I've been spending a lot of time in the barn.
Both my own, and my neighbor's.
I'm farm sitting for my next door neighbor. She breeds alpacas...
They aren't hard to take care of... they are very quiet and docile and getting kicked is never a worry (as it is sometimes with donkeys!), but there is hay and grain to put out, and manure to scoop... just like at home.
My neighbor has four females, three with babies... and three males. R spends a lot of time there, and D is wonderful about letting R help and teaching her about alpacas. In fact R has been there for the birth of all three of this year's babies.
This is Piper... the oldest of this year's babies.
When I'm not up the hill at the neighbor's, I've been working in our barn.
It's time to order hay for the next year and some SERIOUS barn cleaning needed to be done first.
R numbered the pallets that cover the floor in the hay storage part of the barn (so we could remember where they went... why didn't we take the time to do that years ago?), then we picked them all up, cleaned the old hay out of them and sorted them into piles... good pallets, ones that need repair, and ones that need to be replaced. (The pallets would probably last forever if Murphy didn't occasionally sneak into the barn and step on them and break them!)
Then I worked under the hay loft raking up the old dirty hay, while R worked up in the hay loft sweeping it clean.
It's a dirty, dusty, job but has to be done before getting new hay delivered.
Here's where we stopped (to finish up later) the hay loft is clean, but there is a huge pile of dirty, unusable hay in the middle of the barn waiting for me to haul it out to the bottom of the gully area where I pulled out all the purple thistles... It will make good "mulch" there and there are enough seeds in it that with a bit of rain it should start sprouting and covering the area with grass. (Our hay is a mix of timothy and brome grasses.)
I'll probably order the hay today... that will give me a few days to repair and replace the pallets that need it, sweep up the dust, and lay them back down.
I do love having the year's hay delivered. Although it's a summer "event" it's also the first sign that fall and winter are on their way...something I'm really looking forward to this year. It's only August... but I've been yearning for crisp, cool fall weather lately. Come on fall... hurry up!