It is a delight to be the spouse of a hard working, joy-filled, dedicated man.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Remembering, Doing, and Looking Forward, All in a Saturday's Work

How's the Hothouse and Market Shed project going?

Well this is where I left you last, the big trees were down,

the little brushy trees got cut out, and I kept looking at what it was going to be.
Last Sunday, the last day of February, Mr. Leonard, Leonard and Sons Excavating, came for dinner and a survey of what we needed his operator to do. This was how it looked then. And he promised to send us an operator and an excavator on Saturday morning.

Well sure nuff, early (early for us lazy bones) on Saturday morning, Greg the Operator showed up with the excavator to dig out all the stumps so that the site could be leveled, graveled and the building started.
One of my favorite children's books is Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, by Virginia Lee Burton, (a girl, in case you didn't catch the Virginia part) this was pretty much like living in that book for a few hours.

The excavator began making quick work of the big stumps in the ground. I was in making coffee and so I missed a lot of the beginning work but Anna caught much of it on video and in pictures.

Greg would lift the stumps way up in the air and then open the grip and drop them from up high. All that crazy action to get as much soil as possible off of the stumps before tossing them over the fence.
The excavator is on tracks not tires, the potential for a lot of underground water to be pumped up to the surface with the back and forth motion made it necessary for the stumps to be shook and dumped in a pile on this side, then the

crazy prehistoric robotic alien jaws would toss them over the fence to be moved one more time after that to the rot pile. No stump burning piles are allowed any more.

Mr. Leonard, holding the coffee cup, has even gone to testify to the legislature that not burning is actually harder on the environment and creates more pollution than just burning them.
But no, the greeners are narrow minded and insist that if they see a big burn that it is more damaging that all the less conspicuous but much larger carbon footprinting that it takes to have stumps ground instead.
Oh well, ranting about the current "green" movement is for another day. Or more like days, 'cause if I said it all at once it would be a long post even for me.

Gregg chatting with Bruce, telling us that the thumb broke on the second stump pulling. The thumb is what grips and holds things in the bucket, or "scoopy thing" just in case it isn't called a bucket. Gregg is my new hero!
We were all in love with Gregg on Saturday, okay some of us still are, Dirt sent him home with a bottle of plum wine (sorry Kimberly, but we had to give away one from your special cache) but I still want to bake him a cake every day, every time I look at my beautiful building site!

In the middle of the excavating lambs began to drop. We ended up with five lambs from three ewes on Saturday. We went out to check on the first batch that dropped just to make sure everything was going well.

But then came back for the final touches that Gregg put on the site. He exchanged the small bucket for a larger one and because the thumb was broke it would not stay back so it got chained up to the "wrist" so that the "fingers" could fill in holes and smooth out the dirt.

Mr. Leonard, with Dirt's help, predicted that the area would be pretty wet and a big mess, needing a lot of special help and $ if we were going to have it ready to build before August let alone by the end of this month. Well, that may have been true on any other year but this one...
This one is all about me, so if you live in the PNW and are not enjoying our mild and dry winter and spring, blame me.
Everything is going so well that if I don't make my schedule, I am nothin' but a looser. A blessing and a test all rolled into one!

Justin from up north, joined us just in time to see the leveling of the site and help get the truck unstuck from the driveway, it pays to have an extra truck driver on hand.
Now for checking on the lambs...

and look more lambs have dropped in close proximity to the first batch! This is a problem! We run to jump in to the escalating issue.

You see, some moms are not satisfied with just their lambs, they want every one's lambs and will attempt to adopt all of them. Sometimes if we are not out there right away it can be a confusing mess to try and get the right moms with the right babies.
Even though the moms think that they want more lambs, once they get them all rounded up and huddle away from the other mother, they realize their mistake and reject the ones that aren't theirs. It is easy for them to know which ones were really theirs to begin with, one sniff tells it all.
But after all the ruckus and mixing of lambs it is often too late to get the right lambs back with the right mom.
This is why we take the ewe's and lambs into the barn once they have dried off and nursed. We try to wait at least that long so that the mom's aren't quite so nervous on the trip into the barn. But they need to be in the barn eventually not just to protect them from Bald Eagles and Coyotes, but to protect the new lambs and new moms from the bossy older sister and auntie ewes.

Anna catches the lamb so that Dirt can catch the ewe. Justin is the newest inductee into the world of lamb rustling and ewe driving.

Anna makes sure mom knows where her lamb is. Then the slow dance begins. Around and around we go, closer and closer, less and less tense around Mr. Vick...

and snag! the ewe is caught so she can be taken in the barn. This first batch will go in now. Then we will do some other farm work and come back and get the other ewes and lambs.

Bet, Anna and Justin spread lime on the front pastures, Dirt and I ran into town for some lunch fixins' and seed potatoes. We ate a lovely lunch and then headed out back to spread more lime and minerals on the hay fields out there.

Dirt is really diggin' on having the PTO driven cyclone spreader on the back of the tractor. It sure beats having a hand driven-hand held spreader, makes a week-long job get done in an hour or two, one of a few reasons, excuses, as to why the pastures and fields were a bit on the neglected side lime wise.
Bet asked to be chief tractor driver for this job, we were all good with that, especially since the lime is virtually dust free!

The rest of us gave the dogs some well needed entertainment and exercise, and the some of us just lounged around thinking of how tired we were from all that stump pulling. Man, my back hurts.

It was a splendid day, the sky was clear and blue, the mountain was in all his glory, just a great day to accomplish a ton of work and visit with a friend from way up north.

Definite difference in flinging styles.
After all this hard work and picking up more lambs and moving everyone around in the barn, it is rest time. A great simple supper, review of the day of excavating on video (thanks Peanut Butter) and a movie capped off the day.
Hey, about that pen, the ink pen, you have all asked about, it is a Uniball 207, marketed for anti-check fraud, but really it is for me, remember it is all about me, and writing notes in the mist and rain that I am sure we will get back to as soon as I need some rain in my life. Remember, it is all about me right now.
Oh, how does the site look? In all the excitement over lambs and spreading lime I forgot to take pictures of the finished site. Anna went out early this morning, a cold frosty morning and got a few pictures of it.
Brrr, we got cold here, even snowed a bit yesterday, but not to worry, anything that was tender is protected and the apple blossoms haven't begun to swell, neither have my fruiting cherries, just the ornamentals, so I'm thinkin' were still okay.

The site? She is lookin' pretty stinkin' good!

And ready for the next phase, Building!!!

Here at Vicktory Farm and Gardens, we have all been bitten by one type of bug or another, just not this one!


Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

lanny are all the lambs black? i seem to remember some white babies in the kitchen by the stove drinking bottles but that was many a moon ago...

smiles, bee

Mildred said...

Always fun to see the countryside around your home and all the projects you are working on. Those are cute little lambs! I love visiting with you and your family.

Mrs. Mike said...

There's nothing like the smell of diesel fumes, and fresh dirt. Hooray to have the market shed done!

Susie said...

Glad to see your project getting off the ground.

Who knew raising lambs was harder than it seems. Of course, I know nothing about it so I'm learning just by reading your posts.

Daisy said...

Wow, you had quite an eventful day, Lanny! The building site looks great. I loved Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel as a girl too. :D So glad to hear progress is being made their in getting your new building done.

Daisy said...

Hmm...I should have typed "there" not "their." Obviously I'm not very awake yet. HA! :D

Vickie said...

Wow, you've got some major machinery and clearing going on up there in the PNW. Looks great, Lanny! The view is also beautiful in your hay fields.

The lambs are precious. Ya'll look a pretty busy family there during lambing season - heck - in any season. Us too, there's always something to be done, isn't there! Have a great week, Lanny!

Di said...

Hi Lanny, I saw you over at Susie's Digging in Dirt, and thought I'd stop by to say hello and meet another PNWener... how's that for a new term? ;) Lovely blog filled with lots of love and energy I see. By the way, one of my nicknames growing up was Lanny and my 95 year old uncle (who recently passed) still called me that. You brought me warm memories. ;) Looking forward to your new project.

LindaSueBuhl said...

I always learn something when I visit your place - didn't know about the mamas gathering up extra babies - definitely not like my goats who occasionally won't even take care of the one they do birth! Site is looking most excellent and y'all are making big progress on the endeavors required for a working farm! BTW love seeing a rat terrorist or two in the pictures - do love those dogs.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Looks like you have a nice level site! let the building begin!!
I so enjoyed the photos of those new baby lambs..they look pretty cute to me! :)

KathyB. said...

I can't wait to see the next phase either! Progress is coming fast!

Ralph said...

Mr Leonard is right. Research has proved it over and over again. looks like a lot of progress was made in a short amount of time.
Yep, Uniball - they make some great pens.

Eggs In My Pocket / Yesteryear Embroideries said...

Looks like everything is falling into place........much to your hardwork! Love the lambs. blessings,Kathleen

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Lanny: Fun project and loved the way you did the photos to go along with the story. It was so much fun to read through this busy day.

Tipper said...

Well it looks like it is coming right along. I wrote something about the burning ban issue-I'll post it tomorrow. Not about stumps-but still kinda neat we are both thinking in the same vein of burning.