Well, work was suppose to light, just awaiting some RFP results, and it looked like it would be a great week to spend on the farm. Of course, the kids were in school, and Evia was working, so it was a solo week, but that was ok.  Unfortunately, working from the farm works too well…  I averaged about 2-3 hours a day of farm work, 6-8 of regular work.

The main goal for the week was to get the new lake area ready for the construction crew.  Amongst many tasks was the removal of some old fence lines.  I now have a new respect for those fences and the people that put them in.  The image to the left is one of those post.  My tractor can easily lift 2000lbs of rock in its bucket – and I almost could not pull these post out of the ground.  By the end of the day, I had broke the chain under the strain.  Each post took over a half hour to rock out of the ground.

By the way, that chain in the photo is about 6″ above where the post was in the ground.  All the rest of that 10′ Osage Orange (sometimes called Hedge) post was underground.  No wonder those old fence last lifetimes…  We are guessing that post has been in the ground about 30 year, and the outer 1/4″ or so of the wood was rotted.

Our Kubota RTV started having some problems too.  It would be running fine, then seriously hesitate, like it was out of fuel.  Tried replacing the fuel filter, and that worked!  For an hour…  Found it odd that when I removed the fuel filter diesel didn’t run out of the line.  Minor observation, but noted.  Called the dealer but couldn’t get any definitive ideas – they were not even aware if the tank had a low pressure pump or not.  They did suggest blowing out the fuel line.  I spent some time looking things over, and couldn’t find any wires that would indicate a pump, just some light duty ones that I believe are used for the fuel gauge.   This was rather troubling, since doing 121 acres on foot is just a bit too much exercise.

Speaking of which, another task was to confine the cattle to the south end of the farm, so they would not be in the way of the lake construction crew (cattle are rather curious animals and will want to explore anything new in their home – like water line flags which are apparently great fun to pull out of the ground).  So… one successful task was to run a new electric fence line and to bar a small passage around the backside of our house area (we have a 30′ wide passage between the property line and our house fence – rather narrow in country terms).  Mission was a success, and I managed to get all the cattle migrated.  Life was good.

We have been making some progress selling a few of our cattle, namely Larry (gentle, lovable, Larry – Duncan’s son) and Tulia (our best heifer – the daughter of Duncan and Nichole).  Both had interest from folks we met at the Celtic Festival in Buffalo Mo a few weeks earlier.  The gentlemen interested in Tulia came by Friday night – and for some reason the entire herd panic’ed.  We have seen them run a few hundred feet before, but they took off in a stampede.  Where did they go?  Over 600 feet across a field, into that narrow passage, around the corner, and down along the fence.  The woven wire electric barrier I put up didn’t have a chance, they busted right through it and didn’t stop until they hit the lake construction zone (which had a couple of days of work done by then).  Neighbors called.  Workman called.  They had never seen my herd stampede before (and for good reason!  They never had before!).

So, the guy interested in Tulia and I got to walk (remember, the RTV was very sick), and walk, and walk.  We did find Tulia, merrily chowing done on some tree leaves now available compliments of bulldozer work.  Good news, he left a deposit.  <smile>

Next morning, at twilight, I hear a couple of cows panicking.  Be it in English, or Cow, the message was clear: “Baby!  Where are you!”  By 6:30am I had enough light I could see the grass and fences, so went out to see what the problems was.  I was a bit concerned, there was a LOT of coyote howling the previous night.  Ends up just two little ones on the wrong side of a fence.  Didn’t take too long to shoo them a couple hundred yards and get them reunited with Moms.  By then the sun was up enough to actually see and the morning mist has leaving.  About half the herd was back in the southern field.  Found 4 more yearling in the eastern field and moved them.  The rest of the herd was together and I managed to get them moving – thought it was going great, was almost to the field I wanted them in when they doubled back on me through the woods.  *sigh* All told, about 3 hours of walking through knee deep grass – figured I’d feel that in a day or two, and I was right…

Anyhow, gave up on the cattle.  Fixed the woven wire, which they normally respect, and saw some testing it and leaving it alone.  Had to give up on merging the herd.  We decided to leave another temporary woven wire line down, hoping they would merge together, but I was out of time and need to head back to the city.

Did stop at the local Farm and Home on the way back and picked up a 17 gallon tin bucket and a kerosene syphon – figured I’d use it on the next trip to drain the RTV’s full tank and see if there was a screen clogged or something similar.


ps.  One of the tasks during the week was to have a set of ball-joints replaced on the pickup truck.  Dobb’s in St. Louis quoted me $1100 to do the job, including an alignment afterwards.  Apparently their books claimed it was 6 hour job.  Hunter Tire in Kirksville got the truck at 8am, called at 11:30 and said it was done.  Charged me $237 – actual cost for parts, not inflated, something like 2 hours of labor, and $60 for the alignment (included in the $237).  Did have to make an appointment at Hunter the week before – well worth it.