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Opening the Driveway

On Sunday we received 14 – 16 inches of snow, at least that is what the national weather service said. I couldn’t tell, it was very windy and the visibility was poor. Church services were cancelled and people were supposed to stay off the roads. We had no one coming to the farm, so we just left the driveway alone and let the snow blow!

Monday was a different story. The milkman was coming and the milkhouse supply truck was due. They might be late, but the driveway has to be open, so the Farmer got out the snowblower. This works on the same principle as the little snowblowers you see in town blowing out sidewalks, except of course, with more power. Ours hooks up on the back of the 42/40 and you back into the snow. You can adjust the blower to the direction it blows. There are 2 augers in the back which spin the snow up into the blower. The Farmer blows the snow into the pasture field so it is out of the way.

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He blew the snow out of the driveway down to the road which got the bulk of the snow out-of-the-way. IMG_5065Then he got out the skidloader to push the snow he couldn’t get with the blower. He just pushes piles in the yard and along the edge of the driveway.

 

 

We use sand in the free stalls. It also works to add traction on the driveway. He applies the sand with the skidloader bucket, spreading it on the drive.IMG_5075This snow isn’t icy yet but it isn’t funny to watch a milk truck slide down the hill which has happened before.

Ok, now the driveway is open. What about our sidewalk? Cleaning the sidewalk was the responsibility of our children when they lived at home, but they are all long gone. IMG_5068This is how you clear snow from a sidewalk farm style. You drive up to the steps, tip the bucket down and scrape backwards. He’ll do this twice and call her finished. This works great for us. The sidewalk is still covered with snow, but since we wear boots all the time, it works for us. I cleaned the steps off when I went out to the barn for the evening milking. Snow removal is finished until the next snow fall.

 

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When There Is No Electricity

I’ve been asked what do we do when there is no electricity? We have to have it. The temperature of the milk in the bulk tank needs to be kept at 38*, we have to be able to pump water for the cattle and the cows have to be milked twice a day. That is why we have a generator. Many people have a generator for their home, but we have a different kind for the farm; we need MORE POWER!

Before you hook up the generator, you need to have your electric box equipped with a shut off lever. If the power comes back on while you are using the generator without shutting off the power line from the road, well, that is not good. You’ve ruined your generator.

The power line comes from the road and hooks into this box. On the back side is a lever that is pulled up to shut off the input from the road.

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The PTO on the tractor turns the shaft of the generator. The electric cord transfers the electric to the box which runs it through the power lines to the barns.

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We don’t use a generator very often. In fact, I don’t even remember the last time we used it.

We ran the generator for 2 days. The farmer started it up at 5 am and ran it until sometime in the afternoon when he would turn it off and refuel the tractor. Then back on until later in the night. We had to turn it off to be able to sleep. The generator hook up is next to the house. Diesel tractors are LOUD! We were thankful the electric was on the evening of the 2nd day.

It was a Dark & Stormy Night

Actually it was dark, and it was night, but it wasn’t stormy, yet. Early last Tuesday morning, the farmer and I were awakened by the howl of the tornado siren. We turned on the TV to find out what was going on. In approximately 20 minutes we were supposed to be hit by strong winds and rain with the possibility of tornado(s?) at the western edge of the system. Yes, it was a tornado warning, not watch.

The farmer went out to the barn to fasten doors and I closed all the windows, then we waited and watched the clock. Sure enough, at 1:05 am the wind roared then we heard a mighty crash! The farmer said, there goes one of the maples. I looked out the window and huge limbs were in the east yard, but a little north I could see something else.

When the wind died down, we looked closer. What we saw was the west barn roof wrapped around a tree. The farmer went outside to see the damage. No trees were down in the driveway, some limbs but nothing that couldn’t be cleaned up quickly. There was nothing we could do at 2 am, so back to bed we went, waiting for daylight so we could really see what it looked like.

This is metal roofing wrapped around a tree.

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The wind just ripped the metal off of the barn. This is the west side. The auger is just fine!

IMG_4318And the east side.

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The farmer called the contractor who has roofed the other barns and told him we had a roofing job for him. He came in the forenoon to see what was involved and said they would start working Wednesday morning. They needed a tele-handler that was being used at another farm that lost two roofs.

Wednesday morning they tore off the rest of the metal roofing. (This is the tele-handler.)

IMG_4371The electric lines to the barns were intact. That’s amazing!

Looking up at the sky from the haymow.

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After they had the old metal off, they repaired the rafters. It made me nervous to watch them walk around up there.

IMG_4378Then they hammered on the 2 X 4’s to attach the new roofing to.

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That was Wednesday’s barn work. In the evening, my friend and her family came and cleaned up the downed tree limbs.

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On Thursday they finished nailing the boards and started attaching the roofing metal. In the early afternoon, 2 spring wagons filled with Old Order Mennonite (not Amish) men came trotting up the driveway. They had finished the roofs on the neighbors’ barns and came to help roof our barn. With their help, the crew was able to complete the roof! No one had to work on the 4th of July.

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And the west side.

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As I went out to the barn Friday morning, my yard looked like this.

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The tree in front had the metal wrapped around it. The big maple in the center is the one the limbs broke off of.

It had been 3 days since the storm hit. The yard was clean up and the barn has a new roof.  The damage could have been so much worse. We are very thankful for our friends and neighbors who came and helped clean up and rebuild.