Monday, June 30, 2014

June's Last Day

All the rails are either nailed up or on the ground. We need more rails.....

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Last Sunday In June

Hard to tell in this pic, but the curve in this run is severe. And pretty darn cool! I like to think of this as the bow of my yacht, and costs about the same.

Looking off the edge of the earth, the land drops away and the green lawn, swamp and trees make it look like an endless landscape.

The curve is so severe, that between the three posts that the 16-foot oak board had to span, one board didn't make it. It broke. Sounded like a gun-shot, and then I was holding a short board. BOOM.

We used a jig, holding the position from the top rail. To reach the middle post, I had the rail on my belly and my arms pulling the post towards me. Not really, but that is what it feels like. It is a struggle, but the end results are pretty awesome.

On this pasture we have two places that bow out, one that bows in. Times four boards. That's a lot of post hugging and pushing.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Saturday - Last In June

For this pasture we started a curve where the new run-in shed and dry paddock will be located. It bows out and then straightens as it goes down the hill, where it curves again in the opposite direction. The rail shadow shows how severe the bow is.

We managed to get all four boards up on this section in one day. Could have been riding, but this is going to be epic, a never to be forgotten event here, on the farm.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Can't get enough of that oak board fencing, apparently.

Monday, June 23, 2014


The last four 16-foot boards were installed in the dark, using the flashlight app on his cell phone. Don't try this at home.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Now that the fencing project is well underway, he decided to get a barrier to place at the right-of-way at the bottom of the hill. Wanted over $100 for a three-foot ready-to-go saw horse at the BigOrangeBox so he made his own, with materials found around the shed.

I've painted it twice with oil-based paint. Will adorn with brilliant safety-orange and stencil with 'No Trespassing.' We'll see if it works.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fence Project: Rails

First thing, we went to Frederick, returned the pounder, returned home to get the flat bed, then off to Mt Airy - BBX - to get 210 16ft oak boards. We took the time to have a nice visit with Bill Barnes. He's an old-timer, and I know some of the families that he spoke of, being from here myself.

The boards are still on the trailer, we will drive the flat bed around the new pastures, pulling them off as we install the rails, so we don't have to pick them up twice.

We went to Germantown to the BigOrangeBoxStore to buy six 6x6s for the gate posts - have to be square and sturdy to support the gates.

We then took a nap - had ribs for dinner - brutally hot outside, still.

He made a 'saw horse' 9 feet wide to park at the bottom of the hill on the PEPCO power-line right-of-way - 'no trespassing. I need to paint it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

And Then BOOM!

The gate post was the first to go in. The agreed upon position is on crushed asphalt. The fence post is a much larger post and it never stood a chance. The post pounder knocked that thing in like magic. BOOM. Solid. That post will not go anywhere. Maybe if you hit it with a loaded dump truck doing 60, maybe.

The strings are still up, the orange paint obvious, and the post pounder is pulled by our Ford tractor. About a minute is spent on each post. BOOM and move on, BOOM and another is in.

This is the closest he would agree to putting the fence to the house. If it was up to me I would put the fence up against the house so I could visit from my bedroom, but that isn't going to happen. Cooler, saner heads prevailed and our lawn has been defined.
An amazing amount of posts were installed, 260 posts, in one day. Wrapped up around 7:PM, still blazing hot and sunny. My own private Stone Henge. A most beautiful sight, to me.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Fence Post Installation: Step 2 & 3

He had worked it out on paper, used the on-line fence calculator to estimate exactly how many posts we would need, knowing exactly how far apart the posts need to be (7 feet, 9 inches on center). Even with all that, we drove the little SUV and lawn tractor around and around, as the string lines were moved, changed, moved again. He weed-whacked some of Step #3 because the line was in the wrong place. I can't say how may times we walked around and around and around these new pastures.

With the fall line the string would hit the ground, and not be a true straight line. He needs straight lines, but the property isn't straight, the road isn't straight. Nothing is straight, but these fence lines are!

We then marked each and every post position with brilliant orange paint, 260 times.

We argued a lot, he moved the lines, I moved it back, and in the end we both got our way, and the horses will be the real winners in all of this.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day - Ride Time!

We have a huge fence project in the works, but took the time to ride. Father's Day was a beautiful day, low humidity and the park was quiet.
Took a printed copy from Bing Maps to work out the fence project during lunch. Procrastination is our Muse. I think we've worked out the scheme, without using too many gates and hinky jig-jags, with easy access for trucks and such.

My fantasy of having a three-stall shed row with an eight-foot 'lean-to' has been abandoned. We'll build a run-in shed from scratch, inside the newly designated sacrifice area behind the landscaper bins, that will allow both new pastures access.

We also need to ditch from the barn electric and water lines. O boy.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fence Project: Let's Get This Party Started!

We pulled the fence posts from the flat bed, distributing them around the perimeter about six inches apart, end to end, so that we can install them in a couple days. These posts are heavy, and we made two trips, three bundles each load, from BBX Fence Supply; one yesterday, one today.

On top of all of that, the first heat wave of the year is expected to descend on Monday. We have a knack for timing the hottest days for the heaviest work.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday The 13th! - Full Honey Moon!

Today was a 'work' day: working on the fencing project! It rained, twice, but did clear at just the right time to see the Full Honey Moon rise over the treetops. Then it clouded over again.

We picked up 135 fence posts from BBX in Taylorsville.

We then distributed them around the proposed fence line, 6 inches apart, in anticipation of the installation on Tuesday. We argued about where EXACTLY the fence line will go. I want to use as much open space as possible, he wants to not have any issues installing the posts. And it rained.

I am so excited, this is better than Christmas (to me).

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Box Scraper Saga

The long dreary story of the Box Scraper has come to a conclusion.

In the beginning, the day after we 'went' to settlement (we actually signed the settlement papers at our kitchen table at our old house, so we didn't really go anywhere) we traveled to our place in West Virginia to retrieve our tractor, and all of the farm implements that went with it, except for the Box Scraper. We couldn't manage to get it on the flat bed trailer or in the bed of the truck.

The following year we went up there, and ran out of time, again it was left.

The next year we didn't take the tractor with us, being impossible to lift a 550 lbs. anything, it remained.

Now, with the fencing project looming, we must have the box scraper. This versatile farming tool will be needed, it has been needed, to do jobs around the place. It can be used as a harsh drag, can pry rocks, can cut a grove, can back-fill holes, flatten large areas,

We also brought home the tiller. I know it is way past time to put in a garden, but when will we be back there with the tractor to lift it onto the truck bed? Better here than there.

Finally we have it here with us! After four years, one little victory.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Stink Bug Remediation

After moving to the farm, now nearly four years ago, we have been confronted with the Asian Stink Bug. This non-native pest, introduced some years ago by a mishap at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn State) in State College, Pennsylvania, is prolific and horrible. We would come home in the evenings to discover hundreds clustered at the kitchen window.

We purchased a 'special' vacuum that is easily lifted to suck them up, and plug the exhaust with a paper towel, letting them die in the container. Became a nightly ritual.

There are several 'traps' that can be purchased through the BigBoxHomeImprovement stores, but we never did. Then one afternoon I happened to hear a news report on NPR and our life was changed.

The University of Georgia did field research for the commercial traps and several styles of home remedy. One particular home remedy won, hands down.

You'll need one desk lamp with Thomas Edison's light bulb invention (not an LED or fluorescent), an aluminum 'turkey' pan, and water with dish detergent. Dawn was recommended.

Leave the light on all the time, but overnight is when you will capture (and kill) hundreds. I empty the pan after a couple days, and they are dead shoulder-to-shoulder. Apparently they can't resist the light reflecting on the water.

Save your money, and effort, this really, really works.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Flat-bed Trailer Rehabilitation

We have loads (literally) of work to do, and lots of that will involve the 1994 'Hudson Brothers' flat-bed trailer.
This trailer is not a 'lawn cart,' the kind used to transport lawnmowers and such. This trailer is rated to haul our Ford tractor and as many implements that can fit on the flat boards.
I got this trailer nearly 20 years ago. Couldn't afford it at the time, so I charged it on my MasterCard and made payments. We used the hell out of it, dragging the tractor back and forth to West Virginia, all the barn construction materials; e.i, boards, roofing shingles, cement, gates, etc.
We parked it in the drive-way at our house, with the tractor and all the attachments under a brown tarp. For months.
For many years it sat in the rain forest that is our place in West Virginia. Have always had legal tags on it, and replaced the tires over five years ago. Along the way it was painted, too, and the brakes done.
Back then we decided to install a telephone pole at the place in West Virginia, but not for phone service. We wanted to put our satellite TV dish on it and install a flood light and breaker box for the trailer and spring head pump.
Back then we were much younger and energetic. We started with an array of tools, mostly for digging, and used an auger that attached to the new tractor's PTO link. Also needed a pry-bar, a sledge hammer, post-hole digger, and several kinds of shovels. For one three-foot deep post hole. In West Virginia.
This simple task took nearly an entire weekend. The hole ended up being enormous, and took on water at the 2-foot mark. We also were burying 'electric' from the barn to the pole, and wanted that to be three feet deep, well below the freeze line. We ended up with a wide ditch with an incredible amount of rocks, mostly sandstone, some with fossils.
We took the truck and flatbed trailer to 'Southern States Co-operative' in Moorefield, the closest 'large' town and county seat, to purchase two telephone poles.
We parked in the gravel lot, and walked into a close replica of the 'country store' on the 'Green Acres' sound stage, complete with characters sitting around the wood stove near the door.
If you're not 'from here' you have to seek help, because if they don't know you, you are invisible. He corners the guy hiding behind the counter and inquires about telephone poles. We'd like two. 'Do you need these delivered?' He says, 'We have a 'Hudson' out front.'
The old man sitting on a folding lawn chair at the stove scoots out of it like a shot, and goes to the door. I could tell he's disappointed that the 'Hudson' is a flat-bed, not a car.
I'm sure he would have been very entertained to watch modern-day Lesters try to put telephone poles in a Hudson.
They get the poles on the trailer, strapped down with our tie-downs, and off we go. Over mountain, through the pass, past Lost River and back to our place. The poles are incredibly heavy. So heavy we really are struggling to lift them off the trailer.
We can only, together, lift one end at a time, and manage to get one off. I see stars. This is going to be harder than we planned.
We get the bright idea to lash the pole to the tractor's roll bar and back it up to the hole, letting it fall in on its own. And that is exactly what we did, and what happened. We still have the other pole, which we cut in two, and never installed as lamp posts, over twenty years ago. In West Virginia.
That one stunt with the telephone pole made us bolder, and we then planned and executed the squarest, straightest pole-barn building in West Virginia.
We used 8 x 8s and installed them into holes the exact same way as the telephone pole. We didn't know anything about 'foundations' or masonry, so this was our only option. And we built it stick by stick, no pre-fabrication because we couldn't lift anything like that.
Once the new tires and rims arrive, we'll be back in business and able to pick up the fence posts (250+), 16-foot fence boards, the box scraper (550 lbs.) and the tiller.
The trailer color was originally chosen to match, sort of, the blue Ford tractor.