Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sweat in My Eyes

Sure, when it's hot, I sweat.  But I don't think I've ever experienced sweat running into my eyes before like the other day.  Can you tell I'm no athlete?

So, what was it that kicked my behind?  The hen house.  In July.  It had been a couple years since it had been cleaned out well and it was time.  Sam was a big helper.  Using our snow shovel, I scraped and scooped, scraped and scooped, scraped and scooped.

left hanging bucket holds feed, right hanging bucket holds water and has a chicken nipple (yes, there is such a thing) underneath- this keeps the water clean

Using an old broom, I took down so many spider webs, you could no longer see the broom.  We patched holes that the scrapping and scooping uncovered.  

This hen house was (obviously) here when we bought the house over 8 years ago.  It's old and large, so it works well for our 25 or so current residents.  The chickens spend very little time in here, actually.  They have access to the great out-of-doors 24/7.  No, we do not shut them in (not even at night) unless we're introducing two groups of birds or on vacation.  The only predator problems we've had have been hawks and the occasional opossum.  A couple times a skunk was eating eggs.  These problems are rare enough that we prefer to take our chances and let them get up and out as early as they like and let those who enjoy dusk stay out a little later than the others.

One hen, who had gotten out of the chicken yard earlier in the day, took advantage of the open doors when I was cleaning and sneaked in to lay.  She (and others) seem to prefer laying with some privacy thanks to the hinged fences that keep them from roosting (and therefore pooping) in the upper nesting boxes.

We cleared out old hay (which does get replaced more often than every couple years- I promise) and replaced it with new.

The roost was raked and scooped,

uncovering an old glass bottle which cleaned up nicely and will now become a little flower vase no doubt.

Even with the doors open and the natural ventilation that comes with drafty old buildings, it was dusty, hot and stinky. I banished the girls from the hen house because I still have to help with their baths.  Sam was my right-hand man since he can take his own shower.

view from the roost into the rest of the hen house through the chicken door

In the end, the house was possibly as tidy as it's ever been and we had collected a lot of chicken manure for the garden.

It's wet under the windows because Miriam's mom-needs-me-to-be-busy-so-I-don't-wander-into-the-dusty-hen-house job was to "wash" the windows with sponge and bucket of water.

The hens?  They didn't seem to notice.  But since they all agreed to poop in the outhouse now, we're good.

And what ensued ranks near the very top of my favorite cold shower list. Pin It


  1. The homestead looks good,I missed everyone .I would give almost anything to let my grand kids be able to visit a farm or place that has veggies and animals to see where food comes from,
    Hope all is well with you ,I am sure I missed a ton of things happening.
    The lord has let me me keep Jerry around for awhile .They really don't know why his cancer is growing so slow but doesn't matter ,he had a lot of tough things to fight off ,sepsis a ,rotten foot which they removed this week ,in 2 parts ,the leg too,up to the knee ,He isn't home right now but in the community living area in the VA ,They know be by name "trouble maker "Well,I won't let my husband be neglected ,no matter how lazy someone might get.
    I hope God forgives me for a loud tone I took with a bully in my hubby's room ,ordering Jerry a around ,he was a
    patient ,sent over to the ward my husband was on for Cellulitis,He yelled about me accidentally tipping the garbage tin over ,I told him to.... before I tip it on him,we got another room for Jerry,
    Best wishes to you all in your family and everyone

    1. Oh, Judy- I've missed you and am sorry to hear about your husband's difficulties. Thinking of you and him and praying the staff will take good, sweet care of him until he comes home to you.

  2. I love this post - I LOVE cleaning really dirty things and then cleaning up. Showers are so great when they are EARNED. I love your rationale for only letting Sam help, too :)

  3. I see you have some Wyandotte hens - I really love them ;) That was a heavy job you did but doesn't it look wonderful now?!?

  4. This reminds me of a little old barn we used to have ... I always loved the feel and smell when walking in -- the old barn boards...the hay...the dust (and always thinking this barn needs a good cleaning!) :)


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