Monday, March 2, 2009

Rodeo and Livestock Show Time

Wow, March is going to be a busy month. We installed the water pipe through the dam. I have had my reservations about poking a hole in the dam. I have heard horror stories of water leaking along side the pipe and busting the dam wide open and washing it away. I finally decided to dig the ditch for the water pipe. It will run under the driveway out into the pasture. There it will fill a water trough. I plan on adding a float type valve when I get a trough in place. I decided to add an elbow and run the pipe down about 2 feet from where it ran through the dam. This will allow me to get water to the trough when the pond is way low. If that happens I can add a solar powered water pump to the float valve and get water to the trough. I dug the ditch down 5 feet from the crown of the dam. This put it two feet below my driveway. I was teaching myself how to dig a level ditch as I went. I used a 12 foot 2x8 board on its side with a 6 foot level on top to check to see if my eyeballs were right. I kept it fairly level with a slight downhill drop in the water pipe. Just what the doctor ordered!

It took way longer than planned to get the pipe in and the dirt tamped good and tight around the pipe for the length of the dam. We used pointed 1x2s to tamp dirt around the pipe. I added a plastic collar with the pipe going through it. I sealed around the pipe with waterproof silicone. Finally I got enough clay back in the ditch and packed with the front tires of my 6520. For the water side slope of the dam, all I could do was to tamp the dirt down with the 1x2, then I used the backhoe bucket curled up to pack the soil more. I lifted the rear of the tractor up a little with the backhoe and wiggled the swing cylinders a little for more packing action. I must have got carried away with the wiggling, as I popped a relief valve. Or at least I thought that, as fluid was leaking from not one but two relief valves on the backhoe. We spent the next two hours bleeding lines on the stabilizers and the backhoe's boom to get them jacked up and strapped up. We had to use a come-along from the ROPS to crank the boom up and lock it. I felt we needed to do this that night so I could finish filling the rest of the ditch running through the dam and driveway. As we were locking the boom up and wiring the locking lever in place, it started drizzling. This is what I was afraid of. Rain coming and the dam half way filled! I got it filled and put the Big RED Beast to bed. As I lay in bed I thought I might try swapping backhoe's lines to the remote. First thing the next morning I tightened all the lines I bleed and swapped lines to my second remote and low and behold the backhoe worked! I quickly unlocked the ratchet straps and cleaned up the mess of hydraulic fluid everywhere. Then back to filling and packing. I hoed away all the dirt I dumped near the water the night before. Christina went to town to get three bags of concrete. I cut some 2x6s 2 foot long and pounded in 3 small stakes. I made a crude terrace and poured three bags of concrete and added water. This was right at the water line. It was suppose to storm all day, but the good Lord keep the rains away. This gave me time two days later to add more layers of clay. Then I added three 2x4s for terraces and filled them with topsoil and packed them good. This would have to work until more grass sprang up. Until then, the terraces would have to stay. I took numerous photos and my first thought upon seeing them on my computer was...what a Mickey Mouse installation!
The day after we covered the water pipe, we headed to Petco in Humble. I had tracked down a white female ferret there by visiting 3 other Petco stores and getting one store to call Humble's store. We lucked out, as they had 5 ferrets. All of them small like my Phoebe and Sneaky. I picked up the white female and held her. She didn't bite. I said I wanted her. I then had second thoughts about buying a new playmate for Buttons. He had been not playing well alone since Phoebe was put to sleep. I then decided my new little female needed her brother to join her. I held my breath and said I would take the silver and white male also. I held him again and he didn't bite any fingers. Good to know, as one of their brothers did bite and bit hard. At first I name the female, Shadow. As in Phoebe's shadow. As it turned out she was my shadow. I named the male, Dusty. As I learned more about my two new fuzzies over the next two days, I realized these names didn't fit them. So I decided to call my female, Baby Girl. I named the male, Bear, as he acted like a little bear. As it turns out, Bear likes to play in the water dish like a bear does when he is trying to catch Salmon. He really splashes the water out of the bowl!

Christina had won two tickets to the Houston Rodeo. Josh Turner was in concert after the rodeo. I told her if we went early, we could see the Sheep Dog Trials at the Livestock Show arena. It was truly a wonder of God to watch the the dogs work the sheep. They only had whistle cues from their owners during the timed trials. The dog had to herd three sheep into a loading chute and then into a little pen where the owner would open and close the gate. What a sight to see the canines circle the sheep in a run, then stop and crouch to see if the sheep responded right. Overall we spent a wet rainy day at the livestock show. I finally found the sticker I wanted for my truck. It shows a cowgirl kneeling beside her horse in front of a cross. Christina talked me into getting my picture taken in a barrel with a rodeo scene in the back ground. You can see it and other photos I unloaded here.

The rodeo tickets we had put us at the end of the arena over the roping events. These were awesome seats with frozen margaritas. What a deal! We go back on the 20th to see Taylor Swift in concert. Rebecca and I saw Taylor open for George Strait in Las Vegas back in 2007. She was just 17 at the time. So I am really looking forward to seeing her in concert again.

Stop back later to hear about me testifying before the Texas legislature and going to the Austin Rodeo.

hugs, Brandi

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