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Barn days

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Saturday and Sunday I did barn things. There was a lot of grain to put away so I split into two days, just a little easier with a stack from two trips to Houlton. So I got most of the oats, the textured grain and hen crumbles put away, and enough pellets for the cows for one night, then it was time for a dump run.

I accumulate a ton of bags with feed and pellets for my stove, I do repurpose a lot of the bags for trash, but the sheer number of them is hard to keep up with, the other big trash item in the barn is baling twine. This poly baling twine has a mind of its own, you felt it up and stash it in a bag and it springs out the minute you turn around! I now fold it up to a reasonable size and tie a knot in it to keep the stuff contained! It takes a while to fetch all the bags from all the areas in the barn, then load the trash cans and all the bags of wood pellet plastic bags. I didn't think I was going to make it to the dump before it closed at 4, but I really had plenty of time. It was busy there, I am sure someone with a whole pickup load of bags in a truck with a cap on it so you have to keep jumping up and pushing bags foward is not what those 6 cars behind me wanted to see in front of them!

When I got home I spent some time wiring up a light for the chicken pen, I have been meaning to put a second light in the pen for years but just never got around to it. I had made the pen much much smaller, I once had 200 hens, so one of the lights on the automatic timer is no longer in the pen. I just need to make the final connection.

On the way home from the dump I took a side trip to get some potato flakes for a bread recipe I wanted to start the next day. Something I never have in the house. Before I went out to the barn on Sunday I put the ingredients in the bread machine, the recipe is slightly fussy but not bad and so worth it! It is the sandwich rye bread from the King Arthur flour site. The yeast is proofed with a pinch of sugar for 15 minutes, then everything is mixed together and allowed to stand for 20 minutes then kneaded. I just mixed in the bread machine, turned it off while I ate breakfast then turned it back on. That is the best rye bread I have ever made, and there was some surprise ingredients in it, that resulted in a nice complex taste. The liquid in this bread is lukewarm pickle juice, yup pickle juice, now you don't have to throw all that pickle juice down the drain! It also had Dijon mustard, of course caraway seeds and dill seeds, I opted out on the dill seeds, just added more caraway, the rye flour is the dark rye or pumpernickel flour, plus the potato flakes. I did add a tablespoon of gluten, always results in a better rising bread espically whole grain breads. I am so impressed with this recipe I am not sure I will bother with any other investigations. The crust was tender and chewy, the bread moist fine grained, slices very well and is still fresh after two days! Now I need some liver wurst!

After the early engagement with my bread machine I went out to do chores and put away the rest of the grain. When done I got a water bottle and a cup of tea and went to shovel essence of agriculture for quite a few hours, seems hard to believe they can make such a mess!

My horse has been creating quite a ruckus when Jake goes out, and even worse when he comes back in. She had poor Jake petrified to go by her stall, as she snorted, kicked squealed and was a general pain. Apache is not pastured with the other animals because she gets them running from her, not allowed! So in the winter she goes out early, does her running, then the rest of the animals go out when she comes back in. This is early for her to come into season, but that is what all the fuss is about, little does she know that while Charley was a jack, Jake is not, he is a gelding, and she is not gaining brownie points with him. He wouldn't come in until I stood in front of her pen, guess I am the protector, at least he trusts me lol.

Well picture time, the first picture is a little hard because of the subject, black sheep, black chickens. The sheep was lying there chewing her cud, there are actually two chickens on her back, one the mother hen and the half grown chick that was hatched last December.


Second picture of a chicken nature, the hen with the 8 babies has a new side kick, the really small gimpy rooster is helping her with the babies, they are together all the time since the beginning of last week, the chicks actually go under him along with their mother to keep warm. Here they are all settled down for the night, two chicks are peaking out, I was surprised to see some under him too.


The family eating, the rooster is on the left with 5 of the chicks, he was clucking like mad calling them to the corn, and the hen is on the right with the other 3 chicks. Good team work!




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