Thursday, October 6, 2011

Getting ready for Winter

Sheep heading out of the lean to.

Fresh straw ready for Winter.  Top left is a chicken.


We are still trying to decide how to get power to the barn.  Since I haven't even rewired the bridge lights yet and the barn isn't done yet lights are a low priority.  Annmarie found some battery powered low level lanterns.  I hung three out in the barn today.  When it gets dark at 1600 it makes it very hard to see inside of a dark barn.  I moved the old hay right next to the entrance of the storage area.  This way we will be forced to use the old stuff first. We have a whopping 9 bales or approximately 700 #. 

I put the pressure cookers away.  Two large pressure cookers and I cannot find weights for either one.  Both were gifts so I need to track down some weights to make them useable.  We ended up water bathing the tomato soup for 45 minutes.  It turned out very good.  I was in the root cellar (four time a year event) putting these away and snagged some homemade concord grape juice and put another four shelf rack in the cellar.  It was on the front porch for the thyme debacle (we started 900 plugs with creeping thyme seeds on the breeze porch.  By the time I got them planted last month at Annmarie's grandmother's garden only 90 had survived.  Not a rousing success.  I am thinking about trying to grow some lavender this winter!!).  This added more storage space to the root cellar.  I need to install a low/high thermometer so I can have some idea of the temperature swings.  I think I need a book or two on how to use a root cellar.  It is about 10 ft x 10 feet and about 4.5 feet down into the ground with rock walls on all four sides.  It needs some concrete filler around some rocks.  A later project, one that needs to be ready before the apocalypse.

New barn lantern, and empty area waiting for hay.

Hay stacked in walkway so it can be used first.


I went out and did battle with the Chicken Butler.  The whole point of buying the damn thing was to protect my chickens and more importantly make them low maintenance.  It is not low maintenance if I am having to repair the thing every two months.  The string gets tight and the motor has to be removed, allowing the string to stretch out.  I tried to put the door on a straight timer for opening and closing.  No go, it would not operate correctly with that configuration, despite the instructions saying otherwise.  It works again.  I wire tied all the loose wires down and the plugs are tied in so the chickens cannot unplug them easily.  Hopefully, it will go at least three months before I have to do anything again.  I cleaned out all the nest boxes.  I threw out all the eggshells and bedding and filled the nest boxes back up with fresh bedding.  I am at least hoping we can tell how many eggs are getting eaten a day. 


My luck is holding out, after dinner Annmarie went out to lock the sheep up.  My mother-in-law called to say that a stray dog had went onto her front porch and killed a cat.  So Annmarie wanted the sheep locked up to keep them safe.  She happened to look over at the chicken coop and found all the chickens trapped outside the coop.  The Chicken Butler had closed already.  She had to put 48 chickens into the coop one at a time.  I obviously need to reset the timers for my door and the light.   Annmarie told me that the light was not working.  The lack of light could be the reason I am not getting very many eggs.  The light problem will have to be fixed in the morning. 

Our sheep.

The ram pasture, it is no wonder the sheep are in heaven.