There has been many of us Farm Gals talking amongst ourselves about the fact that we do a major cleaning and prep work at this time of year and it has nothing to do with company coming for the holidays. Seriously when is Thanksgiving?? For those who do not live the country life most might not know that our work load is all consuming but during the fall we are always trying to second guess Mother Nature and wishing that the weather guesser might get it right for once.
This week for me I have been on the rush because winter is coming and the farm has to be ready. So I have been up before the chickens and eeking into bed when this gal has lost all strength and energy. Each day I know that others are on this hectic pace right alone with me. It brings me strength and the needed kick in the butt. Here is just a taste of what this old gal has been up to like so many others.
Monday while dealing with the fact that my winter hay was sold out from under me I was scrambling to find a new supply while knowing that the work outside was screaming for my attention. First I gave thanks that I found a supply of hay and that it was going to be delivered today - THANK YOU! This meant I had to run two dozen pallets the length of my farm to have them in place for now these huge bales being delivered. The pallets where ready for the small bales in the barns but now feeding routines have been thrown to the wind. After doing that I caulked all the cracks in the chicken coop that I marked when the last snow storm showed up early. I also taped the outlets and strung all the extension cords in the barns. I raked out the small barn as to give llama boy a safe place out of the storms and checked all the medical supplies and made note of what was needed - not much. Then I moved all the extra 10 foot panels to their winter location so they would be ready for quick retrieval if needed. By this time it is now 4 pm and the huge hay is delivered - Oh my Gosh how in the heck I am going to feed this?? I gave thanks that I have a food source for my sweet one's and I will deal with this in good time. Then into the house and on to the business of my fiber business. Bed at 11 pm and out before my head hit the pillow.
Tuesday was fiber business work - washing a couple of fleeces, have a dye pot going and then trying to get products labeled and shelved. I dealt with small projects that nag at me but I know will not get done unless I get my butt in gear. Then there was the phone calls, letter writing, computer work (the part of my work I really do not like) and all the other things that life requires. Wished I could have been outside working but the wind would not let up... As for figuring out the Big Bales. Here is Graceful Grace - I took the wire cutters with me early to feed. I was standing in front of the bale and with all my might finally got one by one the wires cut but without thinking as I cut the last the compressed 1500 pounds of hay sprung forward and Grace flew on her back with a a third of the hay on top of me. Boy was that stupid!! Wind knocked out of me and laying there with the knowledge that this is really going to hurt in about four hours... So this was not the best way - live and learn. Went about the chores and into the house. I am going to be black and blue and hurt all over but heck I have hay!!! No time to whine tomorrow the work will still be there.
Wednesday I was again up with the chickens and today is tearing down the crappy garden fence that the previous owners put up. Over the years I have hated it every time I looked out the kitchen window or walked by it on the way to chores. It was falling down and a mess so with shovel and hammer in hand I went to take it apart. It was a great release of anger and disappointment over recent events in my life - better and cheaper then therapy. Three hours later I have stacks of crappy wood to remove - that part has not happened yet. Then I was off to collect all the winter feeding bins and water containers. A hard scrubbing and then gathering my strength to carry them or drag them into their locals for hopefully ease access. I say that with tongue and cheek because that all depends on the storms we get, which direction the drifts land and if the high winds do not decide to deposit them to the farthest reaches of my pastures... I also decided while in the goat girls barn to clip the poopie butts of the bottle kids and since I had the scissors in my hands it would be a great time to get the three wild girls clipped. Not an easy task when it is just me. Imagine catching a bucking bronco by the sharp horns, pull it to the corner of the catch pen I constructed, convince her to breath and let me lean on her and then quickly go to work with my scissor to remove the tags and felted lockets that can not be used. Once I get started they usually calm down but you never let you guard down - that is how you can get hurt or you could cut the animal. There goes another four hours and standing bent over for that long was the end of me after the hay accident. I cleaned up the unusable fleece, bagged it and slowly walked it down to the road trash cans. Got the mail and started back to the house - with each step my body was complaining but my heart and spirit was high because I knew I put in a good day's work..
Thursday as my body was not thrilled to hear that outside work was on the schedule again I had a strong cup of coffee and out the door I went. Today's list is taking all the logs, metal drums and what I call play equipment for the big goat boys out of their spring/summer digs and move it to their winter digs. This will keep them focused on playing with those items and not taking their homes apart or worse each other. Just think of it like this - 20 energetic young boys stuck inside because school is cancelled, the weather is to bad to play outside - you know what that is like, none stop chaos and destruction. I then took my can of fencing nails and walked the whole farm fixing what needed to be fixed so when the drifts hit I wont have to be worried that animals could get out. Next came rewiring gates because the two year old billies got a wild hair up the butts and started fighting with the gate - silly billies. As I was wagging my finger at the boys for causing me much work I notice one was pawing on the ground. I went over and there was something shining back up at me. Between the two of us we dug a bit more and it was metal - metal what?? So off to get a shovel. Now like a dog with a bone I had to get it up. Two hours later and I can not tell you how much hard work I got it out - it was a 10 foot gate.. Now how in the heck did that get 6 inch's down in the grass and dirt - how long has it been there - too tired to question that now I have to drag it the length of the farm to the winter housing.
Now I was going to be racing against the sun - I raked 2 dozen wheel barrels full of llama beans and distributed it to the pine trees for winter feeding and filling in the holes that my sweet dogs dig. Nothing worse the walking and twisting an ankle - or even worse getting my snowshoe caught and I take a face plant into the snow... As the sun is now down it is time to get in the house and peel off the smelly, dirty clothes. Boy does the shower feel great..
So here it is Friday and the wind has been howling again.... Not sure when or if it will settle but as I look around the farm and know I am almost ready for the next big storm. Now I hope you do not think I am complaining - it is anything but - this week has been fantastic in my mind, body (even with it's black and blue marks) and more over my soul. A real feel of purpose and drive is within me during my work outside. For every minute I spend getting ready means the ability to handle what Mother Nature might throw at me. As anyone who lives in the country we can plan, work and prepare but every year we are thrown a new curve ball and we get through it and next year we add it to our list of things to know and do.
Good luck everyone with your Fall Cleaning