Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Many factors have combined these past few weeks to create the perfect storm of busyness.
There was the end of the school year, which meant all kinds of recitals and assemblies and whatnot, and this year it also meant getting the kids registered at a new school and all that entails - searching for long lost documents, making doctor's appointments for more vaccinations, banging one's head against the brick wall of beaurocracy. And since I am a teacher this year, it also meant grading final exams and writing report cards.
Then of course we are trying to get ready to leave on vacation for two weeks. That means finding a farmsitter (Farmsitters (Just Whose Expectations Are Too High ...), and trying to finish off the most urgent of the projects around the farm (Vacation Checklist). Many of these projects are labor intensive, expensive, and disgusting. The weather has made everything more difficult. There has hardly been a dry day in June. On one of the few, I dragged the milking stand outside and scrubbed the holy heck out of it. It had become really gross, what with goats jumping on it with their icky muddy feet several times a day. Now it's clean.
By far the biggest job that needed doing was replacing the barn floor. Here's a little tip for you: a Home Depot barn isn't really designed to work as a real barn. Oh, you knew that already? Well, you could've told me before I moved a herd of animals into one. After three years, the cheap particle board flooring was entirely rotten and the horses were putting their feet through the floor. Every time I went in, I'd suddenly plunge through a rotten spot and get my leg stuck up to the knee. Untenable situation, really.
But we had a hard time figuring out a solution. At first I thought I'd just fill the space below the floor with dirt and gravel and let them have an earthen floor. But that would rot the beams that actually hold the whole thing up. Then we thought maybe we should fill the space between the beams with sand and then cap the whole floor with cement. Then we laughed out loud as we realized how much that would cost. Finally I decided to just make a better version of the floor that was there before. Instead of particle board we would put down 3/4" plywood, and then lay on top a sheet of cheap vinyl flooring to protect the wood.
Homero worked a full 8 hour day cleaning out the barn as well as possible, and tearing out the rest of the old floor.
I didn't take a picture of the new floor, but it's much prettier than this picture! The vinyl makes it a little bit slippery and the horses aren't convinced they should go inside yet, but that will take care of itself.
Another thing making me crazy-busy, of course, is that it is high cheese season. I will never ever again sell off all the baby goats. I am a slave to the doe's udders, which fill with amazing rapidity and must be drained every twelve hours, rain or shine, come hell or high water. There is no day off. The kids are no longer in school, but my alarm still goes off at 7:00 so I can get out there and milk. The refrigerator fills up with milk quickly, and I must make cheese or cajeta every other day just to reduce the volume somewhat. All of us are getting rather tired of goat cheese (I KNOW), and so I've been fobbing it off on friends and family. I have experimented with making new kinds of cheese, and have FINALLY had some success. I'll post about that next time.
Lastly, I have houseguests. So as you can see, what with one thing and another, I have barely had time to wipe my nose after I sneeze, much less sit down at the computer and write. Hope y'all are enjoying a slightly-less hectic early summer than I am!