Thursday, October 21, 2010

Farm Journal: Moving Day to Windshadow Dairy Farm

Soo guides the tractor with a load a hay to the Hay & Straw Barn

Ron and Soo have been gradually moving from Dancing Turtle Farm to their new Bangor place called Windshadow Dairy Farm.  I helped them on Thursday and Friday.

I hate moving.  All that packing, re-organizing, tossing, and heavy lifting is a real burden.  Kurt and I have moved eight times over our past 20 years of marriage. 

However, moving a farm with animals is a tremendous undertaking.  Of course, the Kleins have been working on the move every day for months.  And they did it all without a PERT chart. 

On Thursday I helped Soo with packing at the house by wrapping up and boxing wall hangings.  Then we loaded the truck with boxes of clothes and other house items.  We still had room in the truck and went down to the barn to pack some of the equipment like the honey maker, bee boxes, and and outdoor goat shelter. 

It's a good thing Soo is strong.  She can lift heavy and awkward things while I really strain and drag them along.  She wheeled a full dolly up the ramp to the truck and hopped on and off the truck several times to open or close the back door like a pro.  She could also pull the ramp that is attached to the truck almost without effort.   

Mike Sullen, the Kleins' new neighbor across the street from Windshadow—and the excavator of the property, had loaned them his blueberry farm truck.  Soo's expert driving between Kalamazoo and Bangor didn't escape the notice of the neighbors.  She was offered a job to drive the truck during blueberry season next summer!  Needless to say, she declined.  She'll continue her legal work and make delicious goat/water buffalo cheese at her new cheese plant.

Once the truck was loaded Soo and I stopped at Asiago's to buy some sandwiches.  Half an hour later we arrived at Windshadow and immediately tore into our sandwiches.  Well, Ron and I did.  It was 2 p.m. and we were both famished.  Sue gave up her sandwich to Ron because she ate power bars on the way to the farm.  They keep her going and seem to be sufficient for her during these busy moving days.

Hay & Straw Barn
We had to move the hay from the Equipment Barn to the Hay & Straw Barn, a white, covered structure that matches the animal and equipment barns only without sides.  ___ operated the ___(name of the machine) and we all stacked the hay.  Well, I didn't do so well with these heavy and awkward bales.  The trick to stacking hay is to criss-cross it so that it stays in place.  Then, getting the bale on the pile takes a little kick with the knee on the bottom of the bale and a swing upward.  My muscle strength couldn't manage the kick or the swing so I wasn't much help.  Walking on the pile was equally challenging as there are holes in between some of the bales and it's a little unstable.  But Soo could do it.  She was at the top of the pile arranging the bales that Ron, ___, and later Maynard Kauffman (who is in his 80s!) threw up to her.  What a woman!

Ron hoists a bale of hay onto the pile
as  Soo prepares to arrange the bales on top
Eventually, Ron needed to get the pens ready for the animals who would arrive the next day.  There was a lot of lumber and debris left over from the construction so I followed him and began the pick up and sweeping detail.  I was much more useful with this work—until I inadvertently let go of a heavy black locust 4x4 that hit Ron's shoulder.  Ouch!  I was mortified.  He can't afford to be sidelined with an injury now! 

Ron also needed to put up the fences inside the barn and I helped with this, too.  He had me wrap the hog's rings around the wires of the adjoining fences to tie them together.  I had to be very careful not to drop any of the rings on the floor because the goats and buffs would eat them, and the metal would stay in their rumens.  Not a healthy thing for them, especially as milking animals.

It was 9 p.m. by the time we finished all this work and Soo drove me back to Dancing Turtle Farm where I retrieved my car and went home to take a hot epsom salt bath, down a couple Motrin pills, warm up a heating pad for my knees, and then sit down to a hot bowl of oatmeal that Kurt made for me.  I tried to watch a movie just to unwind but fell asleep sitting up.  Then I went to bed about 11 p.m.  Tomorrow would be another exciting day:  we bring the animals to their new digs.

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