Oh, that was just too easy. I’m ashamed of myself.
I don’t believe I’ve ever gone this long without blogging. I have two explanations: 1) the chickens have been good, for the most part, and life in the barn has been relatively uneventful, and 2) we are absolutely up to our armpits in planning, and there just hasn’t been time. For those of you who look forward to reading regularly, I apologise. Sorry, Mom.
But, it’s all good, people. I really hate that expression, but it actually is all good. Spring is visible on the horizon, farm babies are being born, and I am genuinely excited by what’s to come for the first time in a very long time. But, before we get there, there’s a whole lot of crap to wade through, most of it metaphorical, some of it literal.
We have a gorgeous barn. I mean, truly spectacular. This barn was built in the late 1900s, by a crazy Russian carriage maker. We know this because The Man, when he first moved here, had an older neighbour who actually remembered the carriage maker. The barn looks like this:
She needs work. She needs windows and paint and to no longer be used for storage, but she is magnificent. The open door you see to the left of the second pic is now the chickens exterior coop door, and the run was built to its left.
This barn is so magnificent, one of our neighbours bought her house, in part, because it is her front window view. Seriously.
No part of the barn is more magnificent than the second floor. It has all the makings of a loft apartment fantasy up there: 2,000 square feet of gorgeous loft space. We’re told the second floor, in its better days, was used as a local gathering space; barn dances were held there in the 50s and 60s. I am planning a video tour soon, to be posted on the Heedley’s Hens Facebook page.
Great, right? Yeah, not so much. Because, as the barn fell out of use, bats took over the second floor, and it is now revolting, even hazardous. As we plan to bring more animals here to live, we need to address the problem. It’s not just health concerns either; we’re running out of room downstairs, and need the second floor for storage.
Bats are protected in New York State, as in many places; one can’t just throw them out. And, frankly, bats make good neighbours, if not good tenants. They eat a tremendous number of insects, specifically mosquitoes.
There’s also the life cycle of the bat to be considered. Once the mamas have given birth, you can’t lock them out until the babies are independent, or the babies will perish. This means that bat eviction can only take place at certain times of year. This is an excellent time to do the deed, as the bats haven’t mated yet.
We also have bats in the attic of our hose, but that’s a much simpler problem to fix. (She said.) All in all, I’m very excited about the bat man’s visit. Yes, it will be costly, but there are some things you don’t want to do without the guidance of an expert. Bat guano can be highly toxic.
So, I’ll let you know how it goes, and get that tour up soon.
Sad for the bats? Don’t be. We plan on putting up several bat houses as alternative housing for them. We don’t want them to leave our property, just our barn!