Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Putting the visitors to work

Have you noticed how we always put our guests to work? It was no different last weekend when my Aunt and Uncle drove out from Wisconsin for a visit. Sure, we spent some quality time drinking coffee around the kitchen table and even enjoyed some pizza at the local pub. But the rest of the time was spent working on fall chores.

I know you'd all had your hearts set on being here for the most glamorous of farm jobs, but they beat you to it! We worked on cleaning out the barn from last winter.

The first year that I helped with this I thought it would be easy. Boy, was I wrong! The cow manure and the hay form a thick mat. The only way to get it out of the barn is to chop it apart with shovels and pitchforks. Then it can be loaded into the truck.

From there Farmer John takes a truckload to an out-of-the-way place on the farm and unloads all the manure. We'll let it sit there over the winter and then use it on the gardens in the spring. Which means we end up moving that very heavy manure three times.

Farmer John always says he wants a bucket for the front of the tractor at this time of year. I always say I want hogs to root through the barn and break up the hard mat of manure. Our visitors said "Let's go get pizza!"

The following day we worked on cutting wood (or, in Wisconsin-speak - "making wood"). In the picture below my Uncle is demonstrating what NOT to do with a chainsaw! At least he's got his helmet on.

We got two truckloads of wood cut and unloaded into the woodshed. I have to say, the two Norwegian women on the crew did most of the heavy lifting!

Thank you Lorraine and Chuck for driving out to visit, all your hard work, and the cheese curds!


  1. How clever to have recruited the family's two greatest experts on shoveling BS!

  2. We enjoyed our visit to JBBF, and as I have mentioned it is a little piece of heaven (as is our place in WI). Regarding the "making wood" photos--Uncle Chuck is an experienced wood cutter and even though he looks precarious in this photo he made sure he was in a good stable position. As he says, "don't try this at home." Safety first and always have your first aid kit and cell phone handy. If JBBF didn't have so many doggone hills, this all would have been much easier!

  3. One more thing. After reflecting on the effort we all expended in cleaning the barn (and we only got half of it done during our visit) I think investing in a purchase/rental/borrowing of a front end loader is a great idea. Or a few hogs.


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