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I am a 50+ yr old stay at home wife of a scientist/Military man.  I raise chickens for eggs, rescue dogs & cats & spoil them all.  I am a silver/metal smith & stained glass artist.  I, at one time was an secondary art teacher & Social Studies teacher.  I am sorta a eclectic earth mother who recycles everything I can get my hands on.  Enjoy working with power tools & even built my own 10ft by 6ft chicken coop.  am pretty much interested in learning everything I can thur books, magazines & friends. I enjoy veggie gardening & doing gardens just for the chickens. I also sew & love making pioneer style comfortable clothes for myself & adding vintage lace when I can find it. I am pretty easygoing, but need my coffee first before I am ready to face the world & day.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bits & Pieces part 2

Good Morning it is now 3 a.m. & I can not sleep...its been this way since I got home so decided it was the perfect time to write.  I decided to title my farm adventures as 'Bits& Pieces' so you will always know when I am doing a story on the farm instead of rambling on about something else.


                                                            Little Peeps 2012


Since you got to see a bit of the farm but not close up I thought this would be the perfect time to show you all the stuff on the farm I was dealing with.  I never knew so much junk & trash could be on one farm & why no one ever took care of it.  Now the old owners Em & Ted had the farm for over 30 years starting in 1971.  They raised 5 kids there, 300 milk cows, rabbits & chickens & kept the farm up pretty good.  Back then they had an area of the farm for the big trash stuff like stoves, frigs ect so it was in one area, but after they sold it no one seemed to care about the farm. 

My friend bought it 3 years ago or so & inherited all the trash & junk in all the barns, fields & out buildings.  It seemed I spent until the snows just bagging up trash, sorting through stuff to see what could be re-used or recycled.  In about 1 months time I filled 30+ large trash bags with just stuff that needed to go to the dump.  Plus sorted enough stuff to take care of 2 farms in PVC pipes, water metal pipes, metal sheet roofing & tons of small parts like pipe joints, screws, bolts, electrical components , wires & so on.  Then had to figure out where they needed to all go since there was no certain area in a barn for all this & it was in every place I looked & worked.


 
Lots of piles like this near every barn on the farm I had to deal with & clean up...this pile actually went 12 feet out towards the road with old metal roof sheeting, old spring mattress rotted, tarps buried in the dirt, heavy old parts to farm equipment & lots of oil containers.


I literally had enough stuff to open up a shop with all the stuff I found buried under other stuff & trash.  One barn I called the loft barn behind the main house was the only barn with electricity besides the Milk barn & a good place to set up a Pipe shop & a wood/lumber shop.  The loft barn had at one time 2 rooms added on to it that were more like pole barn rooms with one having 3 walls & open to the outside & the other 2 walls & 2 sides open to the outside.  but each had lights for working & the one room I wanted to make into the wood/lumber shop had plug-ins so power tools could be used in there.  If I had had the time I would have put plug-ins in the area for the pipe shop.



   Very bad picture but this is the upstairs to the loft barn & just horrible


The biggest  thing was figuring out what to do first when so many things were screaming at me to do them first.  So to make it easier on myself body wise I decided to do one project for a few hours then go do something different so I would not get burnt out or wear myself out.  I realized very soon that my back & shoulder could not do a full days work if I did the same thing all day so this was a big help to me.  Now being in my 50's I knew with some of the old injures & would be flat on my back if I didn't think things through & work at a slower pace.  I still had days I was so sore when I woke up, I had to take the day off & just tend to the kids & recover......OK I admit I had lots of those days!


part of wood/lumber shop with so much junk on the shelves.....I brought my table saw so that's what you see covers in the right hand corner.


My friend would never tell me what she wanted done but would say 'just use your judgment' so that made it hard for me to decide what would work best for her & the farm.  I wrote 2-3 letters a month to her asking her what she wanted done, what I was doing & if that was alright with her.  Bad thing is she never replied & when I saw her she never said anything about what I had done to the farm...So for me it was about getting the farm set up in the best way that would work for anyone who lived there & to get it cleaned up.


         Junk & mess in the pipe shop area


Since I got there so late in the Fall I had to wait til the Spring when the weeds had died, some were over my head & I am 5'5" to see some of the junk I had missed seeing when I first got there.  Weed blinders were sort of nice once I saw all that I had to deal with.  Where I thought there was open pasture turned out to be nearly 4000 tires that had been used for the covering & weighting the plastic over silage. Needless to say they didn't get dealt with cause my friend  couldn't figure out what she wanted done with them & I was not going to move that many tires to a place & then her decided she wanted them somewhere else. But they drove me crazy not being able to do anything about them.


This is part of the pipe shop area that as you can see even though I have 5 gallon buckets of stuff cleaned up it was also a area where you could not see the floor


I did use nearly 60 of them for one of my gardens when I couldn't get anyone to till up the area I wanted for a garden out back of the trailer.  since there was a wonderful front loader there I was able to go out & get 11 tires at a time & bring them back to where I wanted them. That front loader because my very best friend while I was there & I would not have been able to do as much as I did without it.  That ole girl moved hay, composting manure, pallets, bags of trash, more metal than I can image, tore down a building & hauled scrap wood & lumber & never gave me a lick of trouble. I was sad to leave her that's for sure!


This is the part of the room I wanted to do the wood/lumber shop in & though I had started on it you still couldn't see the floor at this time.


Now you'll have to forgive me if I jump around, the 8 journals I wrote are still not unpacked so I may wonder a bit with the stories.  Most everything I did was over a period of weeks & months so you may hear about them again as I write other things.  Very little was accomplished in a few days except for the setting up the coop for the kids in the barn stall everything else was done in bits & pieces as I went along. 

Bad days of rain or cold I would try to work inside the barns or say forget it & stay in the trailer & write letters to my MaryJane hens. I could only shovel & dig out years of dried cement like manure from the stalls before I say enough.  Now I did use that wonderful composting manure once I got it broken up & in the front loader for my gardens this spring.  I will tell you the raised bed I made that was 18 feet by 9 feet was all composting manure & composting hay/straw & the herbs, carrots, spinach, purslane & radishes went nuts in it.  One of the best gardens I have ever had.

My camera did not work well in any of the dark rooms so I was never able to really get good pictures of some of the stuff, or I would forget to take my camera to record the messes in some of the places.  but as you can see some were pretty bad & some I was starting to work on when I remembered to take a picture.  I was much happier taking pictures of the kids!

I'll tell you more about the raised bed & what I did to it in a later blog as it was quite the chore to get it done.

Ok I am tired so I think this will have to do for now, I'm sure since its near 4 a.m. I should go to bed.  Don't ya think?!

Have a great chicken day,

M' & Crew

 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Just bits & Pieces

Good Evening everyone!

there is so much I want to write about but decided first you need to see where I was in New York.  so this will be mainly pictures of the Farm where I spent just over 12 months.

 
Moving in day to the 1 bedroom trailer that would be my home while here, the kitchen table was set up so that I could look at the mountains you see every morning while I drank my coffee & woke up.
 
 
 
 
the Farm was sorta divided in half by the road so I was on one side with only a barn within 50 feet & a tractor shop just down the way.  On the other side was the main farm that had the milk barn, Hay barn, a loft barn, cow barn & Main house.  The orange cones are where the cow alley way was for the cows who were in the pastures behind me to come to the main farm side to be milked each day. So I got to enjoy watching them come by each day & listen to them talk to each other.
 
part of the milk barn, it was huge with a small milking parlor as they call it up here
 
The property went way back past this barn behind my trailer & I never did get the time to go up & check out this old barn, but loved the view
 
This is the barn right next to me that the cows went through each day & it had a closed walled stall that I made into a chicken coop for my kids...aka chickens.  I brought the plastic greenhouse with me so they would have a place to hang out when it rained or snowed.  It didn't last the winter cause I did not know I would be battling winds so bad that everything would get torn up or blown away.  after one big storm I went out at 3 a.m. & found the greenhouse upside down on top of the doghouse & I am sure it would have blown into the pastures if not for the plastic netting I had up to keep away the hawks
I got there at the end of September 2012 & was pleased to see how everything was turning oranges & reds for the Fall.  The weather was wonderful so I was able to get quite a lot done outside before the 1st snow came.  The side of the barn that you can see was completely blocked with old grapevines, weeds & bush like weeds as well & took about 5 days of work to clear it so you could even see this side of the barn.
 I had no idea there was even an old broken barn door there until I got the grapevines off.  I ended up with a pile nearly 10 feet long & 3+ feet high of grapevines I cut & pulled from this side of the barn.  No one had messed with this barn in years so it was definitely a jungle as you can see.
 
It seemed that the whole farm was like this so I definitely did not have my work cut out for me!
 
but the 1st job was getting the kids settled & safe so I worked on the inside of the stall putting plastic up on the walls & floor, then laying out hay for bedding, egg laying areas, heat lamps that I knew they would need this winter because the wind shot through the barn plus found a great heavy old wood ladder that made the perfect perch for them that I set on top of hay bales.  The coop ended up being about 12 foot square inside so I was able to put two 55 gallon barrels of their feed in there plus extra hay bales that would stay dry to use through out the winter for them.  I had brought a lot of my 4 foot tall fencing from home so I was able to give them a good large run area that the greenhouse fit into plus a heavy duty doghouse & a good size gate.  I must say I was very happy to get them settled so they could run around & check everything out.  I was able to see them from the kitchen window & with them being so close it was nice to be able to get out there fast if I needed or just to tend to them.
 
I will try to get on here every week & down load more pictures since I seemed to take over 1000 while I was there so I have lots to share with you.  Yes most of them are of the kids but I did try to take some of the things I was working on.  I wanted to before I close share one last picture, its the last one I took before I left Oct 12th & the trees were near the end of their color changing & thought it was something I wanted to remember.
 
Until next time have a wonderful chicken day!
 
M' & crew

 
 
 
 
 


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

good evening everyone I am finally back to the real life as of sunday evening & not sure how I feel about it yet.....

there is so much to remember how to do...like how to operate the microwave & shutting off the T.V.....oh & dealing with overhead lights that I have not had in a year.  So once I get settled a bit I will write more & put in some pictures so you can see just what a year on the farm was like for me on a daily bases...I did soooo much grunt work that gave me lots of muscles but also lots of aches & pains......

So I will write soon until then have a great chicken day

M'