Mud, Mayhem and Murder!

What?  You did not spend your weekend playing in mud and mayhem and maybe a little murder?

I did!

I have a pretty good, “honey do” list for the horses.  One of the items on my list was to run a water line and electric line to the barn.   After last year’s brutal winter I learned my lesson, water lines need to be buried going to the barn.  You see in Dec 2010, we added onto a lean-to for the horses making it into a barn.  Since it was so late into the season, we were not able to get a proper water line to the barn.

What’s a proper water line?  It’s when the pipes are buried under the ground, at a depth of at least 4 feet so it is less likely to freeze. It became apparent last winter when the windchill was  -45* degrees.  Our makeshift, above ground water line did not stand a chance at being helpful in the delivery of water to the barn in those temps.  After hauling water in 5 gallon buckets  or in 55 gallon barrels from the trough to the barn, I decided that I was not going to do that again… Well, I should probably not say never, because you never know when a water line will break. This coming winter… there would be a water line installed, even if I had to hand dig it.  That might be a slight exaggeration but you get the picture.

Do you get the feeling that I am getting ready to share my experience with adding in a water line to the horse pasture?

You’re right and so smart!

I am so thankful that this past weekend was so nice out because it made this project enjoyable.

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 Unloading the equipment… getting ready to break ground

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We broke ground just about 10:30 am.  The sun was shining, it was warm, and the farmers were just starting to harvest the field next to our property.    With the excavator chewing up the ground, leaving the first piles of MUD behind,  I started my first job for this, which was to breakdown the “shelter” that protected the hydrant next to the horse trough.   So now I have the mud starting to show, the mayhem will come later in the adventure.  I am sure you are wondering about the murder; hang on,  I am getting there.

I had just picked up on of the last five bricks that I needed to move, when a mouse mom with what seemed like 500 babies hanging on her back flew out at me.  Okay, it may have been 6-8 but when facing off with a flying mouse and her babies, they multiply.  I half dropped– half threw the brick at the mice, jumped, and screamed… Once I thought the coast was clear, I poked around the brick evaluating the damage.  I am sad to report that  I committed my first mouse murder.  I won’t lie, I did not shed any tears over the lives lost in that fateful moment, or as I tossed the baby mice bodies into the trench that was just dug.

The very beginning!

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As the day progressed, the project continued to run smoothly… that is until the trench was almost opened all the way.  Dad had about a 2 foot section of ground to remove, when the ditch collapsed on itself!  It happened in a slow motion and yet fast at the same time… the excavator tipped over and sank down.  For a brief moment, I was not sure if we would get dad out of the excavator before the door was pinned shut.

What was my first reaction?  Take a picture for the wall of shame? Cough, cough, cough… I mean wall of Fame.  You see my father is very capable of getting the farm equipment stuck.  Most of the time the adventure ends with multiple trucks hooked up to the “stuck” piece of equipment, pulling it out of whatever precarious situation he got it in!

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One time when I was 14ish, dad came running into the house looking for help.  When mom and I walked outside; we looked at each other; looked at dad and told him to call an employee to help.  Why?  Because he had one of the business John Deere tractors being picked up by a larger Kubota tractor and dangling over the bed of a truck… No big deal. But the John Deere flipped upside down and was leaking fuel.  Mom and I really like living, so we decided that dad needed to get a guys help to flip his tractor right side up.  Do you blame me?IMG_0900

Anyway, back to the Mayhem– we hooked chains up to excavator and I climbed into the bobcat to provide tension to help support the sinking excavator. We were able to get the excavator to stabilize a little bit, but it was still pretty well stuck in the trench.  We changed the angle of the chains, and we were able to walk the excavator out of the ditch!  THANK YOU GOD!  The mayhem of the project only lasted 45 minutes, no one was hurt, and nothing broke!

The project continued on!

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With the trench fully dug, it was on to gluing the pipe together and putting it into the trench.  The goal: glue the pipes and attach the facet before dark.

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Well, the Mayhem delayed the project, so new goal: get the pipe glued before heading into the house for the night.  This would prevent us from having to rework much in the morning if the trench collapsed.   Mom was a trouper, and she held flashlights while dad and I glued.  New goal met… now it was time to find food and warm up!

Setting pipes by phone flashlights!

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Sunday morning came way too fast! I really did not want get up, but daylight was burning, and we had an open trench, a field tile broken and a brother’s lacrosse game to get to if possible.   Nash came out to check on the progress with me first thing Sunday.

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We fixed the field tile and dad back filled the trench, while I cleaned up and started to fix the fence.  Soon, Mud and Mayhem struck again.  Dad pulled up next to me with the bobcat full of dirt in the cab.  For the first time in my life, I dug out the cab of the bobcat and then vacuumed it out.   I was amazed at the places that the dirt got into in that small cab.
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As the project was nearing an end, dad looked at me and said, “All this hard work, and all there is to show for it is a pile of dirt and a facet in the barn– that gives you lots of water.”  I am okay with that!

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By 6:30 pm, the fence was fixed, the water line was considered complete, all the tools and supplies were put away, and I was heading back to the house to clean up and get food. So there you have it… my weekend was spent playing in the mud, a little mayhem and a few mice murders… almost the perfect weekend, if you ask me!

I’ll catch you soon.

H.C._J.

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