Wednesday, October 31, 2012

We're Back!

We've simply been so busy there hasn't been time to write. Here's what we've been doing in a nutshell:

- Our sheep arrived and despite a Sunday Night sheep wrangle when they got out and wandered the neighbourhood, all is now well. They're settled and have eaten down the pasture nicely. In fact as soon as the wet weather lets up a little I'm going to extend their pasture and give them some nice fresh grass to enjoy before the cold weather sets back in.

- Our meat birds are just about ready for the chop and our brown layers are growing strong and healthy. They're all occupying the greenhouse area at the moment and it seems like a good shelter out of the worst of the weather. We had a knock on the door at 10:20 one night last week and when we answered, I kid you not, there was a green fabric bag with a live barred rock chicken inside. The only identifying mark on the bag was the name Sharon, so we've named the chicken Sharon and she's settled nicely into the flock and seems very happy. Still, it was a strange experience and one more story to add to my book :)

-The property no longer looks so bare. The sheep barn (that shed we dismantled from near Dartmouth) is up, Steve put in a hay loft for me and there's an electric fence enclosed pasture to stop the sheep from wandering, though at the moment they seem happy to stay inside where it's warm and dry. We also got an addition off a demolished mobile home for the cost of towing which was $100. It's an 8x18 foot addition with 2 windows and a door. It'll fit nicely onto the mobile we just purchased for $1000 from a dealer in Bedford. Now the fun of paperwork, moving the thing, and getting permits begins.

Our barn raising was fun. We got the 4 walls up, the second storey joists up and the first part of the ridge pole and rafters. It's going to be lovely to have that done before the deep freeze of winter. I'm going to install a rocket mass heater in one area to serve as a source of heat for anyone sleeping there for lambing or for new chicks. The mild heat is also good for germinating seeds. More details to follow. We're very grateful to the guys from church and the missionaries for helping us out. See you again on Saturday to finish the roof!

Steve and I built and paneled the four walls on the floor ahead of time. He also had a leveled block foundation to put them on. The guys helped to lift them and brace and nail them in place one wall at a time. When they checked it for square it turned out to be perfect, thanks to Steve's detailed calculations and the great help we got. I realize the pics are in reverse order but I'm way too sick and too tired to switch them right now.

Pic 18. This is how we finished up for the day then went for a delicious home cooked supper with the Muise family. More work planned for the weekend coming if Hurricane Sandy has finished by then

Pic 17. Sarah, our assistant and ginger snap cookie eater. She is a 2 year old Black Lab.

Pic 16. The inside view. 2 pairs of rafters are in place. Time for supper, come on down Steve!

Pic 15. Working till sunset is not unusual for Steve.

Pic 14. Still needs a roof but looking good.

Pic 13. Everyone had to go home for supper or prior commitments but Steve stayed and got the ridge pole up. We're so grateful for the help, thanks everyone!

Pic 12. Elder Campbell again.

Pic 11. Steve above, nailing in the joists after Elder Bowen passes them up.

Pic 10. Walls are up, braced and nailed and the first joists are going across the top. The barn doesn't have a floor so the joists above will help to not only give us a place to walk but to strengthen the building as well. That's Elder Campbell up there monkeying around.

Pic 9. My friend and fishin' buddy, Dan Muise. Justin in the background, it's always helpful to have a really tall friend.

Pic 8.  Nice blue sky view.

Pic 7.  Getting it nailed to the other pieces. Flexing their muscles are Chris, Jacob and Stephan.

Pic 6. The final wall. The lumber that we bought was true 2x4 and 2x6 and various lengths so you can see our trimmings in the foreground. We'll use it for the heater. It's locally milled rough cut lumber.

Pic 5. The third wall is going up and getting nailed down with the help of Jacob, Stephan, Dan, Steve and Elder Bowen. See how the ends of the 2x4's are now covered?

Pic 4. The south end wall being lifted onto blocks.

Pic 3. The two short walls are up. Notice how the OSB extends out past the 2x4 framing? That's so that when you butt the other walls up the sheathing will cover the 2x4 of the other wall. Nice planning hey?

Pic 2. Raising the first wall onto the blocks. You can see the other walls lying on the field. This is where friends come in really handy! And we couldn't have asked for better weather.

Pic 1. We built the walls flat, using the foundation as a sort of work bench. Here the guys are lifting off the walls and ptting them on the sides where they belong.

We missed having the boys around but they were doing a service project in Bridgewater and then there was a barn dance where they both had fun. They said the best part of the whole trip was the ride there and back, and the baconator, a burger from Wendy's restaurant.

Have a happy and safe halloween and we'll post more pics soon.