Turkey Time!

2021’s flock of turkeys arrived via post from Missouri this week

Broad-breasted bronze turkey poults on their way to 40 lbs each (toms) and 25 lb hens

David’s mom and sister are here from Texas and they are helping to make sure these little birds get a good start. They have one called “Romeo” who already struts around like he owns the place.

Nineteen birds arrived in a little box via USPS a few days after hatching. We did lose two, but the others seem to be thriving.

Scary Trees

At the beginning of last week, we had two, hundred-plus year old pine trees, dead and leaning over the highway (3 – 4′ in diameter). Both of these things were disasters waiting to happen and we could not get anyone to take them down — too dangerous and difficult. In the last two years, two private arborists have declined the job. Butte County said “not our problem”. None of the private contractors and tree removal people working on fire cleanup in Berry Creek were interested.

It was frustrating to see all the hype about removing hazard trees, and all the equipment and people going up the hill every day to remove hazard trees and these two trees were more hazardous to more people than any!

But the good news is we finally found someone willing to do it. He got one down this week, but a $1000.00/hr crane has to come next week for the other.

Below is a picture of the two trees in 2015 — almost dead then. Then a picture of the remaining tree today that needs a crane.

See the rope pulling the tree back from leaning way over the road?
This tree is about 3′ in diameter at the base. The rope on it is pulling it back a little from leaning way over the road.

Yes, there is a telephone line under the tree as well as our fence and the road.

When the phone line was down after the fire, and while they had traffic controlled on the road most of last year, no one would help us take these trees down. We are very happy to have found someone to get it done now!

Now Certified to Build Pyramids

Today we used a 2,500 lb tractor to move a 9,000 lb steel tank.

This was our dilemma … the steel water tank weighed over 9,000 lbs. Our tractor only weighs 2,500 pounds and really can’t lift more than half its weight. We had to drag and push the tank, pivot it, and then roll it. Rolling was not difficult. Horizontally moving it was.

Enter physics!

We had a couple of dual pulleys which we used as block and tackle. Sorry we don’t have pictures of the setup, but we used a rope, a tree, log chains, and the two double pulleys to effectively reduce the weight that the tractor pulled to about 2,300 lbs. In this way, we could pull the tank with the tractor with one double pulley attached to a tree, and one to the tank. The rope was threaded through all the pulleys and tied off to a tree on one end, and attached to the tractor on the other. Once we pulled the tank into position, we then pivoted it and rolled it into position. We did use some round posts as rollers under the leading edge of the tank to reduce friction — it would have never moved without the roller posts.

Below are a few pictures of the tank in various positions, the pulleys and the rope. Also, there is a video of the final “rolling into position”.

We are quite proud of ourselves and also thankful for the rope left behind by Jack Cameron when we bought the old house in 2004 across the road from us — that rope, an old, 1″ nylon anchor rope about 200′ long — has helped us move logs, water pipe after the fire, and now, the tank!

Here’s a short video clip David shot as Neil rolled the tank into final position.

Before we started this project around 9:00 a.m. this morning, the tank was rotated 180 degrees different from what you see above and back where the tractor is in the video. We had to pull and roll the tank longways (horizontally) about 16 feet, pivot it, and then roll it another 12 feet. Project was completed before noon.

We are very proud of ourselves — nothing was broken, no one was hurt, and the tank is now ready for water!

We also figure that if two seni0r citizens could move 4.5 tons into a tricky position with just some posts, ropes, pulleys and a 30 hp tractor, we could build pyramids! Okay, humor us. 🤣

Spud Man

He was back at it again this year, more successful than ever!

  • Two, fifty-foot rows
  • Nine varieties
  • Five bushels
  • Three-hundred pounds

There are purple and white, red and white, red, magenta, dark purple, white, Russet, and fingerlings of various colors. Some of the purple ones are deep purple all the way through.

David says his favorite is the magenta. Here are a couple photos of the magenta and purple varieties:

Projects and Productivity

We are getting evidence that we succeeded in saving fruit trees, berries and vines last year after the fire and water loss! It’s joyous and comforting to see things producing again. We also have a number of ongoing projects to keep us busy. Here are some of the latest photos:

For that water tank in the pictures, I have to paint that in short stages while wearing a high-quality respirator. There’s no air circulation and the fumes are deadly. Even with the respirator, after painting about 1/2 gallon, my eyes are burning and I have to get out. (There’s a tiny hole to craw out of). It took 3 gallons of primer, so that was six, separate mornings of painting — thankfully we had some cool weather for that! (I can’t remember if I posted a photo of the tank being sandblasted — that was also a hellacious job). So we’ve hired a professional sandblaster and a professional welder to help us get this tank holding water for the long-term. Soon we’ll have water in it.

Moon’s Big Day

Maggie’s Moon went to a new home today.

His new home is in Grass Valley, about 1.5 hours from here. Moon rode the entire way sitting in David’s lap with his little horned head resting on David’s shoulder. It was hard to say goodbye to such a sweet goat, but he’s got a bunch of does in his future.

Note to selves: when traveling with a 2 month-old kid on one’s lap for more than an hour, do stop and give the little guy a potty break. About 15 minutes from our destination, David’s leg got warm and very wet … after we dropped Moon at his new home, we stopped by Tractor Supply to get a clean pair of jeans for David to wear. We stopped out our friends’ house (Dennis and LeRoy) for lunch and we just couldn’t have David smelling like goat piss for such an occasion!

Here on the ranch, Moon’s mother, Maggie, still has her little Star (the doeling we kept). Star definitely misses her Moon, but the two other kids from this Spring (Beaux Beaux and Boon) are keeping her company.

Thirty Years of Friendship

Kristin and Neil – Austin, Texas Community Gardens – 1991

I have a few friendships running 30 years or longer — and I cherish them. These are gemstones we’ve woven into our live’s tapestries. Kristin (pictured above) spent a week with us on the ranch this past week. It was wonderful to live with each other for a short while. Our lives are very different, but our friendship has endured through all differences, and we remain: kindred spirits.