Well once a year, whether it needs it or not, I feel compelled to clean the barn.
It's not a terribly big space. Our weird outbuilding isn't the least bit barn-shaped. It's just long. It's divvied up into shop, hay storage, and barn. The "barn" consists of a single room plus two stalls.
I muck out Matilda's stall every day because I need a clean space to milk (when I'm milking, that is... -- which I'm not doing right now because we're still waiting for her to have her calf).
But it's the pending birth of this first calf of the year that compelled me to get off my lazy duff and clean the barn. We need a nice clean place for mamas and calves to get out of rain and wind.
It's strictly a wheelbarrow-and-pitchfork job and this time took me three days to complete.
Here I've started nearest the door and got the first four feet done.
Here Matilda is hanging out with Younger Daughter and a neighbor boy, watching me labor.
The barn floor is covered with a foot of compacted straw and manure. It's sheer hard work to lance it up, pitch it into the wheelbarrow, and trundle it around to our compost pile. This long mess is this winter's barn compost. In about two years it will be unbelievably beautiful stuff for the garden.
The chickens, of course, think the compost pile is put there specifically for their benefit.
After three days of picking away at it, I finally got the barn floor down to gravel.
Now spread some clean straw, and we're all ready for calves. And I'm ready for a shower.
Matilda says "Thanks!"