Friday, June 29, 2007

Farmyard Update...

The ducks are growing like weeds and look like they are almost full size. Unfortunately we lost one and are down to three left. About a month ago I got a call at work and Stephanie came outside and saw a 5-6 ft snake in the Chicken Tractor and it was in the process of trying to eat on of the ducks. She proceed to jump into the pen and rescued three of the ducks.

The three that are left are a blast. We moved the Chicken Tractor into the garden and fortified it. They get to take daily strolls around the garden and love to jump into a kiddie pool for a swim.

After we had the ducks for a few weeks we picked up some 2 week old guinea hens. They were given their own deluxe accommodations in the garden and have also been growing like crazy. They are supposed to dine on ticks and other bugs and given their love to peck at the ground it is no wonder they like to eat bugs. Now the big question is when to let them out since they may stay out. Guineas love to roost in trees but we are hoping they might come back to lay eggs.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

First photos of the next building...

We are tired of the junk laying all over our property, including the garage and storage space. So it was time to build a barn. After looking at multiple styles we decided on a pole barn with an exterior that matches our current house (wide overhangs, board and batten siding, galvalume roof).

The spot was cleared earlier this year and it yielded close to 100 logs, mostly Southern Yellow Pine.

These will be used for siding and skip sheathing as well as any other of the many upcoming projects like the timber frame addition to our house.

The barn is relatively large (36x46 ft) given our house is only 22x40. It will have an interior height of about 11 ft. One of the great features is the last 10 feet will be covered with a roof but open on 3 sides for the sawmill. We will be spoiled!!

It is amazing how quick pole buildings are to construct. My father and I spent a day digging the 17 post holes with the neighbors PTO-run post-hole digger. After a quick inspection Coleman and I placed the corner posts last Friday after work and then with the help of one other person (Jeff), the three of us got the rest of the posts up and concreted after church on Sunday.

When ever I tell Stephanie that something is going to take a few hours, that is usually "code" for it will take a day or two, and a day is a week and a week is a month. Well ... not with pole buildings. An evening after work is an evening after work!!!

We are getting prepared for the weekend when we are going to place the trusses. They will span 36 ft so there will be no interior posts. Can you say barn dance. Or even better yet roller skating rink. When the parents of my best friend growing up had a barn raising back in the early 80's I remember the skate party that they had and I also remember the tennis shoe skates that I had.

Stay tuned.......


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Fell off the wagon.....

Well after we got our CO on the timber frame house in November and moved in we have held off on any major projects. Most of the time was spent doing some trim work, putting in a small garden, lots of clean up, and organizing.

Stephanie continues to feel better day by day despite being done with 11 of 30 trips to the taning bed (aka radiation treatment) as a precautionary measure, we have dedcided to get started on the pole barn. We are putting up a 36x46 building that will have the same look as the house. It will house a lot of our junk, including the tractors, sawmill, wood, storage bins etc.

My father and I dug 17 post holes with the neighbors tractor (thanks Ed!) and we passed the first of two inspections.

Stay tuned and watch out for some pictures this weekend as the first poles go in the ground.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A chicken tractor for ducks.

It was time to move the ducks out of the garage. They are a few weeks old and we wanted to give them a little more room to move around and build a chicken tractor.

We have read a lot about chicken tractors over the past few years. This is a mobile chicken coop and you can move around the yard or garden and it gives the chickens a clean area to run around in every time you move it.

Last weekend we spent a day or so building it. We figured we would do a dry run with the ducks and see what we need to change on it before we get chickens.

The ducks are 3-4 weeks old and really growing. They get plenty of time to swim in the kiddy pool and are developing their own personalities.
It only took them a little while to start using the ramp to go up into their nest box area. A night we lock them in the box to keep them safe from predators.
Next up we are going to get some guinea hen chicks that will free range and eat all the ticks....

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