Category Archives: Repairs & Maintenance

Just a Hiccup

Had a lot of things on my to-do list, but a few were left undone since i discovered the kitchen sink was leaking. Loosened the lock nut, raised up the drain, rolled up a replacement bit of plumbers putty, and replaced that which had deteriorated. Tightened it all up and voila! it seems to be working now. However, i did notice the flat rubber (located between the lock nut and the bottom of the sink) is stretched out of shape – had better get a replacement on hand just in case.

Late Evening Repair

I completely forgot to check and repair a water gap along Cotton Road which was in a paddock in which i had a young cow get out last time the mob was in this paddock.  She was the only one to get out, thankfully.  Anyway,  despite having driven the 35 minutes and shifting the cows that morning, i had to go back in the evening to check the gap.  Especially since it is adjacent to a cemetery.  I thought i’d just run up in my pickup since it’s faster, but she was out and had taken a friend with her!  Cotton Road is not passable by pick up, so i had to drive back home and get my Gator and some more tools.

The two escapees had drifted into the cemetery instead of continuing west down Cotton Road which made it MUCH easier and quicker to walk them back into the paddock.  Very thankful they were not yet near the tombstones.  I’ve had to pay for repairs in the past and i sure didn’t want another round of that!

Made it back up there before dark and drove a steel t-post and dropped this heavy section of an old hay feeder.  About a week ago, i had cut down these hedge tree sprouts and they were laying nearby, so i dragged them to lay in there as well just to discourage any lounging.  Hedge trees are covered with tiny thorns.

Next day, i needed to check to be certain my repairs had stopped the escapees and thankfully, they had.

 

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Mineral Tub

Many people can really problem solve – oftentimes, problem solving happens using tools at hand and at the moment.  May not be perfect, but the creativity involved in taking mental inventory of what tools you have with you and laying them in such an order no where close to what they are designed for illustrates the amazing thought processes of the human mind.  Truly, that is not an accident but a purposeful design of our Creator.

Well, with that lead in, you’d think i would share something just truly amazing and complex, yet it’s not.  Simply using junk we have around the barn fashioned in such manner to solve a problem i personally have.  Our 3 compartment mineral pans are somewhat heavy and certainly cumbersome, so i choose to never pick it up to move it.  Obviously, if there is kelp, salt, and phosphorus inside totally negates that proposition.  I had made a previous drag design, but it would only last about 16 months.  Hoping this new design will last much longer.

For years, we’ve been using a 3 compartment mineral tub.  In mine, i use YPS free salt, Thorvin Kelp, and Agri-Dynamic‘s Grazier’s Essential in the 1:2 ratio (Ca-Ph).*  All free choice.

Although the mineral tubs empty are not super heavy, they are bulky and awkward to lift and load and if there is any product still inside, it’s virtually impossible for me to load it.  So, years ago, i came up with a way to move it without lifting it instead by dragging.  After about 3 years, i’ve given up with the first method i invented because it kept failing about once a year and i’d need to rebuild it, so, i came up with a new plan.  Simpler and easier to replace or repair should the need arise.

  • i purchase the salt from ……, the kelp from Welter Seed & Honey, and the Calcium-Phosphorus mix from Agri-Dynamics north Missouri representative Shan Christopher
  • MISSOURI DEALERS/DISTRIBUTORS

    Rafter C. Ranch, Distributor

    Shan Christopher1441 SE Hwy 116

    Polo, MO 64671

    816-519-8512

    sjdchris@greenhills.net

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I cut a flat piece of old plastic  from a trashed calf feeding trough.  the flat piece is slightly larger in diameter than the mineral tub so that i can bolt it through the sidewall of the tub onto the plastic.  i cut old baling belts for the straps and use carriage head bolts so it will pull smoothly.

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I still use a short chain with a large ring at one end and a heavy duty carabiner clip on the other for quick hookup.

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Bolt old pieces of baler belts from the mineral tub to the plastic drag.

Mineral tub kelp

Mineral tub with salt

Mineral tub with Phosphorus

Moving a Protein Tub

These supplemental protein/energy tubs for cattle are 200 lbs!  Obviously, i can’t pick it up to move as i shift cattle to new paddocks.  Here’s my solution using stuff found around the farm.

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Even half eaten, it will weigh over 100 lbs.  Although i can tip it on the side and roll it onto the sled, I found that i can just leave the sled under the tub; the cattle don’t tear it up.  I just hook on and move.  The black plastic is old plastic from a destroyed bunk feeder, the white pipe is actually the G2 plastic post from Powerflex Fence which i cut to length.  

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Full, these weigh 200 lbs.  Leaving the sled under the tub means just hooking on and going.  No more tipping, lifting, rolling, and handling in general.  The older i get, the more important this is.  In fact, i design my work around my bad back, hips, shoulder.

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When done,  very lightweight for easy pick up and storage.

 

Land Considerations

As i get older, i’m more aware of how much time and hard work a piece of property can be.  Many years ago, my grandpa gave me a 160 acre piece of his land and i now realize that he was about my age now when he gave it.  I was much younger and was thrilled, but now i can see that he was probably tired of managing and fixing all its problems.  In fact, it is only about the east 80 acres of the farm i now have that incurs 80% of the work i do on the 520 acres i now own/manage.  (it is a sad reflection of our time that in north Missouri that is no where near enough property to make a living on).  At the same time, it’s the corner of that piece that is the best for working and loading out livestock.  (interestingly, my daughter, at about age 11 made the comment, ‘i don’t like this farm, it is too much work!”)

Truth be told, if it was possible for me to control the land to the north of me and to the south, i could all but eliminate the massive erosion and washing problems which cause my little piece to be so much work.  But i don’t, so difficult repairs are recurring.  Controlling the ‘heads’ of the water by building ponds or dams would practically stop all but the worst rain events which cause such destruction.  The biggest help would be to seed down the hills that are being farmed every year.  There are no roots to hold any soil in place and increase water infiltration on acres and acres of slope.

So, a point i’m trying to make is – look to your future self when purchasing a property – is this property you are considering fixable?  or will it be constant work?  We actually looked at a property last year that was adjoining and for sale, but with all it’s deep ditches and no control of the head, it would be more work than what we wanted to take on now at retirement age.  It is FAR too much asking price anyway.  (It’s still for sale)

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The water rushes through this gap so high and fast that there is brush and sometimes huge logs on top of the sealed road you see in this photo.  This time, there are only a few small pieces on the road, my fence caught most of the trash.  The fence is laid over so much, that i’ll actually take the wires off the two posts you see, pull the posts and reset them on the inside of the trash and it will still be in line with the existing fence.

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using my post puller  (from Hometown Hardware, Brookfield, MO) at a funny angle, but it worked!  i put a small log underneath the ‘foot’ of the contraption so it wouldn’t sink into the mud when i put pressure on the handle.

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All set to cut this piece of tin off because it’s so buried in the sand and mud, i couldn’t pull it out.  Took the photo, picked up the DeWalt reciprocating saw, clicked it off safety, and pulled the trigger.  Nothing, no power, what?!  Well, clearly you can see what i couldn’t – i forgot to bring a battery with me.  So, i will do this part of the repair on Friday when i come back to my farm.  UGGGHH!

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This one was a bit of a pickle, but after scratching my head a bit, i figured out a plan.  thank goodness i got a ‘B’ in geometry.  Farming and ranching is a LOT of problem solving with the tools you have on hand and putting them in the right order and angle.

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For fun, i found this map which shows the watershed area through which this one watergap i’m repairing all the runoff water passes through.  I measured the area and it encompasses 560 acres of surface land area.  When we get gully washers, which do come at least 3 times a year, that’s a lot of water rushing down Lick Branch – no wonder my fence gets washed out every time.

Replacing Solar Panel Fuse

My fences are completely dead now with the lack of a tiny fuse.  These photos are from the last time it needed changing.  I’m going to ask the fellow who installed this if we can turn that panel upside down so that the fuse box is lower to the ground.  This is just ridiculous how much work it is and equipment needed to change a fuse!

 

Solar Panel Wiring (2)Solar panel wiring (3)Solar panel wiring

Township Roads

A couple weeks ago, i needed to take out some hay to my cows.  So i did so 2 at a time since i was concerned that our hay trailer would be damaged by the road conditions.  After a few trips, i thought of videotaping the last stretch on the gravel road.

A week or so after this video, the roads dried a bit and the road mender made a much needed pass.  Much better now.

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The maintainer made a nice difference!

 

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A pass by the maintainer almost repaired this deep hole.

Although, the dangerous hole over the culvert on Cotton Road on the north side of my property was well repaired (i forgot to take a photo), the rest of the 1 mile stretch remains untouched.  However, since it is mostly dry, i can carefully navigate it in my JD Gator.

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My neighbors have a difficult time keeping the brush and trees out of the road.

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This is the stretch you can see where others, as well as i did this time, drive on the road bank to the left of the photo.  This creates new ruts very quickly since it is just dirt, no built up road and gravel pack.

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