Then there are many piles of the bad hay in the areas outside the pens too. The mouldy hay and the net wrapped exterior get intertwined and mingle in the piles. New bales are brought and plunked on top of some of the messes and there is snow in-between and on the piles. The later unwrapped bales are left on snow piles, which turn to ice piles and even today, a month after temperatures are above zero, there was slabs of ice under the hay. I used the pallet forks to pull the hay backwards first then switched to the bucket and dozed the piles out to the pasture near the boys sheep pen. One of the little boys, Thor, has taken to jumping out. He has discovered that there is alfalfa in that pasture too, and he likes that, so tomorrow I need to move those last three bales of alfalfa. It makes such a huge mess, being fractured. It was a second cut, and too dry when it was baled. If it is even the slightest too moist it moulds easily, so it is better to be dry, but then the leaves fall off the stems and there is a powdered alfalfa everywhere. The alfalfa dust blows into my eyes and nose and hair and gets in tthe sheep's eyes and noses and they cough and sneeze. I might try alfalfa pellets instead next year, if I can get them by the ton. The sheep do not like the stems and don't eat them , so there is tremendous waste, and at $100 dollars a bale, that is money gone by. The pellets may actually save money because there is no mess and no waste. The alfalfa gets in the sheep's wool and is impossible to get out too, so the pellets might just be a good thing, along with regular grass hay.
The grass can now grow in the area that the hay was. I smoothed it out with the bucket. The grass sod is still underneath most of that, but I will try to seed a bit of grass there, if the chickens don't steal the seeds. In the next few weeks, all the pens need to be cleaned of the naure and spent hay from winter, too, plus the rest of the inside yard can be finished. The yard will look pretty nice once it is all clean and I am grateful for the skid steer. The first year, I did all that work with a pitch fork and rake and the wagon on the lawn tractor. It took a month, little by little, but it did get done. Today's work took only 2 hours. Each pen will take a day to clean though, and the animals have to be moved out too, especially now that there are little ones.
These are the chores of the farm that are necessary and not enjoyable at all. But, I can choose to be grumpy and get them done or I can choose to be thankful and get them done, so I am thankful and then happy that the work is complete. Ah, so much easier on the psyche it is, to be grateful. Step one of yard cleaning is now complete. 5 more pens and two more open areas to go!