Monday, February 4, 2013

Fourteen Vanished Cows

When Phil went to go chip today, he found the tractor had a flat. After a few hours of chipping, he came up for lunch, and saw the cows through the trees, grazing happily.

After lunch, he chipped until the belt on the chipper broke. We had ordered another one when we bought the chipper, but for some reason, it never showed up. And although I called a few times to ask, the company needed us to measure the dimensions (or something—it doesn't make much sense: I mean, they have the original order, right? How hard could it be to determine the size of the belts?). I must have gotten busy, though, and so we are stuck with a nonfunctional chipper and no belts, a nonfunctional mill and no replacement piece, weather too cold to lay block. Stymied!

I went out around then to get some water for cooking or drinking. The well was dry.

Phil called then to say that all the cows were missing. "Bring flashlights and the fence charger!"

As I headed over, I saw a downed tree limb on the electric line, just big enough to make two or three lines touch each other. Electric fence works so well until it doesn't.

Happily, there are limited places the cows can go. There aren't that many fun grazing places around. Sure enough, the cows had headed toward a large field to the north, almost reaching our friend Butch's land. Happily, Phil noticed they were gone right before any cow hit Butch's, so the cows were still fairly easy to direct, and they didn't have dozens of acres to roam.

Also, it didn't get very dark until we reached our own land. The cows could not figure out where we wanted them to go! We brought them one way, and they suddenly turned and headed back the way they had come. Phil tried to run an electric line to corral them in the lower pasture. The line was too short, and he had a thorny vine suddenly attack his eye.

By about 6:30, the cows (at least 13 for sure) were contained.

As I made dinner, Phil mentioned that he had checked the well. The pressure went to 50psi, then, without using any water, it started to drop. Presumably, we have a leak under one of the four faucets. This is not really a surprise to me. I've wondered that for months. But to have a visual on it makes it more actionable.

In better news, I took a half hour to finish my portion of cleaning out the little greenhouse. There are still several crates and tools that should go to the blue building, but I tossed the bits of plastic, pulled the five foot tall weeds, and consolidated the small tools and parts.

Planting season is coming!

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