Fences are always the biggest job in the spring, and a continuous job until at least July. This year is one of the really bad fence years not only because of the huge amount of snow we got but also because of the several periods of freezing rain that encased the wires. When we get that kind of alternating heavy snow and crusts of ice, the melting of the snow will bring down the wires and insulators. The insulators that are on cedar posts usually just break off the post, the ones on metal t post will break apart.
I spent all afternoon until 7 pm in the upper back pasture today, which I have to say wasn’t one of the hardest hit pastures, not sure why, but I did replace over 50 insulators, plus 9 gate handles. I placed 3 new posts, and still need to do a old wooden corner post but that will be easier from the adjoining pasture. I also need to do some wire tightening in several places. I started down the line in the next pasture, unbelievable how many insulators were off the wooden posts, many had all 5 down, all had at least two down, and the wires had to be spliced in multiple places. I didn’t attempt to replace posts today in that pasture. I need to get the 3 upper pastures done before I can let the cows up to eat the big hay bales. Just walking down the horse pasture was very disheartening, most wooden posts are missing all insulators, and the metal ones are missing several each. The horse pasture and the middle upper pasture will both need a lot of replacement posts. At least as I complete pastures the next one in line has less sides since they are joined, some by two sides or more.
I spent 3 hours on the line that runs from the barn and along the side of the barn just so the animals stay away from the building, and to bring the fence to the both sides of the pastures. It is not a very big stretch of fence, but took a lot of intense work and a whole package of replacement insulators, plus 3 new posts. It is hard to get motivated to do fences when I know what a mess I am facing in each pasture. There are 13 pastures all with 5 strands of wire except the two central pastures and the horse pasture that has 4 wires and a top white tape for visibility. Most pastures have more then one 5 strand gate just to make matters more complicated.
Well enough whining about fences, I just hate to have that hanging over my head when there are so many things I want to do about the yard, orchards gardens and berry patches.
It is time for the 3 week old pictures of Crickets kittens. Last night I threw down hay and several 50 lb bags of grain through one of the trap doors then went down to move them and noticed that one of Crickets kittens was in the aisle. I had a fit moving all the grain and hay when I noticed the other kitten was not in the nest either. I was picturing big guilt trips if I hurt a kitten, they have not been stirring out of the nest to date. There is an area between the two sheep pens that has a feeder/hay rack on each side and a place for me to walk down the aisle to feed. Cricket had her kittens under the feeder on the right side, the left side is currently being taken up with 3 Bantam hens and one full sized hen sitting on eggs. They find this to be a safe warm place for chick, and now kitten raising. Cricket was meowing all around, and trying to get me to come after her, so I followed and there was the other kitten on the other side of the barn. I took it and returned it to the nest but they immediately crawled out to go exploring on their own, which upset Cricket to no end. I didn’t really want to mess with her nest but she was so upset at the escape artists that I went in and made the nest deeper, but they climbed out anyway. So I went and got a piece of cage wire and placed it so they couldn’t come into the main aisle but had to stay in the feed aisle. That seemed to make Cricket happy, and they were still in there this morning. They are too small to be out where they could get into animal pens. So after all that drama, here they are at 3 weeks:
There are 4 laying hens from the old flock at large in the barn, mostly because there were being picked on badly so I kicked them out of the laying hen pen. One of these Golden Comets in a total un-hybrid like behavior decided to hatch out some eggs. The eggs she decided to set on were all Bantam eggs, so she hatched out 6 as near as I can tell, she is very protective over them, and sits all fluffed up with her chicks under her all the time. I see 6 in this picture!
Sunset over Mt Katahdin as I was doing fencing Monday night. The mountain is hard to see clearly because I was in a low spot.
A picture of Calliope, my sweetheart in her new favorite place to sleep. Well two pictures because I couldn’t choose between them! It is a bamboo pillow that I really didn’t like because it is memory foam, I prefer a latex pillow, but she sure loves it!
Flower pictures, crocus still coming out and blooming plus many clumps of daffodils
There is a whole line of daffodils along this terrace, but they get a gradual amount of sun so this is just the beginning part, the other end is still just buds. Hard to remember that when I planted these there was just a single row, they sure have multiplied.
More patches tucked here and there, each year they increase in size!
A picture of funny KoKo, she hardly ever holds still, and is quite skittish, but likes her loving. She climbs up on the unused rabbit cages and runs from one end to the other trying to get me to pet her. KoKo is another blue eyed cat, her eyes are darker blue then Calliopes.
Last but not least a final picture of Spice. Spice was a sort of rescue alpaca that I got in 2004, he came with Cinnamon. Cinnamon was a nasty animal and I didn’t keep him, Spice did not have the best confirmation, but he was so sweet. They were living close by in one of those small tent like hoop sheds with a very small outside area of about 6x8’. I was asked to take them for the winter, but nobody ever came back for them. Neither had been taken care of very well, alpacas are modified ruminants and need fiber, either grass or hay, these two were never fed hay only grain, and in competition with each other. I am surprised they lived through that, a ruminant with a non functioning rumen is usually a dead ruminant. Spice was always delicate, or at least he looked that way, and hard to keep weight on, probably stemming from his first two years. He was failing to keep weight on this past winter and let’s face it, he was at the end of an alpaca life span. He was doing Ok until one Sunday, he was having a hard time standing up on his own. I did chores and then went to sit by him, he was watching me, with his head up, until I sat next to him, he leaned over and put his head on my chest and let out his last breath. It was very sad...Mischief liked to keep him company. Bud is very lonely now, but he will be fine when the sheep all go out with him.