The first day’s progress on the back field was slow. Of course, all my progress is slow, but this day seemed to be particularly poky. I’m not sure what happened, other than my usual underestimation of time required and overestimation of what I could accomplish.
I moved the sheep pen. I mucked the barn and called the cattle in (the biting flies are so bad in the heat, they were waiting, stamping, at the gate). I took the dogs for a 45-minute hike on the wilderness trails to get that chore out of the way. And then, eating breakfast, I made a short list of nine things I thought I could get done before lunch.
I accomplished 1.5. Hanging the gates took far too long. Just taking down the gate Kyle had hung improperly required twenty minutes in the hot sun, while fat deer flies swarmed my head. (I recently read an article on deer flies, which explained that only females give the painful bloody bites, and that you can tell females from males because the eyes of females are set widely apart while those of males are close together. I was staring intently at the flies landing on my shoulders only to realize that I couldn’t see any eyes and I didn’t want deer flies of either sex on me.)
I got the first, new gate [above] up without too much difficulty, though even that took longer than anticipated because it required all my strength to screw and unscrew the old gate pins. The second, old gate was a bear. Looking at the post Kyle had drilled [left], I found five holes. I didn’t want to drill any more and further weaken the post, so I had to move the hardware on the gate. The tight metal cuffs took forever to bang off. Several times I banged my hands instead of the cuffs. I realized at 1:30 PM that I was so dehydrated my brain was not operating properly. Shortly afterward I brushed the electric fence and that jolted me into breaking for lunch and a drink.
Half an hour later, restored by a peanut butter sandwich and two quarts of cold water, I finally got the second, difficult gate re-hung. Then I began working down the list, towing things out of the field.
BACK FIELD PREP LIST
Re-drill the post and hang the gate that Kyle hung too low to open
- rake up and dispose of all small bits of metal at the burn pile site (old nails and screws from Mike’s scrap lumber, that cattle will eat out of fatal curiosity)
hang the back gate
- drill insulators into all wooden posts
- hang the fence lines
- install a new top line all the way around the field
- install fencing behind and in front of the cabin field
- make six rope gates
- bury wire in conduit under gates 1, 2, 3, 4
- cut the large fallen poplar off the back fence (I’m afraid of chainsaws; big task with a handsaw)
put air in the flat water wagon tire and fill the water wagon move out a water trough; fill remove the Pig Palace (cattle will chew on it)
- remove the “tea cart” trailer (subject of a future post; cattle will chew on it)
remove the fence post trailer (cattle will chew on it) remove the extra sheep shelter frames (cattle will crush them)
- remove the antique spring-tooth harrow (cattle might hurt themselves)
- weedwhack the entire fenceline to keep weeds from shorting the fence
- hang the new fence charger
- wire the new fence charger
Simple work, but I didn’t even finish all of that. At 4:00 I had to drive to Tractor Supply for (believe it or not) tractor supplies, as Damon has taken my John Deere home for a tune-up. I had to shop for groceries and get gas. I had to plan dinner.
By the time the groceries were unloaded and Stash and I were watering the sheep at evening chores, I was shot. I sat on the truck tailgate in my sweaty, dirty clothes, barely able to form a thought.
It seemed a little unbelievable that I’d worked all day and accomplished so little. However, today is a new day and I’m writing the day’s list. I remind myself that it’s all progress.