Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Keeping Cool...While Cleaning The Barn!

Fourteen loads like this!
 It's steamy hot here in Manitoba - with the Humidex +37 C (105 F or something close)!  Farmer Man decided today was the day to clean the barn.  We've got a tour of children coming tomorrow and we want to look spiffy, right? And smell spiffy.....We're a little behind in 'mucking' out the barn, like everything else!  Plus, in really hot weather the excess straw, the inevitable wasted hay mixed with spilled water and urine, will break down quickly and just get dank and 'yucky'.  There's a technical farm term for you: yucky.  Nobody wants a yucky barn!

Where's my nest?

 A little gab fest in the shade!
Like any kid: pigs love to run thru the sprinkler!
This is a job that will often take three to four hours.  In this heat it's going to take a lot longer because breaks are required every forty five minutes or so!  It's a hot, dusty, smelly job!  At least the barn, with the big doors open at east and west ends, has a decent breeze going through it!  The twins and the triplets are free-ranging right now and are surprisingly quiet, nestled into a shady corner of the barn.  The Mommas are in the pasture, Randi and Gaffer are in pens, waiting to get moved to the clean pen so we can clean out their pen.  Farmer Man is certainly peeving the Hens, who have been displaced from their favorite spots to lay eggs!

In the meantime, in the heat, the Momma goats are finding some shade behind the chicken coop, on the edge of one of the shelter belts of trees.  The Hens are under the trees in the most northern part of the shelter belt, just having a quiet gab.  The Berkshires are being spoiled; we're filling waterers frequently in this weather and when we're in their vicinity we turn the hose on them, which they love!  Took a few tries for them to get used to it, but now they come a running!  That water also helps to replenish their wallow: rolling in mud is a natural instinct for them in hot weather!

In the meantime, as Farmer Man rakes out each pen and loads the debris in the tractor, I come along behind raking and sweeping the bits.  Each pen will be given a good half hour to dry out a bit, then I sprinkle a mixture of baking soda with a good dose of lavender essential oil, which I mixed a few days ago.  This will not only freshen the pen, but will help repel insects. First, though, I shooed the barn cats away because lavender essential oil is not good for them.  Then a clean, fresh bale of straw will be broken into each pen, perhaps two in the larger Momma pen.  We've been waiting on fresh straw from June's cut, because our previous load of straw, from last fall's cut, was not really up to par.

Although we feel guilty for not weeding this is a task that had to be done, and with the fresh straw available now was the time!  We're looking forward to tonight's task....shovelling out the chicken coop!


  1. It's been extremely hot in Tennessee too. Yesterday and today are the first days under 100F in a good while.

    We had a baby bird hanging out on our porch for over 24 hours just resting in the shade. The mom and day were protecting it and encouraging it to fly but it took us to get close enough to it before it finally flew off.

    We just wanted to make sure it wasn't injured and that's why we let it rest in the shade for so long.

    1. Hi, Jeff; As long as Mom and Dad are around, it's better not to interfere with wild animals, I think! You did the right thing! Fun to get such nature 'points', isn't it!

  2. oh my goodness it is hot there. We've got some hot weather too but not nearly so bad. I'm hardly going in the yard right now and when I do the work is just so slow. Can't imagine still trying to keep up with a farm in this heat. Love the shot of the pigs enjoying their bath. I wanted to ask a question, when you take salad greens to the farmers market how do you keep them from wilting? It seems whenever I pick greens they're okay for a day but overnight they just wilt to nothing.

    1. All our greens get dumped in cool water in the shade as soon as we bring them up from harvest. Then, things we bundle we stand the cut ends in water (like arugula and chard), lettuce/salad mixes we put through a spinner then bag and get refrigerated or on ice in a cooler asap! Usually soaking them a bit in ice water revives them nicely - dry well before enjoying!