This entry is a little different.
I got up this morning and looked at the weather, and decided that it wasn't going to rain too much, and that said that I wanted to work on building the walls for the barn. The walls are made out of concrete blocks, ecology blocks, 6,000lb chunks of concrete. To build the barn will take 74 blocks.
So I got dressed in my usual layers; a tshirt, then a long sleeved shirt over that, and then a fleece coat, and a stocking cap and pants and socks, and considered long underwear but decided against it because I was going to be working hard today and didn't want to be too warm. A quick check outside; yes, cool but not too cold. I'm set.
I drive to the farm and find Dan and Sean hard at work moving dirt around; we've got some finished compost that needed to be moved, and I rented a dumptruck yesterday and they're moving the dirt with it; loading it with the tractor and moving it. Rich, black dirt now. It'll grow great things. But I notice that the tractor is jerking a little as it works; a bit of a stutter, and the steering looks off, so I stop Sean and check the fluids; we're low on hydraulic fluid, oil, brake, radiator all look ok. So I direct them to go clean the barn while I get a bucket of hydraulic fluid and fill the tractor.
I put 3 gallons into the reservoir, and it's not full, check the tractor manual; it can hold 25 gallons of hydraulic fluid, and I wonder briefly if I've got a leak. Off to the auto parts store to buy 10 gallons of hydraulic fluid; the guy at the counter is on the phone, and he's talking really slowly with some customer about some sort of tie rod. the price of it. I'm annoyed. Some poor guy in line ahead of me, trying to buy car wax, is more patient. He gets off the phone after 5 minutes, and says "I thought he was going to buy something, sorry!" and I said "next time, say I've got customers in the store and can I put you on hold? We're buying something, too!" and he grimaced at me, and rang up the guys wax, and then got a couple of buckets of hydraulic fluid, complaining that they were very heavy. $105 and I carried the buckets out to my car. I buy a curry at the local teriyaki place and it it in the car, reading some stuff on my phone. My CPA calls while I'm doing this, and I spend an hour talking about whether or not health insurance (offering health insurance) qualifies me for a credit on my taxes. he thinks it does, and that's good news. I've ceased to be surprised that this CPA works on weekends. He's a driven individual, and very dogged. I like him.
When I get to the driveway Sean brings out the pullcord to the pressure washer. Sshows me its broken, and then the wand hose of the pressure washer has a hole in it. I trade him the buckets of hydraulic fluid, toss the parts into the truck, and back to the hardware store I go. I'm look at the pull cord material, trying to figure out what kind of line I should replace it with, and it looks a lot like clothesline, so I buy 100' of it, and figure if they break it again we'll have extra. The hose is $55 and only 30' long. At times we need a 50' hose. So i have to buy two to get the length I want. $120. Farming is expensive.
I'm walking down the driveway with the parts of the pressure washer and we've sold 6 pigs today for $100 each - spring prices are rising, and 7 roosters at $16 each. Good news; that $712 makes me feel better. We're selling 10 to 20 weaners every weekend; I do the math and see that we've got a gap in production coming up; once I sell another 30 I'll not have pigs for 2 weeks. I think about raising the price a little on the pigs I do have to span that gap. I'm pulling the cover off the pull cord on the pressure washer, and trying to figure out how it works. There is a spinning thing in the center, with two arms that stick out as it spins. It's pretty interesting. Clever engineering there. I'm winding the string on it, and it doesn't bring the pull handle in tight, and I finally figure it out. the old cord has square knots in it, and I measure off the right length by looking at the old cord, and I tie it, and I put it back together, and try pulling it a few times. I pull the cord off.
Ok, so i take the cover off, and rewind it, and retie it, but use a figure-8 knot this time, and I put it all back together, and pull it a few times, and I pull the handle off. darn it.
So I take this cover off the third time, and I make sure to tie it correctly, and I get the pressure washer started, and I realize that it's 3:30 and I've spent all day doing this. My phone is ringing.
Dan tells me that one of the 80 feeder pigs in the herd as died, so I go back to figure out what happened to it. No obvious reason for death; it's actually one of the pigs I chose for a replacement sow, which makes it doubly odd. The replacement sows have been vaccinated and have always been the biggest and healthiest looking of them all. I look at the bedding, feed, the position of the body. I can't figure out any reason for this pig to have died. I look at every inch of the pigs body, turning it over. Its in good weight, no bruises, marks, wounds... nothing. I consider cutting it open to inspect the organs, but decide against it. Off to the compost pile it goes; real pity to waste it, but I can't feed it to the dogs if I don't know why it died.
I really feel the need to complete something today, so I content myself with pressure washing the equipment in the barn because it's something that I can do before it gets too dark and I really feel like completing something. Sean and Dan finish up the dirt work.
Guess I'll get to that barn tomorrow.
2 days ago