You would think winter would be a quieter time of year for us. No gardening, birthing, markets, etc., just some knitting by the fire. We do stop a little earlier because it gets dark so dang early this far north. But there is still a lot to do. One major task we just completed is pruning the orchard. This is also the time of year for tree planting too. We are expecting our order of cider apples trees that will need to be put in the ground. Feeding is much harder in the winter. During most of the rest of the year the animals graze and it is easy. But now we have to haul the hay to them and in the mud that gets challenging. It is necessary to use a hand cart for this.
It is quite an upper and lower body work out to push or pull this cart through the thick mud with a 80# bale of hay in it. We also use it to move the poop. Thick matted glomps of hay or straw are pitchforked into it and then the cart is dragged to the garden to deposit it. The tractor and manure spreader are not functional with the mud so we do it by hand. We also have to haul water with the cart when the hoses or faucets are frozen. So we cannot go a single winter day without our cart. But the cart above had the axle break loose (which Tom temporarily fixed with some clamps) and the wheel bearings are shot. So we need to fix our back up cart before we can take the time to fix the bearings on this cart (and hope it last a couple more days). Because here’s the back up cart:
Pretty sad shape, huh? The wheels are good on it and most of the metal parts are salvageable, but the wood is all gone and there will need to be quite a bit of welding. You may wonder why we do not use a wheel barrow instead. It is because it is difficult to move through the mud, and it is unstable tending to tip. But we do use one in our backyard for gardening chores and mixing cement. We recently had to retired our first one and buy a new one.
I scooped out a pen in the barn using the other cart. It survived the ordeal so it looks like we may finish another day of winter chores with our cart. Here’s the pen all purty (before the hay feeder was put back up).