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June 28, 2012: Just Another Day

It often surprises me that there’s so much to be done around here. After all, we only have 2.5 acres. And we’ve purposely let some of it go untended. But days like today make me wonder – how do people with 5, 10, 15, 3,000 acres deal?

A rundown of today, a typical day, follows:
At midmorning, Pete and I went our separate ways – he to get a load of hay, and me to split wood. I figured that my job would be easier than his because it wouldn’t involve as much physical labor. I’d use the log splitter. (We’d recently bought a share of the machine.) Operating it is a simple matter. You put a log on the machine, move a lever, and a gas engine powers a hydraulic maul that splits it. Then said person tosses the split pieces into the woodshed, where it’s neatly stacked. This is far easier than splitting the wood with a hand-held axe. I’ve tried this, and am not good at it. I don’t put enough umph into my swing because I’m afraid that I might miss the log and slice my foot open.

So I put on my gloves and ear protector, and went at it. Pete returned just as the splitter ran out of gas.

There were 80 bales of fresh green hay stacked five high on our flatbed trailer. It occurred to me that he’d recently had the foresight to purchase new tires for it. This was a costly but wise idea—a full load of hay and a flat tire are a bad combination.

We agreed that because the sky was overcast, that we needed to make quick work of unloading the hay. Pete, using the drill bit, took the plywood off the shed door and set the pieces aside. (We’d put up the plywood over the doors and walls so that Hrimmi would be protected from the board and batten’s sharp edges.) Pete groaned – I then realized that as is often the case, that we’d been remiss in cleaning out the shed. He subsequently raked the moldy dregs onto a tarp and, I put it in muck buckets. Nothing goes to waste around here – I’ll use it for goat fodder and chicken bedding.

We then did what over the past eight years has become routine. I hopped up onto the trailer and handed Pete bales, and he stacked them in the shed. The older horses were enthusiastic onlookers – they know the full trailer means that they’ll soon have access to fresh hay. Younger Hrimmi got all excited. Of course, she had no idea what was up. All she knew was that something good was up.

As we unloaded, Pete gave me the rundown on his visit with John DePriest, who is a local hay farmer. And, we conversed about this particular batch of hay. It seemed a tad bit damp to me. But Pete believes that it will remain dry and mold free. If it does mold, it will have to be returned. We’ll then have to reload the trailer, take it back to Tiny Moose Farm, get another load, bring it home, and unload it. No fun.

We took a lunch break after unloading the hay. We’re going to be building a new hayshed, so Pete went to town to get the materials. And I resumed wood splitting. It was harder in the afternoon than in the morning because I’d spent the a.m. splitting the smaller rounds. And so, by the time Pete returned, my wrists and lower back were achy. But, I was pleased, for before me was the fruit of my efforts—a huge mound of split wood.

We unloaded the trailer, and then took on yet another necessary project. As we were loading hay, we decided that the shelter area needed to be cleaned out. In short order, we bucketed the old straw, removed the rubber mats, and cleaned out the surrounding area. Pete then scrubbed the mats with baking soda. In the meantime, I filled the wheelbarrow with gravel. I sprinkled baking soda in the stall itself before putting gravel down. The mats were then dragged back into the stall.

We finished this project at 8 p.m. Pete then suggested that we go for a ride. I, who never say no to such things, readily agreed that this was a good idea. We retrieved Siggi and Raudi, who were out on the lawn, grazing, and Signy, who was in the pen. Off we went, with Hrimmi and Jenna following behind. It had been raining, so the trails were slick. All the horses did just fine. Hrimmi is now creek confident, in fact so much so that she’ll stop midway across and play around a bit. She’s also now able to graze, and like her herd mates, now considers the trailside to be her smorgasbord.

We ended our ride at 10:15 p.m. Pete made dinner and I, after doing horse chores, pulled weeds in the lower garden. As I worked, I began thinking about tomorrow. Among other things, I’ll need to be turning the compost, which has begun to cool down . . .

Next: 203. 06/29/12: Why Not Affordable Health Care?