Last weekend was a big one for us! We started milking our goats every morning and it was Dave’s birthday! Since Dave is a certified and qualified workaholic, getting him to relax and pull himself away from work is sometimes a battle. For his birthday weekend, I tried to equalize his fun:work ratio quadrant. And other.. math related.. stuff. And things. I don’t know. For a while now he has been wanting to build a chute around the goat barn to make our morning milking rodeo a little easier. And he has also wanted to make a pallet fence somewhere … Continued
Every year we try to improve our maple syrup operation. Last year we increased our taps from 30 to over 100 and built our own maple syrup pan. This year we’re increasing our taps from 100+ to 200 and building a new maple syrup evaporator (or cooker). The way we’re cooking off our maple sap right now works just fine but is rather inefficient. Our basic set-up is this: maple syrup pan on top of two metal saw horses inside of our fire pit with sheets of metal leaned up against the sides to try to keep heat in. It’s a super primitive way of cooking maple syrup.. like we’re some sort of animals! We’re losing a lot of heat through the metal sheeting and therefore going through a lot of wood in the process. And we’re also losing a lot of time. It’s all fine and dandy during the day but as soon as the sun goes down, Dave and I end up taking shifts throughout the night to tend to the fire and sap. Usually one of us ends up sitting down by the fire at 2am listening to the coyotes and owls and getting so delusionally tired that we start communicating with them. So… we had to make a more efficient maple syrup cooker this year.
You guys, it’s been way too long since we’ve posted anything decent. Our bad, dudes. Frankly, I’m ashamed and a little sad. But we have a good reason why we haven’t had time to chat. You see, every year the month of May is when we basically disappear off the face of the Earth and continuously work long, grueling hours trying to get the garden in and summer projects completed or started. And we also begin a strict farm workout regimen of dirt and sweat. We’re looking like bronzed lobster “after examples” in medical weight loss ads. It’s great. (PS I will never, ever convince myself in January that I should join a gym. That would be silly.) It’s like the entire month of May becomes farmer hell week. So here’s what we were up to during our month of May.
IT. IS. FINISHED!!! Kindof. For the most part. We finished converting our old pole barn into our new goat barn a few weeks ago and have since been working on getting the inside complete and ready for the girls to move in. It took a little work to get the inside of the barn human friendly and goat ready. This is the fun part (for me, at least). I guess Judy and Liza saw that we were pretty close to being done and ready to move them in because the last week before it was completely finished, they started escaping from their temporary pen and always found their way down toward to new barn. That was always a fun surprise. So we figured if that’s where they want to go, that’s where they’ll be! We moved them in, along with Greta and Lucy. Here’s what the fuss was all about and a look at how we set up the inside of our goat barn.
Hello again friends! A few of you have already gotten to know our girls, Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli. And a few weeks ago we introduced you to our new babies, Lucille Ball and Greta Garbo. Since Judy and Liza’s arrival, weâ€™ve been busily working on their permanent goat barn because according to Dave, Lucy and Greta can’t live in the house forever. However, before we started building I did some research and really couldnâ€™t find much information about how to build a goat barn. How much space do they need? How big should kidding stalls be? What about feeders and waterers? Do they need an in-ground pool or spa? Would they prefer a breakfast nook or a veranda? So many questions. But anyway, here’s a look at how we built our goat barn.
CONCRETE DAYYYY!!!!! We sure do love pouring concrete around here. Concrete day means all the guys show up, bust their asses shoveling, skreeting, troweling, and finishing, and then we all get to the drinking, eating, drinking, chatting and drinking. Yeah! Lucky for our livers this pour ain’t our first rodeo. We’ve had to pour a lot of concrete out here. The pad for the wood boiler, the pad for the greenhouse, replacing drain pipes in the basement floor (that sucked), putting a new culvert pipe in the driveway, etc, etc, etc. Today we’re converting an old ass pole barn into a wood shop.
We’re in the final stages of building our new coops. Which is super great, because we have a buttload of chicks in either temporary coops or en route. The buildings are built, we just had to make them chicken friendly. Now came time for the fun part… the roosts, feeders, nesting boxes, brooder, lounge, discoteque and luxury day spa.
If you give Autumn a chicken coop, she’ll probably want some chickens. If you give Autumn some chickens, she’ll probably want some more. If your chickens start to lay eggs, your friends will probably want some eggs. If your friends want some eggs, their friends will probably want some too. If your friends’ friends want some eggs, you’ll probably need more chickens. If you want some more chickens, you’ll probably need some more coops. Translation: We’re building not one but two additional coops so that eventually we can have three separate thirty bird flocks. By keeping three separate flocks, we’ll be able to sell eggs for consumption, hatching eggs, chicks and full grown chickens. And we are really effing excited.
So, we’ve got this spot by the entrance to the new wood shop that needs a retaining wall. We had to dig the floor to the new wood shop down about 10 inches. On top of the fact that it was already 8 inches lower than the shop next to it. This left us with about 18 inches of hill that just can’t wait to slide in front of the door and block the way like a big dirt bouncer at a wood shop club. So we decided to build a railroad tie retaining wall to hold all the dirt back and guess what? We had a bunch of railroad ties laying around the farm. Perfect!
So with the greenhouse structure built, it was time to start working on the inside. Zach and Dave have been doing a lot of research on benches, temperature control, lighting, and watering systems, while Nemo has been designing the very important manifold for the radiant heat in the floor, and anywhere else we need heat. We wanted to make the space as efficient and easy to use as possible. But first, we had to find materials.