Waterline

When they finished fencing the grazing paddocks at the new land, Rick and Alex turned their attention back to our place. Before winter, they need to have the water and electrical lines run all the way out to the “North 40” pasture. As it seems with most any project we have, this involves a lot of hard work. It goes like this: digging lines in lots of rocks, clearing and grading the ditch, sanding the ditch, installing the water line and electrical conduit, sanding the lines, backfilling the ditch and grading it smooth. They started at the very far end of the run and are working back towards the main electrical  and water lines.

 Rick and Alex installed a hose bib is at the end of the run in what will be the North 40 pasture – fencing that pasture is next year’s project.

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 This is the line dug – using our favorite neighbor’s tractor with backhoe – lots  and lots of rocks.

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 After Rick dug the line they laid out the pipe and conduit, with Grizzly watching.

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 Next they put sand in the bottom of the ditch. This will cushion the pipe and conduit and protect it from the rocks. This was a big enough project the first time, we certainly don’t want to have to dig it up and fix leaks or breaks because the pipe got crushed by rocks. And we have a LOT of rocks. And Molly and Grizzly are right there where the guys are working – they never stray very far.

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After the sand is down, they install the pipe and conduit. This is actually the easiest part of the process.

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Then more sand on top of the pipe and conduit – again to protect the lines from the rocks. That is Alex standing in the ditch directing Rick where to dump the sand. Roger and Melanie’s tractor made this job possible. Thanks Roger and Melanie!

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Alex spreads the sand to cover both lines.

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 You can see the exposed pipe at the top of the picture where it hasn’t been covered with sand yet.

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 Grizzly keeps a close watch on the workmanship.

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And finally it is time to backfill the ditch with our rocky, rocky soil.

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After the ditch is completely covered, there are still lots of rocks on the surface that will have to be cleared away. This is the ditch to one of the water troughs which is set in cement with the lines stubbed up in the center – you can tell this project got put on hold for quite a while to build fences by the foliage growing in the stub out.

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 Here is the insulated water trough set on top of the cement with the gravel ready to spread around.

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And part of the water line is done.

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Beautiful Blooms

I love hydrangeas; they are one of my favorite flowers. When I was a little girl, my grandmother had a beautiful, huge hydrangea on the north side of her house; it must have been over six feet tall and about as big around. Hers was pink and we always took pictures in front of it when it was blooming. When I planted this little one gallon shrub five years ago I didn’t know if it would grow here in our climate and soil or not. We had a nice little spot next to the double doors of our garden shed so it was worth a try.

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Not too long after I planted it, we found out we were having puppies – turned out there were ten puppies. They were the cutest little puppies ever and we thoroughly enjoyed them. Like all puppies they liked to chew on anything available. My shoe laces.

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Each other.

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And my hydrangea. Can you see the sad little stick behind the puppy? Yes, that is my poor hydrangea. I mulched it with straw to try to protect it, but I should have fenced it off from those little chewing creatures. They gnawed it down to a stub. Rick was going to cut it down completely, but I convinced him to give it a chance.

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Well, as you can see the plant made a dramatic recovery. It probably helped that we found wonderful homes for all ten puppies so they didn’t chew on it anymore. I put some “manure tea” and compost on it and now five years later the hydrangea is happy, healthy and at least five feet tall. Apparently the sheltered location is a good one for it, because well into fall when all the leaves are turning, it is still blooming.

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The picture really doesn’t do it justice. The blooms are a beautiful azure blue and about six inches across.

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And new blooms are turning color – even in mid October.

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I’m hoping to get more hydrangeas planted when we do the landscaping around the store.

Menagerie

I don’t know if every cattle ranch has a menagerie of other critters too, but ours sure does. Of course we have our two guard dogs, Molly and Grizzly.

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They can usually be found right at Rick’s feet, literally. If he walks from the shed out to the cattle pens, they go with him; house to the shed, they go with him. I understand that is pretty typical behavior for heelers.

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The ranch is also home to the brother and sister cats Harry and Bess; they are a bit more independent.

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What always amazes me about these four is that not only do they all get along fine – Bess usually goes in the dog house to snuggle with Molly first thing every morning – but when you go for a walk all four of them come along. I tell Rick he looks like the pied piper with all his pets trailing along with him. Here they are all resting in the shade – it was a hot day for a walk.

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A few days ago Rick was out checking on some of the cattle and of course his whole pet crew went too.

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While Rick was checking the herd, all the dogs and cats were waiting in the shade of the cow shed.

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Everything was fine until one of the cows caught sight of the dogs and cats. That is really nothing unusual, the critters are often in the pasture. For some reason though Denver the cow didn’t appreciate them being in her pasture that day. So she came running and chased them out. You can just see Harry below on the far right getting ready to dive under the fence.

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Once she got started all the cows wanted to chase critters out of the pasture. Betty and her calf were next chasing Bess and the dogs.

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After they all made a quick exit under the pasture fence, the whole crew rested in the shade. It was a hot day!

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Harry was so traumatized from being chased he decided to walk all the way back up the hill on the fence rail.

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A lot less chance of a bovine chase up there.

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And then they were safe to rest in the shade.

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