Thursday, November 3, 2011

November Brings Good Weather!

Rowdy loves a good game of "Squash Bomb" with an unripened butternut!
3 days into November and I think we have had some of the nicest weather of the fall.  It has been great for getting outside and getting things done and just enjoying the sunshine.  Rowdy and I went over to Lamping Homestead, which is part of Wayne National Forest that is about 5 miles from our house, on Tuesday and did the 3.5 mile loop trail.  It is nice to see the changes since the leaves came off the trees.  We have been getting over there about once a month.  Maybe next time there will be snow.   This is such a beautiful area and we usually have it almost to ourselves.  A true hidden treasure in the Ohio Hills.

If you have a farm, you pretty much have to have a barn.  When we bought our farm over 13 years ago, this is the barn that was here.  Of course, we have made changes:  a new roof to replace the leaky one, an overhang on one end to store equipment under, and paint.  The barn was weathered-grey when we moved here and one of our first jobs, after putting up fence and fixing up stalls to move our horses in, was a coat of paint.  

 It was nice having 2 strong sons to help out with scraping and painting.  This is older son, Ian, looking happier than I am sure he was.  

The barn has 3 parts to it.  There are 2 end areas which have hay lofts above them, and the center area, which has big doors on each side, is open clear to the roof so large equipment like tractors can go through.  You can see in the above photo that one end is for the horses (though we only have 1 now) and the other is the tack/cat room. 

I spent a good bit of time in the barn on Sunday and Monday, cleaning Apache's 2 stalls out down to the rubber mats in preparation of re-bedding them for winter.  He will spend more time indoors when the weather gets bad, so he likes a nice deep bed of sawdust.  Because of the set-up of this barn, when we moved in, we made one end into 2 stalls for the horses and to get to the second stall, you have to go through the first from outside.  There is a sliding door between the 2 stalls.  Now since it is only Apache, the sliding door is always open and he has the use of both stalls.  This barn was obviously used for milking cows at some time and the stanchions are still in the tack room end, behind a wall.  I took out the ones in the horse end.

 The ceiling is lower  in the tack end of the barn and it is somewhat smaller.  The cats can come and go through a pipe which used to allow cow manure to be hosed out of a trough in the cement floor.  

I am not sure how old this barn is.  I was told the upper part was relocated from another site and placed atop the cinder-block walls.  Unfortunately, whoever did this only set the block walls on a 6" foundation, which is resulting in the barn gradually sinking on one end, the horse end.  This has caused ever-widening cracks in the block wall and we can no long close the double doors that lead into the horse stalls.

 These cracks were not visible 13 years ago.  We had some barn experts out a a while back to give us an estimate on repair.  It seems they would have to jack up the whole building and put piers underneath it.  The cost was extravagant.  We decided we could just rebuild when this barn falls down and save money.  We hope it will stand for many more years, though.  

The door below goes from the center part of the barn into the tack room.  The screen door keeps the cats safe from Rowdy's invasions.  The drum holds diesel fuel for the tractors.  The ladders go up into the hay loft and there is another set on the other side.  I would have had SUCH fun in this barn when I was a kid.  At one point, Sam had a large wooden beam going from one loft across the center of the barn to the other loft.  He was using this to pull the motor out of an old Allis Chalmers tractor we had.  Wouldn't you know I caught my brother Larry walking across it like a balance beam on his first visit here!   

The former owners also put in hay on this farm and inside the center part of the barn, the tallies they kept of how many bales they put up in the loft are still there, penciled in  next to the door.   '82 was a good year.


  I have finished my thank you gift for my cousin's in-laws and will mail the package out today.  Here is the cowl I made for Jo, Tracey's mother in law.  I hope she likes it.  I have a couple of cowls and I wear them indoors and out all winter long.  They are so warm and soft and can go with so many things.  I am sending a pair of alpaca socks (not hand knit) for f-i-l and a pint of our homemade maple syrup they can both enjoy.

And speaking of pints, my husband outdid himself with this wild raspberry homebrew.  Look at the gorgeous color on that!  Even the foam has a reddish tint to it and let me tell you, it tastes as good as it looks!

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