I have to be blunt it was a rough afternoon. I had a bit of a blowout. These are usually caused by one of two things and that is either a lack of money or things not working properly. Today, my trimmer (purchased last year) was not working. Part of the problem when these kinds of things happen is that I am ill-equipped to deal with mechanical problems. Oh, I guess I am learning, but there is still an element of mystery when it comes to engines and I get a little overwhelmed. Two-cycles are even worse. I have gone through about three chainsaws before finally settling on a Stihl that Dad gave me for Christmas. I’ve even had some trouble with that, but it is working great now and I am using it a lot. The trimmer however, is another story. It has worked well so far this year, but wouldn’t start last week. I finally deduced that the spark plug is fouling. I took it out, saw some crud in the gap, cleaned it, and put it back. Great! Problem solved! It worked fine for about 45 seconds. I took the plug out, same thing. Okay, I put in a replacement plug. It proceeded to work for about 2 minutes before it quit. I am now out of ideas. The problem with two-cycles is that any one that knows anything about them will instantly assume that you are an idiot and that you did not mix the fuel properly. I was very careful here. It is a 40:1 mix ratio (the chainsaw is 50:1, just to make things fun). I put in 3.2 oz. of oil and put in a gallon of fuel. Of course, like the ‘experts’ I am beginning to doubt my mix. I guess tomorrow, I will try it again, dumping out the old fuel and mixing again even more carefully. I suppose I should keep the old fuel.
We are establishing our routine. I have a pretty extensive daily task list. This includes, feeding, getting exercise, writing, email, Bible study, household chores, etc. Once these are done, I start on the weekly list. These are things like cubing and counting cows (usually do the counting part a few times), writing the blog for my fine readers (thank you very much), riding Scout, burning trash, checking the oil, preparing a Sunday School Lesson and the like. Then, of course, there is the actual work. Mowing pastures, fixing fence, branding and tagging.
A day kind of goes something like this. We get up feed and work with Silver and Patriot. While they are eating we may tidy up the pens. Today we cubed cows (weekly). Then, we will exercise. The good thing is that there is plenty of exercise to do that is actual ranchwork. Lately, we have been focusing on cleaning up the piles of limbs that have collected in the course of us clearing. This involves a lot of picking up, but I also have to cut some trees up. We try to get this done before it gets too late in the day. This all takes us till noon almost and by that time, we are drenched and beat. The afternoon becomes the time to do indoor chores, write, clean equipment, etc. We get back out anywhere from 2 – 4 in the afternoon and go until about 6 or 7. Today, I spent the afternoon outside work messing with the trimmer and lawn mower, which doesn’t work either. So, I have put in a request to the Lord about solving our yard problem. I hope to hear back soon.
Silver and Patriot are doing well. I have been perusing some websites for horse training ideas and am trying to implement some of Pat Parelli’s techniques. I saw his book at the store the other day and almost got it, but it didn’t address the critical moment of horse training, the first ride. So, I delayed getting it. I will keep up with some of the website ideas, though. I will give more details as we go along, but Silver is getting back to his old easy going self. I was going to train him to not pull back on the lead. When tied, he hits the end of the lead rope and panics. Parelli suggests holding him by the lead, then hazing him, causing him to back up, but rather than cease hazing him, just go with him until he quits pulling. I was anxious to try this out with the blanket that he has been spooked about, but he messed me up by letting me throw the blanket on him without even flinching. Oh well, that’s not a bad problem to have. I will have to get a stick with a flag on it Buck Branaman style and try that.
We branded another three calves a couple of weeks ago. My Sunday School crew all suspiciously had other plans that day, so it was Anna and I alone. This would not be enough. I’ve always said that most of the jobs in ranching can be done with no matter how few people you have, but any job you do will use everyone you have. Branding is kind of an exception. You really need three folks minimum. One to hold the calf, another to hold the foot rope, and another to draw the brand. So, Anna’s sister, Melissa came over and became our foot rope gal. They both did really well. Anna had to hold the calves, which was a little stressful for her, but she still preferred that to running the irons. She even threw one! I was proud of both of them and maybe a little proud myself. I figure I can make a cowboy (or girl) out of anyone. We only have two calves left to work, a bull and a heifer. This means that there will be no confusion about who belongs to what cow. Our whole herd is identifiable! This is a first in many years.
So, here we are. Battling the heat, mechanical problems, and trying to figure out the horse training. We can use your prayers. Thanks!