Monday, August 19, 2013

Progress is made

Saturday was sort of an amazing day.

A little sleeping in, grab some breakfast and in two different trucks, Ghon and I headed to town. First things first, he needed an oil change, and we needed a new battery pack with air compressor. Off to Pep Boys we went.

Why Pep Boys? Because I had coupons of course!

While Ghon waited at the service counter, I went off in search of battery packs. They had several in one style that I liked. The features varied slightly, but the amp support came in 600, 700, or 900. I liked the features on the 700, but couldn't find a price. I grabbed it up regardless, found the other things we needed, and after Ghon's approval on my selections, headed to check out.

Look at all those amazing features!
Scribbled on the top of the box was $45.00.  Now, I don't know if it was legit or not, but that's what it said. There were no price tags on the shelf. Want to guess the price it rung in at?


That's a lot more than $45.00. Like, more than twice that amount. After pointing this difference out the the cashier, he calls for a manager, they check the sale ad, ask the guy in that department if he wrote it on there, then actually asked me if I did.

The 600 amp version was on sale this week for $69.99. The manager said she couldn't honor the written price of $45.00, so I asked if she would give it to me for the sale price on the 600, and she agreed.

Yep, I saved $30 then handed over my $5 coupon.

We left Ghon's truck there for an oil change. After stopping at Southern States to buy some fencing, we headed back to the farm to get to work. This, is where it gets exciting.

Right after we arrived, Ghon took a quick walk toward the garden then calls me over - he saw several deer, including some fawn still in spots. He meets me halfway across the field as I grab my camera and the deer head into the woods.

After eating some corn.

About the same time, we spot something else walking through the garden. Just as I was about to say "Is that a groundhog?" I realized it wasn't and we both just sort of point and say look at that. A raccoon.

In broad daylight.

Ghon runs, and I mean runs, to the house to get his shotgun. Jonathan is chasing after him, wondering what is going on. Angry farmer comes charging the field. Can you see the determination and anger on his face below? That was no reenactment - I got that shot live.

He takes off toward the field, where the raccoon is no longer in sight. Jonathan asks me what Daddy is doing, and I tell him that he is going to try to kill the raccoon. He replies, "The one that keeps eating our chickens?" When I tell him yes, he does a happy dance and cheer. I did have to make him repose for the picture below, but the original face was just the same.

Ghon approached the corn field from the side and I was so shocked when he took aim. I couldn't believe he found the raccoon!

Determined farmer. Excited boy. Skilled marksman.

One shot and the chicken killing, corn stealing, why in the world was he day-walking varmint was down.

One shot success.
I used to think raccoons were so cute. I guess they still kind of are, but now, they are chicken killers, and I'm tired of our hard work and money feeding them, not us. Doesn't bother me anymore to see a dead one.

Is that another sign of being countryfried?

After that exciting start to the day, it was time to fence the chicken run. Finally. It's been way too long. Before we could get too far, we had to remove a small tree that was in the way.

Ghon taking the chainsaw to the "junk tree."

No more tree.

The fence plan has taken on a variety of forms. The current plan is to work the chicken wire all the way around. Next will be adding two rows of fencing boards between the posts to help stabilize the fencing. Finally, we are going to run a edging timber or another fence board along the bottom to help hold the wire in place and prevent digging in - or out. The new automatic door seems to be working well. Between the door, the sealed up gables, and the fencing, we are hoping we will be all set.

We had bought two rolls of six foot tall chicken wire. Ghon manned the roll of wire while I manned the staple gun. Stretch the wire, staple the wire. Unroll, stretch, staple, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Crud. Out of staples. We only made it a quarter of the way around.

Once we ran out of staples, Ghon started to mow the front yard with Jonathan in tow while Genevieve and I headed back into town. We paid for Ghon's truck repairs so we could pick it up later, then headed to Lowes to buy staples, hose clamps and 36 -72 fence boards.

Yes, 36 if they were more money than we thought, 72 if they were cheap.

I found a cart, found the boards and started loading up.

I got 30 boards.

There were plenty more boards and reasonable enough in price, but they were still bound or too high for me to reach. Any remaining loose boards were split. I asked at the register for help, and no one came. For ten minutes.

I told Genevieve we were going to leave soon if no one came. She said, "Oh, let's just go Mom." When did she get so big??

Dirty girl helping Mom at Lowes.

So we bought our 30 boards, our staples, and hose clamps and left.

After I loaded my truck, I received a text message from Ghon. Seems the boys were back at the farm having their own fun.

The boy was singing while driving, drinking juice and driving, and having a grand time. He was so proud of himself. When Genevieve and I came back, they boys were not in sight, so we started walking toward the far field where the tractor was. We were about to head into the woods to look for them when Genevieve yelled, "I hear Jonafin!" Seriously, she can't say Jonathan right, so it comes out Jonafin.Which is how he got the nickname Fin, but way before G was born. I predicted the 'Fin' part.

The boys went for a walk into the woods and along the power lines.

Jonathan demonstrated his driving abilities by making a loop around the orchard, drinking his juice box and driving all the way back to the yard by the house.

This video was shot by Ghon while Genevieve and I were shopping. It's early in Jonathan's driving experience. Excuse the quick language upfront.

After all that craziness, Ghon and I got back to work. I asked Jonathan to take a picture of me working. I don't particularly like having my picture taken, but sometimes, I feel it sounds like I don't really do any work at the farm, so I wanted to have some documentation that I do work! He loves taking pictures, so he was happy to oblige.
That's me. Working.
Just before dark, we made it all the way around the run. It was a big accomplishment. Ghon especially has been wanting to get this done. Running the fencing is a two person job, but he should be able to hang the boards by himself on his day off this week. We have a section of fence with a gate that he was able to install for us to enter the run. All that's left is to cut out the chicken wire and hang the door to the frame.
Before and after...or before and more in progress.
We have a bunch of baby chicks in the mobile pen we had for the meat chickens. We've lost a few of them, and we think it's due to the cooler nights we've had, not predators. When we moved them out last weekend, it was quite warm. Today, our rainy Sunday high was 65! In the middle of August! Before we left last night, we moved a dog crate that we use for transporting into the big chicken coop, redirected the light toward their pen, and hoped for the best. All of the remaining adult chickens watched us from their perches. Jonathan was excited to watch the door close on the coop. It was a long but very productive day. Sunday, Ghon was off to work and I had a slew of running to do with two semi-sick kids. The plan was for me to use his truck to go back to Lowes and try again with the lumber. Unfortunately, my car wouldn't start, so he jetted off to work in his truck. This changed my plans a bit, making our first stop Walmart for a new battery and groceries, back home for lunch, then moving car seats into my Dad's truck to get lumber. Ha, Lowes still hadn't cut the straps. I asked for help again, and this time, they were cut right away. Jonathan was a big help, loading boards onto the cart with me and counting the stacks. Thirty-four boards this time and we were done. The hole in my glove was getting bigger, so I picked up a new pair. The cashier was nice enough to cut the tags off so I could wear them to load the boards. She asked if I wanted help, and I accepted, thinking it would make the process a lot faster. As instructed, I drove the truck up to the door, and started loading - but no one showed up to help. Glad I had new gloves - my hands still hurt from yesterday! And this weekend, Lowes customer service kind of sucked.
Let's hope these don't rip as fast as the last pair!
Another whirlwind weekend. Ghon has off the next two days, so I'm hoping he makes good progress on the final stages of the fencing. We grew some tasty feed for the chickens in their run, and can't wait for them to be able to roam about. Next weekend Ghon works and I am having a yard sale! If you need any kid toys or stuff from the attic, Saturday is the day!

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