As the New Year fast approaches, it is definitely time to get excited about our projects for 2016. There’s no doubt it will be a crazy, busy year, but it’s satisfying to know that we have already made great progress on many of the projects that will define the next year for us.
The barn rebuild has been our main focus for December. Once the various debris had been cleared out, it was all about building appropriate animal spaces and cleaning up the area.
The original barn was built in the mid to late 1800s and had been a simple timber frame structure, probably with stalls along the sides and an area for threshing wheat in the center. Around the 1920s extensive haylofts were added, both along the longsides above the stall areas and higher up over the end doors. The stalls were modified to be more suitable for cattle, and a silo dug and walled off at one end.
We are doing some work to return the barn to its original condition, while making the additions necessary to keep goats, chickens, and geese. After removing the two higher lofts, we also took out the low loft on one side of the barn to open up the view when you enter the space. Other loft floors had to be flipped over so that the boards bow no longer hang below, and the ground floors have to be removed and replaced.
We are quite fortunate that enough lumber has been stored in the barn to replace the floors, as well as the main doors and other projects, without purchasing any wood. The hardware on the main doors was also reuseable, and many more features of the old barn will be recycled.
So what are we planning for animal shelters? Geese need about eight square feet per bird, and chickens about four square feet. Goats have a suggested space of 20 square feet. I’m planning to build stalls which can house more than our current number of animals, in favor of not rebuilding every time the flock is expanded. Simple stables with feed troughs and nesting areas should suffice, with hinged doors and ramps leading down into pasture.
Stay tuned for more details as the projects continue!
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