Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Lizards in the sun

Sunshiny days are not just good for making hay, they are also nice for lizards to warm themselves on the bricks on the back stoop.

The one on the right seems to have lost part of his tail.

Just enjoying the sunshine!

When I started down the steps, the one with the tail scooted over closer to his tail-less buddy.

All God's creatures are beautiful in their own way!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Making hay when the sun shines - part 7 - putting round bales into the barn

Mowing 4 fields on Wednesday, tedding on Thursday, raking and baling alfalfa and half the orchard grass into rectangular bales on Friday, baling the remaining of the orchard grass into rectangular bales and both fields of the pasture grass into round bales on Saturday.... only step left was to make sure everything was under shelter before predicted rain on Sunday!

Nephew Ricky had been busy all day with spraying fields for the farm he works for, but he came home in the evening, loaded up and brought the round bales to the barn.

Ricky coming up the driveway with the last of the round bales - he carries the last bale on the front fork of the tractor so he can put it directly into the barn once he unhooks from the trailer.

Spearing a round bale

Capturing it securely

Into the barn

Where Dwayne has laid pallets down
Stacking the round bales

Videos: unloading from the wagon: https://youtu.be/x2NUqXEn4e4
Stacking in the barn: https://youtu.be/c-dVXzz-WtA

Whew!!! Good thing it all got done as the rains have returned on Sunday and Monday!

Making hay when the sun shines - part 6 - baling round bales

The "pasture grass" is baled primarily for use on the farm with the beef cattle, so it is put up in round bales.
Regina is in the field across the road raking the hay into windrows

Jimmy using the round baler
 Here is a video of the round baler releasing a bale: https://youtu.be/c-dVXzz-WtA

Dwayne inspects the round bale

One field baled

Should you let your citified sister help?

In the spirit of "let's get as much done as we can!", Patti asked what Dwayne and she could do to help. Jimmy said that they could bring the trailer with the pickup truck. Hmmm... no backing required, we've been driving Miss Doozie... how hard could it be????

The pickup and goose-neck trailer hookup
Well... there's this tiny matter of the swing of the goose-neck trailer. It doesn't exactly follow behind the pickup truck like the Jeep follows Miss Doozie.

Unfortunately, the gatepost at the barnyard kinda got wiped out by the trailer - the coiled up fence is evidence that the gate is not closed...
Regina thoughtfully put a bucket over the bent post so no one would run into it.
Jimmy mentioned that the post was metal and maybe it could just be straightened, so, Dwayne and Patti gave that a "go"...
Amazing! Straightened fence post! You'd never know that it had been bent over nearly to the ground just a few minutes before!!! Now it is all ready for the gate to be closed!

Making hay when the sun shines... - part 5 - putting rectangular bales into the barn

The rectangular hay bales were gotten under cover on Friday night, but had yet to be put into the barn.

Saturday morning, the trailer was getting unloaded into the barn.
Trailer about 3/4 unloaded.
Nephew Ricky unloading the trailer: https://youtu.be/FYwHo-o5VDY
Jimmy stacking hay in the barn: https://youtu.be/p7Jo4VnjNeo
Dwayne had a "specialized role" of moving the bales: https://youtu.be/Wf1_9noVziM - he would deliver the bales to Jimmy to put up on the highest level.When you see how Dwayne handles the bale, you'll understand that those are around 40 pounds that Ricky and Jimmy are handling so easily!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Making hay when the sun shines... or not...

When Jimmy was loading the alfalfa bales onto the truck, the sun was setting:
Sunset over the fields and trees...

When daylight ends and hay is still on the field, you might find yourself picking up bales under the stars...

The grappler loading some of the last bales on the trailer.. about 9:30pm
The fireflies and smartphone flashlights helped to light the way.

Making hay when the sun shines... - the paparazzi

The paparazzi were out for the hay baling on Friday... 
Long lens, tripod, sun hat, and all!

Making hay when the sun shines... - part 4 - loading the rectangular bales

The accumulator places 10 rectangular bales of hay on the ground in a 2x5 grouping.
A "grappler" (the manufacturer calls it a "fork") then can pick up this 2x5 grouping, or subsets by 2s, to load onto the trailer or truck.
Grabbing the 10 bales

Picking them up
This is a fascinating machine, but you can't really get it with still pictures, so here are some videos:
Picking up 10 bales: https://youtu.be/q7KEqkAgbU0
Loading 10 bales onto the truck: https://youtu.be/PR9fzfSYKDs
4 bales picked up and put onto the truck: https://youtu.be/GSIawI8Y0TM

Truck loaded with alfalfa ready to go to the barn

Making hay when the sun shines... - part 3 - baling rectangular bales

The baling of hay is really a neat product of engineering - from picking up the hay off the ground, to smashing it into the bales, to tying knots around them, sending them out down the chute, placing them onto the accumulator, and then dumping a load of 10 bales from the accumulator onto the ground. (Patti writing...) When I was a child, the hay dumped from the baler onto the ground, and then men came and picked it up later to put it onto a truck or hay wagon. Then we got a "ramp" type thing that extended the output chute of the baler up to a hay wagon that was being towed behind, and folks on the hay wagon grabbed the bales and stacked them. I was definitely NOT a desired helper, but was placed into duty when no one else was available! I remember that when the baler was turning a corner, you had to judge well to ensure that a bale didn't fall off the end of the chute when it was not over the edge of the wagon - so sometimes you needed to pull one a little early to prevent it from falling to the field. Then my other memory was loading a large wagon of hay with help from two boys who were younger than I (I think Jimmy was driving the baler). As we turned to head to the barn to unload, the wagon hit a bump and half the load dumped back off into the field as we had not packed it solidly enough - UGH!!!

Anyway, now there is this "accumulator" which I find fascinating!
Jimmy baling the orchard grass hay

Jimmy on the tractor, a little view of the baler, and the accumulator, on the alfalfa field.
We have a number of videos of the process, but this one has just a minute of it that I think you would enjoy: https://youtu.be/WKicLy_-VXo

If you want to see more... only for the serious hay-making aficionados among my readers!
Filled accumulator and dump - alfalfa - https://youtu.be/QMqldXGqtWE
Several rounds - includes dump, knotting, picking up from ground - https://youtu.be/cCXOqBBD5G4
Accumulator manual delay dump - https://youtu.be/n49Vn2ylgKQ
7 minutes of alfalfa baling - https://youtu.be/ZeBt0s17Wco

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Making hay when the sun shines... - part 2 - raking into windrows

Farmer's wives get pressed into hay-making tasks too -

Regina raking the orchard grass hay into windrows in preparation for baling.

A video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFJ08q6b3Tg

Making hay when the sun shines... - part 1 - tedding

After the new piece of equipment has done its job of mowing and conditioning,
(see: http://trekincartwrights.blogspot.com/2016/05/when-jimmy-uses-new-piece-of-equipment.html )
the sun starts its job of drying the hay. Jimmy uses the "tedder" to aerate the hay and help the hay cure (dry) better.
Jimmy tedding the alfalfa

A video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D56-Piy6uOs

Jimmy uses a moisture meter to determine the amount of moisture in the alfalfa to help him determine whether it needs to be tedded again or if it is ready to rake.
Alfalfa is a more challenging crop than the orchard grass because it has leaves that will shatter if the hay gets too dry before baling.

Friday, May 27, 2016

When Jimmy uses a new piece of equipment, the paparazzi come out!

Since it is so rare when Jimmy uses a brand-spankin' new piece of equipment, the paparazzi were out in force to report on it for the local media, or at least for his sister's blog!

We showed the new piece of equipment a few days ago: http://trekincartwrights.blogspot.com/2016/05/jimmys-new-pickup.html

It finally has stopped raining, hopefully for enough days to get the hay crop in! On Wednesday, Jimmy was cutting the fields that have been ready to cut for a couple of weeks.

Look at him go!

It is working well!

 A video of the operation: https://youtu.be/0Zx4vyRBP4c

A view from across the fields

Now on the alfalfa

Still looking good!

It smells so sweet too... sorry I can't add scent to the blog!
 A video of the alfalfa mowing: https://youtu.be/pZ_ThgsG_I0

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A new slack adjuster

We had been noticing that Miss Doozie pulled to the left when braking, particularly when we had to brake quickly. When we got to the farm, we told Jimmy about it, and he checked the left brake to see if there were any problems. Then he checked the right brake and said, "uh huh!". The slack adjuster in the right brake wasn't performing correctly and needed to be replaced. He was able to get the parts we needed and get that taken care of - hurrah!

The new slack adjuster on the right front

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

But I *still* want a bottle!!!

Mandy, the Jersey calf, was supposed to be weaned some weeks ago, but she was not pleased with that. So she has been getting a bottle each day, with less and less milk, until she was just getting warm water in the bottle. Finally this week, she has stopped receiving the bottle and seems to have accepted it with only occasional complaints.

Mandy getting her bottle last week

Monday, May 23, 2016

Is there a pot 'o' gold there? Ricky and Kendra had better check!!!

A few days ago a storm blew through and then there was bright sunshine. I went looking for a rainbow and only found a small piece behind Ricky and Kendra's house.

I tried to highlight it with an arrow so they'd know where to look...  ;-)
For folks who may not recognize the spot - the big barn is on their place, and you can barely see their house in the trees in front of it. The house that is further away on the middle right is Cedar Grove, the house next door.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sweet Henry

Henry has fallen off some since last fall, but he is still hanging in there. And if there is grain to be had, those arthritic knees work pretty good!

This is from one day last week.
The video and remaining pictures are from last night, May 20, 2016.
Henry coming for his grain: https://youtu.be/cMtivp3ykOg

Henry is still looking rather "wooly", so Patti decided to try brushing him today. This is the "before" picture.

This is the "after" picture.

In case you didn't notice the Henry-hair in the previous picture, this shows how much came off and is lying on the ground for birds to use to create nice soft nests!
Henry is missing that nice young lady who used to brush him and wash him and show him off in cattle shows!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Greens for Feed More

Jimmy and Regina's church has a garden plot on the farm here. They had harvested 140 pounds of kale and collards a couple of weeks ago, and the plants needed picking again.

Before picking

You can see that the rows that have been picked look like a swarm of (good!) locusts have gone through.

A number of folks from the church showed up to help - many hands makes light work.

Well harvested rows.
Jimmy and Dwayne took about 90 pounds to Feed More this week.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

An update on Sugru

I wrote about Sugru a couple of months ago, indicating that it looked like an interesting product and one we would like to try.

We ordered a sampler pack from Amazon and tried it out this week to repair the electric cable that connects from Miss Doozie to the Jeep.
These are the instructions - it cautions that it can be addictive...

We got a pack of 8 packets - once you open the packet, it needs to be used, as once it is in contact with air, it will harden to a rubber like consistency. We decided to use yellow.

The cable has a tendency that the connector comes loose from the insulated wire so we wanted a more solid connection between the two pieces.

It was easy to mold.

Dwayne molded it up around the connector to keep the wires and connector strongly attached to each other.
Finished - it looks like it will do what we need! We'll see if it holds the connector to the wire better than was working before.