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Electrical Issues

Snow has been forecast for this weekend ever since, last weekend. As the week went on the amounts crept upwards. By Thursday they were predicting nine to fourteen inches.
So Monday two of the heated automatic waterers were froze over. The fuse was blown and the new one immediately joined its predecessor. My husband came home from work early and he and his father check wiring, multi-meters and other things I shy away from. The short was somewhere underground between the barn and the tanks. Everyone hung their heads and cried a little on the inside.
There were no shut off valves. Not below ground at least. No way to keep the water pipes from freezing in one old tank that was perfectly good and one they had just spent days getting installed. The heat had to be fixed before the storm coming in with the weekend.
The power company came out and located lines. They found the short, or maybe just where there was a splice, simply wrapped in electric tape and  buried underground. With a payloader, skid steer and shovels they dug it up. The bucket snagged the wire, pulling it loose but fortunately just scraped the waterline, not breaking it causing any further messes.Sure enough the wires were black and insulation melted. My computer guy/farmer/electrician husband tested the wires before patching and reburying. He tends to be cautious and a perfectionist.
There was another short. Somewhere else in between, underground. The the snow melted and it all drained into the hole. Now there were not only wires to fix but they were under a foot of water. Pumps are good to have. It was still muddy.
They called up Scott. It’s good to know people with trenchers. Abandoning the old line They trenched in two new wires to reach the waterers separately to avoid anymore under ground splices than absolutely necessary. With shiny new wire, wire that’s actually rated to be run underground, above ground junction boxes, a new trench dug, and wire ran, to the tank that has had an extension cord run to it for years. All that dug through knee deep mud. Knee deep on 8 that is.
It was all buried in and working good long before the cold and snow hit. With time left over for taking the duals off the tractor and putting the big snow blower on.
Category: 8, Cows, Farming  One Comment

Quite A Cluster

Some cows got out this afternoon. Not a big deal but  the father in law stopped to ask if I would help chase them in. Of course I would. As I hopped on the 4wheeler with him I absentmindedly called Daisy to come help. She didn’t come I worried a little then forgot about her amidst the whole cow chasing thing.

8 and I went to pick The Goblin Child up from the bus. Daisy is usually bouncing around wanting to come with. She wasn’t there. Again I remembered that she hadn’t come earlier either. Now I was worried. I tried to remember when I had seen her last. She had come with to feed in the morning.  I couldn’t think of a time I had seen her since then. She couldn’t have not gotten out of the feed truck. Could she?

We had a very little time before the bus would be there, we could make it to check for sure. Barely.

Sure enough. I opened the door and out leapt Daisy. When we get out she will just sit there. She has to be told to come out with us and apparently I didn’t do so. It was dark in the quanset and I was rushing to make it to the bus. I haven’t seen if she did anything to the inside of the feed truck yet. She’s a good dog. I didn’t smell anything. Keeping my fingers crossed that she didn’t hurt anything.

Out at the neighbors driveway that is our compromise meeting place, the bus driver complained about driving clear to our mailbox, I refused to have The Goblin Child unloaded on the highway, we pulled to the side of the road and waited. At the highway two vehicles sat. A car and a pickup. Their people sat on bumpers in between hanging out, talking. The bus managed to squeeze around them and made it up the hill slick with snow and ice.

After unloading the bus went back down the icy hill and waited for room to pull out. The two vehicles still sat, unperturbed by the traffic they were impeding. While loading children I watched a FedEx van pull out from across the street and head down the hill towards the bus. I waited and watched to see if he would slide right into it. He didn’t.

Pulling into our neighbors drive we turned around as usual. Backing out into the road. I put the car in drive, and we went backwards. As usual when things don’t go anywhere near as expected, it took a moment to think it through. I put it back in park and we stopped moving. Back in drive and we slid backwards again. Well, that didn’t work. This time I tried reverse, we were getting quite sideways in the road, maybe I could straighten it out and find some traction further down the hill.

The car straightened. There was no more traction though. A couple more tries and it became apparent that the only way we were going was down the hill. Down to where those two… very nice people still sat. Apparently unaware of the traffic swirling around them, They weren’t bothered at all by blocking half of the road. Easing the car as slow as I could down the slick road I aimed for the sliver highway I could see that was unobstructed. If we could just get to some clear ground and make a run at it we could make the hill.

Of course this whole time the children are sitting, standing, kneeling, spinning circles, and talking loudly in the seat next to me. Of course they weren’t buckled in for the one mile of county road home. Not distracting or impeding my view at all.

I managed not to hit either of the vehicles. The… very nice people sat, still unbothered by how incredibly annoying they were and stared at us as we backed past them. On the cleared pavement of the highway we were able to get started and made it up the hill with no more difficulties. Then finally home. To Daisy.

Giving Thanks, And Christmas Decorations!

We celebrated Thanksgiving by hanging the outdoor Christmas lights. We also planted the garlic in the greenhouse, finally. Then the usual run of family stuff.

Now it is snowing and seems like the perfect time to be decorating for Christmas. We were only supposed to get an inch or two but it’s been snowing all day and doesn’t show signs of quitting. Tonight the wind is supposed to blow. Almost blizzard conditions. Yuk.

Thankfully we are warm inside. The new, fake, tree is up and the children got it decorated. Well, one of them did. The other quickly grew tired of it and went to play on her computer. We are in the process of making the first batch of Christmas cookies, but one of them quickly grew tired. Not of making cookies. Just tired, and had to lay down for a nap. When he wakes up we will roll them out and cut them out.

Hauling Hay

8 and I went to help the neighbor haul some hay bales. The weather was perfect, warm but enough of a breeze to keep us cool. I had debated seeing f we could go in the morning so there wasn’t quite so much help. In the end I decided it was easier to do everything else without him and to let him come along for the hay. We rode along in the cab of the pickup on the way over, looking at tractors and talking. Then climbed into the horse trailer to began the gathering of hay.

8 loved it. He started out enjoying seeing how the cows and horses ride. He rode on the hay. He climbed on the hay. He pulled bales around. He helped carry hay. He learned he could jump in and out of the trailer. He slept well that night.

 

 

Category: 8, Farming  2 Comments

Still More Halloween

The actual day of Halloween.

Happy Halloween!

This year 8 is a tractor knight and T.G.C. is a princess knight.

8’s coat of arms is a combine and a tractor divided by some sort of line that is supposed to represent the earth. The black and green represent loyalty and sometimes sorrow. It seemed fitting. A seed corn cap for his helmet. Well it also seemed fitting. What is a tractor knight if not a farmer. What is a tractor knight at all? We don’t know but it was what he wanted on his shield so we went with it, all out.

T.G.C. wanted to wear her cape again from last year after seeing a picture of herself in it. I wanted to make armor and get so sick of princess stuff. Fortunately I remembered Nella, the princess knight. She was happy to go with it. The purple is for royalty, fitting since she is the queen of the world. She requested a Pegasus unicorn for her shield. It was a fun theme to go with. A little more mundane than a tractor but that’s all right.

I really meant to get some pictures of 8 on Coyote wearing the dragon mask. Unfortunately I sold my dragon mask and haven’t gotten another one made. I still mean to get pictures of him on Coyote. Eventually.

Halloween this year is coinciding with corn harvest. Very good atmosphere with the corn husks whirling in the wind and light of combines off in distant fields.

Tonight we trick or treat in town. After the school finishes all their parties of course. Happy Halloween!

 

Harvest Moon Festival

We drove to Hemingford on a crisp clear morning, with a forecast of freezing rain and snow for the afternoon. We met friends down there so the children could frolic together. There was a train giving rides. Pumpkins to admire, I found a couple of types I don’t have yet! There was a haunted hay maze. After sending the kids in by themselves we waited outside for them to come out. Soon enough they did. Back out the entrance. Heather and I went back in with them while my very patient husband waited outside with the stroller and smallest child. Each child had a glow stick. Inside it was pitch black with only the glowing spots of light that circled around us clinging, to our hands, exclaiming their fear loudly, over and over. In the darkness we searched hands outstretched feeling of the prickly straw bales trying to find the rout. We bounced off dead ends, felt the creepy clinging strands of cobwebs, and were confronted by shrieking ghouls. It was wonderful. We found our way out with no children pushed quite to the point of tears and, some of us, wanted to turn around and go again!

We restrained ourselves and went off to look at other things. We spent too much money at the craft fair. Ate good fair food. The children found many things to play on, a corn pit, bouncy balls, stick horses, and a petting zoo. They got to watch a helicoptor land then sit in it! There was a big beautiful team of horses giving wagon rides. Big and black, Percheron? Shire?  The wagon was gorgeous and immaculate. The horses wonderfully behaved. It made me really want to get going on Harvey and see if he really does drive.

We went back to the hay maze again. Before giving it one more go the kids wanted try archery. The Goblin Child says the shooting was her favorite part. Two guys were very patiently showing an endless line of children how to hold and shoot a bow. They both got a chance. They didn’t hit the target but their arrows made it to the other side! Then it was maze time. It was so much fun I didn’t want my poor husband to miss out on the fun. We were going to leave the children to watch their friends shoot the bows while we went alone. Almost like a date. We said our good byes and 8n wanted to come too. There was no shaking him off. So much for a date.

It was ok though. The darkness was gone, replaced by a murky twilight. The ghouls had gone on break. My overly wise husband calmly and quickly lead the way through the twists and turns. The magic was gone. It was a fitting end to the day. We drove home into skies rapidly growing dark and the snow began shortly after we got home.

 

 

Trail Ride

As in we actually went on one today! There’s a little country church not far from us. We really like it, not sure why we don’t go there more often. Except the lack of children’s church, that’s a big one. And no restaurants between there and home. I admit a big plus of going to church is eating out afterwards. But I digress. They had a trail ride! We try to support them when we can and it sounded like lots of fun, so we went.

The day started out foggy and cold. Not just a little fog but a thick, sunny, dark, glorious fog! I drug the kids out to play in it as soon as I saw how perfect it was. We jumped in puddles and checked out the newly frozen garden then checked cows. The fog cleared though and warmed up. Perfect weather for a ride.

There were more people there than I had expected. A nice little crowd. It was more horses than Rusty had ever seen in his life. He came with to Fort Rob for the Morgan ride but I rode Gypsy the very nearly perfect Arab cross instead of him for the group ride. She was here too of course with her little people on board. Rusty wasn’t crazed at least. And the hills weren’t as big, that helped although whether it helped me or him more I’m not sure 😉 We walked a few laps up and down the road in front of the church. Then The Goblin Child got on and we made more laps until it was time to go.

A little ways down the gravel then we turned in to someones pasture. Behind us followed a pickup pulling a trailer with hay and the non riders of the group. Rusty was nervous. Wanting to trot. Or stop and look around. Coyote was perfect. He and his little person followed happily. The pickup careful picked its way through the hills and ruts as the horses tried to remember that it couldn’t go everywhere they could. At the top of a particularly large hill we stopped and switched riders on Coyote.

Gypsy got switched to her other, bigger person. She had been ponied until then, now they were turned loose. The two of them zoomed all around. He’s a wonderful little rider, blessed with a great horse. 8 didn’t do as well, although Coyote was still trying to be perfect. He’s little though and will get better with time. He missed his nap and was tired.  Rusty had an obvious problem, although at first I couldn’t tell if it was nerves or what. Finally he started kicking out with one hind leg and I decided to hop off and see what was wrong. It turned into a bit of a leap as he jumped kicking enthusiastically on my way down. He had a whole ball of cactus in his heel. Poor baby. No wonder he was upset. I managed to get them out. They left blood. He felt mostly better after that. 8 was not having fun. Rusty wanted to trot. Or stop. I made him wait until we got to the bottom of the hill we were going down then let him off.

The Goblin Child was having fun on the hay wagon with her friends and didn’t want to get back on. I was dreading the thought of having to keep Rusty calm and make it back alive while ponying Coyote. Luckily I was able to convince my darling husband to abandon the children and join me for a ride. It was wonderful! We haven’t ridden together since before The Goblin Child was born. He did great on Coyote and Coyote did great with him. We zipped back to the church as fast as two Morgans can walk. Which was much faster than 1/4 horses can manage. It’s hard to be in front of the group while trying to follow the group leader. Oops.

At the church we were treated to hot dogs and s’mores around a campfire followed by music. The children ran off to play and we sat, relaxing by the fire in the coming evenings chill. The horses pawing in the trailer kept beat to old John Denver songs and gospel. The whole afternoon came together to be the best church service ever.

 

First Snow

This post is simply to commemorate the first snow of the year, the lighting of the pilot light and starting of the stove for winter, and to get me back to writing here more often.

It’s clear up to 40 degrees now. Last night it rained and them snowed most of the night. No accumulation, just cold. Nothing seems to have froze though. Today is the homecoming football game at school, in the wet and cold. Last night was the dance. It was boring and short, not entirely a bad thing. When I was a youngin, way back when, the homecoming dance was held the night of the game. I think. It’s hard to remember that long ago.

I had fun dressing the kids all week. Or trying to. It’s not easy to do. They fight every step of the way. Or I don’t tell them and then they are so lost.

 

Category: 8, Goblin Child  One Comment

Athletes And Nerds

It’s homecoming week. All week the children will dress up to fit various themes. The first was Athletes or nerds. I wanted them both to go with the nerd theme. The Goblin Child was not interested. We did our best to find an athlete costume. I couldn’t find my high school jersey and decided that horse riding counts as a sport thus horse people count as athletes. I pulled out cowgirl clothes.

Still clinging to my desire to send her as a nerd I thought of my clicker tucked away with the rest of my tack. If I sent that with her she could be the nerdiest of all horse people, a clicker trainer!

8 had no opinions. He happily let me dress him as a nerd. A darling one at that! I only have pictures of him, and him with his class. The Goblin Child just looked like she normally does.

Category: 8, Goblin Child  2 Comments