Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Whirlwind Week

 Thought I forgot about you, hardly. This has been a whirlwind week of preparation for school and winter. Early on Wednesday I jumped in our daughter's suburban and off we went to Casper for a shopping trip with her four little ones 3 months, three years, six years, and seven years old - all girls. School is just around the corner and clothes, lunch boxes, and backpacks needed purchased.

 I was along for crowd control as shopping with these four children is no.... easy task despite a harness on the three year old who likes to run off. Just know that an unusual potty break, a blow out, a disagreement over lunch boxes and a stolen item happened within just two stores. Luckily we found all we needed because we couldn't handle any more fun, if you can call it that. I'll give you the details another day but just know my sisters are probably still laughing having heard the tale.

 When I got home, I went hunting for a used tire to replace the one we blew on our friend's trailer. The one we borrowed to haul the tractor on. It's a rule in our house that when you borrow something, you return in in at least as good a shape as you borrowed it, if not better. 
 Thursday I went with friends and we loaded up on livestock feed that was on sale a couple hours away. The drought has left us bone dry like 60 some percent of the rest of the country and with low yields on crops across the USA, we've got to save when we can for we've been warned that livestock feed prices will very soon jump sky high.

I worry about the wildlife who don't have hay and grain supplements to make it through the winter when the countryside is so.... dry.

In our panic we came home with 78 bags but with splitting the cost of gas and with so... much feed it means we won't be spending money on gas multiple times to get feed over months to come. It did mean aching backs unloading hundreds of pounds.

 But before we left for this long journey, we unloaded 56 bales of straw from their trailer into our horse trailer. Another savings as saw dust has become quite an expensive choice for bedding for the goat's sheds. 

Exhausted, Friday I cleaned out the fridge, did laundry, watered the garden, picked beets and beans and canned them, and generally rested. Kirk had worked over time 15 hours this week at work and he was also tired so we watch way too many Eurekas (television show on Netflix).
 Today was going to be my day to play with the tractor but first Kirk and I had to unload the straw from the horse trailer into the partitioned off section of the yaks shed. The girls, the yaks, as curious as ever had to troop in and out of the horse trailer to check the progress and in and out of the shed area to see just what we were doing in there. Then off they'd go on the run, their wide wide ails straight up in the air, a bucking and kicking with delight. Silly beasts!

Home again to grab a quick bite and Kirk went to work on a knife while I left again for the corrals, tractor key and cell phone in hand. I knew I'd have to call for help sometime. I figured out the slick working new t-post remover I'd bought when I bought grain. I'll have to show it to you another day because for under 14 bucks this puppy is one cool, nearly effortless, invention. 

It was when I tried to get the built up manure and old packed down hay that I ran into trouble and had to call in reinforcements. Kirk showed me a few tricks and it went better but I think we will need to change the bucket's position so it tilts backward a bit more for the stuff kept falling back out or not filling to capacity.  Partly because empacked hay sits in large sheets that you first have to break apart and partly because of the buckets angle. You are seeing the bucket at it's greates upward tilt.
 All went pretty good until I'd removed most of the hay build up and the ground naturally became really slick. Yup, I got the tractor stuck with both back tires spinning out. I tried all my stuck truck tricks but didn't know about the sticking the bucket in the ground to lift the tires or just how the two tire breaks worked so frustrated, I decided it was a good time to quit for lunch.

A tomato and cucumber sandwich of home made bread and veggies from the garden, along with a bit of advice from hubby and I was ready to try it again. That and Kirk  promise he'd come down to coach me. While he talked on the phone to a friend, I took his advice and got unstuck all by myself.

My job is extra tough because the goat pens are in lanes, not terribly wide ones and so there isn't much room on either side of the tractor making it impossible to go at the pile from different angles. 
 The small goats pen wasn't too bad for hay waste and manure build up so that's where I started my learning curve. But look at the pen next door. Oooh yeah, it is going to be a bear to clean.

It's what happens when you are waiting year after year for hubby to have time to borrow some one's equipment and run it. That is why the tractor is probably more for me than him. I've got lots and lots of chores awaiting it's use.

If you are wondering why this country hearted girl doesn't know how to run a tractor, well, it's my dad's fault. For some crazy reason he didn't believe girls should run tractors and swathers. No... it was much more lady like wrestling calves until your pants stood up on their own from being saturated from fresh manure and urine. And bucking hay bales weighing 65 to 80 pounds in the field onto to a flat bed trailer was much more lady like. If you are thinking WHAT, then you aren't alone. 

  It made no sense then and it still doesn't but at least my dad has admitted he should have allowed me to drive the tractors. I could have been a lot of help.

He did tell Kirk what ever he did, not to buy too small a tractor because knowing his wife, me, like he now does now, I'll be using it a great deal and he's right.

I'm the one who drives the pickup truck the most by far and it will likely be me that uses the tractor the most too for these are two critical tools for a critter rich lifestyle and a wa...y too busy husband to be of much help. 

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