Monday, March 3, 2014

Update on the fire - pictures

Today was a long emotional day. Lots of paperwork, phone calls, scheduling, and then manual labor.  After we received clearance from the insurance company, we started the process of cleanup.  With so many free ranging birds here I didnt want to leave the remains of the burnt  coop for the birds and small animals to scavenge.  We ordered a dumpster, removed all the charred wood and burnt plastic or fiberglass, and then  scraped the top few inches off the deep bedding.  Underneath was beautiful compost, which we scooped up and placed in a large compost pile behind the bug barn. By the end of the day, not much was left except mud, a few posts, and a half wall or two.

Special thanks to everyone that has sent kind emails, calls, and facebook notes . It is heart touching to see so many people willing to help and donate.  Thank you!

In retrospect, we ask ourselves why is this experience so emotional? As I finished the milking tonight, I strolled by where the coop was yesterday full of hundreds of growing baby chicks, only to hear silence and see emptiness.  It's only chickens and an old coop , right?


First , these were special chicks, our own cross breeds that, unfortunately , we can not reproduce easily. Due to many factors, it will take one to two years to recover where we were.

Second , the full grown chickens were our original chickens... the ones that launched Little Sprouts. The little flock that were the first farm animals we ever owned, the ones the children made us promise never to process.

Third, and most importantly, is this. ... a farmer (small family farm with lots of animals) is given these animals as a charge to care for, responsibility for them rests on the farmer's shoulder. they are not tools, not inventory, not "things", they are living animals  that deserve respect.  We, "I" was responsible for these animals and, whatever happened in the coop last night was my responsibility.  I accept that, embrace it, and feel it. No animals on our farm is expendable, they all deserve respect.  So, bottom line, we , "I" let these 400 chicks and chickens down. Its one thing to make a mistake and pay for it.... something completely different to make a mistake and watch other dependents pay for it.

So it was an emotional day, and still is.  Perhaps a good night sleep will help.

Here are a few shots of hte action last night. Didnt get many,  kinda busy.

Fire trucks everywhere in the circle drive

The smoldering fire almost out

Here are some shots of the coop this morning:

A shot from the pasture side

Here is the third stall where the custom built brooder / hospital that bradley built was. Now its a small pile of ashes towards the back

Here is the center coop where 300+ baby chicks lived. The heaters  that might have been the cause of all this are not even visible, completely disappeared into the ashes. 

Here is where the old birds were.. the ones that started it all, in the coop that was the very first farm structure we worked on, 5 years ago. Where I learned to staple chicken wire with a hand stapler. 

A shot from the road

Here is a view from the end

this is what is left of the custom built brooder / hospital

the back side of where the chicks were

The back side of the older chicken coop. Notice the amish made rollaway nesting box on the left, warped beyond repair. 

This is where the heater batteries sat on a shelf. The little box on the center left is the battery charger. 

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