Welcome to Painted Hand Farm

Painted Hand Farm is a 20 acre Civil War era farm located in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. We raise meat goats, veal calves, turkeys and organic vegetables using humane and sustainable agricultural practices.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

What a Trooper!

As Alex was pitch-forking his way through the winter's bedding pack of the barn's center isle, he looked up at me and said, "I think it's ironic that while most kids are getting cleaned up for the prom, I'm shoveling shit." 
No, no...he's not being punished (as in some other teenager I know who occasionally wields a pitchfork to atone for her misdeeds). His choice and he was much luckier than anyone else who, to this point, had to do the dirty deed because now having a tractor with a bucket we no longer have to hoof each wheelbarrow load down to the compost pile, just outside the gate. 
Cleaning the center isle is not for the faint-at-heart or weak-at-hand.  It gets packed with straw, hay, goat poo, urine and birthing fluids all year long until spring and then it's time to clean it out. I've done it, Ralph's done it (a few times), the Amish kids next door did it the year Ralph broke his leg, AJ Potter did it. It's a necessary evil due to the design of our barn which was built before the days of tractors & skidloaders. If I ever build a barn for animals, I'm going to design it so the area where they are kept is wide enought to get my tractor through so all I'll have to do is drop the bucket and put 'er in gear. Until then, someone will keep pitch-forking.....


  1. We do cursory cleaning on the horse/cattle barn every week then a thorough cleaning once a month. Luckily the aisle there is large enough for the tractor!
    Here are the catte, watching. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mobarger/3322631666/

    Our other barn however is quite full and I need to haul out the old bedding from a stall way in the back. With a wheelbarrow. To the compost. Up hill.

  2. When I was a kid the old barn we used was the same way. We had a wheel borrow by each stall when the wheel borrow was full out it went.