we are working in the barn, and the outside if we are shutting things up for the night.

 A simple handle and latch secure the door from the outside and make for easy opening or closing. There are hooks on both ends to secure the doors against wind.

This is an inner latch. We use locking hooks that are quite affordable. This stops the wind or cows from working the hooks open.
We have eyelets on the 2x4 frame at various spots to allow the door to be locked partially open if needed.

 The barn just makes us happy. Lots of room for everyone out of the weather and the hay storage in the loft is dry and easy to feed from.

The only flaw.....well there is 1 hole in the new roof. Old habits are hard to break. We had become used to shooting possum without much thought to bullet trajectory. I mean the old roof was seriously full of holes so we just shot where we saw the possum

Well Ralph shot a possum in the rafters and now.....if you stand just can see the hole. our brand new roof. He did kill the possum though. Now it just takes a bit more care to varmint hunt.

So after a year are we glad we invested in the old barn?
A resounding yes. The barn meets all our needs and still has room to fill.

After a year of the permanent fence being completed, do we consider it money well spent.
Yes  we do, it does need some adjustment and some small changes but over all we are really happy with it. The portable netting seems to be a hot item but we think in our situation the permanent fence is more suitable. Our base design will allow the use of portable or temporary fencing if we need to use it. The permanent aspect means that if the stock gets out of their paddocks they won't get off the farm. (We hope, but anyone who has animals know how they find holes)

This spring and summer will see us learn more about our farm and managing grass. We love the thought of not bush hogging or mowing.

With year two of the rebuilt barn and new fences well on its way things are looking good.

God Bless all of you and keep safe.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

A Photo Tour of The Farm.

I have to admit I am a bit tired of mud but today we managed to wander around the place without loosing boots in the glop.

Its been a while since I posted photos of the goings on here. Its a good dose of photo therapy and I hope you enjoy it.

We are using big square bales of hay, our own hay lasted well but we knew it was not enough. The chickens love these bales and have taken to laying eggs between them, here a New Hampshire is heading into the egg cave!

Kinky found a soft spot in a bit of left over straw. He is top Tom cat and seems to always be sporting new battle scars. He is such a big baby and if I pick him up.....he will let me hold him as long as I can pack him around.

Samson our Dorper Ram enjoying hay with some of his girls. We keep them in at night but during the day they enjoy the outdoors. When the hat leftovers build up, Ralph runs the Zero-turn over it and it chops the uneaten hay into an excellent mulch for the grass.

He is very chunky and meaty. We look forward to lambs.

The Sheep love Ralph and always come up to see if he has food. They love alfalfa pellets which we use as treats. I carry a ziplock bag of them in my coat.

A peach blossom bud, beautiful but so sad. Our Reliance, Majestic and Contender Peach trees are going to get hit hard as the forecast is for three days of killing frost and cold. Maybe even snow.

Prince.....formerly known as Princess. He is one of Spikes offspring and is very like our much missed boss Turkey. Its interesting to note when we crossed the Chocolate Tom (Spike) with our Royal Palm hens the poults were sex linked by color. The black ones with Dun feathers were all Toms and the plain brown were hens.

We do have a few quality control issues with our egg production. The new hens are laying well and we take eggs! to church to share our bounty. I chuckle when I sort and crate the eggs. White, Ivory, dark brown, pinkish, speckled, basic brown, oval, near round, flat on one side, rough textured, small to extra Jumbo. Every carton is an adventure!

The color and fluffiness of our flock has increased. These two are Dark Brahma.

I smile everyday when I go outside, the farm is hard work but the most satisfying of work at that.

The larger animals have covered the gardens with beautiful organic material. The pastures have perfectly pelletized poop all over them and the chickens make short work of the cattle manure.

The future is full of projects that are going to yeild aching muscles I am sure. Ralph has the gardens planned with a great mix of new and old varieties and each year I learn more about putting up the right kind of food for us.

Take care and God Bless

Friday, March 1, 2019

Hero's......are they vanishing?

I think I'm going to turn off the world...well I am tempted.

After the abortion travesty there was the Gilette Toxic Masculinity advertising and today I noticed an image of John Wayne in my news feed.

To me John Wayne is the epitomy of the heroic man. He represents strength of character both on and off screen. In his last movie, "The Shootist" he gave a performance of a man dying of cancer, a man who had lived a life with success and regret and with his indomitable John Wayne style died heroically.
One of My favorite Movies.

I clicked on the article to see what they had to say about an American icon.

Well it seems even the "Duke" is  now categorized as toxic. In 1971, 48 years ago John Wayne gave an interview in Playboy. He never shied away from honesty and answered questions without clouding the issue.

 It's strange, I remember the articles acceptance as a well written and honest piece of journalism that was a glimpse of a hero and a man not afraid to express an honest opinion. It was a good read, even if I had to sneak the magazine out of my brothers room. I don't think he read the articles.

Now, after more than 4 decades the words of this interview, given with blunt honesty are being used to defame a truly great man. The times were different then, we could still express an honest opinion, an opinion that might cause controversy and discussion but was still free to be aired in public without a lynch mob appearing.

Here are some excerpts of that interview with Playboy given in 1971.

To a question from Playboy...

“I don’t know why people insist that blacks have been forbidden their right to go to school,” continued Wayne. “They were allowed in Public schools wherever I’ve been. Even if they don’t have proper credentials for college, there are courses to help them become eligible. But if they aren’t academically ready for the step I don’t believe they should be allowed in. Otherwise, the academic society is brought down to its lowest common denominator. There has to be a standard.”

This is honest and actually should be heard even today if we face the truth. The lowering of standards to allow more equal opportunity for education has hurt this country in ways we are only just now beginning to see. Martin Luther King knew special treatment was not the answer.  Young Black Americans deserved the chance to be educated and to earn good grades and to work hard to succeed. If you work hard it makes your gains a triumph and much more valued than when they are given to you without hard work involved.

In the Playboy article John Wayne also states that the American blacks have it so much better than any other black people in the world. Something that is so very true, even in the 70's. Anyone who feels this is not the best place to live needs to look hard at the world around us.

In another excerpt John Wayne states "I don't beleive in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgement to irresponsible people."

What we have in Government now would make the "Duke" enraged with our blind stupidity.

As to slavery....he states simply "I don't feel guilty about the fact 5 to 10 generations ago these people were slaves, now I'm not condoning slavery. It's just a fact of life, like a kid who gets infantile paralysis and has to wear braces so he can't play football with the rest of us."

This interview has now inflamed the progressives....they are applying todays politically correct outlook to views expressed years ago. Times were very much different then.

John Waynes family responded to the blackening of their patriarchs name with elegance and simple honesty, true to their Father.

“We hope America remembers John Wayne as we do: a devoted family man, great friend and cherished actor on the big screen, as well as for his continuing work to find a cure for cancer through the John Wayne Cancer Foundation and the John Wayne Cancer Institute,” the John Wayne Family wrote in a letter to Fox news.

“It’s unfair to judge someone on something that was written that he said nearly 50 years ago when the person is no longer here to respond,” the statement continued. “Regardless of color, ethnicity or sexual preference, [our] father taught us to treat all people the same, with respect.”

Truly well said and honest. A glimpse of the values that John Wayne believed in and taught his children.

They have a true hero for a father. We who loved John Wayne movies for their adventure, bigger than life  characters consider him our  hero too. The new generations heros scare me. Unable to speak their mind or tell the truth they are shackled by the modern lack of courage to lead by example.

If any of you have flown into California you may have landed at John Wayne International Airport in Orange County. The presence of John Wayne looms large in the form of a bronze statue purposefully striding to solve a problem.

John Wayne Statue outside John Wayne Airport in California.

Our history is being taken away by bits and peices by the weak and small minded. There is now an enraged outcry to change the Airports name and remove the statue of an iconic American.

Statues of heros are being taken down all over America. Not all history is seen through  the eyes of the victors....there are heros, true heros from all sides of conflict. These are part of our United history, they are part of the fabric of America. 

More than 30 cities across the United States have removed or relocated Confederate statues and monuments amid an intense nationwide debate about race and history.

The left continues to dilute the strengths we need to lead the world.

God Bless  the strong men, the heroic men in our past who gave us someone to look up to. Fathers, brothers, soldiers, yes even actors, men who spoke the truth and did what's right. Pray we now have enough strong men, heroic men left to save this country from itself.

God Bless you John Wayne.

Images from Google.