January 8, 2007 – Another Mission Accomplished

Today, after a year since the first piece was put up, the back roof of the machine shed it now roofed (or at least all I’m planning on roofing). This brings a number of benefits – no more pile of steel roofing on the ground taunting me, no more drips in the shed, and no more having to straddle two sharp pieces of metal between the legs to put on a ridge cap.

The plan is to tear off the rest of the building, or make it open to the south as the lower half is in pretty rough shape, even by my standards.

one year ago…

December 9, 2006 – More Siding

Today was the first warm day since I moved the scaffolding to the north side of the corn crib and was able to get the most challenging (highest) pieces up and start down on the other side.

Here I’m tearing down the third section high after already tearing down the fourth section high. I’ll be happy when this is done for this year. Next year we can work on the doors. It’s a bit of a time stretch to work on this in the heart of the busy season, but a day near 50 in December calls out for a job like this to get some attention.

one year ago…

November 13, 2006 – Windows (not the Bill Gates kind)

Things at the farm are in a constant state of needing attention. This summer, a couple of windows in the barn lost some panes of glass. Years ago, I would painstakingly reglaze and repoint the window panes into rotting wood, then paint – all told a job over a few days time. Then I got smarter and bought the pre-primed frames and just had a couple of coats of taping, painting, and scraping. Now, I’m a firm believer in the PVC/Vinyl windows for the outbuildings. No painting, no scraping, no waiting, just put them in. (However, I’m not a fan of them for the house!)

Here’s the broken window.

The path to the broken window from inside the barn. I was fortunate it was over the loft, so the ladder journey wasn’t as far.

Finally, the completed fix. I put two new windows in the barn – need one more for the corn crib.

In unrelated news, I was fortunate the battery to the van died in the K-Mart parking lot! I could walk in, buy a new one, and install it on a nice day. I was fortunate in it wasn’t when Linda had the van and kids somewhere on a cold, windy day.

one year ago…

August 8, 2006 – Hoophouse?

We are scheming to put up a hoophouse (actually GJ is scheming, but we’ll be happy to let her). We really don’t have much level ground left. We are thinking on the south side of the barn, shielded from the north wind and on a slightly south slope may be a good place to start. I’ve measured out a 24×36 foot space between the raspberries and peach trees.

For now, I’ve got the perimeter outlined with electric netting. We’ll first let the chickens at it to get the grass out, work it up/level with the tractor and then spread heaps of compost on it and maybe cover it with straw/cardboard to kill whatever grows up – maybe even try to solarize the area. It’s another great experiment.

May 26, 2006 – Garden and Building

Today was one of those rare days that more “farming” got done than planned. Spent the morning loading up a load for the dump and getting supplies in town and in the afternoon started getting ready to reroof the back side of the old machine shed. First task was to nail 2x4s across the roof into the rafters. The roof has a great hump (where two buildings were joined). So, I tore all the asphalt and cedar shingles to get down to the sheeting on the hump to help smooth out the hump. Got all the boards pounded in.

Even got three sheets of roofing up – about nine feet. I was hoping to get it done this long weekend, but about 3/4 done today – should be a snap!
Linda got some serious weeding done today.

Here’s a view down the onions and potatoes.
GJ got lots of patio blocks set around the new raised beds. It was hot and calm – a day that felt and smelled like summer. So it was the first time to Ev’s in town for ice cream after dinner.
Any guesses what this crop is?

These are Chinese cabbage and raddicchio – looks like they like the wet weather of late.

March 26, 2006 – Goat-Proofing Barn

Ok, so “goat-proofing” may be too optimistic a term for what we did today, but it sure sounds hopeful! Every once in a while, the goats climb over the feed bunks in the barn and get in the main part of the barn. Today, we put up cattle panels above the bunks to help them decide to stay on their side of the barn. Again, with goats, this is all theory.

If you look closely, you can see the panels up on the far wall. We also fixed one of the doors that the Billy knocked off, and fixed one door that had settled and did not close. So, now we are more ready to the kids – Paullina is scheduled to deliver this Friday.

March 22, 2006 – Barn Time

Today, a student from Iowa State came out to visit our barn. The class was doing a project and was looking at “Adaptive Reuse” of barns. She came out and asked some questions, took some pictures, and we lamented about the vanishing barns

Here is a collection of blog entries that show renovation in progress or other interesting local barns.

Here’s the link that shows the “before” and “after” chicken coop

Here’s some before and after of the inside of the corn crib

Outside of Corn Crib Renovation

Here’s a pretty picture of the barn in winter

Here’s some pictures of a neighborhood barn in good shape

Barn in bad shape

Here’s a really cool posting from one of our friends whose barn burned down due to lightning.

March 6, 2006 – Lots of Odds and Ends

For some reason, it seems like lots of things got wrapped up today. Finished some shelves in the corn crib and moved some of the beekeeping stuff that isn’t accessed very much.

Got almost a full load of scrap metal in the truck – old woven wire fencing, old gutters, old pipes, and leftover metal pieces from the corn crib siding. Finally getting to the point where it actually takes some hunting to get a load’s worth of junk hauled out.

Neighbor Don brought over some empty 5 gallon buckets that will help drain the fuel oil tanks in the basement. Started working on a new chicken tractor and got more 2×4’s unloaded from the truck.

Did a little spring burning along the south border.

The rationale is that if there is a wildfire in the field in the fall, having burned the dead grass will act as a bit of a firebreak to prevent the fire from moving along the fence lines. Mostly, it’s fun to play with fire. Plus with the rain last night, the grass wasn’t explosively tinder dry so it didn’t burn as fast.

February 13, 2006 – Goats and More

Today I brought Thing 1 and Thing 2 (male dairy goats born last spring) to the locker. Six of the visiting does that were “serviced” by the buck (stinky jim) at our place had an ultrasound today and 5 of 6 have at least twins. So the open doe is back for another visit.

We also got a mulberry tree cut down that was on the back of the machine shed – one of those winter extras – so that when spring and roofing season starts, it won’t be in the way.
tree saw

There’s still a lot of hauling and cutting to do, but it is at least down.

In a family note, tonight was the last forced eye-drop administration of pink-eye solution to Martin’s eyes. It took one parent to hold his body and arms, another to pry the eyes open enough to get the drops in three times a day. He never did warm up to the procedure!

February 12, 2006 – Now that Was Easy!

The kitchen remodeling is almost complete, except for the cooktop backsplash and light over the sink. I was trying to figure out the best way to build a soffit or box over the sink (there was a box spanning between the cabinets before the remodel, and I was trying to envision how a new one would fit).

We bought a fixture that had a pivot that I was going to mount to the box. We thought it would be nice to have a fixture that could move. Once we got the fixture out of the package and I had cut the first piece of oak plywood, we decided it was too nice to hide and would add more “clutter” to the room, so we just mounted the light directly above the window. The light is on a swivel and one side is opaque white, the other clear and it spins around to let whatever side down you want – light comes out of both sides.

Much faster than cutting, staining, and triming out a bunch of wood and maintains the air of airiness.

January 10, 2006 – Attic Project

The add a dormer project in the attic is about to begin. Although these pictures are hard to see, they will be fun to look at “after.”
attic east

This is the look to the east – the stairs come up in front of the window and there is already a nice rail around the stairway.

attic south

This is the look to the south where the dormer will be built. The attic is a nice space and it is fun to imagine the placement of the room, storage, closets, and built-ins.

January 7, 2006 – April Day in January

Today it was so warm, the kids were running around in short sleeves outside for a bit. Barn cleanup called us today in the warm weather. We’ve had a few more goats than usual with Billy “the stud” at High Hopes. We didn’t realize it was quite so deep.
The doors are narrow, and there is no way to get equipment, other than the “Armstrong pitchfork” in to help cleanup. The cleanup is simple, scrape the stuff out, load it into a two wheel cart,
cleanbarn and haul it away.

It is a rather dreadful job when it lasts more than a couple of hours or so, and this job helped me make friends with it by thinking of it in a new way. Rather than the drudgery of sraping and cleaning it out, like many things at our farm, we like things to have multiple uses.

The good part of barn cleanup is fertilizing the fruit trees and gardens. I used to have to truck the stuff in, now it was a direct trip from the barn to the soil in one trip – mush more efficient than driving and reloading the stuff and then distributing. So, most all of the garden space, fruit trees, and raspberries have been fertilized, and there is some to spare in the compost pile.