Winter days are short, our days seems shorter.

Our visit on December 5th was a whirlwind, we got here late, as usual, slept, got up and spent a few hours getting Tullia loaded into the trailer, then hauled her to a ranch about 2 hours southwest of Columbia, west of Lake of the Ozarks.  Took over 4 hours to get there.  We added a couple of hours by detouring over to visit my brother in Camdenton on the way back.  Arrived back at the farm around midnight, grabbed a half-dozen hours of sleep and headed back to the city.  Krystal’s MBA graduation was at 2pm, so not a lot of time to spare, considering we had to swing by the house, pick up my Mom, etc.

Trip on 19th was less eventful.  Weather was yucky – dark, cold, and rainy.  Typical December up here.  We managed to put hay out for the cows, and walked down by the new lake to see a bit of winter wheat sprouting.  Tried to move the dead Kubota and managed to get it a few feet.  No desire to work on it under those conditions.

Things are going a bit better this weekend.  Got here at 10pm Friday… kids having slept on the way up didn’t crash until midnight.  I ended up sleeping until 1pm – after a week of several nights of 4-5 hours of sleep.  Felt good.  Kids got headsets for Christmas so the farm house was blissfully quiet.  Followed up with a huge breakfast and a few hours of e-mail to Raissa and it was approaching 4PM!   Evia joined me outside and we moved 4 bales of hay.  Last year a bale a week was sufficient.  We have more cows this year and started out feeding 3 bales every trip (every other week), the are going through about 2.5/trip now.  Weather is suppose to drop into the single digits (and maybe go negative) next week, so we gave them an extra one.  When the weather gets that cold, they need to eat more to stay warm.  Of course, being highlands, they are still browsing most of the food in the fields – the hay just supplements that.  Did I mention they like to play with it too?  They break the bales up with their horn and spread it around for nighttime bedding.  In any case, they should be in great shape for the upcoming weather.

As the skies turned from dark grey to darker grey I attacked the Kubota.  It had sat long enough to build up a bit of fuel, enough to start it and raise the bed.  Pulled the fuel filter and again found no fuel running from the line.  Had brought an air tank with a rubble nozzle on it, and blew the line out.  An 8″ stream of diesel greeted me when I removed the nozzle.  A sight I was happy to have – it means the problem really is in the tank, not with a fuel pump, injector pump, or something equally serious – likely just some junk in the fuel tank blocking the intake line.  Temporally hooked the fuel lines back up to the filter, shy clamps that were too dark to see and leaving the fuel filter dangle rather than clamping it back.  Good enough to start it up, let it clear the air from the lines and stabilize, and run the dog.  Well, at least the dog thought that was the purpose and she was VERY happy to have her best friend moving again.  We won’t tell her I needed to let the battery charge up a bit after all the problems of the previous few visits.  In any case, the Kubota RTV is now parked back in the shed (an old 45′ overseas metal shipping container) and out of the weather, along with the tractor.  The fuel problem isn’t fixed, but is known.  Now just need to find a way to pump the tank dry and clean it out – a problem for another day (and one I think Donnie will help with).

We need to leave by noon tomorrow for more city duties:  We have a rental eviction on Monday and need to notify the sheriff first thing if the tenant is gone.  We checked the house on our way to the farm and there was still furniture in it.  Hopefully they are moving out this weekend so there won’t be a scene, but I’ll be surprised and pleased if that is the case.  This is our first eviction out of three we have done over the past 8 years that may result in furniture out on the lawn, maybe with ex-tenants sitting in it.  They have had close to a months notice this was coming, and a known a formal day and time for half of that.  Alas, that is the life we want to leave behind us.  We much prefer country life where neighbors go out of their way to help you, and anyone living within 5-10 miles or so is basically considered a neighbor.  Feels good to help them back.  Its almost a game – who can one-up the other with favors.  Not all neighbors of course, but enough of a majority that the others are consider exceptions instead of the rule.

I’ll end this with an explanation of this posts photo:  That is the new lake, now with several feet of water in it?  Not sure how many, but I’ll guess about 4-6, and about 20 to go.  The black line in the photo is about 50 cubic yards of bottom ground we saved that will be moved to augment our garden soil later.