Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Harvest is OVER!
That's right, Mark wrapped up the last of the soybeans on Halloween, so the combine has been put away and everything is in some kind of storage. All the last minute wrinkles worked themselves out, at least long enough to finish up, which was a big relief around here.
So the next big project is the new sheep barn. We've run out of the room in the old barn, and really we need more space to be able to separate them to maximize our production a bit more. I'd like to be able to breed the ewes for spring lambing as well as a winter lambing, so that we can produce more lambs more often, thus offering a consistent product and maintaining customers who want lamb year 'round. (Note to all restaurants and businesses looking for a supply of PEI organic lamb!!! Here I am!!!) Actually I'm a while away from having year round production but this barn will be the first step in getting there and this week has been the first step of the new barn!
After much discussion it was decided that the best route to go about starting the whole project was the "West Branch/Hillbilly Method". So instead of tearing off the plywood, taking out the insulation, framing in windows, etc. etc. it was voted to just cut into the wall where we guessed that the old frames might be and see what happens. Turned out pretty darn good I'd say (guess who's idea this was!? hahah!) As you can see in the picture below, it's pretty clear where the old windows used to be.
The lower section of the barn was a dairy barn in a previous life and is now in the transition back to housing livestock, so the frames are still there, it was just a matter of finding them, and a few rat tunnels to boot. :)
So this is the result of the first cut and it went fairly well. As I write this, there are four more holes which will very soon be windows. We haven't decided whether to go with all six that are seen from the outside shot because they're fairly large windows, so that may be an expansion project for a later date (ie. not likely to get done, but let's talk about it like a legitimate possibility to make our female foreman feel good.)
These are some important before shots of the barn, which is currently used as grain storage. (Family farming is a battle of give and take- I mean you can't very well take away a man's storage space without agreeing that it necessitates the purchase of yet another grain tank, can you!?) You can see where the ceiling drops considerably, which is where the sheep barn will begin. The lower part is where the hay mow is, conveniently enough, and although it looks quite low, the general consensus is that there will be no clean out problems when it comes to getting a tractor in there. Time shall tell, and if it tells a bad story, I don't want to be the one caught with a fork in my hand! So you'll have lots of barn reno stories coming your way in the future, I'm sure. We've decided to mimic my mom's sheep barn design somewhat, with a feed alley up the middle, able to feed out of both sides, and easily separate the flock if need be. We are also building it wide enough that we hope to be able to accomodate round bales in the future, but we'll see how that goes when we cross that road. I threw in the picture of Wilson climbing his bouncy seat so that you could see just how mobile he is getting. This puts a whole new spin on life around here.
Oh my, just heard a crash...and it's nap time... Let's hope it's the cat...Ugh...it was loud enough to wake Wilson at least...
Hope this finds you well, and more awake than I feel today!!!