Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hay You!

Saturday Afternoon: After making our lumber decision, we left Dan's sawmill and drove into Johnstown for milk, intending to get right home and measure twice! (And cut once). Passing by this sign on Route 29, we remembered discussing how to stop the mud in the driveway during this much appreciated thaw. Sidetracked again! A quick turn into the driveway brought us to the farm from hell.
There was actually a goat in this little cage (below). How horrible. I wanted to break him outta there, but we are maxed out here with animals (for now - we'll renegotiate that when Eli's barn arrives). Poor guy. . .
One thing we do agree on is that dragging mud into the house is losing its charm. Until this little piece of paradise gets a paved driveway (shameful but necessary) we decided that hay was the perfect solution, as this is used in and around the barns we have been to (and we have been to alot of barns). There is just no avoiding the mud, so placing the hay on top keeps the sludge from being absorbed into your shoes, and the tires from sinking into trenches. At $2.50 a bale, this is an immediate, cheap and common solution. We had driven by this "farm" in the past, and each time we pass by there, my self esteem rises dramatically. This is the poster child for "just get rid of it". After spending the morning at the Amish farms which were noticeably sparse and clean, this farm shows exactly why "having it all" may become a problem. I don't know how they find anything, or even take care of it. My housekeeping skills are suddenly raised to the level of fantastic. This farm is the opposite of Amish. This is CHAOS. Remarkably, they found the hay and we were on our way again.
In total, we purchased three bales. We got our milk and headed home. Once there, we were able to find the pitchfork and get started pitching hay and covering the mud in driveway. Although it may not look like it while we're under construction, we can still find our things. The pitchfork was right where we put it in the shed in the fall. See why my opinion of myself soars after visiting the hay farm? We actually have a plan here! It's all coming together. The hay smelled great and was a definite improvement over the mud. The dogs are loving it, and the floors in the house are staying cleaner. Mission accomplished!
Jake supervising:
Smells great and no mud!
He just buried his nose in it - he couldn't help himself!
Double clicking on any of these pictures will enlarge the detail. It was an easy job and we both enjoyed being outside and working up a sweat on a glorious spring day.
If you could only smell it - It is delicious!
We took our lumber measurements and headed back to Amish Dan's sawmill to fill him in on our requirements. We stopped by Stewart's (the upstate equivalent of 7-11) and picked up some bags of candy for Dan's kids. They don't get alot of treats and so we were happy to add to the tooth decay. It was worth it to see the happy faces diving into a bag of candy. For .99 cents we were heroes. We took the scenic route and were rewarded with a picture perfect trip with livestock, maple syrup and amish buggies tucked into the woods.
This is a maple syrup contraption that uses a solar powered pump to extract the sap quickly out of the tubes. This is way more efficient than just dripping, which explains the huge collection tank. These folks are serious about their maple syrup. A parked buggy with no one in sight. Hmmmmmm. . . ?
Knowing that the pork roast in the crockpot was getting near done, our goal was to swing by Duncraven Dairy Farm to place our order for home delivery - a Milkman! In this case, it is a milk woman, as it is the wife who delivers the milk in our neck of the woods. We were given their name by Dave the landscaper, who gets milk delivered every Thursday. He said it is the best milk around - fresh and local with no chemical enhancements. We're getting into this eating healthy thing, and fresh milk tops the list! It is a family run farm, and after speaking with the wife on the phone (they are NOT Amish and enjoy all the electronic technologies that we do!) I am looking forward to meeting her when she makes the delivery. We missed them on Saturday, but driving in their neighborhood we enjoyed more scenic moments. Cue the deer!: Heading home after passing by the Duncraven farm, we almost missed the Hickory Furniture sign. Fortunately, we slammed on the breaks and backed up. This brings us back to our first entry of Saturday's Travels - the Hickory Furniture/Shed builder. It was an unbelievably busy day. We had found all sorts of interesting people and their crafts and products. The furniture we purchased is shown here:
We placed our order with Sam, the Amish Hickory Furniture maker (now we have TWO furniture makers - incredible variety don't you think?) We will be putting this furniture set on our porch, just as soon as our porch has a roof on it. As I said, it's starting to all come together, and a few more saturdays like this will bring us incredible progress. I am loving retirement and I think Jerry feels the same way. We have a new and different attitude about taking the road less traveled, and it is bringing us a variety of rich experiences.
We do know how fortunate we are to have this opportunity - And we're glad that you want to share it too. Today is St. Patrick's Day, and our own traditions are enjoying their moment in the sun. It's only 8:30 and already the Erin is going Braless joke has been worn to a frazzle (he hasn't lost his sick sense of humor!) It's going to be a full day! Enjoy your corned beef and cabbage and maybe take the road less traveled while you're on your way. It's worth your time! We miss you all, and wish you were here!

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