Ugly Bits

I watched myself crop  an image to extract an empty feed bag that had blown into a corner of the barn and felt dishonest. I tidy with the crop tool!.   I just did not have the energy to pick up and dispose of the feed bag. I will soon – maybe today but  there is a pile of them in the shed and if I pick up one I will have to pick up them all and now there are so many –  what do you do.  It is funny the things that can overwhelm a person. The ugly bits get to me.

I like things to be tidy so at any given time I can put my hand on what I need. And I can show anyone around at any time without warning and know it shows how much we care for our animals.

On Instagram yesterday I posted a picture of the fly paper in the milking shed – it is about a foot wide, bright yellow like a banana, you pull a little down from the roll each day to reveal a new sticky surface  and within minutes it is full of murdered flies.  Buzzing.  It is so ugly – I cannot tell you how ugly.  But being hit in the face with flies when you enter the barn is uglier. But I wish I could hide it.

It is hot and wet, everything is wet.  Even the washing on the line will not dry now.

cows and little bull

And these cows want to stand under the trees and quietly shit and piss and stomp about in it to cool their heels, everywhere under the trees is a mire. The mud is terrible. At  night when it is cooler I lock them out into the fields. One of the Frenchboy’s last jobs is to give this area its weekly clean with the tractor but it will be hot hard heavy work and they are tired now. Ready to go home.  And the cows will not appreciate it.
dexter cow and calf

Look at Alex and her baby lying in the mud – happy.

I took these shots of the inside of the barn before I cleaned after the milking and before the cleaning. Usually I take images that show it clean and dry but today we are seeing the ugly bits before they are all tidied up. And nothing dries at the moment – especially not the waiting room and the milking area and the corridors that are cleaned  twice daily.
old barn

The cleaning does not take long but the drying of the floors can take the whole day on a good day. I want to buy one of those scraping tools for the floors. It is on the list.
old barn

Every door and window is open too try and catch a small breeze both for drying the floors and keeping the barn ventilated for the pigs and the peacocks up in the rafters.  The pigs have outside areas too but prefer to lay about inside – too hot outside.

old barn

And finally my pregnant pigs have succumbed and are lying in front of their fans. Not so stoic now that the heat has rolled in.
pregnant pig

Today is the last work day of The Frenchmen.  Although they are not asked to work in the heat of the day – we work until 9.00am on the hard outside jobs then have breakfast and the work from then on is in the barn or in the shade, then at lunch time they go to siesta until late afternoon. But I feel they are looking forward to finishing. They want to be sitting inside too – playing with the baby – or just turning up for meals. Being a visitor on the farm is great actually. It extends the farm family. But the last few weeks there has only been us three working and they are tired now.  Wearing down. But they have worked so hard for weeks and now it really is time to relax for them.

And the dinner visitors leave the day after the woofers so it will be very quiet for a few days. Then in the middle of next week even more visitors come – with another, even younger, baby. These visitors are from my own family – flying in from New Zealand.  It will be lovely. And they are more farm oriented.

My next wave of workers starts  in early August – the 10th I think. I need to check the book.

The tomatoes are just beginning and if my luck holds I will be picking and preserving tomatoes for the next few months.

Enough chatting – time for work!

I hope you have a lovely day,

Love celi

My instagram handle is cecilia_bwg.  It is a perfect complement to the daily blog.  I am loving it. This is where all the breaking news goes. And sometimes even video. It is becoming an extension of the blog, though I have allowed myself to take images of the surrounding area  as I puddle to and fro.  Instagram is not just for the farm. I have the settings arranged so that every time you ‘like’ an Instagram photo it lights up my phone with your name. (No buzz or ding just the light) So your contact follows me out into the barns. The blog for me is computer based so reading and answering your wonderful comments is for siesta time curled up in my chair for an hour after lunch – just you and me.  Instagram is different and just for fun.

And thank you for your comments here at the farmy – you are my constant companions. I still miss ViV, don’t you?


61 Comments on “Ugly Bits

  1. It looks like a normal farm to me, albeit a special one!
    The temperature went down here last night – I hope you have similar luck 🙂

  2. It is good to acknowledge the ugly bits. Its life, warts and all…Honest. I love this line by Elizabeth Gilbert: “The world is like a dropped pie most of the time. Don’t kill yourself trying to put it back together. Just grab a fork and eat some of it off the floor. Then carry on.” Of course, you wouldn’t be eating pie off those floors, but…

  3. I have been feeling quite lonely today. It happens sometimes. Especially in the summer. I know what it means to find “constant companions” here. Despite timezone. Despite most anything. I love your instagram pics and videos. I am italifrance in case you didn’t know who that was. My hair is a mess in the profile pic. I’d been vacuuming. Ha! So much for protecting one’s glamorous image on the internet! Very funny thought about the pic of the cows all lined up. They almost look like they’re hanging on a line to dry off. Take care. Au revoir et bon voyage to the Frenchmen. Tell them I’ll be saying hi to France tomorrow! x

  4. Viv lives on in all sorts of places. She’s being remembered and talked about and her loss regretted. She’s real and alive here on the Farmy still, and in other parts of the blogosphere, and as long as we talk about her, she isn’t gone. She’ll get a page to commemorate her in the Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook (; she didn’t live long enough to create her own page, but she’s definitely with us in spirit.
    I sympathise with the whole hot/wet situation; drying laundry in the 80% humidity of high summer here is bad news.

  5. Trust Lady A 🙂 Even Naomi looks quite a step up for Carlos the Tiny. I think Viv would have had a verse for that picture. Good for us all to see the ugly bits too. Our temp is dropping to a max of 9C/49F from tomorrow brrr. Laura

  6. Instagram has been my connection with constant companions while travelling, so much new which is good but so nice to have their likes and comments on the pics we post each day… And I know when I’m the one at home how much I enjoy vicarious travel & other lives. I crop too… not everything needs to be shared.

  7. Did you know that you can set your Instagram to automatically post to Facebook and Twitter? I recommend it because that way you increase your traffic on all venues.

  8. Your barn looks very neat and tidy. I know it won’t last. But, it is good to see once in a while. Sort of like cleaning and tidying a kids room.

  9. Your feed bags can be a terrific resource. People make lovely shopping (aka tote) bags from them – sew them up and they last a long time. Might be something you could sell to non-farm people who love the homestead thing. A friend in my Ladies Homestead Gathering (btw now a national group – google it) with a farm gave me a big stack of them with all kinds of great logos on them which will make really cute totes when I can spare the time to make them up.

    Also, as for the cow critters and their footie wallows keeping them cool, other than neatness, is there a reason you feel the need to scrape it up? I’m thinking since it gives them comfort, it might be a blessing in disguise. Just thinking that, not sure if there is something I don’t know about this. They looked so content standing hoof deep in mud. 😉

    Having young people to help around the farm (or in my case my internship program here in NE Georgia with my huge garden), is such a blessing. They learn so much, get an entirely different prospective about life (yes, food does not come from stores, it comes from the earth), and we get so much help and fellowship. My program isn’t live-in, it’s 3 to 8 hours a week in 3 to 4 hour sessions, but we still get a tremendous amount done and learned. So, out there, if you know how to do something that is basic survival like growing food, share it with young people, and get their help as well. It’s such a win-win. Just sayin.

    • Um no we can’t make pretty hand bags out of these feed bags – These are real feed bags either paper or plastic, not pretty, the paper ones go in the conpost though. That is not only mud they are standing in, flies and stink and disease are the reason I clean the concrete, if nothing else these flies bite and having animals with bloody bites on their legs and udders is one of many good reasons to get rid of the stinky manure and keep the barn clean. And I would rather work in a clean space. c

  10. Yes, I miss Viv…. I hope she and Mom have found each other on that other dimension that is after life. I prayed to her to find her after we got the news. Maybe she has found your Mum also….

    Uh – heat and humidity – makes everything feel twice as heavy….. we have that going on here now.

    Adieu to the French….. May they have safe travels…. I know they have enjoyed the stay and will be going with huge stories to tell! Pet PIGS, Babies and Storms of the WILD WILD WEST…. along with this CRAZY WOMAN who chases them. …. the storms – not the french men 😉

  11. I had to read this post when it appeared in my inbox, because I, too, am guilty of cropping and editing the mess! I don’t live in a barn (although sometimes it feels that way!), but I can sympathize with the clutter, and not wanting to pick up ONE thing because you’ll be forced to pick up ALL the things! Your farm still looks clean to me. Mud and poop on the floor, eh…. it’s a farm! 😉

    I will go check out your Instagram feed now.

  12. I sometimes will not post a photo of farm stuff if it’s messy and looking rundown, but that is the truth in farming and I am trying not to crop those bits out. I love the Elizabeth Gilbert quote too!

  13. How absolutely wonderful that your family is coming to visit. And with a baby. Bonus.

    Your writing of the sticky fly paper brought back many memories. A thin strip of sticky fly paper always hung above our kitchen table on the farm. Rather gross. But it served a purpose.

    • Oh my yes, I remember wonderful meals, at noon, at my great uncle’s farm, in a huge farm kitchen with a real wood range. And then you looked up and saw dead and half dead flies stuck to the fly paper! Real life.

  14. Good morning! Those papery bags pile up. I used a bunch to lay beneath mulch to keep down weeds in a new garden. now I’m looking for more bags! Faith Veley.

  15. I didn’t know what you mean about Viv. I didn’t know her, but we always miss people in the places where we expect them. The thing that pops into our head to tell them. The expected comment you know the person will make at a situation. etc. It’s the little things that don’t happen that sharpen the loss, not the big ones.

    It sounds like the weather is pulling you into a bit of a hole. I hope today proves to be better and more cheerful and hopefully cooler.

  16. Yes I agree I miss Viv too. It’s strange not having her comments. I think you barns look great 😀

  17. I’ve been watching your heat wave from here. I have an ex SIL that lives in Missouri so I know how miserable 90 plus degrees with the same amount of humidity can be. I spent many years in that area and just can’t handle those temps anymore. I hope it breaks for you soon. Ours is on the way but nothing like what you have. It seems relentless. Life has lots of ugly bits. Part of the package. I have a friend coming for a glass of wine tonight and my house looks like a tornado hit as I’m purging, rearranging and organizing. There are lots of ugly bits. Farm life is too much hard work. I love to see what you are doing but could never pull off all that hard work myself. And then people complain about the price they pay for food! It’s not that easy to grow it. Thanks for sharing to truth with us. I miss Viv’s comments too. And her blog. Have as lovely a day as you can. I don’t know how to do instagram but I’ll look into it.

  18. I miss seeing miss Vivs comments. I like the way she would end saying “your Viv” I’m sure you were very special to her. I have only been here for a little while and I already love having my tea with all of you each morning. I live in the city so visiting your farm is such a joy for me.

  19. I love the quote about life being like a dropped pie. Perfect. Your animals are so well cared for, and your barn too. Hot and humid really make it difficult. Yesterday I tried to sit outside my gallery to paint during the farmer’s market and just couldn’t do it for more than an hour. I really feel for all the farmers who had to haul everything in, set it up, and then sit there for hours.
    I had to chuckle at the cat photo. At first I thought it was a pride of lions 🙂

  20. The world is so full of ugly bits. The farmy’s are barely noticeable. It’s only the barn’s darkness that creates a somber tone, which some might interpret as meditative, peaceful. The barn as a cave, a still place, a giant sun shade. The mess is just earth, water, and possibly fertilizer. I actually think the pictures today are nice, compared to what I’ve been seeing on my screen from in-the-news cities. Your place is a haven for many of us.

  21. I laughed about the pie on the floor- and I feel for your hot tired pregnant pigs- have a lovely day in spite of the heat and untidiness!

  22. I see your tidy paws in your photos and hear your organizational skills in your writings. I always enjoy your post.

  23. Somehow your photographer’s eye still makes a barny barn look beautiful! I’ve just had my first tub of Tanglefoot delivered. It is a tub of the gooey sticky adhesive that is used on fly strips. I can now make my own. I reuse the rolls from plastic wrap and cut up cardboard strips. I’ve also seen people use it on recycled plastic containers – like margarine or honey containers. It has been very satisfying to tuck them into places that the fly tape doesn’t cover!

  24. I just love your big old barn. Whenever I pass a big old barn I always fantasize what it might look like in side and what it’s used for.

  25. Funny…as we are in Santa Fe while Richard prepares and conducts a series of Shakespeare concerts with a contingent of the SF Desert Chorale, I am of course taking my usual kazillion photos, and I edit mine heavily. Aside from the (at least) 2/3 to 9/10 percentage I cull before using, what I do keep is for illustrative purposes at least as much as for documentary ones. And my intent *always* with my photos is to show others how *I* see the world.

    In my opinion, that was always the purpose of photography: even the most rigorous of news and docu- photographers have *always* only shown us what they choose, and are able, to shoot, and from their perspective. Heck, people were manipulating photographs (early “ghost story” and “fairy” photos, anyone?!) as soon as they could shoot them. Photos are no more concrete proof of Truth than are written or spoken words. Current politics confirm all of the above, eh!

    So last night I was doing my own version of HDR, wherein I alter the light/dark contrast in various parts of shots to replicate what my eyes and brain do as I’m seeing the images live, and Richard commented on my play with the pictures. And then I showed him how, for example, the pictures I took while he was driving here through west-Texas and New Mexico storms (not as fabulous as your recent stormy sky photos!) are ‘readable’ only after such an edit, and that if his eyes weren’t already making such adjustments on the fly he’d not have been able to see, headlights or not, to drive.

    I know that when I photograph my own environment, I do so with constant awareness of my version of Clutter Blindness, which makes me not see or notice things that are constantly in my environment—until I’m recording that environment with my camera. What an amazing tool is the camera! But it’s only a tool, and the images we take with it only the things we’ve chosen to note or share in our own ways. I love what you do with your images! They are always spot-on for the occasion, and often, very often, simply magically beautiful. What a great way to share our time: exchanging beauty! Thanks for that, Celi.


      • Thanks, Pat! Loving it here. Such great people, both in the Chorale troops and in town, and of course fabulous food, walking, and sights. R is already at rehearsal this morning and I’m going to trot over to enjoy the Saturday market before heading off to join him/them. Last night was so lovely—a Chorale dinner party up on the hill at a magnificent home, from which we could enjoy the spectacular views, dozens of busy hummingbirds buzzing us, and in the evening, the lightning show and *exactly* the right amount of sprinkling on those of us who were still on the patio at midnight-1 a.m. to both cool us nicely and tell us to let the hosts get some rest! 😀
        PS—if you’ve got any recommendations for either must-do stuff in SF or photo ops here, please do tell! You can write me directly at anytime.

  26. I miss ViV as well. How about leaving her photo in the bunch published for, say, a year? What do you think? Much love, Your Gayle

  27. My eight cows at the house pasture have access to the barn 24-7 as their pasture doesn’t have any shade. They manage to cram their hot bodies into several stalls and alleyways — there is a breeze usually blowing through and the flies seem to be a bit less of a bother – BUT I have to scrape it down to dirt morning, noon, and evening – literally. They can’t seem to make it outside to potty then come back in. They do spend the night and early mornings out grazing so that’s my time to lay down fresh bedding. And boy do I hear you on the pile up of feed bags. I re-use the plastic ones as kitchen and recycle garbage bags but that only uses up a few. I work at (and am constantly nagging my “hired hand with benefits”) to stuff the empty bags into one another to take up less space in the feed room until a dump trip is made. We have to haul our own garbage about 5 miles away to a transfer station that is only open twice a week — when someone remembers to show up….living on a reservation has a few drawbacks 🙂

    • We have no garbage collection either and so I try my best not to have stuff to throw away – sometimes i think my cows go inside to poop then wander back out again!! c

  28. What is life without the ugly bits? I also miss Viv’s comments and think about her. And I only knew her through her comments I am enjoying your instagram and can’t imagine hearing something every time one of us “like”. That could be 24/7 with your worldwide lounge!

  29. Ah, tomatoes. No home grown tomatoes for us this year. Our plants were completely ravaged by hail last Saturday- just before they were to go into the greenhouse, too. And only 45 more days of summer left for us. Makes me sad.

  30. I miss Viv too, her comments, her verses, the occasional photos of quilting projects, but mostly it is knowing that we only had what we’ve had. I love the barn. My uncle’s barn at the hatchery smelled of chickens, was on the dusty side but dark and mysterious to a kid, especially a city kid who didn’t want to be a city kid (I never wanted to live in the city and that’s where I’ve been all my life). Barns are wonderful places, their occupants usually are focused on the moment, they simply are. The light in barns is special too, illuminating something deeply fundamental, the process of life itself.

  31. It’s looking like not much of a break in the heat until early next week. It’s amazing how it makes even simple chores (like picking up the feed bags) an enormous chore. Things that normally only take a few minutes drag on and on. My horses’ run in is actually the lower level of the old machine shed. It normally is quite a bit cooler in there though with this weather it’s pretty damp. They tend to spend more time in there away from the wretched flies so it seems it never is really clean. I used to use a 13 foot long 1 foot wide stretch of fly paper attached to the overhang of the run in until a baby swallow got itself stuck on it and died. I still feel bad about that. One time one end fell down and got stuck to my young horse’s tail, he was off like a shot thinking the ‘tiger’ was going to get him, quite comical. Sorry for the run on, I seem to be in sloooooooow motion today!

  32. We will miss ViV forever zi think. I come here and wander about to feel close to her still. She so loved you C. And the farmy.

  33. You are such a busy person .. Your place always looks tidy Celi. I hope there is some coolness for you and your animals. How wonderful having family with you soon

  34. Pingback: Let’s Talk about Truth in Advertising | Art-Colored Glasses

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