Ridgetop - our place and how we muddle along

SageHill

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Got up early this am and did laundry. DH had taken the car for an oil change. O the way he got a call from DD1 to please come take boys to school since she couldn't walk or drive. She twisted her foot last night. He picked up boys, loaned her his cane, and then when he came home he got on the phone looking for someone to work on electrical in truck. The check engine light was not working and it needs to work for the smog test. The smog guy passed him anyway (smog checks in California are a rip off ). DH wanted the light fixed so took it in to the dealership. (Otherwise known as the Bermuda Triangle of completed repairs.) DH and the smog guy thought it might just be the bulb burned out. Nope, according to the shop it needs a whole new "wiring harness"! They can't get one because the truck is "too old". :somad I told DH to bring the truck home since it was working fine other than that and you would think since they put in a whole new engine they might have seen the problem! Anyway, this am DH finally found someone who might be able to fix it. Otherwise, we can probably find someone in Texas to do it. Personally, I think the shop is just trying to make more money on us. Any problem with a vehicle not under warranty they tell us it needs to be replaced and they want to replace the parts with new parts at a premium price! :rantAND it takes forever!

Next I took DH to PT and set up more appointments for him- they will only book 2 weeks out. :mad: While he was doing PT, I did 2 returns of Christmas gifts. The first return only took 10 minutes but the second store I stood in line for 30 minutes! Only one person ringing people up! Then there was a car accident utside the store. Half of the employees congregated at the doors watching. Meantime the line grew from 17 people to 30 people. Finally, after multiple complaints by several people another employee came to open another check stand. After finally getting my items returned I went back to PT and picked up DH, came home and picked up DS1. The three of us went to the dealership to get our car and truck. Came home and did another load of laundry, chopped celery, pulled meat off chickens, made chicken salad for trip tomorrow. Then packed 2 boxes with snacks for trip, and tools. Still need to pack clothes. Also pack car with boxes we are taking to Texas.

Now it looks like we will be leaving on Saturday after all since we still need to pack the car. The car wasn't available until after 3:30 pm today. About 4 pm it started to rain a little. We have boxes and bins in the shed ready to load but didn't want to load the boxed paintings in the rain. DS1 said we will pack tomorrow and leave Saturday am. He plans to drive straight through. 😟 He said we can make better time in the Explorer than in the truck and will be able to get into places easier to gas and eat. I told him we would stop at Denny's for breakfast and dinner since I get 15% off AARP and we will be better off with at least 2 decent meals. Tomorrow we will pack the coolers, load everything, and be ready to go. I remembered I should pack some extra wool blankets since it will be cold in Texas, and we only have light bedding on the beds. (And no DH to put my cold feet on! I may have to wear wool socks to bed.)

I also thought of a good Christmas gift for DS2 and DDIL2. We are leaving our king size bed behind but taking our sheets for our king size bed in Texas so they will not have any bedding. I will buy them new linens for Christmas - something they need and have not thought of. :D =D If I don't have time to get out and buy them when I get back, I can order them online.
All Christmas shopping is done! :weee (Or at least planned and ordered.)

DD1 went to emergency urgent care this am. Doctor did x-rays and said nothing broken but she has plantar fascitis, and needs to keep off that foot. She needs to go to podiatrist (gave her a referral). Insurance would not allow MRI but podiatrist might authorize one. She can't go to work until Monday. If it is still bothering her Monday she shouldn't go back for another couple days. She has been complaining of terrible pain in her feet for months but yesterday she stepped in a hole at the soccer field and could not walk this am.

Probably won't be online much between December 2 and December 11.
Have a safe trip out and back. This time of year the ceazies are out so watch out for them.
 

Ridgetop

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A Ridgetop Journey - There and Back in Six Days
We drove from 7am Saturday until 11:00 pm when DS1 decided he was getting tired, so we stopped for the rest of the night (midnight when we checked in to Best Western). Sunday, we got on the road by 7 am after the free motel breakfast. In McKinley we decided to stop for groceries since we figured we would be too tired when we reached Sulphur Springs. DS1 said the Walmart was much larger than the one we have at home and also the one in Sulphur Springs so he wanted to shop a bit for Christmas. We found a lot of good stuff at the giant Walmart. I bought a small wagon for Nicholas, a Snoopy Sno Cone Machine for DS1, (he had one when he was about 8 and loved it so much he wanted another LOL) and a couple T-shirts. I also found a nice size sandbox for Robert and Nicholas much cheaper than online. I finished all my Christmas shopping, and DS1 finished a lot of his. We were really excited until we approached our car and realized that it was already loaded full! o_O
DS1 and I removed some items and repacked the car in the parking lot and managed to squeeze our purchases in. The only thing we couldn't get at Walmart was the electric roaster oven for DD1. Walmart had a spot for it on the shelf, but it was sold out. The salesperson checked in the back, but they didn't have any. We had them check Sulphur Springs Walmart, but they were sold out too. :( We couldn't order one online, - all brands were "sold out", "not available" to order, and "not available at this store" for any store in our CA area. DS1 decided to stop at all the Walmarts between us and Yantis until we found one. LOL Fortunately, the next Walmart had two in stock! :)Unfortunately, I had to travel with the ginormous roaster oven box on my lap from McKinley to Yantis. :lol: No need for a seatbelt, I was wedged tight! We were able to get the larger 22-quart roaster which is good for a 24 lb. turkey. Mine is only good for a 22 lb. turkey, but we fit a 24 lb. bird in it anyway. The reviews were good and said that it would brown the skin. Our roaster does not brown very well, probably because we cram in a much larger bird than it is supposed to cook. No problem, our bird comes out tender and juicy. We were thrilled with ourselves, particularly since the roaster in the store was half the price of the ones online that were all sold out!

We reached Yantis just before dusk and got everything unloaded. DS1 hooked up the ROKU and the hot spot, I put two of the TV dinners in the microwave, and we collapsed. Dinner, showers and bed. Monday morning we got up early and had breakfast. Then we went out to the barn to decide how we would put up the 24' horse corral panels, 10' panels, etc. DS1 dragged them all out of the side barn and we laid them out on the field where they were going to go. Then he set them up and I held them in place while he moved them around to fit. We clipped them together with the butterfly clamps. DS1 had decided to use the screw in gate hinge pins to attach them to the barn. If he couldn't find those, he would buy large screw in conduit clamps. After we had butterfly clamped all the panels together, we decided to add another 24' to the outside holding pen. Inside the barn we used the shorter panels to make a large inner holding pen for the sheep. They can lamb in that pen, and I will move the lambs and ewe to a jug afterwards.
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We used 4 sections of 24' corral and 3 sections of 10' panels. The 10' panels on either side have gates in them. We have another 4-5 24' panels and will make a large pen for the rams until we have a pasture fenced for them. We still have 34 - 10' rodeo arena panels that we may use for the ram pen. We will have to drive T-posts in to stabilize the panels. And we can use some of the corral covers for a ram shelter.
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The inside sheep pen is 32' wide (the width of the barn up to the galvanized panels separating the side barn) and 20' deep to the rear of the barn. It is large enough to be divided in half to make 2 pens (16' x 20') and add another connecting night corral to the second pen off the back of the barn. We will eventually remove the old fence panels from the back of the barn. I am thinking about making the center area at the back between the 2 posts a round bale feeder area. That way both pens (future) can eat from the same bale. I am also thinking about using one of the corral covers as a bale feeder area cover. I will have to think about this since it would have to be high enough to allow the tractor under it. Maybe any pasture feeders don't need to be covered. ??? Or could be covered with tarps - a lot easier to move than the metal corral cover.

Setting out the panels and connecting them together took us all day. It was almost dusk, so we went in and made our list for the parts we needed to attach the panels to the barn itself. A simple trip to Lowes should do the trick. We only needed 6 of each screw-in pins and bolt-on receivers. Failing that we could use large 2" conduit holders. It was only 5 pm so we decided to eat when we got back. It shouldn't take long. Wrong! First, we went to Atwoods. They didn't have enough of the screw-in pins and had no bolt-on receivers. The Co-Op was closed by now, so next, we went to Lowes where we were sent all over the store with no luck. DS1 finally decided to look for the conduit holders and save time. Lowes did not have any of the 2" conduit holders, and no conduit holders in metal - they were all plastic. Worthless. After 45 minutes of traversing the store, DS1 finally found the location of the pins and receivers himself. They had plenty of the bolt-on pin receivers but only 3 screw-in pins. We got the 6 pin receivers and the 3 pins. I decided to get a new kitchen faucet too. The one in the kitchen had been spraying water for some time when the water was turned on. DS1 said he would install it. Next DS1 went to TSC where he was able to get one pin, but it was 2 dollars more than everywhere else, and we were still 2 pins short! We went back to Atwoods and got the one screw-in pin they had. We were still one short and figured to go to the Mt. Pleasant Atwoods the next day. We were passing the Fix and Feed and decided to see if they had any. They had several and were cheaper than TSC by $1 per piece. DS1 got 2 and decided to return the overpriced one to TSC. We could go home and finally have dinner. It took us three and a half hours to get the parts! We are only 12 miles from town and all the stores were in Sulphur Springs just a couple miles apart!
:barnieDinner at 9 pm, showers and bed.

Next morning, I treated DS1 to breakfast at the Yantis Cafe. DH took me there last time and it was terrific. DS1 had the regular breakfast - 4 eggs scrambled with bacon, onions, cheese, and bell peppers, with biscuits. I had a half portion and gave my toast to DS1. Really great food, and a lot. Got home and started working. We attached the end panels of the outside pen to the barn posts using the screw-in pins into the barn and bolt-on receptacles on the panels. Then we cut and wired 16' stock panel onto the horse corral panels to prevent lambs and sheep from escaping. We came up 1-1/2 stock panels short. OOPS! We do have more stock panels - IN CALIFORNIA! :mad: If we had the truck, we could have bought a couple stock panels and finished but since we had the car - no go. We will finish it off in January when we bring out more panels and equipment. :(

After finishing the stock panel, we connected the inside sheep pen panels to the barn walls with the screw-in pins and bolt-on receivers. The inside pen is 32' x 20' inside the barn. That still leaves 30' x 32' in the front of the barn for the tractors, some equipment, and the 10' x 10' tack shed. The inside pen is 32' wide, and our panels were 10' wide. DS1 got one of the 2' x 4' chain link puppy panels from the dog kennels, and we attached it in that 2' space. When we return, we will remove it and a 10' panel and put in a 12' panel which we will bring out from CA. We'll also replace one of the 10' panels with a gate panel so we can divide the pen into 2 pens 16' x 20. Got a call from our old tenant, Larry. He and Vicky were driving to SS and saw someone at our place so he called me. I told him we were there for a couple days. I had texted Jeremy and Cody that we were in town if they saw the vehicle but not Larry because he lives in Alma. Apparently, he goes to SS a couple times a week to a gym. Next time I will let him know we are in town. So nice to know your neighbors are looking out for you. :love

Cody dropped by while DS1 was fencing the gap between the fence and shed. We walked out to see the pens we put up. Some of the fence panels were 5' high, some 4' high, some newer and some rusty. Cody agreed that it looked just like any standard farm building project - using whatever we had. LOL Glad to know that we fit right in. We discussed him renting the 30 acres of hay fields and agreed on a price. He is ordering the chicken litter and will pay for the litter for the 30 acres himself. He will order some for me for our 15 acres which we will pay for. The litter people are charging a bit less per ton but are no longer spreading it for the clients. I told him I would pay him to spread ours when he spread his. He started to laugh and said that Payton, his son - age 16, would be doing the spreading. I said to tell Payton that he would have a job with me. LOL The winter rye s up and Cody said after it gets the litter on it will shoot up about 2' high. After Cody left, and DS1 finished fencing in the gap between the shed and the fence, we went inside, and he replaced the kitchen faucet. No more water spraying all over the sink. :)

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This is the barn. It is 40' wide x 50' deep on the main section which is 3/4 of the building, and 11' x 60' deep on the far right portion. The part that is covered with siding in the middle is the old "tack room" which is a small enclosed "room" about 10' x 10'. We need to either rebuild it or repair it since the metal panels on the front have come loose and there is about 12" open at the corner. But it is useful for storage at the moment. What I refer to as the "side barn" is the section on the far right. It is separated from the main barn by a wall of galvanized panels and is 11' wide x 60' long. The far end is partially enclosed but is open to the back partially and on the side past the main barn as well. Some of the roofing panels had come off the barn but I had the company that did the fence replace them and also re-screw the entire roof since some of the old zinc nails/screws were coming loose. The roof should be tight now. The supports of the barn are telephone/power poles and when we drilled into them you could smell the creosote! Very sturdy barn. While we were removing the panels from the side barn, I got to thinking about using it to store my hay under cover. Larry (former tenant who had a big dairy and hay operation in OK before retiring) said no problem storing it on the ground but would have some waste. Baymule said to put pallets under it to avoid too much waste. FarmerJan said to store it flat side down up on something and it would not get misshapen. She said it would last for several years under cover and hold the protein level. I measured the side barn, and it is 11' wide x 8' tall on the short side, 10' tall on the tall side. Both ends are open but the 60' length is roofed. They all agreed that storing it under cover would keep it good for several years.
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View of "side barn". We were storing the corral panels and roofing panels in it. Most of them are out now, but we need to remove the rest of them. The solid panels are corral covers 8' x 12' that we are going to use for pasture shelters. Once the side barn is empty DH can clean it with the tractor and we can move in pallets. I think one for each round bale since they are about 42" x 42". We will have to put 2 pallets down, side by side, then put the double layer of bales on them, then another 2 pallets for the next row, and another double layer of bales. I'm hoping we can fit the bales in that way. The bales measure about 5.5' wide by 4' tall when stacked in the flat sides, so . . . . :fl I will hire Payton to stack them in the barn. At just turned 16, he will be happy to work for $$. We need to get a hay bale spear for the back of our tractor so in the meantime I will brighten the life of a teenage boy by showering him with gold. Well, sprinkling him with a few dollars. LOL
PXL_20231205_190855344.jpg Secondary fence that DS1 decided to put up so the horses and sheep can't get in the area where we will park the trailers. They chew on the wiring. We will have to run electric fencing around where the hay bales are stored outside. With this fence they are protected. I didn't get a chance to get a sample of hay for a protein test. Next time. Good thing about using these temporary panels is that you can just undo the butterfly clamps and move them somewhere else.
PXL_20231205_190950097.jpg PXL_20231205_190903870.jpg Honey locust tree at corner of barn which will be removed next time I go back. It is right where the gate opens and is inconvenient and nasty. We have a big burn pile that we will get to in January or February. Maybe we should drag the stuff to burn into the garden area and burn it there. The ash would be good for the soil.

DS1 went out and counted today - in California we still have 34 - 10' x 5' old style Red River 8 bar rodeo panels, 2 - 10' x 42" pipe panels with welded 2" x 4' heavy gauge wire, 3 - 10' x 42" pipe panels with welded 2" x 4' heavy gauge wire and 3' gates, 3 - 12' pipe panels with heavy gauge welded wire, 2 - 6' pipe panels with heavy gauge welded wire, and 2 - 6' pipe gate panels with heavy gauge welded wire. We also have several 12' x 5' pipe corral panels, some miscellaneous pipe corral gate panels, and the 16' stock panels. All have to be moved back to Texas, along with 3 - 6' field hay feeders, 2 5' hanging metal hay feeders. 6 - 24" hanging hay feeders, 2 horse feeders, a lot of miscellaneous buckets, water barrels, etc., and 2 more metal corral shelters.
I think we will be moving for years. We should have started 10 years ago. :thMight need a bigger trailer. :lol:
 

SageHill

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It looks great! Really coming together and it’s easy to imagine sheep and lambs all in jugs and more. It won’t be long now and you’ll be full time Texans!
 

Baymule

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Your barn is so fabulous! I would have bought the place just for the barn! Y’all have got it looking ready for sheep! Lots of hard work, but just look how nice it is! Just taking a wild guess, I bet that barn would cost $60,000 to build today! Your sheep have a mansion! Plenty of room. Sheep, mule, horse, hay, equipment will take up all available space. Marv may have to build a small barn for his rabbits, unless he decides not to get any.
 

farmerjan

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Looks good and coming along. Does the tractor have a front end loader? Get the bale spear to go on the front end loader... it will be more versatile to use... we have both on one tractor to facilitate moving bales off the field... but the one on the front end loader makes it much easier to manipulate them, to stack them etc.
 

Ridgetop

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We will still need a small hay barn for the truck, trailers, and tractors to protect them from hail damage. Also, a new well before the feds decide to stop water well drilling. They don't want us to be able to eat meat so probably won't want us to drink water in future. And a propane generator. I am considering whether we might want a solar generator instead but will have to investigate both. These 3 items will cost big $$$ and I don't know if we will be able to get everything done while still in our primes. I am getting depressed about the amount of time this is taking to get moved.

However, no time for self-pity and depression. Got to pack the tool shed and plan for our next trip to Texas with panels, tools, equipment, furniture, and pictures. I unpacked some of the paintings and brought the picture boxes back since I don't want to buy any more. May need the haybarn just to store the empty packing boxes! When we come back with the trailer to pick up the new sheep, I will bring a trailer load of flattened boxes to pack in the Connex. LOL Just remembered DD@ wiill be needing them when she moves to Ana, TX, this spring/summer! :D =D

Our friend and property manager, Kris, told Carl that his Palm Springs place will be empty over Christmas if we want to use it. Fantastic offer and will give us a garage to put any furniture purchases in before loading to go home. Love PS consignment stores but the problem is that you need a place to store any large furniture pieces while you continue to shop. The stores won't hold anything. Maybe we will find a nice sofa after all, or a king size headboard. If nothing else, it will be lovely to get away to Palm Springs. Maybe Sage Hill can join us as we traipse through the consignment and thrift stores. Always something to find. Better bring a truck and maybe the trailer.

I didn't get anything done in the house other than DS! replacing the faucet. Next time I need to finish painting the large bathroom walls. The wainscoting, cabinets, and woodwork are a painted. When we went back to return the screw-in pin at TSC, DS1 let me out at Lowes (right next door) so I could get the replacement cabinet handles for both bathrooms. There was a special sale going on for handles and knobs in stock. If you bought $100 of drawer handles you got $20 off which beat my10% military discount. I found exactly 20 of the style I liked (after hunting through all the surrounding bins) but it came in $0.60 under the $100! :mad: I found a cheap $2.00 knob which brought me up to the $100 requirement. I was going to buy enough handles to do the kitchen, laundry room, and hall cabinets (I found another style that I really liked) but the checkout lady said that it was only one offer up to $100 so I just got the bathroom handles. Time enough later when I am living there - there will be more sales. Paint and new hardware can seem like a whole remodel. I still need to install another toilet (the beige one sits very low), run water lines up to a shower in the tub, and replace the tub and sink faucets. He has to repair a leak in the master BA shiwer handles. At the same time we need to have the plumber install new shutoffs under all the sinks, since they are all corroded. We have another problem - that bathroom has a separate hot water heater. Unless DS1 enjoys cold showers, we need to either connect it to the main one or turn the current electric HWH back on. Maybe we will only turn it on when we have guests. DH wants to install the instant-on HWHs once we install propane for the generator. All that can be done little by little once we are moved in.

I am on Erick's list for another Anatolian puppy. He has been looking for an outcross male to breed to and thinks he has found one. :fl His line has been getting tight. I told him that I would take either a male or female this time. With a good outcross male, I can breed to Ozel another female from Erick eventually. Bubba would have been perfect, but Erick has the sperm so he can do AI. I don't like doing AI with dogs.

Tomorrow is Nicholas' birthday! He will be One Year Old! 🎉🎈🎂 🥳 Huge party with BBQ and lots of family and friends.
 

Ridgetop

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I need to check with Kris, but it will be after Christmas. We can have fun! :weee I will bring wine, but we can only have it after shopping. LOL

Need to order some cold weather crayons for the Mating Mark tupping harness. Also found I can get a set of paint branding irons, numbers 0-8 (for 9 you reverse the 6), through Premier. Asked DS2 for those for Christmas for myself and showed him the website on premier. They are $44. He found them on Amazon for $55. Premier won't ship to California, but Amazon will. More stuff not allowed to come into California for some strange reason! DS2 hates gift cards and likes to give and receive gifts specific to the person receiving. I showed him the irons and said I wanted a set so :fl. Also told him no more coffee cups! The marking paint is $45/gal but only lasts a couple months before wearing off. It is made to wear/wash off wool easily for using on commercial fleeces. Wonder if I could use Latex paint? LOL I would ask for electric fencing from Premier from everyone else, but it is too pricey. Went up $20 a roll. :( Instead, I asked for Amazon gift cards from my famiy to buy books for my Kindle.

I just heard some horrifying news from my hay people. Tulare County is no longer issuing permits for dairies to enlarge or build etc.! Chrisanne told me that all the dairies should have locked in their annual alfalfa orders before now but have not done so. Apparently, they are not sure if their dairy permits are going to be revoked by the state in the name of reducing emissions! Probably not be revoked yet, but no new permits for expansion or new dairies being issued is frightening. Chino Dairy Reserve used to be large and protected but is gone now. Tulare County is a large dairy area but now no more dairies will be built or expanded. California used to be the largest agricultural producer in the country but between cutting farmers off from water and passing more restrictive laws on food production, not anymore. What is the government thinking? That God will send manna from the sky? I don't think so since many people seem to be turning away from religion. Very upsetting. Not to mention the UN saying that Americans should reduce their meat consumption! Who do those countries think they are telling us what we can eat? However, alfalfa prices here may go down if the dairies are cutting back on their purchases. Might be time for Californians to stock up until June or July.

Did some minimal Christmas decorating today. I will have to sort out the Christmas decorations after Christmas as to what I will take to Texas for decorating there. Even though we will probably make a trip back to California for Christmas with the kids and grandkids, we will decorate there. I will leave a lot of stuff here though since the TX house is much smaller. On the other hand, DH and DS1 will have more scope in TX for their outdoor decorations. The Texas house has a nice front porch pleading for lights, snowmen, etc., as well as our eventual front fence that will need lights. Last year DS1 ordered an American flag in lights. He hung it up this year off DS2's new patio. He and DH always add more lights and something new every year. Since we are on a private road with no lawn frontage, they find their creativity restricted. Next year northeast Texas may have to add another power grid! The tiny front entry (5' x 5') we have is getting crowded with a mechanical snowman, lighted present boxes, a welded horseshoe Christmas tree DS3 made, and a tiny artificial tree DH bought with tiny lights in a timer. Naturally we also have a wreath on the front door also with timed lights. We still have large Mr. and Mrs. Snowmen in the Connex that I was given me by my dear friend. They are coming to Texas since we have nowhere to put them here. We are afraid to put them inside the fence where we have a small patch of lawn area in case the LGDs decide to eat them.
 
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