Friday, July 30, 2010

Farm life practicalities


I find myself worrying that our recent trend of posts have offended some of you. Now, most of you are probably aware, at least on some level, that life in the country is not all idyllic and peaceful. Especially not when you're surrounded by 100's of acres of what is essentially idle land that has been planted in native grasses, trying to raise domestic animals that are by their very nature prey to the predators that live in those 100's or acres of native grassland. But, Steve's rather blunt about the measures that we have taken to protect our investment. I've tried to suggest that he move on, but he's rather stubborn. I suppose that's a good thing, as I'm rather stubborn as well. So, I hope you'll stick with us and not judge us too harshly for having to protect what needs protecting. I promise this trend will end soon - or at least I hope it will. I'm not a big fan of searching for the angry racoon at 3:30 in the morning dressed in Steve's robe, and carrying a 22 rifle and a flashlight.

In the meantime, I'll gush a little bit about how exciting it is to have the barn useable this winter. No, the roof will not be repaired, nor will the entire floor be fixed. But, remember that the sheep had next-to-nothing for shelter last winter. Even with a big hole in the roof at one end, the rest of the barn will provide more shelter than they had last year. We'll start repairing the floor at the end nearest the house, and stop when we run out of time. We'll put panels up at the end of the good floor, and that will be where the sheep get to stay for the winter. We only have 7 of them (or will only have 7 by winter). They don't need very much space to sleep and eat in anyway. The hay has been moved into a much more secure location (thanks to Hector), and we have a plan that will eventually allow easy access to that space for future unloading. And, it's in the barn - right where we will need it.



You see, this barn was built by folks who knew how a barn was supposed to operate. There's a large open space where the animals live. I suspect that this space originally had stalls for the draft horses, but that's just supposition. And there are two very large feed bins. Bins is really not the right word. Imagine rooms approximately the size of a decent living room. But empty with a tunnel over the door. When Grandpa fed the sheep, he fed chopped hay, and the chopped hay was literally dumped into these rooms. The tunnel over the door allowed a person to walk in and scoop what they needed from right by the door. The feed would shift and re-fill the space, always keeping the feed handy, at least until the level dropped. Then you had to go a bit further in. Still, it was a good system, and it works just fine for baled hay too.

It feels like a win that we're going to be able to salvage a good portion of the building and put it to good use again. It's been standing for over 100 years. Here's hoping that with a little rejuvenation and minor (okay sort of major) surgery, it can stand for just a little bit longer.

On another note, this is Sarah's favorite of the photos she took. She doesn't really like Steve's favorite. Anyone want to weigh in with their favorite? We need some neutral voices to break the tie. I'm staying out of it, because I'm just very proud that she took the initiative and then took some great photos.