Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Bridge to Nowhere

We’ve got a drainage problem. We’ve got a BIG drainage problem!

Behind the barn has become something like a swamp. No, maybe it’s more like quicksand. Sorta “quick-glop”…yeah, that’s the best description. It’s a squishy, slippery, smelly mess. It’s terrible!

The drainage around the barn has never been the greatest. The barn sits in a little hollow and the run-off from the barn roof has to flow through the back of the barnyard. Ordinarily, this is not too much of a problem. But, we’ve had at least four inches of rain this week. That’s a lot of rain in a short amount of time. In addition, I HAD to clean the stocktank this week, too. The sheep drop lots of hay in as they get a drink of water, and they're notorious for their "backwashing". With 45 sheep inhabitants of the barn, who not only have four hooves each (that’s 180 hooves pounding the ground), but it seems that they also pee incessantly, it is a soaky, soggy mess! ICK! Something had to be done.

**I must tell a funny story on A here. Years ago, she and I were in the barn after a big rain. I told her to watch out for her boots. The mud is not only slippery, but it is sticky as well. Since she was indeed a teenager, she didn’t listen to mama. She was slopping along, when BLOOP! Off went the boot! Down went her sock into the ****…. and she exclaimed the very word that described where her foot had just landed! Her face turned red and her hand went over her mouth. She looked mortified. It was so horribly appropriate that I was paralyzed by laughter and couldn’t begin to help her. I did manage to get a grip on myself BEFORE she put the dirty foot/sock back into the boot. Oh, fun times in the barn! **

(so sorry, sweetie, that one just HAD to be shared!)

The first rain of the week made for a big mess, and the sheep were somewhat hesitant to go out back. I jokingly told Tom we needed a bridge to get them out to the feeders. While he kidded me for the idea, we looked around the barn and found some old oak boards left from the coldframe demolition. (see, there’s a good reason to keep that ”useful looking” junk!) We laid the boards over the swamp. Now, at least I didn’t have to walk through the goo to the feeders.

At first the sheep were a little hesitant.
After watching me walk over it several times, they began to try it. I really think the only reason they paid any attention was that I was carrying the feed bucket. Now, the lambs use it a lot.
They seem to like the sounds of their little hooves on the wood. “Trip, trap, trip, trap!” It reminds me of the childhood story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. (hopefully, we won’t find trolls underneath!)

The ewes are a divided group. There are several who use the bridge and a good number that go around the other way. It’s funny to see how they each have their distinct characteristics.

Now that the rain has finally stopped, the wind is beginning to blow. That is ALWAYS the way around here. But, soon things will dry out and the bridge….well, it will go back to being “useful looking junk” sitting in the barn. …and the bridge to nowhere will be just another memory from the barn.

One of these days, when we have abundant free time and excessive amounts of money, we might even FIX the drainage problem. Nah, we’d have to give up the possibility of more funny barn stories!

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