Barns are messy places, especially where the cows stand. They drag the mess in on their big feet and add much more volume after that. What is left after they leave the barn is called muck, I believe it stands for mud + yuck. Anyway, the cows deposit a lot of muck while they stand around eating their meals and it has to be cleaned out every so often. With our winter coming in February and March this year, we fell behind with the barn cleaning duties and the muck levels were getting higher and higher. Continue reading
As we empty the cribs of dry firewood during the bundling process, we are gearing up to refill them with split wood that still needs time to cure and dry.
There is room for two rows of cribs along with storing the bulldozer for winter now that we have fed up the fall portion of the hay we put in during the summer
One row is designated for completely cured wood ready for bundling and the other is for the freshly split wood. There always seems to be competition for storage space no matter how big or how many barns we have and that was the case even before we started filling the gaps with firewood!
The front loader tractor with pallet forks makes for easy shuffling of empty cribs to convenient staging areas so the re-loaded cribs that can be placed in rows for drying. Right now we have four empty cribs so this week will be spent cutting 16 inch pieces off the logs in the landing, splitting them and stacking the four cribs so they can dry. It is going to be a busy week.
We were gifted with a couple of loads of chipped vegetation from our local West Oregon Electric Line Crew recently. The chips are very green and were heating quickly with the warm weather. To keep the pile from molding, we had to do a little mixing.
During the winter months, the chips will be used for bedding in the bull and show barns. The chips will be spread across the flooring in thin layers to absorb (like a large scale cat box) and to provide a comfy spot for the cows to relax.
The mother cats had their litters behind the big hay stack in the barn. I had gotten a glimpse or two the other day, shortly after seeing a few of them, the mothers moved them from the barn to the boards stacked up under the tin roof of the shop.
Daily, we see the mother cats allowing the kittens to travel farther and farther from the safety of the stack. It is hard to get a good count but it looks like there are about 6 kittens all shades of black with one being a dark colored calico with one white back paw.
It is a communal arrangement with both mother cats coming and going for nursing and bathing duties.
With double the milk supply available, the kittens are growing rapidly at this stage and soon will be outside most of the time. We try to touch and talk to the little ones every day so they are not totally feral. We need them to trust us so we can use them at the barns to control mice and rats.
With the weather now changing from dry late summer to wet fall, we are finished with all that can be done to rock the roads that we use during the winter to haul hay from the barns to the outdoor feeders.
The piles of rock have all been smoothed out and we have packed the road down with equipment.
Winter rains will soon tell if the path will be able to hold up through the season.
It takes several hours to load all the gear needed to care for the show string. It takes longer than that to unload all the gear and prep the stall area for the animals to reside during the duration of the fair.
Signage for the farm and individual stall cards for each animal are required for the show. We also like to include some educational information for the public.
Once the show barn is filled with animals, the fans are needed to keep the air flowing. These big animals create a lot of heat and it is amazing how fast the barn can get uncomfortable for animals and people. The fans sound like small jet engines and the barns turn from tranquil buildings to humming/vibrating vortexes.
It is a constant battle to keep the barns clean even though we don’t have the cows in there all the time.
Today was barn cleaning because the 100% rain that was predicted held off until the evening. We ended up pulling four loads of manure out of the one barn on this day. Once the manure is in the ‘honey wagon’ it is spread out on the hay fields as fertilizer. The rains will break down the thick manure and the nutrients will give the grass a good shot of nitrogen to grow quickly as the weather warms a bit.