Dig A Hole, Put A Post In It. Dig A Hole, Put A Post In it. Rinse, Repeat

This infernal fence has got to be the last back breaking project for awhile.  Farmer Jon’s ass is draggin’.   If you have never worked on a tractor, you might think that the engine does all the work.  HONK, Wrong! Thanks for playing.  When that post hole digger is on, that machine will shake you to death!  This is one of the more frustrating projects I’ve done.  Part of it is because I am kind of rushing to get the posts in ahead of any big freeze (just what I’d need is frozen ground.  Ground that is already hard like Native American Clay Pots!)  The ground is unbelievably hard to get into.  My 23 horse tractor stalls out on just about every hole.

I am convinced that the universe has a very playful side and that when I do projects there is some invisible little Sprite just messing with me anyway it can!  Guys you know what I mean.  All you want to do is run an electric cord out to do some work….. easy right…. WRONG!  It gets hung up on everything!  Its tangled and doesn’t roll out nice and neatly.  You want to pull out a hose because you need to use the power washer to soften up the ground for the next hole.  Easy?  WRONG!  The hose finds any and all corners, lifts, edges and crannies to lodge itself into and you have to walk 50 yards to free the thing.  You know of which I speak.  You’ve got ONE LAST screw to put in to hang up a feeder in the coop.  You try to get it in place and POP! it falls into the chicken feed and now you have to drop everything, dig through it and find it!  And the list goes on and on and on.  Sprites messing with you so that nothing goes swimmingly!!  Gotta keep a sense of humor.  The Sprite best stay invisible too because if I ever caught the little gremlin………

Anywho, I now have 40 of the 53 posts dug in.  Trying to align them is a bit of a trick and I had two posts that were about a foot or so out of true with the rest of the posts I put in this morning.  So, being the perfectionist, I pulled the posts out, filled in the old holes and got started on the new ones.  The Sprite emerged!!  The two do over holes proved to be the absolute worst of the day!  I had blogged before about how hard the ground is.  By jamming a power washer into the ground the dirt can be loosened a bit and it doesn’t stick quite so badly.  Not so today!  The first do over hole was so hard the digger got stuck to the gear box again.  I had to flip on the PTO, watch the shaft turn maybe a 16th of a turn, flip off the PTO so as not to stall the tractor, and repeat that at least 50 times.  I was really starting to worry that I was going to rip up the hydraulics on the tractor.

After finally getting that one done (a very dry hole), I moved on to the second do over.  OMG!!!  This was the reverse of the first one.  I stuck the power washer down into the ground and soaked it up really good.  Too good it turns out.  This one was like a chocolate mud hole!  The auger got away from me and drilled itself all the way into the ground and I was hosed.  This was goo.  The Sprite turned the tables on me.  This time the auger would spin but the hydraulics on the 3 point hitch couldn’t pull it back out of the ground!!  It would just sit there buried 3 1/2 feet in the ground and spin like a kitchen mixer!!  I went to the barn, got the floor jack and tried to get it out that way but all it did was lift the tractor off the ground!

I tried again and let it spin for awhile.  Eventually the cork screw shaped auger belched out a tube of mud that looked like the consistency of pink slime!  It rattled, groaned and belched and finally freed itself.  Anyone who has ever stepped into a deep mud hole wearing a pair of muck boots can understand this.  The mud acted like a giant suction and all the auger did by spinning was seal the mud in around itself.  Thanks to the Sprite, I was very concerned that the auger was going to spend the winter in that hole.  It finally gave way and all is forgiven.  Beware of construction Sprites, they will mess with you when you least expect it.

So I figure I have maybe two more days of post hole digging.  Then they all get leveled and cemented in, the gates go up and the fencing gets nailed in place.  I will NOT be doing this again anytime soon!

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Fall Is Here And Harvest Is Winding Down

We got most of the city garden put to bed this past week.  Still some to do but most of it is done.  While pulling up all of the tomato vines we discovered that we had about half a bushel of tomatoes yet to pick!  Woohoo!  I got to try out my birthday present!  Zina bought me a jehnyouwine Eyetalian Eeeelectric tomato masher!  No more having to grind them for sauce all by hand!!  Electric motors and spinning things are wonderful inventions!  Just in the city we harvest at least 250 lbs of tomatoes a year.  All of the tomatoes that we don’t just freeze or can whole have to be run through a food mill so that the skin and seeds are removed.  This can take hours by hand, and necessitate serious neck and shoulder massages!  This beastie went through a half bushel of tomatoes inside 15 minutes.  I figure that if Aaron is going to be the engineer and not the farm hand, and Zina is at work and a part time farm hand, I need at least some gizmos to keep me from passing out!  This was just the ticket.  The sauce is on the stove cooking down and the whole house smells great!