Watched During Production

I wanted to get several cribs of wood stacked and into the garage for final stage of drying while I’m away from the farm next week. Every available minute between other tasks around the place have been devoted to the barn across the river where the splitter is set up along with several empty cribs.

During one of my sessions while I was dutifully splitting away, I looked up to see Jackson (he is the frantic, wild-child one) peacefully stretched out on a piece of cardboard that had fallen off the top of the drying cribs and was flat on the cement floor. He had such a sad look on his face, and he was framed by the slats of the wood crib. It made him look like a sad sack that was stuck in prison.

What he was actually doing was allowing the cardboard to soak up all that extra water he had accumulated while running through the rain and soggy pastures. Once his drying pad was soaked, he moved to a pile of hay that was left in the manger by the nursery cows and snuggled down for a good snooze a lot less wet than when he walked into the barn. His time for watching me as I worked came to an abrupt end.

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A Dog Story

Jackson, the impulsive, carefree, wildly enthusiastic one out of our two farm dogs was acting so silly the other day we just had to take a few pictures to document the event.

I had four barrel tubs that were filled with bark and small wood pieces that break off as we are using the splitter to split the wood down into manageable firewood pieces. The tubs barely fit into the bed of the Gator, which is also the bed that Jackson has claimed as his own and he requires that he ride back there whenever possible. We did not think that this time he would be able to ride back there since the bed was full corner to corner.

When Jackson realized we were cleaning up and ready to move over to the house side of the river, he jumped on the front of the Gator, made a quick leap on the seats and up into the bed on top of the barrels. He looked like he was trying to win a game of TWISTER since he had two feet in one barrel and the other two feet were in a couple of other barrels. That looked pretty funny all by itself, but as we began the drive, the filled barrels started to compact. By the time we got over to the house, Jackson was sunk up to his belly and with his feet in separate barrels could not lift a leg to get unstuck.

The excursion didn’t seem to bother Jackson at all and he waited patiently for me to lift him out of two of the barrels before he get the traction he needed to jump off the Gator.

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Not Content With Ground Level

Jackson the dog does not make it out the the show barn very often, he is usually banned from the area because he likes to chase the barn cats and steal their food. So it was a rare treat for him to accompany me while I fed the cows and the cats in this barn the other day.

Before we headed out to the barn, I made him stop and look me in the eye. I told him point blank that there was to be no foolishness today, he was not allowed to chase any cat that he came across and by all means he was to stay away from their food pan. He gave me his usual goofy smile and a wag of his tail, he seemed to know what I was saying and I believed he promised to behave.

I was very surprised when he ran right past the pile of cats as I poured their share of kibble into their dinner pan. Jackson was on a mission and ran to the hay stack at the back of the barn where he commenced rubbing along the bales which is one of his favorite barn activities. I went to work feeding the cows and took my attention off Jackson for a couple of moments before I realized that he was no longer on the ground floor. I walked both ways around the tractor and peeked at the cats and their dinner but they didn’t seem disturbed. That was when I looked up to see Jackson at the top of the hay stack instead of the ground floor.

Something up there smelled enticing and he figured out how to scale the pile to investigate. I found him with only his tail sticking out of a gap in the bales. Either one of the cats left him a surprise or there is a rat trying to outsmart the cats. I may have to invite Jackson out to the barn with me more often until I get to the bottom of this mystery.

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Waiting For The Sounds

Chainsaws are loud even with earplugs to temper the noise. The dogs use the sound of the chainsaw to keep track of us humans while we work. If the saw is running, they are off exploring, chasing pesky squirrels or splashing in the river. Once the saw is shut off, the dogs make a bee-line for the source of the quiet to make sure we are still intending to work. Today, Butler was the one on duty with me while I worked.

White and black dog sitting in front of logs being cut for firewood.On this warm afternoon the dog was gone off on his own adventures while I was cutting firewood from the log deck. I had just run the saw out of fuel and took a moment to sit on a log for a breather.

Butler wasted no time in plopping himself right in front of me to inspect the reason for the sudden disruption in the sound.

Without a word he surveyed the scene assuring all was well and patiently waited for me to decide if I was going to fill the saw with gas or if I was going to put the equipment away for the day. Today, after a little break, I found that I indeed did have enough energy for another tank of fuel (run time about 30 minutes) and cut enough firewood for a full Gator load of 16 inch long pieces.

Butler promptly took off and disappeared until I ran out of gas for the second time. The scenario played out as before when he came back to check on me. This time however I did not have enough ooomph left to saw any more, or split the cut wood, or to load it into the Gator. Butler walked with me to stow the saw away and make my way back to the house. Both of us were tuckered out and looked forward to another day with me at the log deck and him on patrol.

First Hay Field

Tractor making bales in hayfield.Mike mowed the grass down forĀ  the first hay field. We waited a day then used a fluffer (think of a tow-behind whirly gig contraption like four egg beaters whipping the drying grass and scattering it scattered to and fro). Then waited another day to start raking the fluffy, dry grass into wind rows so the baler can make tied bales about 60 to 70 pounds in weight. Continue reading

Dogs On The Barbie

Listening to the news the other night, the weather forecaster announced the beginning of the the meteorological summer. Now I am no fool even though I act very foolish sometimes, I know that the summer solstice is not until the June 20 or 21 or 22nd and that the forecaster must have been mistaken.

I did the same thing I always do when I stumble upon something that just doesn’t sound right, I begin investigating. I did the same thing when I heard of a Bomb Cyclone, Arctic Blast, and Lenticular Clouds. Now before I lose all my readers to the great cyber space vortex called the internet, I will fill you in on those terms… Continue reading

Interest In Breakfast

Sometime during the night, the cows and calves of the main herd decided to cross the river to lounge and nibble in a small field near the county road.

This field just happens to be across the road from the bull pen where we have five yearling bulls that are simply itching to make friends with some females. We heard the snuffling and snorting well before sunrise and knew exactly what was going on before we got out of bed.

calves and dog in field.Electric fences keep everyone separated and away from the log trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and commuter traffic that travel between the two groups of critters.

The calves are all bunched into gangs that usually correlateĀ  with their ages. The youngest three calves typically hang together so the bigger ones don’t pick on them although the spunky ones break the boundaries to practice head butting and chasing. Continue reading