Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Reorganizing and Plans for the Barn

Similar to this but no door or window in front
It really isn't a barn though we call it that. It's a metal structure that's supposed to be a garage. It has one window which overlooks the orchard and a door on the opposite side of the garage door. It's 18x 26.

Mel built a raised, platform floor inside of it that takes up a quarter of the space from the back entry door out 8x12. We will be expanding this area out another 4' to give her more room to play  in 12x12. She didn't have near as many toys to play with before I got here. It's easier on the feet and legs standing on the raised platform than the asphalt patch type floor.

I bought about $100 worth of 2x4x8s for a shelving unit along one side of the garage between the window and garage door.  I wanted them sturdy and strong. Rather than use plywood for the shelves, we used 2x4s. It is almost overkill for weight bearing. Didn't I say I wanted it strong and sturdy? Each upright is double thickness between the shelves.  Then each unit is secured to the building at the back.The earth would have to shake a whole lot to move them.

Most of my stuff is in these 45-gallon, wheeled totes, and are heavy.  There are four of them and a foot locker that's mine. They are almost totally rodent and bug proof. Two of these totes would fit on each bottom shelf. She built three of these storage shelves units. These are on the lowest shelf while the upper shelves house the standard 18 to 30 gallon totes. One whole shelving unit houses paint, varnishes and assorted odds and ends that Mel stores. The upper most shelves hold seasonal stuff. Hopefully, the rats won't chew through the plastic as easily as they did the boxes these items were originally in.

A whole truck load of damaged belongs were taken to the landfill this year because of the rats and bug damage...mostly stored in cardboard boxes. With each tote labeled and stacked, we should be able to find what we want more easily. Better organized, the easier to find, right? Of course that meant having to go through each and every thing too. We've been at it since spring and we're almost done. The days of dumping whatever wherever in the barn is over! Now it has a proper place.

Next in the barn to build is building a small storage building within the barn (8x12x6). This space will be designated for storage of extra empty canning jars, rabbit and chicken (and people too) grains and feed when we catch a sale on these items. It will be built out of recycled pallet wood. It will be sealed against rodents and bugs. With recycled nails, visits to the Re-store, it shouldn't cost much at all to
build. We are only planning to build this room 6'  tall. The "roof" will allow for storage of extra hay and straw for the animals so we can take advantage of sales without cluttering up the rabbit barn. Buying 5 compressed bales of straw and hay for the critters severely limits the area our bunnies have free to scamper and play in. It also hampers our ability to catch them after free play is over. This is even with the almost 6' expansion of the rabbit barn.

The rest of this side of the 24' length will be for lumber (8x4) and large garden tool storage with a much smaller shelving unit (2x2x5) for storing sacks of perlite, bone and blood meal, Epsom salts and small hand tools and gloves. The large garden tools have a place in the space between the door and runs along a 2' of the walkway between the wall and the platform for the workshop about 6' wide.

As I said before, everything will have a designated space. The yearly cleaning out the barn will be history. There also will be no more hiding spots that Patches, my mouser cat, or Herbie, our rodent hunting dog, can't get to. Although neither of them like snakes very much, they will alert us us to their presence. Patches may play with smaller ones. Both have permission to kill whatever is in the barn. The beauty of this is we'll be able to close the garage door when it doesn't need to be open. Right now, it stays open even in winter.

We may eventually have a barn that really is a barn.  All the livestock we have already have their designated areas so it isn't necessary. But for now, we are using what we have for optimum use.  We even have space to drive the yard tractor in to get it out of the weather. What a novel concept!

The infrastructure plans include a goat area to be built beside the current barn. We'll set up a milking station at the garage door opening and fence off an area between the shelves and the storage room as well as a walk thru area that's the car park area for this purpose. The goats won't mind the sloping area between the barn and the orchard. They might even enjoy it. So long as their house is fairly level ground. There's about a six-foot wide area between the barn and the slope for their house. We can set up other areas for them to play in also on the property. I'm only talking about two or three dwarf Nubians or Nygoras not a full herd of  10-20 goats.

Like this one
The infrastructure future plans also include a chick /chicken grow out area just beyond the well house as soon as we clear it. Not huge, but space enough for ten to twenty birds at a time to be healthy and happy until slaughter. The plan is to raise up these chickens twice a year.

We always insist that our animals be healthy and happy no matter what their eventual disposition may be. Housing our chickens for slaughter needs to be everything they could dream of. Happy, healthy chickens mean a healthier end product for us to consume. We'll also know how they were treated and fed.

That's it for now. ***Please use the contact firm to subscribe to our weekly newsy emails.***
Y'all have a blessed day!

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