Monday, January 30, 2012

Upstairs in the Barn

Okay......and up the stairs we go.  I must admit it's lovely not to have to climb a ladder each time I head up to get hay.

Here's the hayloft.  Some bedding straw is visible on the left but most of what's here is lovely second cutting hay.

The barn upstairs is so big because  it extends out over the run-in/solarium areas on both ends so we decided to put a warm barn office for record storage, chatting with goat/sheep buyers and for waiting out long nights of expectant does or ewes.  This barn is a hike up the hill from the house and checking on a mom-to-be every few hours all night would be exhausting.  This way I can crash on one of the daybeds along the window and pull my overalls on to walk down the stairs for maternity checks as often as I want without being totally fried the next day.  It's a fairly large space so we put some kitchen base cabinets along part of one wall.  They have an electric tea kettle, a few utensils and tea in them as well as a wash basin for washing up the tea mugs.  I think I'll put  a couple cans of soup up there for extra long nights or days during kidding/lambing season.  The floor is shiny because it's a fake wood laminate......I much prefer real wood but I couldn't justify the extra expense and this has the benefit of being easy to wipe clean.  Under the daybeds is a storage area......who knows what would need storing but it seemed silly to wall off that space with no access.

Here's the same wall of windows/daybeds but the other end of it.

The snack and tea area.  The top is just some boards....not sanded or finished but that's okay since this isn't a kitchen....more storage than anything.  The file box with all registrations, health charts, breeding notes, etc. is kept in one of these cabinets.  

The book shelves and coat rack area......

Notice how my brother used sections of curved birch to make shelf supports.  The coat/hat hooks were a gift from my partner Joseph.  He made them the year before.

Here is the strip of LED lights that I put up behind the beam to light up the shelf of tea stuff.  They adhered perfectly on half of the V-groove of the roof paneling.  They cast an amazing amount of warm light.

So, that's it!  I think I'm pretty much caught up with barn updates. Hope you've enjoyed them!!!

More Barn Photos

Okay.....just a quick bit of barn news.
Here's where I milk.  It's a cool blue room, small but big enough to hold a milking stand and supplies.  I keep small bins with grain and alfalfa for feeding the does during milking.  My milking machine bucket hangs up to drain.  The actual machine part of it lives through the wall in a tiny room that also houses the barn electrical panel and a few tools.

Next door to the milking room is the milk processing room.  That's still a work in progress as I wait for a sink.  Jeff did a great job putting up the plastic wall covering, trimming it out and then caulking everything.  There is a floor drain and someday there'll be a huge 3 bay sink in here as well as a separate hand-washing sink.  I'm not planning on being a Grade A Dairy but I don't want to do something I have to undo and redo if I choose to go for Grade A designation.  Right now we're waiting for the caulk smell to dissipate and hopefully soon I'll find the right sink.

And last, but not least is my "bucket loo" as the British call them.  This is a bathroom option for those who would rather compost their own waste rather than use drinking water to flush it away somewhere. We have regular toilets in our house but I had no intention of a septic system at the barn.  My brother built this beautiful little indoor outhouse.  After each use some peat moss is added to cover.  When the bucket is full it goes to a special composting area and can later be used on non-food crops.  Actually, most of the world uses human manure  (humanure)  on food crops but since I have lots of animal manure options I'll only use it on non-food crops.
This little indoor outhouse is located just past the well/pump box, tucked into a small area not needed for anything else.

I'll post photos of the grain room and tool storage soon but next up is the barn office and hayloft!

Barn Update

Okay, at last an update on the barn project.  I've been too busy to write.  I hope the ewes and does are all bred.  If so it's going to be achingly cute around here this spring!  I'm hoping the barn will hold the increase in animals.

I forgot to get some shots of the front of the barn so we'll start with the center aisle.

Here is the main goat stall.  All the does live here and the milking does are separated overnight into an abutting stall to the left.

The below photo is of the stall the does stay in overnight.  Two junior does are watching.....
I like that when separating moms and babies they can still see each other and indeed sometimes sleep next to each other on either side of the wire.

This photo doesn't show this area very clearly but there is a aisle (with gate on it so it can be yet another pen) with 3 potential kidding/lambing pens to the left and one double sized pen at the end.  I say 3 potential pens because the pens are created by sliding 2X6 lumber into metal tracks and that allows the creation of more small pens or less larger pens depending upon what is needed.  I also have 2 medium sized pens 8X12 and 8X16 that are available for weaning groups, sick bays or whatever.  Note the gaps in the gates at adult eye height.  That's so they can see out, see their neighbors, see the new babies in the next pen, etc.  The gaps are high enough to not create drafts for the kids but low enough that kids can peek out once they are coordinated enough to stand on their hind legs.

Below is the ewe stall.  Like the main goat stall it opens out into what I call their "solarium".  (No, they don't have a den, rec. room or library!)  I don't yet have any photos of the solarium area showing the clear panels that my brother Jeff built to cut down on wind while allowing maximum light.  These panels are either removable (on the east and west sides) or in sliding barn door form  (on the north side) so that summer's breezes will be welcomed into the area.

Also like the main goat stall, it has 2 doors out into the solarium.  A human-size door and a sheep sized door.  I like two doors when there are new herd/flock introductions because no members can be cornered inside.  For instance I kept both doors open when I first put the ram in with the ewes.  I keep only the smaller door open when it's cold and I want to minimize breezes in the barn.

Below is the insulated box that covers my well  (yes, we built the barn around it on purpose), the pump, the hot water heater, and the batteries that run the pump.  The well pump is by Simple Pump  (  )  and runs off of 2 car batteries with a battery tender that keeps  them charged.  If we lose grid power the batteries would likely run the pump for close to a month without recharging.  Attaching a handle I have would allow us to pump by  hand if we needed to or a solar panel could be used to recharge the batteries.  I like this pump a lot.  When animals depend upon me for water I need to know I have access to water even if the grid goes down because of a bad storm or other grid damage.

The insulated well box comes off (the side aisle side of it) for access to work on it.  The top hinges open for quick access.  It hasn't frozen yet and I can put a light bulb in there for heat if needed but the 4 gallon hot water heater keeps it warm enough in conjunction with the rigid foam insulation.
Notice the bucket stand that Jeff made.  It makes it easy to fill both the small buckets and the 5 gallon buckets.  The laundry faucet is kept from freezing with a small insulated box that fits over it when I finish chores.  It's a perfect system.  The bucket stand top is lined in roofing rubber to keep small spills from going all over the floor or rotting the bucket stand.  I love having cold, warm or hot water whenever I need it!!  This really beats carrying water by hand to the small barn we used last winter.

I think I'll stop this post here and do another one with photos of the milking and milk room and other parts of the barn.