I should've started on this in mid-February, but just couldn't get my guitar repair business slowed down fast enough. I think I've got enough time to get things done- cattle don't typically ship until mid/late April, and if I don't find a lot of bad fence, I should be okay.
Here's a shot of the back of my working pickup truck, showing some of the junk that I carry around. Clockwise, from noon: trash pump hoses, shovels and hoes with steel fence posts underneath, fly bags and various fencing tools on top of spare tire, fly dust bags, gas for trash pump, spare board to put in windmills for sucker rod support, trash pump. Center- gooseneck trailer hitch. "Old Blue" is a 1986 Ford F250 4WD with 160,000 miles that I use strictly for on-the-ranch work.
First thing to do was check water. We have 10 windmills and 1 water pipeline that services 8 tanks. A windmill man comes around in early spring and oils the windmill heads and makes any repairs. Before he does this, though, I need to have the tanks cleaned out. They will accumulate a lot of moss and dirt and cow poop and if you don't clean this out at least bi-annually, it'll really build up. Clean tanks are just more sanitary, too.
Before: this tank has sat all winter long, evaporating. There's still a few inches of water, so I'm using my trash pump to pump it out. Then, I'll get in the tank and shovel moss and dirt out.
Here I am, shoveling mud and moss out of a fairly large tank.
Almost done...Brianna took this shot from on top of the pickup. You can really see the size of the tank and all the moss and mud I've tossed out. It was a beautiful day- very slight breeze, 75 deg F.
And here's David supervising the work.....we're SO thankful that he's getting around well after his bout with severe anemia.
After I pumped this mill, I had to tie off the head to keep it from rotating (and thus filling the tank back up again), so now that I've got it clean, I'm climbing the mill to untie my tie-off.
Another shot of me on the mill.
I've got this tank cleaned and ready to go, but it's not quite finished. The lead pipe that runs from the mill to the tank is in bad shape. Check out the rusted-out sections on this pipe. It will definitely need to be replaced before the summer's over, and better to do it now than before some steer tries to jump over it, busts it, and then lets the water run all over the ground....
Here we are at another windmill, just so you can see a little terrain variation.
One of my least favorite parts of ranching- opening and closing gates. You have to stop, get out, open the gate, get back in, drive thru, stop, get out, close the gate, get back in, drive off. And these gates are heavy and drag the ground, so you have to lift them up and practically carry them. One of my goals is to replace some of these with either lighter gates or wire fence-type gates.
But this is one of my favorite parts of ranching! You get to spend a lot of time with your kids. Brianna took the picture.
The mills are pretty much done, with just some repairs that the mill man will take care of, and now it's time to check out my pipeline system. First thing I saw was this split and bulging pipe at the well head. (just below shiny metal band). And sure enough, water leaks...I'll have to fix this before I can get full pressure in the pipeline.
Once the water's up and running (and it's 80% there....), I'll switch over to fence work. Here's a sorry looking section of fence. I'll need to pull those leaning posts, drive new steel posts, and tighten up the wire. That's what I'll do in April! See you there.....
Go to April