I have spent several posts commenting or complaining about the amount of rain for the month of January. There is a whole lot of mud around here and I have had several people ask just how much rain we have had.
With the month of January now past, I looked up all the days and the totals we had put down for each day. Every day of January had moisture fall, some days it was sleet, some hail or small pellets, there were a few days of snow but the majority fell as rain. And the total for the month of January here on the farm came to over 17 inches of precipitation. To put that amount into perspective, last January we had about 5 1/2 inches and in January of 2018 we had 9 inches. No other January in my recollection ever had moisture fall every single day of the month, I just knew that I seemed to get soaked each time we headed outside to get any work done around the farm.
Now I’m not really upset that we are getting all this rain, we have been very dry the last four or five years and this water is needed to keep our forests healthy. But you will still hear me complain loudly over my discomfort over the constant mud, muck, high water and garage full of all manner of outdoor clothes in various stages of dampness. I could just use a day or two to get things dried out a bit before our next round of rain…
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It was a busy week of trying to keep up with all the rain/water issues. Part of that time, I happened to be the one in charge of the farm and attempted to prepare enough firewood bundles for delivery to busy stores, keep the animals taken care of while making multiple trips to the airport for those who needed pickup and delivery service, made a run into The Meating Place to pick up the finished beef we had harvested on December 5th, and still had a class in Forest Grove and one in Vernonia throughout the week.
I would take some time off to kick back and relax, but we are currently out of bundles of kindling, firewood and premium, along with that I need to make up some more kindling so we can get a crib moved into the heated garage to dry in front of the large fans and dehumidifier so we don’t run out by the end of January. The barns need some serious scooping with the tractor where the flow of rainwater invaded the loafing areas. The paths that we had to use when the main herd was stuck on this side of the river are now a muddy mess and need some attention in the form of rock. It seems hard to figure out what to do first.
After listening to the most recent weather forecast, I believe we will start with cutting some logs that are straight grained into 16 inch blocks. This may take a couple of days between the other chores but once I have the blocks, we can start to haul loads into the barn to split them into kindling and stack them in a drying crib.
The rest of the work will have to be done in bits and pieces as weather permits. Or I may just take a nap.
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One of the heifers that we brought home last Sunday is trying her darnedest to feel comfortable in the surroundings here on the farm.
She has been walking fence lines to make sure she is aware of the boundaries. She searches out the other animals that she was pasture mates with at the farm where she was on grazing duty.She especially likes to hang around with Topanga’s young calf. The two must have bonded back at the neighbor farm and they watch out for each when we are in the pasture with them or if the dogs are not on leashes.
Seeing her today made me laugh because she found a good mud spot and smeared the stuff all over her face before parading up the logging road and back through the pasture field. She was such an unusual sight that even Topanga’s calf didn’t want to be seen around her.
We see cows do this in the summer time when flies and other nuisance critters that bite or sting are bugging them (pun intended). It seems that this mud mask is just because she wanted to feel special after being away from the farm since spring.
Within a few days, the mud will dry and flake off. Or the rain will come and wash the whole thing away. We will have to watch and see if she continues to mud-up or if it was just a one-time thing.
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For the past two weeks the logging project has been on rain delay. We had expected a few showers, then we expected a few thunderstorms, then more showers, there were more wet days than dry days. It seems like the summer just gave up on us and moved on. The loggers cannot make it up the hill, and the trucks are having a hard time making it in to get the loads out that are waiting in the landing. Continue reading
We had tried to make it up the hill into the forest driving the Gator via the back road, this is the old skid road we have to get up the hill. It is much steeper and more narrow than the road we have been using. The thought was that there would be low vegetation like grass, vines of wild blackberries and dog fennel, growing on this seldom used road would help with traction.
Mike had the Gator in low gear and in 4-wheel drive as he began up the road but ran into trouble of the first switchback, he could not get enough traction to propel the vehicle both up and around the tight turn. It took a 12-point turn in order to get the Gator facing downhill to make it down the short trek to the bottom.
Our loggers have both the Barko machine and the large shovel stuck up here while the roads dry out enough to move them back downhill. Luckily the crew has projects on other properties that they can work on while this site is on mud delay.
Since we have been stuck on the lower end of the property, we have noticed that the pastures have started to green up from our series of thunderstorms over the last week. The herd is enjoying the fresh greens since this is most likely the last growing spurt of the summer.
The last few warm days has certainly helped to dry the farm out a bit. The loggers have been chomping at the bit hoping to get the pole truck in for a load of long logs but it has just been too slippery on the slopes that lead in and out of the property, the landing where the logs are neatly decked and the edges of the river crossing.
With all the rain, the river had risen as the excess moisture flowed into the stream but has once again receded to acceptable levels for crossing. Of course I forgot to snap a pic while the river was high so here is a picture of what the river looked like before our 2-1/2 inches of rain in two days, the river doubled in size, and is now back to looking serene just like this photo! (You just have to use your imagination on this one). Continue reading
The morning sun warmed the ledge of exposed dirt and roots along the river. Some of the cows wasted no time to dig right in and make a mess. I had been on the far side of the river when I noticed the trail of cattle moving toward the open field had extra smears of mud on faces, necks and torsos.
Blowing up the size of the picture in order to see the detail, the image is not as clear as I would like, but I’m sure you can see just what the critters have been up to. These two mess-makers were the final ones to head to munch on grass.
During the summer time, cattle are known to rub dirt and mud into their coats as an extra coating to keep the flies and other bugs from bothering them. During this time of year, it is probably just for fun.