Post by Lily Baker
As exciting as farming can be, nothing quite gets us going like a good spring-cleaning. Last Thursday we had our best spring-cleaning yet. The barn is clean. I repeat: THE BARN IS CLEAN! I cannot express to you how wonderful this is both for us and for the goats. It is very, very wonderful.
The Bobcat is up to this challenge.
Every morning we spread a few bales of bedding hay on the floor of our greenhouse barn to cover up whatever mess the goats made the day before. Over the course of the fall and winter, slowly but surely, the floor rises; in the few days before our big cleanup I was repeatedly clotheslined by flytape hanging from the rafters.
The springy mat of hay that builds up over the season is not without use: in the dead cold of winter when the goats’ breath hangs in frosty clouds around them, that floor creates its own warmth. The goats can cuddle up on the hay and feel the summer sun heating them from below. Or the composting action. That’s warm, too.
When the Bobcat skid-steer and two little dump trucks pulled up to the barn on Thursday and started hauling the hay out to our neighbors’ field we had no idea what we would find underneath. Over the course of the day they dug through three feet (three feet!!) of accumulated hay and muck, unearthing cinderblocks, other barn flotsam and jetsam, and eventually, the floor!
The trucks traipsed back and forth for almost eight hours, piling that old hay in a giant heap in the field down the road. That pile will sit and simmer and stew and compost for 12 months in the open field before we spread it on our crops next spring. Crops feed us, we feed the goats, goat manure feeds compost, and compost feeds crops. Farming is all about life cycles.
SO many truckloads of this stuff. So many.
When the goats came back in from the pasture that evening they had a little shindig on the clean barn floor, kicking up clouds of the fragrant wood shavings we’d scattered inside. No kidding, we’re teaching them to dance.