Sunday, November 8, 2009

Farm Projects . . . Gone Wrong

The last few days have been . . . interesting to say the least. We've been very busy with several different projects plus we had all of the usual stuff to be done around the farm. The barn is now freshly re-painted. It is so clean and glaringly white you need sunglasses to stand there and look at it. It looks great. The barn was pressure washed on Thursday and then painted on Friday. Thankfully neither job involved me!

The best part of the last few days was that MyLight's mom came to visit her for a few hours on Friday. She and her boyfriend were having a short mini-vacation in middle Tennessee this weekend. They were lovely people which is a good thing since they got to witness some of the madness that is running a farm! This was their first time visiting the farm and they certainly got their taste of how Green Acres we are around here.

In addition to the barn being painted on Friday I also had two more loads of gravel delivered. I liked the first three loads of gravel so much I had two more loads delivered! Of course they were not supposed to come until late in the afternoon on Friday, but they showed up mid-morning instead. I was riding Sky when they called to let me know they were a few miles away. Awesome (<--- said with sarcasm). Thank goodness I A) had my cell phone and B) answered it as I would normally not do either of those things while riding. I jumped off Sky in a hurry and went to meet the gravel trucks. As I was directing the first truck to the various locations it needed to go to deposit gravel, I told the driver of the other truck that he would be going to a different area of the farm and to wait for me to show him where to go. I was busy opening and closing gates and directing the first truck.

He didn't wait. I saw him going through the gate and heading up the hill through one of the pastures while I was in another field with the other truck. Then he stopped moving because the dummy was stuck. If he had waited for me LIKE I TOLD HIM TO I would have directed him around the wet spot since I knew where it was. So the other truck has to stop in the middle of unloading and go pull out the stuck gravel truck.

Chaining the trucks together

Great, I have an 80,000 pound gravel truck stuck in my pasture. To say I was not happy would be an understatement. Thankfully the other truck was able to free the stuck gravel truck without too much drama. The giant crater the one truck left in the pasture would certainly suggest otherwise though.

One successfully un-stuck gravel truck
So the truck is able to carry on through the gate without getting stuck again since I was there to tell the driver where to go. GRRRRRRRRR. We get to another gate and I ask the driver if he thinks he can get through the gate as he has to make a hard right turn due to some trees. If he can't just dump the gravel where we were and we'll move it with the bucket on the tractor. He says he can make it. He didn't.

MyLight's visitors showed up at about this time to witness part two of the gravel truck disaster. Now we need to take one side of the gate off the hinges so the truck can finish maneuvering. I go to the barn to get the tools. Of course the barn doors are shut tight because the barn is being painted. The barn doors had also just been painted. I have to go in anyway. They've removed the handles from the doors while painting. So I have to shimmy myself in between the doors that are coated in WET PAINT and get paint all over myself to get tools to remove the gate and free the gravel truck AGAIN.

We get the gate removed, the truck carries on to where I want the gravel dumped, and then we put the gate back on. We drive the trucks back to where we started so the first truck can finish dumping its load and then they finally leave. I spent almost two hours dealing with those two gravel trucks. Jason finished spreading the gravel piles on Saturday. Thankfully that went off with no disasters are mishaps.

Sunday's project was to load up the manure spreader and spread the compost pile. This should be an easy project. Jason uses two tractors, one to load the spreader and the other to pull the spreader. I open and shut gates for him. The first load was spread with no problems, as expected. Jason loads up and I open gates for him to spread load number two. Problems. The chains that move the contents through the spreader aren't moving, thus nothing is coming out and being spread.

Jason loading up the manure spreader with compost

Jason, myself and my Dad spend about an hour trying to determine the problem with no luck. Everything appears to be working just fine, except it isn't. Finally we decide that this load is going to have to be pitched out of the spreader with a fork so we can have an easier time identifying the issue. So Jason got to climb in and throw out about a thousand pounds of compost with a pitchfork. That put him in a really good mood.

Jason acting as the manure spreader; he could totally have a second career at this if he is looking for a career change. He did a fine job.

Then Jason and my Dad took turns crawling around under the spreader to ascertain the problem. Once the spreader was empty it apparently started working somewhat normally again. Perfect, it works as long as you don't have anything in there! Apparently this means something is loose. I don't think they ever determined what was loose. I guess the Kubota utility vehicle will be spreading some compost this week.

Jason attempting to find the problem with the spreader

Everyone had had enough of farm projects gone wrong for awhile, so I guess the repair of the manure spreader will wait until another day. Thank goodness the weather has continued to be perfect, low 70's and sunny. If it had been cold and windy, raining, or even just cold, I think we would have all killed each other. As it was we managed to remain in (mostly) good humor. Miracles do happen.

Leo, Thomas and Chance

There are multiple expressions in this picture (that was taken a couple of weeks ago BG - before gravel). Levendi looking very alert, Apollo is yawning, and Ivan looks asleep. Teddy is grazing in the background.

Baby trotting through the pasture with Levendi and Homer behind him.

A foggy morning; Sebastian, Trillion and Faune walking with B-Rad, Winston and Ogie standing in the back.

Trillion, Faune and Asterik emerging from the fog

Faune walking with a purpose; he is heading in for breakfast

Asterik was right behind him

Silky, aka Slinky, down for a roll

That feels good!

Lucky decided to get in on the action as well
Lucky contemplating his options: get up or roll some more. Life is tough around here.

Silky, Lightening, Teddy, Clay and Mr. O'Reilly


Veronica said...

Things would be so much easier if people would LISTEN when you need them too! Thank goodness he didn't end up being too stuck. Also boo at the broken spreader.

Anonymous said...

When you're done, send gravel trucks (prepaid, of course) and Jason with the tractor up my direction - minus the bad gravel truck driver - we could use a bunch of gravel in a bunch of places!

ZionFarm said...

Sounds like a crazy weekend! Leave it to a stubborn man to get his gravel truck stuck in a beautiful pasture. :)

raphycassens said...

He says he can make it. He didn't. I'm sorry, but I am laughing so very much! Just how many Advils did you and Jason take that weekend???

Jason said...

I think the topper was our hot water heater malfunction which Melissa didn't mention. Unbelievably, neither Home Depot nor Lowes had the necessary part in stock, so I cobbled one together from what they did have in stock and got us back in business eventually. Advil, but IF I had cracked a bottle of whiskey this weekend I wouldn't have stopped until I was done ! LOL !!

LuLo Designs/Blue Eyed Tango said...

Oh my you did have quite a weekend!! You spreader looks a lot like ours and we too have the same problem once in a while with a mystery stop!! My plans got changed this weekend as well and I didn't get to ride either as much as I wanted!!

LuLo Designs/Blue Eyed Tango said...

Melissa...I was just visiting Zion Farms and read your camera also stopped guys had something weird going on there this past weekend!! Hope things are looking up now!!