Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cleaning the Barn

I have a sort of strange confession, I love cleaning our barn! It's satisfying work. Removing the old, cleaning and sweeping, then sprinkling and scattering fresh straw till the sun shines through the cross buck window and shimmers on the fresh, golden dust floating through the air. I love too that there's no fancy tools or gadgets or gizmos. It's the same process that farmers have been doing for hundreds of years.

I also love the simple tools that are used. I still use my grandfather's pitch fork to remove the soiled bedding. It has remnants of red paint, and I'm sure the handle has been replaced at one time but it's over a hundred years old. I pitch that into our wheel barrow, there's just something quaint about walking with a wheel barrow, there's nothing special about ours, but it's ours and I love it.

Then we have the barn broom which has been in our family for over thirty years, well let's put it this way, I'll be thirty next year, and I can't remember any other broom ever being around. It's a broom corn broom and it's worn to one side so that the bristles are at an angle, it still sweeps beautifully an comfortably.

I do use a couple of things that maybe Laura Ingalls-Wilder didn't have access to, and that is a disinfectant spray and deodorizer. It is designed for animals and it neutralizes the ammonia smell, I also attribute it to the fact that we do not have flies in our barn, even in the hot sweltering heat. I spray it on the bare floor after everything is cleaned.

We also put down super absorbent ground corn cob. I put a layer on under the straw and concentrate it on especially damp spots.

The cob bedding absorbs liquids and the straw layer acts as a barrier to keep the goats up off the waste.

I love the snap that the bailing twine makes when you snip free a fresh bale of straw.

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