Springtime on the farm is one of the busiest times of the year.
Harvest is busy, too. You’re racing the frosts and fall rains to get everything in without losing anything. And everything harvested needs to be processed in some way, so that the harvest is stored for the winter.
Harvests on our farm seem to be staggered, with the early vegetable crops starting as early as June.
We get our meat chickens in two batches, which spreads the work out a bit. But that means there are two chicken butchering days, usually in July and August.
The turkeys aren’t butchered until just before Thanksgiving. The pigs wait until last and are done sometime in October. Throughout the season, the garden is gradually harvested as well.
But spring seems to have a bit more of a crunch for time, because it all happens at once.
Our first batch of chicks arrived on the fifth of May. We picked up the piglets on the eighth. Then we had a little more than a week to till and plant the garden before the first market happened.
Thankfully, we had done some preparation work for the market back in March, so it was a bit easier this year. But there were other things to slow us down.
When we built our barn, we made sure we had two 4×8 doors at each end so we could drive a tractor straight through it when cleaning out the manure. Usually this makes the work so much lighter.
But this spring when Al went out to clean out the barn, he was unable to get traction right in front of the barn doors. There was a patch of ice about eight feet in diameter right where he needed traction the most.
That happened to be where we had stored our straw bales this winter. Storing them alone wouldn’t have created much of a problem but Schwartz, our dog, liked to sleep on straw. Not just any straw, it had to be fresh from a bale.
I don’t know how many bales he destroyed in his attempt to get comfortable. He even climbed up on top of the stack at one time and tried to sleep there.
It wasn’t as if he hadn’t anywhere else to sleep. I had put straw into a small house for him, but I don’t think he used it even once.
He preferred to sleep under the stars. He would nestle up against some bales and somehow work his way into the bale itself eventually destroying it in the process. If it snowed, he would start all over again. So, over the winter he ended up layering straw and snow right in front of our barn clean-out doors.
As things melted I had tried to move the straw out of the way, but because the chickens were now running out and about, they would just scratch through it all and put it back where it came from. So the ice stayed insulated from the heat of the sun.
We needed to clean the barn out before the chicks arrived so we could set up their brooder.
Of course with this delay, that wasn’t going to happen. So we ended up brooding them in the smaller turkey house and then moving them into the barn when they had outgrown the building.
It was a bit more to do at a very busy time of year but it has seemed to work out in the end.