Friday, December 28, 2012

Winter, Chickens and No Juice

Without my classy "big strong barn"  (I like to call it) winter would be much more scary.  I've been getting up in the night, which I would do any way, to stoke the stove.  Somehow I let it go out last night and there's no kindling to get it going again  this morning.   The wood I bought from Steve Nelson is well seasoned but the logs are big and need to be split.  Luckily, Loren is coming over to help me tote wood inside and split some for kindling.   The wood was dropped off, quite accidentally, on the wrong side of the barn, on the uphill snow-drifted side, not the south side on the driveway where I could have stacked it below the steps, making it much easier to get at.  An enthusiastic student who was doing chores for me while I was at work and stacked it in the corner of the silo on the north side where it is now covered in a mountain of snow.   Matt is off to work in Syracuse and can't help get wood in this morning.  He buys wood scraps from a cabinet maker on route 20 which make excellent kindling and will bring some home tonight.  Sure, I have electric baseboard back up but it is prohibitively expensive to use.  I like heating with wood.  The smell is divine and the intensity of the warmth is wonderful.   I left the oven on to heat up that side of the apartment but the electric went out in the kitchen last night.   Our electric service needs a complete overhaul, which Matt is able to do but he has to find the time.  I made our coffee in the bath room, which, thankfully, has electric this morning.  Life  in an old barn presents challenges.  I am loving my days off this Christmas break like I can't tell you.  I hope I have electric in the milk room because I need the water pump to take care of the animals.  I'm asking Loren to secure the chicken room so the chickens can't escape.   The chicken situation is out of control.  I have had six men work on that room and not one has adequately fixed it to hold chickens or keep them in a sensible fashion.   The chicken room was formerly a "calf room" where new born bull calves were kept so their mother's milk could be taken for sale.  I made it a chicken room.  There are nooks and crannies were chickens can go to lay their eggs so I can't get to them.  I have tried for years to get someone to plug up those areas but no deal.  I can cut up and sew fabric, but I am lousy with a hammer and nails.   Chickens escape and get into the milk room where they roost over the stove and poop all over it.  Today I will scrape it off, clean the stove top, and pray the burners are not ruined.  I asked Matt  to find me some sheet metal so I can fashion a rooster killing device.  Wringing their necks is not acceptable to me as it is not humane and they often wake up and fly away.  If I can make a cone to drop them in I can cut off their heads and feed the warm blood to the cats and dogs.  We'll see how THAT goes.   Knut is living in the barn and he got into some fleeces yesterday and tore them up.   I desperately need a fleece closet to put them in until I can get them picked and washed.  Hopefully Loren will help with that.  The old grain room in the upper mow, a safe place one would think, is buggy.  I found that out the hard way.  Fleeces do better when they are left out in the light with the bags open.   I've kept fleeces for years that way.  

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