Winter Chores and Hand Carts

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.

hand cart1It 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:

hand cart2Pretty 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.

wheel barrowSo Tom went to the store and bought wood and parts for resurrect our back up hand cart.  Here are Tom and the dogs starting the repair.

Tom and dogs fixing cartI 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).

goat pen

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2 Responses to Winter Chores and Hand Carts

  1. Tammy says:

    I agree–winter isn’t easy and all sitting by the fire sipping cocoa and knitting or reading a good book. 🙂 And even if I do get to I usually nod off because I’m tired from all the extra stuff. Hope your hand cart makes it! And/or the second gets ready for business. I don’t have a cart like that, but I have a two wheel ‘dolly’ cart that I use all the time. Without it I’d not be able to do many heavy moving/lifting etc. I also use it to haul the hay out to the sheep everyday. I’ve got one of those little silly plastic sleds for when we get a deep snow but haven’t had to use it yet this winter.

    (and surely spring will be here soon!)


    • Donna says:

      It sounds like you know what I am talking about Tammy! I am guessing you do not as much mud because a dolly would sink to the axle around here. I hope our cart last another day or two until we hopefully get the other one rolling again.

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