Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's In The Bag

Santa's not the only one packing a large bag of goodies around. Mind you if you pulled your gift from this bag you might be a bit disappointed.

We've discovered that the used grain bags are perfect for hauling wood and dropping it where we need it. We have fires burning in a couple of locations besides the house. The old barn and the greenhouse. We process the wood that we stacked last fall at our basement with a wood splitter, load the bags and drop them where we need them.

They have a cinch strap on the top that keeps the snow out. There's no refund for them so we're working on more ways to recycle them. Like a perfect cover for the back of the Jeep.

Our Boar is back from college.
who wouldn't go crazy for a face like this?
The ladies are fascinated with him.
OK, we'll sneak out a little later when the warden isn't looking...

Been a bit under the weather lately so I haven't been progressing on the project front as much as I've wanted to. We have plans for a 45 gallon water barrel feeding a bunch of nipples but in the meantime we just installed a heated 15 gallon water tub in a tire to keep it pig proof.

It seems to be working well. A lot better that trying to keep them watered from a trough.

Hope the Christmas season sees you and yours  well watered, healthy and happy.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

the Pigs Run Amok

Before I even opened the door to the barn the hairs on the back of my neck were inexplicably standing on end.  And then I opened the door.  The pigs had managed to un ravel the chain on their pen and had run amok.  Trampling everything in sight.  That would be a pigs sight - anything they could reach.  Of course their blaming some one else as they were all in the pen looking out at me when I walked in.

But they can't fool my finely attuned eye.  It was, after all, cemented to the floor with frozen pig crap.  Don't tell me the sheep dragged that in! And the sheep wouldn't devour a whole box of apples.. Thankfully most of my electrical hand tools and most of the power tools were out of reach.

It has been a really nice time of winter.  Before the deep winter cold.  Fresh snow and hoar frost make for a beautiful setting.  The animals sure seem to like it!

Starting to lose count of how many times I've had to plow out the place.  That's a good sign that winter is progressing.
the blue tinge is because it was taken near 3 pm and falling dark.

Hope you've got a friend by your side willing to share a comforter on a cold winters night!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

My Water Broke!

A couple of times, actually.  Thankfully, the hydrant in the barn was frozen in the closed position.  After several false starts I hit upon the solution.  Connected a funnel to a piece of garden hose, inserted a chunk of quarter inch plastic tubing (to let the air out) and poured some Methyl Hydrate down the hose.  Raising the funnel above the hydrant and in about a minute, voila, handle unfroze and water flowing. Having no water in a barn helps put other problems in perspective.  The freeze up was caused by leaving a garden hose, with nozzle, attached to the spigot when turning off the water.  It just created a vacuum and wouldn't let the water drain like it was supposed to.  I was using the hose to fill the water tubs.  My new temporary solution is to use a two valve "Y" fitting so that I can shut off the connection to the hose and then open the other valve to let air down the hydrant so it will drain promptly.  Ah the things I learn.  Usually one freeze-up too late.

This was a result of not turning off an outside water line.

Missed the checklist.  Fortunately, Jo-Ann noticed it and managed to turn off the inside valve that was feeding the outside line.  The new attraction on the hill: The Giganto Ice Falls, narrowly averted.  We also had one other freeze-up with the water line to the chicken shed.  The maintenance guy had disconnected the heat tape, and exacerbated the problem by forgetting to close the chicken door.  Fortunately, getting a brisk fire going in the wood heater and connecting said disconnection gave us running water in a couple of hours. Lesson learned?  We'll see.

Finally managed to get the electrician to work in the barn.  He's installing waterproof lighting and outlets.  In between other chores so it might just take a while to get everything all lit up!  With all the dark time, an outside light is high on the list.

The pigs are sure enjoying the new digs.  If it gets in the -20's I can put a little propane heater on to take the chill off. Prior to the electrician getting some quartz infrared heaters happening.

Does this hay make my butt look too big? 
The puppies seem to be adapting well.  Afternoon naps, after bone time, are frequent. They're still sleeping in the shop at night, awaiting their heated dog houses.

We spent one day cutting up Belgian Blue beef (and one more day unthawing 40 feet of frozen water line. Getting good at that!).  We got to use our new roller table to move the quarters around.  Getting too old to wreck my back. This thing adjusts to whatever height I need - a real back saver.  About three more and I can almost pile wood with them!

These are Flintstone chops! Almost three inches thick! Perfect for a summer's barbecue.   If we can wait that long.

Here's what happens when you forget to clear off the hood air inlet and have the heater on.  Instant snow storm inside the Jeep.

Hope someone holds you in their heart!