Chores and more chores

This weekend I did get to dabble a little on the fencing; I have all but one gate hung, and all of those now latch. There is just the tiniest bit of work left to make that field livestock-ready: one 12′ section of fence to stretch, one more gate, and fixing some “airspace” under one gate that’s on a slope. But, I didn’t get to that.

I had to finish the tractor’s 100 hour maintenance list, which takes some time-oil change, grease the fittings, check all the fluids, clean the air filter, etc. And, then I worked on field mowing, which is about a 4+ hour job for each of the two mowed fields. I got more than half of the main field done.

Mowing is pretty relaxing, it’s enjoyable to see a local hawk taking advantage of flushed mice. And the swallows go bananas over the insects that mowing excites– I had several dozen birds swerving and swooping all around me. They are so acrobatic, it’s amazing they don’t hit the tractor, or each other, when they are in such a feeding frenzy. I love the smell of mowing too, its reminiscent of my days driving pea harvesters as a summer job in college- a mix of diesel, hot machines, and cut greenery. The noise and the slow pace are mesmerizing, it’s a good time to contemplate many things.

Sunday my mom and I also worked on dog 4-H fair entries-it’s almost county fair time for us. Years ago, I wrote an Access database to track all of the 200+ dog show entries for our 11-day fair, which helps with scheduling, score tabulation, prize calculation, and state fair qualification tracking. But, it requires about eight hours of data entry before the fair to transfer paper entries into electronic records-worth it for the time it saves in the office during the fair, when things are hectic.

Of course, I’m the only volunteer resource who knows how to really use the database, so I’ve signed up for a lifetime commitment at database maintenence, I think! But, I enjoy helping, and I enjoy the fair. Next year, I strive to make Excel spreadsheets where each 4-H leader can type in their own data, that would really save me time, as I could just import it.

Kirk has asked me about ten times about the Nubian goats at the fair, whether there will be some for sale at the Open Show. He has his heart set on a black Nubian doe. Our friend Lori also loves animals and goats, and aspires to own one, but doesn’t yet have the place for one. So, she offered to “fund” one that we’d house, and she could visit. We could use a blackberry eater that could be tethered on the slopes during the day to help with clearing. So, that may be a next project: making a night pen for a goat to stay safe so that we can add to the growing menagerie.

Kirk has made tons of progress on barn wood cleanup, I’ll have to snap a picture soon. This week, I have to finish mowing, and then prepare for one last herding trial trip for this year. Friday I’m headed to a beatiful farm on Whidbey Island, and will camp there in the trailer for the weekend during the trial.

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