Country Living Series

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cleaning the $#@^%& barn

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!"


  1. My husband says the next barn he builds will have doors big enough to drive the tractor in with the manure fork on it. Wet muck weighs a ton!

    Our Naomi had her calf last night...after midnight, of course, in the farthest corner of the pasture from the barn...

  2. My husband has said the same thing - must be a "guy" thing since (in my case) I'm the only one who cleans the barn...

    Congrats on Naomi having her calf. We're *still* waiting on Matilda!

    - Patrice

  3. OMG you made me tired. You are one hard working woman. God Bless.

    SEe Ya

  4. Poor Matilda...her bag looks sore. Wish I had a milk cow for us people, all of ours are beef cows and we start calving anyday. Enjoyed your post!