Ridgetop - our place and how we muddle along

Ridgetop

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Another lengthy posting coming up. BTW, if anyone suspects where my clipboard might be, please respond. I have looked in the freezers just in case I was holding it and set it down when getting out meat for dinner, looked in the laundry, both clean and dirty (ICK), and behind, under and in the bed. I now have a new clipboard with the current weights copied onto a weight chart so am set for now. I am considering tying some sort of huge multicolor pompom onto it like you do with suitcases to identify your own. However, Angel might think it was some sort of new toy just for her and try to take it. Losing it once in 5 years is probably not such a bad record.

Yesterday the entire family worked hard outside. DS2 and DH did more brush cutting. DS1, FDIL, and I worked on the new planter troughs. We completed one but DS1 agreed that the drain hole at the bottom of the trough was a little too low, He had attached an elbow to the drain hole DH had fixed the trough drains with PVC fittings to be able to fill them through the drains.

Years ago DH had designed a system of PVC pipes running from the water line to the corrals. Each water trough was connected to the water line through the drain hole which DH had retrofitted with PVC attachments. You just turned on the water at the main and the troughs would fill. There were some hiccups, but mostly the system worked. The drawback was that DH omitted to install the pipes in a trench and just laid them along the top of the ground. He felt that they would be “just fine” since when he installed them the horses were in their corrals watching him curiously. We turned our horses out every day though, first because the exercise was good for them, and second, because that way we had less poop to pick up in the stalls. This meant that we often found broken water feed pipes due to the horses who broke them as they ambled around on the field. We would discover these broken pipes when turning on the water and a plume of water would geyser up from an unexpected area. Much shouting would erupt at that moment. If you were lucky you were not standing in the path of the flood. If you were standing in the geyser’s path more shouting and some bad words would echo loudly around the field. The horses found this very amusing. :gig

Another drawback, more serious than replacing a break with a union (we kept lots of spare parts for this chore), was when they had to be emptied and disconnected to be cleaned. This chore took one full day and 2 people to accomplish. DH thought he solved this by buying quantities of goldfish to keep in the troughs to eat the algae. We have a large colony of egrets in the Tujunga Wash though, so you can guess what happened. ;) At first, DH just thought the pretty white birds were enjoying a drink. He would admire them while drinking his coffee, calling family members to come see the pretty wildlife. When he discovered to his horror that the birds were EATING his golden trough cleaners, his attitude changed. We were often treated to the sight of a screaming wild man in his underwear running across the field early in the morning to scare the birds away. He considered covering the tanks with wire but this would defeat the purpose of the horses being able to drink from them. Finally, he gave up on egret patrol. Eventually, as attrition claimed our horses, we simply turned them out on the field and only used the 7 pipe corrals occasionally when we had workmen up to work on the field. Once the pipe corrals were dismantled and half of them given to DS3 for his horses, the troughs were stored. Now we are down to darling Josie the Mule who does not need 7 horse troughs of her very own. And 20 sheep who can’t reach the water once the tanks are about 1/3 down. The young lambs can’t reach the top of the horse troughs at all.

So, back to DS1 and his decision to utilize the drain holes and PVC attachments to provide the necessary 5” high water level spillway. By using the existing drain holes and installing an elbow he felt able to provide the required drainage without having to drill any holes into the troughs, thus preserving their utility in case we decided to sell them or use them for their original purpose. He had purchased enough materials to do 1 trough to see how it would work. We installed the accordion pipe with the holes in it, using a 25’ piece for each black Tuff Stuff 3’ x4’ trough. I found 3 rolls of weed cloth in the garden shed so we would not have to buy any. Then I found a piece of 2” PVC and also a length of 1.5” PVC for the fill pipes. We put the perforated (drain?) pipe in the bottom and covered it with the weed cloth. Then we removed the weed cloth remembering that we had to zip tie a piece of the weed cloth over the ends. This was our first one, so we were allowed some errors. Next DS1 cut a hole in the pipe and weed cloth for the 2” fill pipe. He cut the pipe at an angle so it could fill better and not clog. Now that the pipe was in, we filled the bottom of the trough with water to see if it worked and how high it would get before spilling out the elbow. Oops! DS1 discovered that the elbow did empty too low and the water level did not stay at the required height. No problem. DS1 said he would fit a 4” long piece of ½ “ PVC in the elbow to raise the drainage level several inches. Now we were ready for the soil. DS1 shoveled dirt and planter mix into the wheelbarrow and mixed it together. The he finished filling the trough. About this time, we realized that this tub had a split in the side that extended 6” down the side. With the weight of the dirt it was widening. Oops again! As I complained about the false advertising of the Tuff Stuff company on it’s “unbreakable” products, DS1 said he would buy some Flex Tape to repair the split. We left the dirt level low until we could do that. Then we filled the trough with water to moisten the soil we had put in it and admired our first completed “sub-irrigated garden trough”. It still needed to be planted but we were very close. The wet soil had to dry just a bit first.

DS1 went back to the hardware stores (he had to get different things at each) and we continued our cleanup of the back patio. When DS1 finally returned hours later, he was exhausted from the wait at each store. Other people that are confined to their homes are apparently doing lots of repairs and gardening like we are. There were long lines at all the stores. I suggested he not go to the hardware stores on a weekend again. He reminded me that it no longer mattered which day of the week we went since no one was at work anymore. Instead they were all apparently at the hardware stores. He and I repaired the trough, and also patched another one with a small crack. I checked the soil in the planter but it was still too wet to plant so we decided to call it a night. Everyone was exhausted from a long day in the heat. DS1 and I agreed that we could finish the second trough tomorrow. He would also order the other flexible perforated pipe which should arrive in a week or so.

Today it is RAINING! So much for finishing another trough or planting. However, the rain should bring up more green forage for the sheep who are now out on the field. It will also bring up more green forage that will need to be cut again if the sheep don’t eat the new growth before the deadline of June 1.

Because it is raining, and southern Californians are known to melt in wet weather – this is a scientific fact - I am taking care of computer business and correspondence. :caf I did tempt fate and go outside to take a few pictures for business reasons, and then tempted fate further by remaining out to photograph my beautiful rams and ewes. They are wearing their working clothes, partially shed out and therefore looking pretty scraggly. One could be forgiven for thinking they were suffering from some terrible skin disease – Ovine leprosy? The basic conformation is there though, and I have been admiring them.

This morning DS1 pulled Lewis out of the ewe pen and returned him to the Brotherhood. In 2 weeks we will move Lewis and Axtel to the Field of Celibacy and turn Moy, wearing a fresh harness and jaunty orange crayon, in with the ewes. Anyone that is not bred yet will be covered by Moy. He will also be a clean up ram for the 2 ewes that were exposed to the Patton ram when I bought them at the sale yesterday. You never know who actually settled, and better to make sure of bred ewes than open ewes. Moyboy is a very good ram and will fit with their bloodlines well. There are also the ewes with 2-3 month old lambs that have now been turned into the larger flock. Those ewes will be breeding in a couple of weeks. Their lambs will be going to auction in a week or so. The larger one that was destined for the church auction this month will be going into our freezer. :drool

Today or tomorrow I will go down and clean out the creep. Inside – no danger of melting. DS1 says he will clean the ewe pen since he likes to dig it out a bit every few months. It gets pretty wet, while the creep stays mostly dry and just needs raking out. Then we will apply some lime to the ewe pen to sanitize it. I also have to clean the 4 jugs. Little Snowflake, daughter of the prolapsed ewe, is still too small for her age. I think her mother may not have made enough milk for her toward the end. Next time I will just pull any lambs like that and bottle feed. I have the colostrum, formula, goat milk, and new nipples fitting the quart canning jars now so am set for emergencies. In Ridgetop tradition this means there will be no future emergencies requiring bottle feeding. :lol:

She is smaller than the lambs that are a month younger. I hope she will catch up in size. I did buy a bag of expensive grower ration for small lambs to use for her. She is very happy when it is poured into her feeder until she puts her head down and discovers that it is not barleycorn! Then she gives me a reproachful look and turns away. I am trying blending it with the barleycorn in an attempt to get her to eat some. You do know though that lambs and other livestock have the ability to use their lips to sift through and spit out the feed that they don't want. I don't know if my sly plan will actually work. I do plan to hold her back for breeding until she is a year old. She is a very pretty lamb with excellent bloodlines, and she can stay in the creep pen with the other May born ewe lambs for another several months. Those 5 spring lambs can grow up together and hopefully Snowflake will catch up to them in size. By keeping her in the creep pen with the new lambs and ewes she will get extra feed and some grain, unless she spits it out.

I ordered the Shaul’s panels and hang on feeder and we will pick them up when we pick up the sheep. Orland, where we pick up the sheep, is a 6 hour drive one way. Shaul’s is another hour north of Orland. We must do everything in one day. It will be a very long day. We would usually drive up, pick up the equipment, stay over in a motel, then do the sheep pick-ups in the am before driving back. With the Covid close-down no motels are open. We have agreed to bring back a couple of sheep for another buyer in Indio. He will have to come to our place to pick his sheep up since Indio is another 2-3 hours southeast of us. We will keep them in the trailer with water and hay and he can get them the following day. Paul Lewis has to get vet checks and blood work on the rams to cross the state line before he brings his animals down from Oregon. It will take another week or so for him to do that. Wes also has some sheep going up that way. Once they work out their schedules, we will drive north to get everything. I am already tired thinking about it, but DH is chomping at the bit for another road trip. This morning while it rained steadily outside, he told me to hurry and load whatever I wanted to get rid of into the dump trailer because he had to get it back to DS3?! :rolleyes: DS1 and I decided that he just wanted to leave the house again. There are times when “Yes, Dear” is a perfectly appropriate response. The tone can vary. :\

We can finished one garden troughs! If it dries out. DS1 said that he has reconsidered filling the planter mixture with water after building the troughs since apparently it really retains the water so well. And now it is raining. We might have to remove half the muddy soil and mix it with dry soil to fill the next planter trough. Then we can add dry planter soil to the first trough. Remember I said it is our first try – errors are common and in Ridgetop tradition are expected.

Once we get the new panels home, we will reconfigure the barn jugs again to shorten the four 5’ x 10’ jugs to 5’ x 7’ jugs. That will free up 6’ of space for another 5’ x 10’ jug along the rear ends of 2 of the 5’ x 7’ jugs. The alleyway will be a foot wider so easier to get cleaning barrels through. The 5’ x 10’ jug will have the grafting panel installed between it and the rear end of one of the 5’ x 7’ jugs. That will give 2 jugs access to a head catch for either grafting lambs, assisting new ewes that don’t want to nurse (uncommon but happens occasionally), or doctoring a ewe. With limited barn space I have to make every inch count. The larger 5’ x 10’ pen will also be useful for holding orphan or weanling lambs, sick animals, 2 adult animals together temporarily, etc. I am excited about the new barn layout. With more ewes lambing and more lambing times throughout the year, I will get a lot of use out of these jugs as the ewes cycle through them.

I just counted our flock again and I think we now have 3 rams, 9 ewes, 8 ewe lambs, and that doesn’t include the new ewes (hopefully 2 of who are pregnant) and one ewe with a ewe lamb at side. Since I am currently keeping all my ewe lambs this brings my breeding flock to 3 rams, 12 mature ewes, 4 ewe lambs of breeding age and size, and 5 spring lambs. Next year I will have 21 breeding ewes! I hope to have 3 lambing every month since I am trying an accelerated program of each ewe lambing every 8-10 months.

I need a large chart for this since I am getting confused over which ewes will be bred at any one time. Maybe 2 large charts since I will be in real trouble if I lose the only one!

HAS ANYONE SEEN MY CLIPBOARD? :barnie
 

Baymule

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I hope your clipboard turns up, which it probably will when you have moved on and totally forgot about it.

You getting slammed by 8040 May have been just what you needed to get your knee back in alignment. Who needs an orthopedic surgeon? Last time I got slammed to the ground by two large dogs, in the back of my bad knee, I think they knocked it forward. I can no longer stand straight on it. It curiously is ahead and forward of the right knee. Maybe they need to stop sneaking up behind me and mount a frontal attack? Hmmm.... From behind, I do a face plant, eat dirt, writhe about screaming in acute pain. A frontal assault could skip the face plant and eating dirt. It’s sounding better and better. I think I’ll have a talk with the dogs and Sheep about knocking me down, bending my knee backwards and slamming it back in place. This, and other reasons is why I always have my cell phone on me, so I can call BJ or 911 for help. So far, the BJ Hotline has worked splendidly and I have not had to call 911. The BJ Hotline even comes with Kawasaki mule transport to the front door. Not too shabby. Now where did I put those crutches?
 

Ridgetop

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Yes my knee cap has remained in its proper place! The knee occasionally has a tendency to want to bend in an inappropriate way (inside out) but otherwise seems ok. I am going downstairs on it and it is bending correctly.

The rain has stopped so hopefully we can do more work in the garden, DS1 says when he gets back from his errands that he will make 2 more of the trough planters. I will try to take pix of how he does it so you can see the idea. Since the rain has softened the ground I am going to use the square point shovel to scrape the path. It was covered in nice well tamped DG several years ago but has since gotten covered by a layer of dirt from the dogs making themselves beds in the surrounding areas. I need to remove that dirt layer and that will help it to stay relatively weedless.

Once the next 2 troughs are done I will plant the other tomatoes, zucchini, cukes, and peppers. Then we will have the three metal 2' x 4' troughs and the remaining 2 Tuff Stuff 3' x 4 ones to fish. DS1 reminded me that we need more planter mix so will pick up some while running errands. v I have to decide what to do about the fountain area on the other side of the house. I planned to take a scrap of the artificial turf (faux grass to us H&G channel watchers) that was left and lay it on top of the existing weed cloth. The replace the fountain, and the large ornamental rocks around the edges. The buckets of river rocks that I bought and filled it with when I made it, will be relocated to other areas. The problem with the river rocks there is that the gardener blows off the patio and blows it into the planters. The river rocks were covered with a layer of decaying leaves. Great mulch, but no rocks to be seen until FDIL removed them. I told her that there was weed cloth under them but I don't think she believed that there was either weed cloth or decorative river rocks in that planter until she removed a large muck bucket ! She suggested just replacing the rocks and adding lots of flowers, but I think a bright spot of grass with the pots of flowers on it would look prettier and draw attention to the fountain. Right now the entire area is simply gray brown from the decaying leaves with an occasional gray brown boulder to break the monotony.
 

Ridgetop

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Baymule: I don't recommend another dog adjustment. It might be your hip that is out of adjustment, and you sure don't need a concussion! It is comforting to know that BJ and the Mule are close to help pick you up and bring you back to the house.
Last time I fell down no one could hear my cries for help and I had to drag myself upright by holding onto Bubba who slow walked me to the door! No use taking my cell either - DH can hear it ring! LOL Sweet Bubba! He walks slowly and carefully next to me when I go up or down the stairs to the barn. :old

OH NO! DS1 just called! Home Depo is OUT OF OUR PERFORATED PIPE! Everyone must have seen the same DIY U Tube video! We will have to order it and wait to do the last 5 when it comes in. I suggested that we use standard PVC leach pipe. Larger holes, 4" pipe, sturdier to weight of dirt. He is considering but isn't sure he can fit it in the car. It depends if the leach line is 8' long or 10' long. Oh well.

CURSE YOU COVID 19! NOT ONLY ARE WE IN QUARANTINE :somad BUT YOU ARE FOILING MY PLANS FOR HOME IMPROVEMENT AND GARDENING! :tongue
 

Ridgetop

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Thank you, Bay, for your compassion for an old lady!


IMG_5824.jpg Our empty horse trough ready to be turned into raised garden planters.

Why is it late in the season for corn? You have a long growing season, I mean, even I can get a crop of corn in! Does it get too hot? Sorry, for being dense...
IMG_5356.jpg Josie the Mule - showing no shame for eating those roses. The only thing I can say is that since the others are bare root roses just not sprouting, she pruned the bigger ones to match! She is so sweet, hard to believe that she could pull a dirty trick like that. That is a mule for you!
Here is a picture of what happens when you wait too long to plant in our southern California springs to plant.
IMG_5847.jpg The sad droopy things on the left are cucumbers. The sad wilty things on the right are jalapeno peppers.
IMG_5846.jpgThe tub in the foreground has zuchini. Again slightly sad but not as droopy. The happy vigorous plants in the wooden raised bed behind the tub are tomatoes on the left and crookneck on the right. they were planted a month earlier, when the weather was cooler.
IMG_5848.jpg The net curtains are how I protect my tomatoes in August from sun scald. I put them up now to try to shade the peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini to help them grow. The tub to the far right has additional Better Boy tomatoes DS1 happened to find for me. I already have Big Boy, Beefsteak, and Early Girl growing. However, while they should be much larger had I planted them earlier in the season they are doing ok and since we will be here through August and September, hopefully we will have tomatoes later into the season. I only planted 6 zucchini in 2 hills, but lots of crookneck since that is our favorite.

FDIL has lots of things started from seeds coming along to be transplanted in June when the rest of our perforated pipe arrives and we finish the last 5 troughs. Oh yes, all the Lowes stores were out of the 3 c.f. cheap planter mix we use, but it will be in on May 26 in time for the Memorial Day sales. We need another 8 bags for our troughs even though we are using 2 bags to the rest dirt from the yard. The dirt in the yard is 50/50 mix that DH brought in in a truckload some years ago. It is decent dirt compared to our shale filled clay up here.
 

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thistlebloom

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Awww! Thanks for the Josie picture! I love mulies :love. And sorrel mules are the best.

If you have a pile of aged manure you can use that for the bottom third to half of your containers. I do it all the time in vegetable containers. I have a stack of muck buckets with drilled holes left over from my kids garden classes. I put potatoes in them lately because my soil has scab, but it's pretty spendy to fill them with purchased soil. I can handle half filled with expensive soil. ;)
 

Ridgetop

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BYH May 28, 2020

Got up yesterday morning to some sad news. My sister’s husband passed away. It was sudden but not unexpected on our part. He had diabetes and an extremely bad heart condition. Last month my sister told DH that he needed some sort of surgery, but the doctors refused to perform it because his condition was so poor he would not survive. His death was NOT related to Covid. She doesn’t know when she will be able to have the funeral or memorial service. They live just outside Seattle. Since Washington state is still shut down we can't even go up for several months. :(

Next problem was late notice of payment on our TX rental. Taken care of now but apparently our manager has a new office person who did not make the payment because he thought it was on auto pay. Kris had told the previous girl to put it on auto pay, but instead she kept making the payment manually. Up to this month we had a perfect payment record. I called the mortgage holder and explained and had them put a note in the file as to the reason for the late payment. Then also told Kris we would put it on auto pay, but he had already instructed his girl to do so.

So much drama before 9:00 am!

Next, we drove up to Nipomo to return the dump trailer. 400 miles round trip. We stopped for diesel in Buellton, having been assured by DS3 that it was the cheapest place to buy it. $3.13 gallon. On the way home in Oxnard we saw it for $2.89! Oh well. The gas station had food for sale but would not allow anyone to use the restrooms! The attendant informed me that all restrooms were closed per Governor Newsom. However, I had DH pull over to the Taco Bell on the way back onto the freeway. Their bathroom was open. Thank heavens! since I had coffee that morning. I bought the large pack of tacos – nothing like traditional Mexican food! LOL

As we pulled in to DS3’s place, the grandsons, 8 and 5, came running out to greet us. Bringing them each a box of Mike and Ike’s candies really gets a big welcome! LOL DS3 was home early from work so we enjoyed a nice visit and admired his new tractor. It’s name is Kyoti Big Digger. I told yu that our family names its vehicles. Our big blue tractor, which he had appropriated, had finally gone to spare part heaven. However, like I told him - he got a lot of use out of it for the price he paid! We had given it to him when he moved up there since he had to run water and electric for his stalls, put in fencing, build 2 barns, etc. He has done a lot to the place in less than 3 years! Our hilltop is too small for that size tractor but DS3 really used it.

We had loaded 2 of our wrought iron patio chairs that had broken welds and taken them up to him to mend with his welder. I thought he would have to keep them for a while, but he has his welder set up in his garage and did them then and there. Fast service! I took them a couple of lamb chops to try and some lamb stew meat. DDIL has never cooked lamb and was not sure if she liked it, so wanted to try it before deciding to get a whole one.

While DS3 and DH bonded over the many perfections of his new orange Kyoti tractor, the grandsons brought their pet bantam roosters up to show me. I think she said they are Suramas (sp?). They are very tame and the boys spend a lot of time playing with them. They plan to do poultry showmanship with the birds next year, assuming the fairs open up again. DDIL said she had managed to get the fertile eggs just before the state shut down all poultry movement and sales due to the Newcastle Disease quarantine. She said that if there are no new outbreaks in the next few months that the state will lift the ban on poultry movement and sales. She also said that the Tri State Fair in Paso Robles was putting off cancelling their late August fair. The Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Orange County and Los Angeles County Fairs had already announced their cancellation. A lot of 4-H and FFA kids have bought their market animals since you have to own the animal for a certain period of time prior to the fair. Sheep, goats and hogs must be purchased a minimum of 60 days prior while steers must be owned 180 days prior. Then the animals have to be DNA tagged at that time period before the Fair– the child and animal have to go to the fairgrounds on a specific date with their paperwork. Hair with follicles is removed from the animal and attached to the entry paperwork. This is so no one can slip in a ringer. Since beef has to be owned for a minimum of 6 months before check-in all the beef kids had already bought their steers for the summer fairs before the quarantine hit. DDIL said she is seeing a lot of ads now advertising hogs and steers that can’t be sold at the cancelled fairs (Santa Maria is in June). The kids and their families are trying to sell them privately hoping to recoup at least a partial amount of their investment. So sad for these kids. They are learning a hard lesson about real life farming and ranching and its risks. In their cases they only have one animal for which they have to find an alternative market. Think of the dairies that are dumping their milk because they can't get it to the creamery. Crops are rotting because they can't be trucked to market or the processor. With all the restaurants closed farmers have lost their customers. Think about the rancher who loses his herd to disease or to regulations preventing him from selling. Right now meat prices are rising, but why? Is it because of a lack of processors due to Covid? Or are people worried there will not be any meat soon? Who knows? All I know is that the rancher probably will not see much of the price rise in his pocket. If these kids are lucky, they will break even on their private sales. If not, they will lose money.
Join the exciting world of ranching, kids! :barnie

A number of years ago there was a ban on hogs due to some disease and a lot of kids that had their hogs in certain counties had to put them down. No Jackpot shows were allowed throughout the state. Hogs could not be moved across county lines which meant you had to buy your hog in your own county (not so easy for some kids). Counties without the disease held terminal only fairs. No hogs could be purchased and taken home live from the fair – they all had to go to the processor. If the disease was found in the county prior to fair time, all hogs would be destroyed. We were holding our breath till fair time!

Hurrah! The remaining swelling from the abscesses on 8040 and Axtell have completely disappeared! :weeeYou can’t even tell that anything was there! I am so grateful to my vet who said let’s just culture the pus first before we pay to blood test the entire flock. If you lance and drain any abscess look for sticky green pus the consistency of thick cake batter. That is Actinobacillus. If you lance and cannot drain an abscess, but have to express a thick white cheesy looking pus that is the consistency of bread dough, that might be Caseous and you should definitely have it cultured. Actually, for peace of mind have the sticky green stuff cultured too. You will feel much better to have a definite diagnosis. The Actinobacillus abscesses are scary since they can get huge. :epThe abscess on Axtell was larger than a tangerine and hard as a rock until it ripened. Poor 8040 had a smaller one first about the size of a golf ball. That is the one we drained and cultured. The other swelling was along her upper jaw and muzzle and was like a large bratwurst. That one gradually went away after we lanced the first abscess. The third swelling was another lump larger than a golf ball that was also hard like the bratwurst. It grew as the bratwurst shaped swelling slowly diminished. When we finally lanced it, it was the size of a cue ball! Now you can barely see a scar and her face is nice and flat again. Good old 8040, the knee fixer.

Our garden is growing very well in the wooden raised bed that DS1 and DS2 built. However, our sub-irrigation troughs are not doing so well. I checked with DS3 and DDIL who told me that we needed to have enough dirt around the perforated pipes to allow the water to wick up into the soil. I think we put too much pipe. The soil is sitting on top of the weed cloth and unable to wick up any moisture. DS1 and I are going to replant those troughs, taking out some of the pipe to allow dirt to settle around the remaining pipe. Nothing like doing the job twice! In addition to our 5 remaining troughs, we have 6 horse feeders we will use. 3 of them are heavy metal barrels that have a hole cut out of them and rolled metal to keep the edges from being sharp. They have horse shoes welded on the ends to hang from pipe corral. Since the opening to plant through is not huge – about 18” x18” on a 36” barrel, we will use them for tomatoes or squash. The other 3 feeders are the same style – but made out of PVC food grade barrels. I made them and drilled holes in them to wire them to the corrals. These 6 will do well for container planting, although they may be slightly shallow. However, they will be perfect for beets, carrots and other shallow root veggies. I don’t need them since I have 3 other excellent horse fence feeders that are almost new condition, and only Josie the Mule to use them.

These 6 barrel feeders will have to be set in a “cradle” of some sort to stop them from rolling over. We have made and used “cradles” to hold the PVC barrel feeders for other livestock before. Once everything is filled and planted our gardening chores will be much easier! I will use the left over scraps of artificial grass as paths between the various planters to keep weeds down. No waste around here. I wonder if we could raise the cradles up to a taller height so we don’t have to stoop as far over the planters?

June 2, 2020

Today DH and I took the 3 wethers to the auction sales. Prices there have been very good, so we decided to give it a try. If I can truck a load of 3-5 lambs to the auction every month or so it will be easier and not any farther than selling privately and carting the lambs to the butcher. Which reminds me that my neighbor has not paid me for the lamb yet He buys from us frequently so I think he has not gotten the check her because of the Covid quarantine. I will drop him an email since the lambs are ready to be picked up from Kent. I weighed the lambs before taking them to the auction to get an idea of how they will sell at their weights. That will help me decide the most profitable size to sell.

CART157 is the January lamb – 4.5 months old and a whopping 118 lbs. on pasture alone. We have stopped giving any grain at all.

CART153 is barely 3 months old, dob March 2 – weighing in at 90.4 lbs.

CART156 will be 3 months old on the day of the sale, tomorrow, dob 3/3. He is the puny one at only 77 lbs. He had some sort of injury to his eye and developed an infection and was on penicillin for a week. His eye was nearly blind for a while and he didn’t look like he was finding the hay bucket. He had totally recovered, but I think it set him back. Still, 77 lbs. at barely 3 months old is not bad.

It will be interesting to see what prices they bring. If I can sell them at 3 months, it will be healthier for my ewes than early removal of 50 lb. lambs for the halal market. Although $150 is a nice price for that small a lamb. We will have to see. Next lambs for market are the month old rams in the creep pen. Then several ewes to lamb in September, then periodically through December. Then we start all over again in the spring. By spacing out the lambing, I will have lambs available throughout the year and don’t overcrowd my jugs or creep pen. Also, I avoid dumping too many lambs into the market at one time and lessening the price.

I considered putting a 6 month old ewe lamb into the auction since they are getting good prices for ewes. However, Orange 6 is cycling now, ready to breed, and DH did not want to sell any ewe lambs since we are "building the flock". I am not sure what number he wants to build up to since he doesn’t know exactly how many we have currently. :gig He keeps asking me if I know how many we have and seems shocked that I can count them off and identify them by number easily. We have 3 rams, 14 ewes (counting the fall lambs) and 5 late spring ewe lambs. I think I will ask Wes if I can put a ewe lamb or 2 in the on-line sale next year. If I can, those lambs would be 4-6 months old, but would be registered and sold as breeding ewes. A much better price and something to consider.

DS1 and I have redone 2 of the garden troughs. We had zip tied pieces of weed cloth over the drain hole and over the ends of the pipes thinking to prevent soil from clogging them. DS1 said that was a mistake. The weed cloth over the drain hole would nit let the water drain our and the level was so high that the tub was soggy instead of moist. The amount of tubes in the bottom did not allow the water to wick up since it could not reach the soil unless watered from on top which is what that system is supposed to avoid. He poked a hole in the weed cloth and water gushed out until the level was correct. We wre either drowning or drying our plants! Anyway I am waiting for the second trough to dry out a bit more than I can transplant the tomatoes into it and we can empty the next trough to redo the pipes. We are setting up new troughs with pipes, then shoveling all the dirt mix from the first ones into the replacements. Once we have replanted the plants from the first try we will be able to transplant all the seedlings that FDIL has started. DH’s corn is already several inches high so we will transplant them into the wide troughs and plant the pole beans around them. The beans can climb the corn stalks instead of a trellis.

Four of my 9 roses ordered from Jackson & Perkins are dead. I have not been able to get hold of them about replacements due to the Covid. However, they are guaranteed to be replaced if they die so I need to get in a call and find out how to get the replacements. I am considering having them shipped later in the year after the heat of the summer is over since planting bare root roses in full summer is probably not the best way to do The other 5 roses are doing well.

This morning we had a disaster! The water line in the barn malfunctioned – the shut off blew and the barn flooded! DS1 was out late checking the sheep and it was fine then. DH said that the main valve was turned on slightly. DS1 had fitted a second valve with a second shut off on to the end of the hose attached to the main valve so that we could turn it on and off when watering the buckets in the jugs instead of running water all over the barn. That part had blown completely off the attachment! Hopefully it will dry out before we pick up the new ewes this weekend. I think there are probably rat holes and tunnels under the dirt floor of the barn too. When I went to see what had happened, I went down a foot or so in the floor! Luckily, I was wearing my rubber muck boots, but I think I probably sank into a rat tunnel due to the flooding. DS1 laid down scraps of plywood over the floor so we could load the wethers. I think we will have to get a couple scoops of gravel and sand for the barn. The central passage is about 4”-6” lower than the stalls and was completely flooded like a lake. Luckily, the hay we just brought in yesterday was untouched. We stack it on pallets and it stayed dry. Whew!

Kent said that our steer came in and has anther week to hang before it can be cut. The lambs are ready for pick up but he said to wait until we get everything at once. I better check to make sure the freezers are empty for the meat. DS2 and FDIL have a tendency to fill them up with Drumstick ice cream cones!

The front patio is finally cleaned and planted. It looks very nice. DH and I are enjoying sitting out in the early morning with our coffee. The dogs join us. So nice to have breakfast with family! LOL The weather has cooled off again. We are having a lot of overcast weather which actually is nice since it does not get as hot. It is staying in the low 80’s. Nice breeze and very pleasant. June Gloom as we call it. The marine layer rolls in from the coast and gets trapped in our valley. The Chumash name for the San Fernando Valley was “Valley of the Smokes” because the marine layer would sit over the valley. No! not smog. We haven’t had much of that for the past 15 years now. And I remember the “Smog Alerts” when you were advised to stay inside during the heat of the afternoon. Wow! Just like the Covid quarantine! Except there was plenty of toilet paper.
 

Baymule

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I am sorry about your sister's husband. I am even more sorry about the lock down and that you cannot go visit her. There is nothing like family when one has lost a spouse or loved one-and that is what she gets-nothing. :he

You are doing great with your lambs. Perhaps on your next trip to Texas you could smuggle a little ram lamb for me? :love I could breed him to some of my ewes, thus giving Ringo some "fresh blood" ewes to service. LOL LOL

I hope your container gardening does well for you. There is nothing like fresh vegetables. There are lots of new members on TEG, people who want to learn to garden or their parents/grandparents gardened and they need a memory refreshener. I think it is a good thing that more people are wanting to become a little less dependent upon the 3 days worth of food that grocery stores have. Our garden, so far is doing pretty good. I have my usual bodacious bounty of giant weeds, medium weeds and little weeds that remain flat and spread out like black plastic, suffocating everything they over run. On TEG a member posted about how wonderful lambs quarters are...….huh? I asked how to cook/prepare them since I have whalloping huge plants that are on a mission to take over the world. I pull them for the sheep, but heck, I might as well try them too.

I had a good harvest of English peas and yesterday BJ pulled, trimmed and washed the last of the beets. I will can pickled beets this afternoon. We enjoyed broccoli and I put some in the freezer, I got a half a wash pan of onions, we had beet and broccoli greens salad with radishes. I have watermelon vines growing, Amish melon (cantaloupe) vines growing, the Blue Hubbard squash didn't make it, I replanted banana squash in it's place. My Painted Mountain corn is looking gorgeous, the zucchini is doing the sudden death thing from the stupid bugs, the long green beans from Thailand are growing well as is the Kentucky Wonder beans. Tomatoes are growing and I have green tomatoes, waiting impatiently for that first ripe one! I planted cucumber seed, not up yet and I'm cleaning up a weed infested patch so I can plant purple hull peas. I'm going to squeeze everything I can out of this garden this year!

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