Saturday, May 3, 2014

much to do

It's overcast and - sorry! - all these pictures are murky. Could we pretend this is a deliberate artistic attempt to create an atmospheric experience for you, the reader? 
Thanks for playing along!

Piper and I just got home from a little walk in one of our new favorite places. You've seen it before; the woods road that runs between a wetland and a stream. Here's the wetland, on the east side of the road. That conical structure way out in the water is a beaver lodge:

Lots of rain lately...every time we've gone to this spot, the wetland has been draining across the road before falling into the stream:

Piper thinks this is a huge improvement.
If a dirt road is good, a dirt road under water can only be better!

She runs on ahead, while I putter around taking pictures of things like this birch:

and these ferns:

until Piper comes racing back to see what's keeping me so long.

I was dull company for Piper today. I'm tired. Really tired.

The builder I hired back in January called; he plans to come next week to build another little goat barn in the upper paddock. This is great news! But before he gets here, I must prep the site as much as I possibly can.

It's a lot of work. I must dismantle the two bungalows completely, and move all the pieces to...somewhere. Remember when my crew built the second bungalow last Autumn?

Both bungalows did a great job this winter.
Better than I could have expected, given the snow.
And the snow, and the snow, and the snow.

But the new little goat shed will be replacing the bungalows, so they must be removed.

Once I got started, it was clear there would be peripheral tasks such as dragging/dancing numerous 16' wibbly-wobbly stock panels through undergrowth and rocks into another pen, and rerouting some of the existing fenceline.
Pulling out fenceposts. Whacking in fenceposts.
Much got done yesterday.
It was a long day.
One bungalow is gone. Several stock panels have been moved to another paddock. The goats now have access to a little lean-to, which is a good dry spot to feed hay. The new fencework is functional, if not pretty.

I don't want to totally remove the second bungalow until the day before the builder is coming (he said Tuesday or Wednesday), but I may take half of it down this weekend because it's going to take hours. The stuff I build may look like it's held together with hope and duct tape, but I'm often surprised at how hard it is to un-build. Maybe it's the sheer volume of hope and duct tape? I don't know.

Another big necessary task: cleaning out the thick, dense mat of decomposing hay that has accumulated all around the bungalows and in the pen during this past winter. The builders need to start with bare ground to have even a prayer of getting a 10x20' building level in this paddock.

All the hay and muck will end up in the lower garden as excellent mulch, but getting it there is going to be truly difficult. I may end up forking most of it into a big pile this weekend to get it out of the builders' way, and then moving it gradually, a few trugs at a time, over the next few weeks. The daily trug-to-gardens method is how I've been keeping the barn clean all winter, but I couldn't do that in the paddock, because of the deep snow. So the top layer of hay where the goats were sleeping was always fresh and dry, but underneath and in the pen was a growing layer of interwoven mucky hay. I talked to one goatkeeper who had to use an axe to cut into the mat of accumulated bedding in his goat shed this winter. Mine isn't that bad, but it isn't going to be fun. That stuff is heavy.

Gosh, I had planned to take it easy today to give my muscles a chance to recuperate before spending another long day tomorrow. But now that I'm describing what needs to be done, it's making me a little anxious about getting the site ready in time. I suppose I should either stop writing about this, or get up and do some work. I wonder which it will be.

Piper's right here on the porch. I'll see what she thinks.

It's your call.
But whatever you decide, would you keep it down?
I definitely choose recuperating!


  1. We have had a beautiful Spring day with sunshine and the temperatures in the 70's. You couldn't have asked for any better of a day. I am trying to catch up with my friends tonight. I have enjoyed reading your blog and seeing your pictures. Have a wonderful day and there is always things to be done on the farm regardless of the animals that you raise. Hugs and Prayers from Your Missouri Friend.

  2. You sure put in some hours and some effort m'dear ... you are an inspiration, though you may not know it. Hope you get to recuperate today.

  3. sweet girl, she looks just like my dog today after a long walk in the woods.

  4. Oh Quinn, how I understand bone tired weariness; you have my deepest sympathy! I feel strange admitting this but I'm not sorry I gave the sheep and alpacas away. I miss them, to be sure, but knowing they have a good home makes a hard decision much easier. I hope you get your work accomplished so you're able to take advantage of your help; Good help is SO hard to come by, you need to be ready, regardless.
    Truly, I sympathize!

  5. My dogs would agree that a flooded dirt road is waaay better than a dry dirt road!

    That does sound like a lot of work. But recuperation is important, as Piper is clearly telling you. I hope the job is easier than you predict!

    It sure is nice to see your signs of spring.

  6. HaHa, that Piper is too funny! Looks like the little princess needs her rest. And I love the picture of her running through the water.


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