First, we had a big hog slaughter over the weekend

two of our very mature sows met their Maker. Hard work getting that put together, because these girls were quite old, and weren’t as mobile as youngsters. We always did the best we could to help them with their mobility but hey, when you weigh almost 800lbs and your legs are only 12” long, mobility is going to be an issue. But we got them moved to where the holding pens were, and the crew did their usual really good job. So that’s $1400 worth of income after all that hard work.

But then Mean Ol’ Mr. Murphy came a-calling, in the form of truck issues. My old Ranger has been dying during cold-start mornings, frequently enough that I think it’s a return of the issues we had last year. But that particular issue is limited to when the engine is cold. As soon as she warms up, she’s good to go (true for so many of us!) But then on Friday morning, I was driving home and both my engine temp and oil pressure gauges started going wonky. At first I thought I really had an engine overheating, so I cancelled a few errands and just went home. Got home before the temp gauge got to High, but it was close. Told my DH about that issue, and we tore into it a little bit Friday afternoon. He was thinking maybe I had blown a gasket and coolant was leaking into the engine, which could explain both symptoms. But I had full coolant and normal black engine oil (ok, so it needs to be changed, but no sign of the milky discoloration that comes when coolant is leaking). Hmmm.

Then Saturday, when I drove it across the road to give the butcher truck some room, I had normal oil and temp gauges, but my fuel gauge was off the charts higher than I’d ever seen it. To legitimately have it that high, I would have had to be overflowing with gas. So then we started to suspect the instrument cluster.

I called the shop this morning, described the two situations, and we’re going to take the truck in this Wed to have them run some diagnostics. We simply don’t have the time right now (for reasons which I’ll get to in a minute) to spend chasing down these issues. So that’s $200 right there, just figuring out what’s wrong. I can already see at least some of the pig money going towards that unintended repair, but it’s gotta be done.

In other news, we thought Murphy wasn’t done with us yet, but it might turn into a Millie moment instead. We didn’t get all our hay harvested this year, for various reasons, which means we’re already low on hay, and we have standing grass out in the field waiting to be cut. We finally got a nice run of clear weather so we went ahead and had our landlord cut several acres for us. That went well but then fog moved in. Hay on the ground can’t dry properly when the humidity is so high that fog has formed. So our hay crop, which we need (and which we really don’t want to have to buy) is sitting there waiting for the sun to shine. In this weather pattern, that may not happen. If we allowed Murphy to get that crop, we’d be out several thousand $$$$ replacing it. So last night, in a moment of desperation, I told my DH that we need to go old school, and build a loose haystack instead of trying to bale it. Without going into a lot of detail, haystacks aren’t really used that often anymore because they are fairly labor intensive, and they take up a huge volume compared to bales. But they have one big advantage – they can safely store cut hay that is too wet to bale. And that’s exactly what we have. So yours truly has 12 days (before the next forecasted rain), to put together all the equipment and the work crew we’ll need, to build an old-fashioned hay stack out there in the field. Suffice to say I’ve been thinking of the Mission Impossible theme song all day. But if we can pull this off, not only will we save several thousdand dollars worth of hay, we’ll have experience with a method of hay storage which will give us the chance to get more cuttings in every year. That means using our hayfield more efficiently. So, that’s the Millie part of that whole scenario.
Cracks me up that we’re going back 100 years to a solution that most folks would sneer at today, while those same folks lament the spoiled hay and would just go out and buy more (on the charge card). They can laugh all they want. We’ll have our hay stacked and preserved for winter while they’re spending their money. But we have to build it first. So that’s my project for this week. Good thing I was sittin’ around with nothing else to do.