Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Fires and Flowers

J has been on a clean up limbs and stick tear.  
 We had 2 fires this weekend cleaning up a little bottom area that is visible from the road.
 We picked the hottest day of February when it was 77 degrees.  Not the best choice for a fire.  Luckily, we were right by the creek.  Had to splash water on our faces to cool off a couple of times. 
Then the next day we did it again with M and V.  It was a little cooler and the fires was a little smaller so no one over heated this time.  
 Then our flowers seem to be blooming earlier every year. 
It just doesn't feel right for them to be blooming in February, but oh well, we will enjoy them whenever. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Good Day Couponing

We needed dog food.  Imagine that.  With 4 Great Pyrenes dogs, we go through a lot of dog food.  I have been getting it at Tractor Supply in 50 pound bags.  I usually wait for a sale or a 10% off coupon but there hasn't been one lately.  Enter Dollar General, my favorite Couponing store.  They are having a digital sale $15 off purchase of $50. So, basically 30% off anything.  It just so happened to coincide with a sale on the dog food I get and I had $2 off coupons.  One hundred pounds ended up being $30 vs the regular price at Tractor Supply of $22.99 for 50 pounds.  I love saving money so much I had to make another scenario with the $3 off $15. 
I ended up going to 3 different stores for everything.  The pink Bic razors are from Walmart, $3.27 but I have a $3 off coupon making them 27 cents each.  I was planning on getting the Aveeno there too but they didn't have the cheaper size which worked out because Family Dollar was having a clearance sale.  I found them for $2 and my coupons were for $3 off, making them FREE!  Too bad they don't give overage like Dollar General.    Well, I had my plan in place for DG but it ended up being a dollar more than I thought.  Found out it was my fault, I gave the wrong paper coupon.  It can get a little confusing with paper and digitalis.  I never know what ones will actually attach to the items.  But anyway, still a good deal at $5.29 for everything else.
So have I gotten you excited about Couponing yet?  I usually just buy the cheapest store brand items when I need something.  But I have found with coupons, if you have a high dollar one and wait for a sale you can get it for much less and some times even free.  Don't worry, I haven't devoted an entire room to everything yet.  

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Ultrablacks Have Calved

You may remember UB1 and UB2 HERE from a few months ago.  Well, UB1 calved last month and UB2 had her calf yesterday.  
 2 was out of a Hereford bull so J decided to go ahead and band him. 
 Since he wasn't as familiar with this cow and the ones we have raised, he wanted me to come along in case she got mean. 
 But everything went smoothly and calf was back with mom in no time.
 UB1's calf was apparently in the wrong place at the wrong time. (that is not mud on his shoulders)  He is already a month old.  Since he is out of an ultrablack bull too, J is keeping him as a bull for awhile to see how he does.
Looks like the deal has worked out so far. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

New Blue Bird Box

Several years ago, I helped V and E make a couple of blue bird boxes.  One has since disintegrated, but the other is still hanging on.  
 There has been a lot of recent activity around it so I thought I would make another one.  I didn't have the same plans, but I did have an official looking blue bird nesting box diagram.  I adjusted the measurements slightly to fit the wood I had.  I didn't think the birds would mind the difference.  I mean they nest in fence posts and hollow trees, so they can't be too picky about an inch here or there can they?
 Since it is just pine from an old barn, I covered the roof with flashing hoping it will help it last longer.
 The bird are already checking it out. 
 I love watching the blue birds from the kitchen window. 
Maybe I will make a couple more to have all across the back yard.  They seem to like this new one.  Now if the starlings and tree swallows will just stay away. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Winter Feeding

J asked me to go with him the other day to feed the cattle.  He was driving through the field of heifers first and needed help getting through the gate.  Otherwise, they would have followed the tractor on to where he was feeding the cows instead. 
 This was after we got through the gate. 
 They were really eyeing that bale of hay.  But it was for the cows.
They would just have to wait their turn. 
 The hay J is using now is net wrapped, so that has to be taken off before he can unroll it.
 Still more anxious watchers.   J unrolled a bale and a half for the cows. 
 The heifers finally got their part. 
 The cows decided they were not getting fed in the same place as the day before, and came down to the hay.
And the horses ended up with the center out of the last bale.  Then J had 2 more farms to feed at.  A full days work, 7 days a week all winter long.   I'm afraid to ask how many gates he has to go though every day.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Cutting Training

Well, not really.  But I did ride Otoelene through the heifers.  She seems to really enjoy it.  They were very curious and kept trying to follow us. 
 I did cut out one or two and had her keep them separate from the others for a bit.
 So I guess in a way that was sort of like cutting.   Just without all the show.
We have really been enjoying the break in the weather.  Looks like we will have a few more days of it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Bee Hive Autopsy

It was a sad, sad day.  The weather was warm and I was cleaning around the bee hives.  But I wasn't seeing any bees.  They should have been flying around with temperatures in the high 60's, but nothing.   So I took a lid off.  
 And found nothing but dead bees.
 And more dead bees.
 All three hives, dead.
 I looked up some information and it said when the bees are head first in the cells, they may have starved.  But the thing is, there was at least 30 to 40 pounds of honey in each hive.  Another theory is since it stayed so cold for so long, the bees weren't able to move to where there was more honey without freezing. 
They also may have been weakened by the Varroa mite.  We have never treated for it before, maybe we should start if we get some new bees.  I am hoping that someone will let us know about a swarm.  The honey in the frames is still good and the bees would have a head start.  Very depressing after such a wonderful harvest in the fall. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Just Kit Sunday #130

 So, I am not much of an expert in grape vine pruning as you can tell from this wild mat of vines. 
 I tried to educate myself by watching some Youtube videos on the subject because I decided there was a pretty low chance of an expert showing up and volunteering to do some pruning for me.
 Maybe it will work on making grapes and less leaves this year. 
I have a bit of a mess to deal with now. 
And then here's Kit Kat, inspecting as usual. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Looks Like They Made It

Valentine's Day was J's big day here on the ranch.  
 We got to send the spring calves out to Nebraska. 
 We sent a total of 84 head, mixed steers and heifers.  They averaged 582 pounds.  We got a call the next day that they made it there fine.  They will be at the all you can eat buffet for the next 6 months.
That takes an hour off of J's daily chores.  He is much happier now. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

%50 Off Clearance

I just couldn't pass up Dollar General's additional %50 off clearance sale.  My first trip I worked hard on matching coupons to items. 
Retail was around $32.  I paid $3.  It would have been $1 but my coupon for the glade didn't work.  The women in front of me spent $75.  She didn't have any coupons.  I handed her an extra 3 off 15.  She seemed confused and kept saying, "are you sure?" 
My next two trips were a little more because I was buying things that were 1/2 off but I didn't have coupons to lower even more.  So I  think I am good on toilet paper, paper towels, dawn dish detergent, soap and shampoo for a while.  Also got some sun screen for $2. 
Then I found this for V.  She had just talked about seeing it on Shark Tank.  I had looked it up for her and it was a $10 item at Walmart.  I got it for $3.  Happy early birthday V!  She will have to let us know how it works.
I am really trying to not get addicted. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

From Contestant to Chairman

E and V judged in the Block and Bridle 4-H horse judging contest every year they were eligible as 4-Hers.  This year, with E in college and a member of B&B, she volunteered to chair the contest. 
It was a lot of work and worry.  One trainer backed out the day before the contest.  That was two of her classes.  She did some scrambling and found another wonderful instructor that brought 4 horses to make up the two classes. 
I think 230 4-H and FFA kids were registered.  Everything seemed to go smoothly and ahead of schedule. 
E secured me as a reasons taker and V volunteered to listen in with me.  I pretty much let her do the scoring.  It was the first time that she was on the listening end of the competition.  She might be ready to coach a team herself now.   I know E is glad it is all over with.  Good job E!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Farmercising, Sack Race and Log Roll

We have a couple of new events for our Farmercising activities.  
 J has been feeding the calves in preparation for them to head to the feed lot next week. 
 He gets the feed in 50# sacks.  The last couple of times he went to the mill to pick it up, they were short on help so he had to load it there also.  Two tons on, two tons off.
 He said that his grandfather told him that mice were less likely to chew on the feed bags if there was space in between them.  J said Kit Kat could patrol the area better that way too.
 Next up is the twice weekly event, the log roll. 
 J has lots of little piles of wood around.  It makes me think of the commercial where the squirrel uses Post-It notes to remember where he hid his nuts. 
Guess we can check off this spot, done.
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