Okay, the Blog is back from its Christmas vacation. It was a fairly busy couple of weeks and I’m sure that I have forgotten all but the most momentous of occurrences. But, I suppose it will make for more interesting writing if I leave out the unmomentous.
The day after Christmas is when my cousins descend upon Batson. They usually expect some kind of project to do, and I would hate to let them down. The main thing I have been trying to accomplish is to move hay from the New Hay Field to the Hay Storage Place. This is rather tedious, since I can only move three rolls on my truck going through town and that is a lot of gates. With cousins (and their kids) I figure this could be a good deal easier. Not easy, mind you, but easier. The other difficult part of this is that the tractor is just slow. The job worked out like this. Nathan and his son Duncan worked the hay field end of it while my cousin Shannon’s husband Mike rode with me in the truck. This sounds like an easy job, but it is not. In fact, if you ever get roped into doing an agricultural job with someone, try to drive. If you can’t drive, try to get someone else to go with you and then take the middle spot or the back seat. In the course of a couple of days, Mike and Duncan probably opened or closed two dozen gates, easy. You may recall the old Michael Martin Murphy song, “Cowboy Logic”. He spoke the truth in that except it’s not always the real Cowboy that sits in the middle, just the one with the most seniority. Anyway, I won’t bore you with all of the details, but due to the truck and trailer having trouble going through a particular mud patch and the rerouting of 15 rolls of hay to the neighbor instead of to hay storage, the tractor crew didn’t ever get to just hang out in the Hay Field waiting for the truck crew to get back. We were all moving most of the time. I guess the real adventure came when Mike and I got to the Hay Storage place with the first load of three rolls on the trailer and no frontloading tractor to offload them. We anticipated this. The smaller Kubota tractor could easily pull them off and I had picked up a chain. Easy. Until we got to the last roll. That is to say the roll that was on the front of the trailer. The chain wasn’t quite long enough to reach, so we began yet another Army style Leadership Reaction Course. We pushed, we pulled, we rolled, and we finally hooked on to the side of the roll to get it the extra distance we needed and in doing so, Mike got to ride the bucking tractor with one wheel off the ground. That’s always fun. I also tried to invent a new sport that I doubt you will see in the rodeo anytime soon. Hay Bale riding! I was standing on the roll closest to the truck while Mike was pulling on the middle one with the tractor. Instead of just sliding off, the roll started to tip. I quickly thought (probably too quickly) that if I could jump on to that bale as it tipped over, I could grab the chain and not have to pick it up and rehook it from the ground. Well, I rode the bale as it tipped, but quickly gave up grabbing anything, but the bale itself. Fun, but not something I would recommend.
Mike got another nice ride during our other chore. We had to clear some brush and limbs from the tractor path through the woods. Mike got to ride the hay spear to the top of its reach to get to some of the higher branches. The man has a lot of trust.
Not much else of note happened other than people raving about a new cake Anna made for us. Hey, we’re country people and cakes are newsworthy. This thing was amazing. It had pudding and chocolate bars in the mix itself, caramel, cream cheese icing, and cheesecake. I’m not saying it was rich, but when we moved it you could hear change rattling in its pocket.
I decided that putting out two rolls of hay every other day is not quite enough. The main risk is that if the cows run out, then they will start pushing against fences trying to find more. I’d rather them waste a little then leave the pasture, so I am now putting down 4 rolls every third day. I did the math in my head on the long tractor trip and that means that cows and horses are getting 1 1/3 rolls of hay every day. There also needs to be enough hay down so that event the weak ones have a place to eat without getting pushed off.
On New Year’s Day, Anna’s folks came over and we took a ride. They were on the Gator while Anna and I rode. Scout was feeling his oats and gave Anna a little trouble. He didn’t buck or run off, but he kept trying to go back to the house. Anna just doesn’t have the experience or confidence yet to make a horse mind, so we switched out and I gave him a couple of lessons. I’m still proud of her, though. She was going to ride him back part way toward the end, but I still didn’t like the way he was acting. Also, when he was being difficult with her, she kept her head (and her balance). She didn’t yell or raise her voice. In fact, it took me a while to realize that she was more distressed than she looked. Anyway, like they say, it just takes wet saddle blankets.
I tried to level the house yesterday and discovered that several of the middle support beams along the marriage line of the two halves were never put in. I called the seller and hopefully they’ll make it right. I also hope they will just level it while they are here fixing it. Then, I can watch their technique. I don’t want to have to pay for that every 6 months.
I’m getting back in the groove with my fairly steady sub job. I have rigged up an old laptop to take in with me to get some work done. Maybe it won’t be so long before the next blog.