The ground was frozen and there was a cool breeze blowing. Perfect weather for cleaning the barns. The cold night made the ground solid after the several days of rain but not so cold that the muck had frozen in the barn as it was last week.
Running one tractor attached to the ‘honey wagon’ and one tractor with a scoop bucket, we started cleaning. First out to the bull pen to scoop and plop buckets full, it was nearly a full spreader worth. Then out to the show barn to clean out the side where we weaned all the calves and the show cow side.
At times, our new young bull or a cow would come up to the fence line to peer over at the activity on the other side of the fence line, but would move on to grazing after they realized that we were not dealing with hay.
This natural fertilizer will be hauled up the road to the far hay field and spread in a thin layer over the grass. During the winter, the heavy rains, snow, freezing and thawing will break down the nitrogen rich manure to feed the soil.
As the barns are cleaned out, a coating of lime is tossed out onto the flooring before we put fresh wood chips in for the cows to lay on. The lime changes the pH of any remaining manure and freshens the barn (I really enjoy going out to the barns to work when they all are clean and smell more like wood chips than, you know, poop)
It was a long, cold day to get this chore done, but it is very good to get the barns all cleaned out before the dreary days of winter set in.