John Denver said "Life on the farm is kinda laid back." Maybe if we were farming full time instead of working full time and farming part time I wouldn't disagree with that statement so fervently.
It is the first weekend of summer and the first in many weeks that doesn't include rain. Jeremy and I got up ready to get chores done. The sheeps' stall under the pole barn hasn't been mucked out for many months. We usually try to do it every couple of months; but the cool, wet spring made the prospect of pitchforking drenched straw very unappealing. So it waited, until today.
Now there is roughly 8 inches of a lovely mixture of straw, sheep poo, sheep pee and water from rain-soak wool, was matted down. Time to warm up the tractor.
The tractor was left here by the previous owners. When we *inherited* it, it didn't run and the lifter for the bucket was broken. Fortunately we have a number of friends who know a bit about mechanics. It took more than a year, but the tractor runs and the bucket lifts. All we had to do today was charge the battery and re-inflate the front tires and she was ready to go.
For two and a half hours the process went like this:
- Jeremy took a few scrapes with the tractor
- We pitched until the bucket was full
- Jeremy drove the straw/poo/pee to the compost bin
- Start over
After the first hour my biceps were sore. Then my shoulders started to ache. By the end everything was numb. Now I'm heavily medicated with ibuprofen to prevent the pending pain.
Funny thing is that it all feels wonderful. We spend most of our time in front of the computer at work or on the phone or in meetings. We rarely get to use our bodies for what they were made for. So while I am tired and sore, I am also feeling energized and satisfied.
Here are some pictures that illustrate the undertaking.
Pole barn pre-mucking and after all the straw/poo/pee was removed
Compost bin before and after