Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Another Thing Crossed Off The List

Where I work, we have been getting off the day before Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving itself and the day after for several years. This makes for a really nice long 'holiday'. Usually I take the Tuesday after my birthday off to go and finish up Christmas shopping. Well this year, my birthday fell on the Monday after Thanksgiving, so the gears started turning, and I decided to take off both Monday and Tuesday, therefore giving myself a seven day break! Almost like a real vacation! I've really enjoyed it too, and could get used to it real fast. Wednesday was spent going to get fitted for and picking up my partial plate, and preparing food for Thanksgiving. Also cleaning the kitchen up, so I'd have room to prepare food. Of course Thursday was Thanksgiving so I spent the day with my family, eating, relaxing and visiting.

Friday, I did not venture out of my snug little world, but instead did some Internet shopping. I cleaned house, and worked on the Fire Department mail out.

Saturday was damp and cold. I knew I needed to burn brush piles, but I worked mightily at talking myself out of it. It was cold. It could rain at any time. Oh, look, I believe the wind has picked up, the way it's blowing the grass around. My inner wimp tried so hard, and this was all before I even went out to do chores! Once I got outside it was actually rather nice. It was damp, but not cold, it wasn't raining, and there wasn't much breeze. I decided to start on the little brush pile in front of the house, work up some courage as it were. I hauled down the three bags of cockle burrs, which were nice and dried out and good fire fodder. I also took down some old tarps, and a trash bag that contained an old leaky bean bag. It didn't take much to get the fire going. It roared up pretty good, but nothing too scary. While it was burning, I trimmed the rose bushes by the driveway and added discarded limbs to the pile. Okay, not so bad. Once the little pile was under control I decided to attack the 'big one'. Truly this thing was a monster. It was the last of the brush piles from the 2007 Ice Storm, and was probably 20 foot or better wide. I meant to burn it last year, but just never worked up the nerve. It was located in Blue and Lanny Wilson's (Merino ram/wether) home paddock and took up a good bit of what could have been pasture. It also made putting out a big bale for them more of a challenge. I filled several feed sacks full of hay off the hay barn floor, as well as string from the bales, and toted them up there. I got buckets of water ready, as well as my rake and pitchfork...and my cell phone...just in case. Then I struck the match. Started out nice enough, then suddenly poof! The whole dry mess of it ignited and all I could do was stand back and watch in stunned horror. Please God, don't let the wind blow. Please God, don' t let that tree catch fire....The flames were leaping probably 30 foot in the air. Thankfully, by the time the wind did blow a little, the flames had stabilized a bit. I took a picture of the burn pile, once it had died down a little to show how wide across it was, but for some reason it didn't take. The tree had a few leaves curl up , but didn't catch on fire. Whew. For comparison that oak tree just behind and to the left of the fire is about 18 years old. Once it was settled down, I got myself moving and went around the paddock and picked up limbs that I hadn't thrown on there yet. I also was able to fill up two sacks of kindling to add to my stash. The fire was so hot that very little was left, once it died down. Throughout the day I went up and raked in the debris, so that when it was over, there was just a little ash pile (which is still smoldering). That evening we got rain/snow so I didn't even have to worry about it overnight. I can't even tell you how relieved I am to have that done!

Sunday was spent as mentioned in a previous post. Today (Monday), I did a few needed chores outside. The girls have about decimated their big bale and so I cleaned up what was on the hay barn floor and loaded it on a tarp and took it to them. Tomorrow we will probably put out another big bale for them. The picture is of the bale right after I took the ring off it the day before Thanksgiving. At this point the sheep can't reach the core through the ring. There is very little of it left today. Waste has really been minimal, which means that the sheep are finding much of it leafy and palatable. This bale was put out on October 17, so it has lasted close to seven weeks. However, six of the ewes were in a different pasture with the ram, and there was still a bit of grass and lots of leaves to munch on during this time. I do think that these bales will last 18 sheep close to five weeks though, which is great news.

This morning I also sawed some boards for the floor of a pre-fab cabinet that I got , which seems to be missing a crucial part--the floor of the cabinet. Tonight it's a little birthday party at my folks' house. Tomorrow I hope to go shopping (and hope the crowds will be minimal), then it's back to work!


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Oh, happy, happy birthday, friend! So glad you took good care of yourself by taking the time off. Love the bonfire! You should have broke out the wienies and marshmellows!

Pat in east TN said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Tammy! Sounds like you had a GOOD mini vacation and got a lot done. Burning brush piles is always scary ... we have one to do this year too.

Shiloh Prairie Farm said...

Glad you had a nice little vacation. We had some trees taken out this year and are left with two huge brush piles to burn. I am thinking of waiting until we have a bit of snow on the ground, right now I am afraid of catching the grass on fire.

Vicki Lane said...

Happy (belated) birthday, Tammy! Sounds like you had a nice mini-vacation!

Tammy said...

Thanks everyone! I had a great Birtday. The brushpiles are scary, but once they get over that initial big burst, it's kinda fun. Waiting for snow would be a good idea.