Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter sets in at the Farm

I'll just come right on out and say it--this weekend was miserable.

Now, I'll be the first to say it could have been a lot worse, and we've definitely had a lot worse. I know I'm a big wuss when it comes to cold weather. The Almighty played a cruel joke on me when He gave me no coping mechanism for cold weather, and yet zero melatonin in my skin to enjoy the warmer climates. It's a conundrum I've dealt with all my life.

Ah, there it is--hear that? The world's smallest violin? It's playing for me.

So, I decided to turn these frozen lemons into limoncello and use the cold as an excuse to stay inside, close to a heater, and clean the mountain of old, abused, and worn tack I have from ages and ages ago. I'm happy to report I got it all sorted through. I threw out anything that wasn't still safe and usable, and I cleaned everything that was left, keeping some items for myself and posting the rest for sale.

Then I bundled back up in my seventeen layers of clothing, headed back outside to feed last night and took my camera with me.

The boys are in a pen closest to the room in the old barn where I store the grain. They were hungry fellas, too. Much like me, the horses get hungry and cranky in cold weather.



The barn kitties are wondering where their food is, too!

I feed the kitties up in the old barn. There's not much left of this relic, but it's where the kitties currently reside, until it's time to tear the old thing down, anyway. For the time being, the kitties come to the window where the hay loft is, meow down at me, and demand to be fed immediately

This is Milton's momma:

And his sister (who still won't let me touch her, although her momma has been somewhat tamed:

For the first several years that my dad had this place, I tried to save this neat old barn. I worked really hard one summer to remove the dilapidated lean-to on its side, to keep it from being pulled down, but I just couldn't keep up with it. It's now terminally irreparable, so in the next couple of years it will be torn/burned down.

It's kind of sad, but I can say I did try. It was just too far gone and I was fighting a losing battle. I should be able to get a second shelter up this summer, and then board off this old barn, remove everything out of it and prepare it for its demise. One day (in my five-year plan for this place), it will be replaced by a large barn with an indoor roundpen, a few stalls and a hot-water wash rack.

Friday afternoon the farmer who leases the irrigated circle brought his cattle over, and Sophie has been beside herself ever since.

The horses have gotten over it, but Sophie is still bound and determined to let those big black beasts know this is her place.

Of course, I also got the girls fed and all tucked in for the night. Paula and Bambi were all snuggled up in their turnouts.

Unfortunately I still have yet to talk Betty into wearing her blanket.

By the way, that's what I'm calling "Itty Bitty" now--Betty. It's faster, still sounds like her old name, and is also the name of my ex-grandmother-in-law, who is one of the most amazing, sweetest, kindest people I have ever met. It is also the name of my great-aunt, who has also been very kind and sweet to me my entire life. With knowing so many sweet woman named Betty, it seems only fitting that this very sweet girl be called that as well.

Betty hasn't been handled a lot and I wanted to give her a chance to settle in, so although I do have a blanket for her, I'm not risking putting it on her yet. I plan on working with her over the next few weeks, weather permitting, now that she's settled in and knows who brings the food.

Since I was outside with my camera anyway, I thought I'd take a few pictures of the projects going on at the farm.

Here's the backyard light, all ready to be hooked up. There will be a line also ran from this pole to the shelter, eventually, so I can keep the horses under lights until I can get the big barn built.

This area was a complete jungle when I moved in. It's changed so much. Before, you could hardly walk through it. Now it's almost all cleaned up. I've just got to cut down about ten thousand volunteer sapplings in the corners.

Just ten thousand--that's all!

Then, I'm doing some landscaping. I'm going to build a wall up, then steps down, rather than having the slope that erodes every bit of grass, but none of the weeds or volunteer trees (funny how that works, huh?). I need materials for the wall, and rather than buy landscaping bricks, I'm going to use the bricks from the old hog shed that's hidden in the tree row (and had fallen down long before Dad ever moved here).

The house itself is also coming along, slowly but surely.

The new top has been sided.

And the overhang on the roof is now halfway done. You can see the old stuff (on the left) compared to the new trim (on the right).

By the time the house is done, all that electrical scary-looking stuff will be underground.

The underside of the overhang is finished on the back of the house, and is finished, except for painting, on the North side.

That vent will be gone soon, too. As will be the avocado-green siding.

It's really been fun, seeing the house progress, even as much of a headache it is to live in it and all the problems associated with renovating a 120-year old house. I know in the end it will all be worth it.

I had never planned on living here permanently--this has always been someone else's house to me, but this past year has been really lovely here. As the days go by and I get to make more and more decisions about the future of this place, and as I get to see how it's changing to suit the needs of me and my menagerie, I've come to realize one very important thing:

This is home.


Kate said...

It looks like home - everyone seems happy and comfortable.

Good job with the tack sorting - I need to get to that myself one day . . .

Jessie McCandless said...

Oh Kate, it's only taken me five years to sort through that old mess of tack LOL! I've hauled that plastic container around with me everywhere for ages. All that's left to clean how is the harness, and then I need to find a good storage case for it.

Thank you, too. I think we're all pretty happy here. :)

Sydney_bitless said...

The place looks to be coming together nicely.
If your selling a harness I know someone who might pick it up depending on what kind/size.

Nicole said...

They actually have Extreme Home Make-overs of sorts for old barns to restore them back to their beautifulness.

Jessie McCandless said...

Thanks, Sydney. I think I might try to keep my harnes. It fits my gray mare and I'd like to learn how to drive her :) Thanks, anyway!!

Jessie McCandless said...

Do they really, Nicole? I think I'd be seriously addicted to a show like that!!

Krazy Cindy said...

In Iowa I know they have a foundation to provide grants for restoring historical barns. Wonder if there is something like that for KS?

Isn't it great to see the house progress and know that YOU are the one making things happen? I certainly miss my home and being able to make those decisions :-(

I'm also more of a wimp when it comes to cold than I used to be, especially after last winter. I really should've found a job down South (well, I did, two of them actually, but both didn't get back to me until I'd been at my current job for a couple months already!).

OK, enough scrambled thoughts from my brain today. Keep blogging and I'll keep reading ;-)

CCC said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
CCC said...

There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home. I can see why this is becoming one for you. I love it.

Jessie McCandless said...

Cindy, it's something worth checking into! I'll let you know if I do stumble on such a grant. It would be nice! There is a historic house on the place, too, that it would be wonderful to get a grant for and restore. It's definitely an important landmark. I don't know of any other one-room houses remaining in the county.

I do love seeing the house progress. Right now I am fighting to keep my hardwood floors. I know it's easier to rip them up but everyone else in the family wants me to rip them up. We'll see.... Plaster on the second floor is coming out today, though. Yippee!!!

Jessie McCandless said...

Thanks so much, CCC! It really is becoming part of me, and like me, it still needs a lot of work LOL