A Day In The Life: Tales From The Farm

At night, one of the barn dwellers (we suspect Nicole the calf) turned on the faucet flooding the gutters. Sarit and I spent about three hours shoveling water, wet hay and shit into about eight wheelbarrows before the gutters began to dry up.

Gutters prevent flooding and also serve to collect animal waste.

After lunch I fed the lambs, Squirt (#174), #508 and #55. Squirt’s mother rejected him and he has been bottle fed from birth. The other two lambs are fed for supplementary purposes. You can’t help but feel awe struck when these curly, white haired snowflakes recognize your shape and the sound of your voice and run up to the fence, “baaa, baaa, baaa.” Roughly translating to, “I know you ran out of formula and had to go to the store to get more because your delivery failed but I am so, so hungry!”  While #55 has a mother, he hasn’t gained much in size and this was his first time with a bottle. His initial alarm dissipated after a few drops of warm milk and he cooperated for about half the bottle. The rest went in the fridge to be used at next feeding.

Lambs reveling in the sunshine.

Weeding the hoop house was next on the list. There’s an actual list and we try to stick to it but that rarely works. I was thankful to have my gloves as I dug underneath grass stalks to pull out foot long white roots. I experimented with several weeding positions: bending from the back, on my knees, on my knees and elbows, bending from the knees, sitting on the edge of the wood foundation plank, and squatting while reaching over to rows further away.

Weeds from the hoop house.

Growing up in the hoop house.

After a few hours it was time to get the milk house organized. The milk house is where the food is prepared for the customers and the market. Freezers, styrofoam coolers, woven baskets, egg and strawberry cartons are just some of the things you’ll find. I went into the house before five to start dinner which gave me some time to do evening chores. What are chores, you ask?

Mix one cup lambs milk formula with two cups of lukewarm water. Reheat any leftover lamb milk from previous feeding. Combine and use a funnel to fill two bottles. Feed #508 and #174. Throw down two bales of first cut hay for the cows, four bales of second cut, rowan, for the sheep, a couple of flakes for Michael, the horse, if he’s staying in and a third of a bale for the sheep indoors. Get ready two buckets of grain for the sheep outside, a scoop for the sheep inside. Three scoops of grain and a bucket of water or milk for the pigs. Fill the water tub outside with the hose, two more buckets for the sheep and the lambs inside. Take the hose out of the outdoor tub, unscrew from the faucet. Fill the troughs with grain and water the chicks. One scoop of grain for the chickens on each side and milk or water in their watering tubs. Clean out the gutters where the cows shit.  Take the wheelbarrow out to the compost. Turn off the lights. Roll down the plastic in the hoophouse.You’re done!

I usually seriously consider taking a shower before dinner but that most often turns into after dinner, which then becomes the following morning. Before I know it, falling asleep at 8:48PM seems like the best thing to do next.

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