South Dakota Rocks —- Literally

9 April 2017 – 42 and raining – snow in the forecast

We have been busy the last few weeks and we are finding out that springtime on the farm is for working! Just in case we feel like we might miss winter a little, mother nature has thrown some snow in our forecast. Maybe we should be grateful so we can retreat inside for a bit and plan the next big outdoor project.

We have been doing a lot of springtime chores, but also a lot of post-construction projects and clean up. We finally had a garage built.

We were really happy they were able to accomplish this in only a few days and match the siding to the house. Once the garage was complete we had to move all of things that belong in the garage out of the basement and out from under the porch to their new/more permanent location.

It seems we are always moving things. We still aren’t done even though everything is in the garage, we will have to move all of that stuff again once we get shelves built in there. Oh well, it is good exercise! As is moving firewood, which we also have moved and stacked about ten times.

Now that the firewood is in the garage, it will stay dry and be easier to burn. Oh, by the way, we will have to move it by the boxload anytime we need more to burn in the house. At least the wood spiders can live in the garage instead of next to the house now. Plus, the house looks so much better than it did with all of the equipment stacked outside.

Sanford and Sons no more….notice the cleared out area beneath the porches!

We spent a day clearing limbs and getting firewood with Cowboy Dave. I got to drive his tractor and make a big pile of slash. Fun!

Dave has also been putting Babe, the tractor, through her paces. He has been using the disk and plowing the field on the south side of our house. Every morning he springs out of bed and I know he is thinking, “I get to drive the tractor today!” Right after breakfast he runs out the door and I hear the diesel engine fire up and out the gate he goes.IMG_2978

Don’t worry, I am not completely a tractor widow, I have been getting to work too. While some of the pastures have been mowed in the past, no one has ever disked them and they are full of rocks. Chock full o’ rocks. Rocks everywhere. South Dakota Rocks. Too bad we can’t harvest rocks. Picking up rocks sounds like the perfect job for the farmer’s wife.

Yesterday, Dave showed me where he wanted to work and I knew that field had been previously mowed. Because it had been mowed before, I said, “How many rocks can there be?” Let’s add this to the list of Dumbest Things Jen has Ever Said. We worked a solid 8 hours and I’m sure I didn’t even get all the rocks.

My favorite was this one which I spent about an hour digging at with a shovel. From the surface, it looked about the size of a dinner plate, but as I kept digging away at it I thought I was uncovering one of those Easter Island heads.   It was about 4 times deeper than it looked on the surface. We could only move it using a winch.

Rock from Hades!

Meanwhile, Tractor Dave was in and out of Babe all day as the soil is really rich and black and kept clogging up the disk wheels. He had to keep stopping and getting the excess mud off of them. Still, we persevered and completed disking nearly the full southern pasture! Not bad for a couple of rookies from Florida.

Today, Tractor Dave is driving Babe to the welding shop in Custer because we still haven’t got the bolts that broke off from the loader out of the tractor frame. Cowboy Dave is his wingman, following closely behind in the truck as backup in case of any problems. It should take them about an hour to get there at 20mph. I am sitting here in front of the fire, boiling some potatoes on the wood stove, and recovering from the last week of wood hauling and rock picking. It just started a cold, cold, rain and when Dave gets home we will probably take a well-deserved nap on a Sunday afternoon. We have to rest up because starting early Monday we will try to complete the following this week:

  1. Snow removal – we are supposed to get 5” tonight
  2. Harrowing the fields that have been disked
  3. Setting up the beehive – more on this later
  4. Clearing an area for a raspberry patch
  5. Tilling manure into the garden for fertilizer
  6. Loading cows and travelling with Cowboy to the cattle auction – he is selling his cows Frosty, Laverne, and Keystone
  7. Picking up and driving home the tractor – hopefully they can fix it and we can get the loader back on this week

Like I said, springtime is for working!