Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Cleaning, Farm-Style

OK, things are finally back to normal (or as normal as they get around here, anyway) so I have a moment to post about our lazy, leisurely, relaxing Easter weekend.

Um... right.

First thing Saturday morning I met Dad in town to pick up the equipment from the rental place. I had to haul the bobcat since I had a receiver hitch on my truck.

If you've never hauled one of these things before, let me tell you, they are surprisingly heavy! I can completely see now why all construction vehicles are three-quarter or one-tons. My little half-ton was pretty lugged down by this monster!

So then I rearranged the horses so they'd be out of our way while we did the work. Eddie got the stall pen and the girls all got tossed in together.

They didn't seem to mind much.

Before I really get into what we did, I should explain a bit about this homestead. The place was one of the very first homesteads in the county, and the original one-room house is still on the place (now tucked way inside a larger outbuilding). We estimate the house that I now live in was built around 1880-1885 or so. I have a picture of it from 1891 and there are decent-sized trees around it. The Haleys were the first family to live here.

My family purchased the place from the Benentendi family about 15 years ago or so. That's when we first moved in: my dad, my sister, and I (18 years old at the time). Of course I moved out when I went to college and moved on, but I ended up moving to the place again while my husband was in the army and was forced to go back to training to change "jobs." After our divorce I moved out again, so this is the third time I've moved back here.

During that second stint here I had my horses here and did my best to build up a place for them, but in all honestly I realize now that I was totally in over my head with the horses and with life in general. Hinesight is definitely 20/20 so I am trying very hard not to make the same mistakes twice, hence this massive effort to get this place in order!

So now that you know there is a little method to our madness, I am proud to present the madness:

Our first task was to clean up the south side of the barn. This area has always been troublesome since the first day we moved in. The volunteer trees had firmly rooted themselves around some very old cattle panels long before we ever got here. You can imagine that 15 years later they are even worse. As they say, though, no time like the present!

You can see where my dad had a winch-truck come in and try to pull the panels/trees out of the ground but it didn't work very well.

Finally, between the bobcat, three chainsaws, four strong guys and a semi-truck (I'm not kidding there), they were finally able to dig out those old panels and tree stumps!

By the way, what is this? I come around the corner from working on the cattle pens (more on those later in this post) and I see three guys standing there watching the fourth work in the bobcat.

Of course, I was obligated by paternal law to rib my dad about that. He claimed he was "supervising."

Supervising is very important work.

So anyway, we got that area all cleaned up and it is fabulous! After we get the wood pile burned on that side I can move the fence up and the pen will be even larger. It's so nice to have an old area like that all cleaned up and usable again.

Speaking of cleaning up, the next project were the cattle pens. These old pens were no longer usable (or safe to use for horses in any case) and they had to go! Plus, the fences off my loafing shed will come into this area up to the water spigot directly in the middle of these.

While the guys were working on the south side of the barn I did my best to remove the tin (and accompanying nails), panels, wire, and get it all ready for the posts to be pulled out.

Actually, in this picture the posts were already pulled out, but eh, close enough. Just imagine posts, ok?

Dad and I ran to town to get one of the chainsaws repaired (broken chain--it happens) and pick up a pizza, but before he left he had to go grab a sledgehammer for the other guys to keep working at getting the fence out.

Dad with a sledgehammer. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

So they got to work and we ran our errands, got back and it looked entirely different (but in a very good way)!

Once we got the pile burned down the next day it looks even better now. The photo below is basically pointing right at where the loafing shed will soon go, facing the camera, with the pens coming out toward the camera as well. They will be nice, big pens, shaded, with shelter and a faucet at one end. I can't wait to get it all set up now!

By the way, there's a temporary fence up there now. I had to let the girls out. They insisted on it.

They can be quite demanding like that.

So after the cattle pens we had to clean up around the wood pile. This old irrigation system showed up shortly after I left--it was abandoned, so we hauled everything off and got the area all cleared for our pile of fire the next day.

Then we put our tools away, loaded up the machinery and thanked our helpers. Speaking of thanks, I owe my dad big time. This was a ton of work, not an insignificant amount of money, and his entire weekend off that he spent helping get this place in order. I appreciate it all so very much!

It was a lot of work but completely worth it. This place has so much potential.

We were all so exhausted at the end of Easter weekend.

Not sure why Sophie was as equally exhausted, but she seemed to share my sentiments!

1 comment:

Krazy Cindy said...

Could you send them on up to help me? Wow, could I ever use guys like that! :-)