Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rough Year for the Barns

Still soggy. The creek's still high but at least there aren't so many logs coming down with the water any more (but this video shows one of the many which bobbed by a couple of days ago). The promise of a few days to dry out got tossed out with a revised forecast--lots more rain last night and today then switching to snow this evening. We always take the accumulation forecasts with a big grain of salt but when they say 4-6 inches, we at least pay attention. That's a lot for this area (though we've had as much as 18 inches in one go) and it only takes an inch or so to make driving treacherous on these mountain roads even for those of us who grew up with serious snow. The real worry now is mudslides. There have already been several in the region and with very soggy ground about to go through a quick freeze/thaw cycle (forecast for early next week calls for highs in the teens), it could get ugly. Speaking of ugly.....

It's been a rough year for our barns. Eschol decided that winter was an excellent time to air condition the big barn and in a very short period around Christmas, removed the remaining doors and most of the siding from lower level of the barn. Not only did he make me very unhappy by messing with one of my favorite parts of the farm--I love these old barns and seeing them every morning when I walk out to feed the buffs used to bring me such pleasure--he created a huge hassle factor. His propensity for taking the siding, doors, and assorted supporting structures and rolling them downhill often into the wet weather creek made for a lot of hard, messy labor for me as I did my daily salvage operation. It's not like the wood was all in great shape to begin with but it was still functional. Here's what it looked like on Dec. 19th as the buffs soaked in the sun--south side, yo!

And here it is a couple of weeks later with my quick and dirty fix for keeping him from getting at the structurally-significant supports. I can put the siding back on but I don't think I can pick up the floor of the hayloft if that collapses.

No point in putting the siding back on while Eschol's around, however. Probably goes without saying that he has put himself on the menu here in short order. I'm working on finding a way to get him from farm to freezer before he does much more damage. I know he's frustrated but a frustrated bull who likes using his horns to play demolition derby is just not something I need in my life right now. We have also decided to tear down the old chicken coop. It needed massive repairs and since I'm still on a steep learning curve with the buffs, it seemed unlikely that I'd want to take on chickens any time soon. So, when Eschol punched a calf-sized hole in the side of the coop, we cut off his access and made the executive decision to tear it down and salvage the wood for use in repairing the more-critical barns. The flood waters taking a new path this week just reinforced why putting effort into repairing the coop never would have paid off anyway:

Yup, there's a reason why the floor of the coop had rotted out. Just too damn soggy. Oh well, at least now I don't have to figure out how to predator-proof a coop against coyotes, foxes, raccoons, snakes, etc. just to have the chickens eaten by our resident red-shouldered hawks. So, if we ever dry out, we'll be doing another demolition project (the pig sty takedown was our first). Too bad Eschol can't be trusted to do the job responsibly.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my, a bull and his horns. Definitely very destructive! In one of our old barns, we strung electric wire along the walls to prevent the young buffs from taking down the barn. With the wire there, they don't even touch the walls. A quick fix until we can get them into a new barn, and seems to work!