Movin’ on up
January 18, 2013
We’ve started a new chapter, and it’s a good one.
We are officially all moved. But while the move went much more smoothly that we could have even imagined, it was perhaps the four most physically and emotionally demanding days that either of us have had. Late last Tuesday night, though, when we unloaded the final truck load of poultry, we weren’t thinking about our tired bones, wind-burned cheeks, or soggy boots. For the first time in quite a while, we felt at home. All of our household belongings had been moved, unpacked, and put away weeks beforehand, but it’s wasn’t until then, once the last of the animals had joined us, that it began to feel like home.
There were a couple days of building and a couple days of moving. The big move day was last Sunday, when our friends Mike and Cindy brought over their big truck and livestock trailer with which to transport the goats, sheep, and pigs. I don’t know what we would have done without their help. Our friends Dave, Jillian, Aaron, Paul, and Paul Jr. also kindly showed up, and were quickly put to work. The goats will follow a scoop of grain anywhere, but loading the sheep onto the trailer took some herding. Our main concern of the day was how to move the pigs. Well, we may or may not have given them some beer to calm their nerves. Then we shoveled a little path, did a little coaxing, and were ultimately pretty pleased with how well they followed direction and hopped up into the trailer.
Bailey and I aren’t the only ones that received a serious housing upgrade with the new farm. The sheep, pigs, and poultry also got some new digs. There was plenty of room in the new barn to set up a nice big area for the goats, as well as a warm home for the bantam chickens, but we don’t have any outbuildings, as we did at the old farm, for everybody else.
We came up with a simple plan for some 8×8 ft. hoop houses using pressure treated lumber, two 16×4 ft. livestock panels, and heavy duty tarps. And after brainstorming and drawing up some sketches, we found that we weren’t the first to think of this design. We were able to look online, compare other plans for similar structures, and figure out what would work best for us.
We plan to someday have 10 or so of these hoop houses around the farm. They are relatively easy and inexpensive to make, they hold up to the elements, and they are lightweight enough for the two of us to move. The uses are pretty much limitless; farrowing hut, goat and sheep run-in, chicken coop, broiler pen, breeding pen, cold-frame for starting tomatoes, etc. But for now, we only have 5. One for the pigs, one for sheep, and three that we pushed together for the poultry.
Ramshackle shacks are a thing of the past.
So far, the coop is working quite well. We open the door first thing in the morning so they can spend the days running around outside. But when they head back in to roost at night, we lock it up and protect them with a perimeter of electric fencing. We don’t yet know what the predation situation is around here and we don’t want to take our chances.
Of course, there are at least a dozen new projects on the horizon. This weekend we are building some brooding pens and a rabbit hutch. Soon everyone is going to start having babies. And then it’ll be garden time.
But before we get too caught up in all that needs be done, we’re going to try to slow down and appreciate all that we’ve already accomplished. This was a good move. It’s where we’re supposed to be. We hope that you can come visit us soon.
And on an unrelated note, for those of you that have reserved pork for the fall, you’ll be happy to hear that it’s in utero. If you haven’t, but are interested, click HERE.