I have been fortunate enough to be able to take a few weeks off of work and regain my sanity. I am going to use my new favorite term “Forever Friday” to celebrate my autonomy (while still collecting a paycheck!). I spent Friday starting to clean out the barn. Those clamp on manure forks I got for the tractor to clean up the flood damage are coming in incredibly handy to actually clean up manure! The forks will go into the manure and allow me to pick it up with the bucket. The best part is they clamp on and off so when I start to get a muddy floor that really needs a straight bucket to scoop up, I just dump the forks for a 2-4 bucket loads then put them back on. This keeps me from having to drive around in the mud. I spent five hours cleaning up the barn so far. It usually takes about 40 hours to empty and about 30 more hours to move the manure piles away from the barn. Now I am able to scoop and drive directly out to the manure compost pile. My hope is to let the pile compost for one year then put it in the new manure spreader and get it on the fields. The current problem with that is I have a frozen shaft on the manure spreader. I have tried multiple lubricants on it with no success. I am going to heat it up with a torch next and see if I can get it break loose. I am hoping to only spend 40 hours total on the barn this year and to minimize the amount of hand work that has to be done.
Yesterday, I started getting hay in for the winter. I purchased six ton for the sheep and horses. I pooled my resources with a friend and we made two trips. The first load came to my house and we loaded it into the barn and got it all ready! The seller sent their son with us to help unload and it was glorious. We spent all day getting our four loads. I made sure and put bales in the back of the pickup to add some weight so the pickup would not get jerked around by the trailer. This worked very well and I had no trailer swerving on either load. I just need to get the large bales now. I will do that after I get the barn dug out. After the barn clean out and hay pickup I will be fixing the barn lot fence and bridge. I am keeping my list short and focusing on a couple of things only to ensure I can get them all done on my time off.
Annmarie has been working on getting our alpaca fleece fiber cleaned out. She has discovered two pieces of equipment she would like to make this an easier prospect. The bingo cage like apparatus is my favorite so far. I will be building this in the near future. I am just trying to figure out where to store it when its not in use. We are going to send the fiber out to a mill to be converted into yarn for us.