Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Rounding Out 2013

I figured an end of the year wrap-up was in order. I have been at home with both kids for the last week and it has not always been easy. The weather has been much colder then normal with one or two decent days each week. I avoid working with the kids outside most of the time since it has been so cold. My daughter has been helping me with chores and the neighbor's chores the past few mornings when Janice has been at work.

Working with Daddy Outside

Getting Water for the Neighbors Horses

Hauling Hay for a Crippled Calf

I did find some time to attack one of those nagging projects that have been lingering for way too long. I built a lean-to door for our lambing building. Janice talks about it some in her blog, but the thing to know is the older door was junk and I disliked it so much that burned it in late summer on one of the burn piles I had around at the time.  This was a way to force myself to find a long term solution.  I started by measuring the irregular opening and coming up with an approximation of what would fit. I then cut up all the wood and laid it out on the floor to make some adjustments, then I screwed it together with quite a few fasteners. The only thing I purchased specifically for the door was the single shed window, the rest of it is scrap lumber, hinges, hardware, and screws from project left overs and decommissioned chicken pens. The door took quite bit of finagling to get it relatively straight in the opening. With the aid of a reciprocating saw and adding quite a bit  of framing around the portal (mostly on the inside) it all turned out quite well. Janice and I are quite pleased with it, and even though it is a heavy door, it is still hung well enough that our daughter could maneuver it.

New Lean-to Door Laid Out

Front of the Lean-to Door Hung

Back of the Lean-to Door Hung

One of the largest expenses we have on the farm is hay. It is very stressful each year trying to procure enough hay at a price I can live with to feed the cattle herd. This year I found a guy about 40 miles away who was selling 25 bales at $50 a bale so I bought everything he had. Since then I have been hauling three bales at a time on a flat bed trailer that I traded some cattle for. I do really like having the flat bed trailer around, it is very handy and it was something that I wanted to get my hands on for some time. 

Hauling Hay Three Bales at a Time

Over at the new farm, our contractor finished rocking the driveway (54 tons later) and leveled out the building site for our future cattle shed/machinery building. I also met with MidAmerican Energy about bringing power into the site. It is not a cheap proposition (around $2500 a pole). After some finagling, I got the MidAmerican engineer down to putting in a single pole, but I had to remove two large mulberry trees. I was not against this as one was hollow and the other had a larger crack down the trunk. In the photo below, you can see some of the rock at the top of the drive that our contractor put down. You can also see the power pole in the distance that I had to clear a path to.

Top of the Now Rocked Driveway 

Cleared Path to the Electrical Pole 

Great Mass of cut-up Tree Debris 

The sun goes down very early right now, so I left this great big mess of tree debris from the two mulberries I cut down. Once we have working power on the site, we will be able to have the contractor put up the cattle shed/ machinery building that I mentioned earlier. We shall see how things go next year. We still have a long way to go. It is our goal and hope to be able to serve Thanksgiving dinner 2014 in our new house and have the farm fully functional as soon as we can. I want to wish our friends, family, and customers, the best of luck in 2014 and I hope to see you folks soon.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Awww, look at your little girl helping out with the farm work! Though you might want to keep her away from your impending project of electrical poles and shed. Building it from scratch can be a massive undertaking for you guys, so you might want to think about getting extra hands for help. I hope it goes well, and I think the cattle are hoping the same thing as well. Haha!
    Lynn Williamson @ DALBuilders.net