Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Paradise ponders...

Paradise ponders...  So much happened yesterday!  I managed to get exactly nothing done that I had planned to do – and yet I was on the run all day long...

I was planning to catch up on my financial paperwork yesterday.  When I first sat down to my desk, it was covered with junk.  So I cleaned all that up, scanning the things that needed to be saved, putting things away, etc.  Next thing I know, it's time to go pick up our mail a the post office.  Then I notice the bird feeders were low.  Time to feed the birds!  Then it was time to take the puppies for a walk – a nice two-mile walk in the lovely temperatures.  We saw a hawk sitting in a field about 10' away from us.  Usually this behavior means they've got a kill on the ground that they're protecting – but when this one finally flew, we could find nothing where it had been sitting.  The puppies had a ball until finally Cabo decided she'd had enough of this exercise, and sat down in a lush alfalfa field (last photo).  Through her behavior, she told me quite clearly: I'm done.  You can go on walking, I'm sitting right here.  It took me a while to get her up. :)

Then one of our neighbors (Gary S.) called and asked if I could come over to his barn around 5 pm, and help move some hay.  Of course I could!  Then just as I was sitting down to work again, Debbie texted me: another neighbor (Tim D.) was out putting up a barbed wire fence.  I went out to help, and it's good that I did: we just barely finished it before we got slammed with a rain storm (complete with lightning and thunder).  This fence is one he puts up every fall, to let his horses out into his alfalfa field after the last mowing.  Then he takes it down in the spring so that the field can be planted, fertilized, etc.   It's a four-strand fence, about 200' long.  It's surprisingly easy to put a stretch of barbed wire fence up, using T-posts between two solidly planted posts.  All you need is a T-post pounder, a fence stretcher, and some pliers.  All of these are simple, inexpensive tools, and all are hand-operated.  It's possible for a single person to do this, but the job is much easier with two.  It took about three hours for these two geezers to put up a nice, tight length of fence.  His horses will be very happy!

Moving the hay turned out to be a much different proposition than I had imagined.  I was expecting that we'd be heaving small bales of hay, the kind we had when I was a kid.  Those weight 60 pounds or so, and are not all that hard to throw around.  The biggest challenges comes when piling them high, as is often done.  But Gary was getting big bales delivered: eight bales weighing 1,300 pounds each!  These were going in his loft, the floor of which is 12' off the ground.  A neighbor was providing the hay, and delivering it to the loft with his (big, strong) tractor.  Gary had me and a half-dozen other people there to move those giant bales once they were just inside the loft's door.  We did it by using lengths of 4" PVC pipe as rollers.  We'd have the tractor set the bale down on 4 or 5 rollers, then four of us would push (hard!) to move the bale.  As a roller came out the back end, someone picked it up and handed to another person on the front end, who laid it back down.  It was like the railroad scene in Wallace & Grommit's The Wrong Trousers!  Once we got the bales roughly in place, we'd all get on once side and tip them over, thus freeing up the rollers.  After we were all done, Gary decided that next year he'd get the medium-sized bales – they weigh a mere 800 pounds! :)

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