We have been busy busy with our fall projects around here this week. Such a great time of year, being productive as a family together outside in beautiful weather!
Smokehouse and Root Cellar
We are SO close to finishing the smokehouse. Hopefully this week I will be posting the final post showing how we built the smokehouse start to finish and how it turned out. Mtn Man and Young Man are constantly discussing the details of how they want to smoke some of their elk and deer meat later this year. They are reading books from our own homestead library, as well and some books we got from the local public library. We have to wait until the bears go to bed for the winter, otherwise we will draw in every bear for miles to dine at our smokehouse.
The root cellar needs a little more masonry work on the front, and we have to figure out how to secure the old recycled barn door to the house in a way that is as rodent and bear-proof as possible.
It is that time of year again…time to put up the firewood we will need to keep us all warm and cozy through the long, cold winter. Many hands make light work and I am always surprised as the kids get older how fast work can go when we work together as a family. There is still more to put up, but we made a lot of progress.
Barnyard Gate and Permanent Fence
We started a new project this week involving the barnyard. Building fences in the Rockies can be tricky and expensive because at least 50% of the time when you try to dig a post hole you hit rock of some kind and have to tweak your plan. This often leads to the use of cement, or the fence looking all zigzaggy, or both. It also means more expense. We are blessed to have a lot of livestock panels that we can use as fencing, but we do hope to put in permanent fences everywhere eventually.
We decided we wanted to separated off a section of the barnyard as a separate pen and build a little housing shed in it. We originally called it the ram shed and pen because we are planning to at some point, in the not-so-near future, get a ram and need a place to keep him separate from the ewes. As we discussed this pen we realized that, built properly, it could be a very useful multi-purpose shed and pen that we could use to house any number of things. It could be used to wean lambs, calves, or goat kids from their mothers, or to house chickens or turkeys. We put up the temporary panels for now and have been using the area to separate the animals for various reasons, but the problem is that we only have one panel that has a gate and it is already in use, so we have to scoot the panels and open them where they attach a couple times a day while we move animals around. So we decided it was time to put in the gate. Here are the before pictures of that area:
And here is the new gate:
We are hoping to do the permanent fence for that area soon.
We also decided to start in on building the shed back there. We are attaching it to the upper coop, which is attached to the barn. It will be built with pallets, just like the upper coop was. We went back and forth about the pros and cons of putting a floor in the shed, and ultimately decided it was necessary to make the shed as secure as possible against digging predators, which we have plenty of. So we built the floor first:
We had plenty of “helpers” getting in our way during the work on these two projects, including these ladies,
and this guy:
I am always surprised at how very curious sheep are, especially since they are such prey-driven animals.
Our only breeding buck, Uncle Sam, died unexpectedly this week. He was fine in the evening, the next morning he wouldn’t eat and by afternoon he was dead. Unfortunately, this is often the case with rabbits. They usually do not show signs of illness until it is too late to save them. We don’t know what killed him, but the other rabbits seem fine so we are thankful it wasn’t contagious.
So we are down to our two breeding does, Justice and Indi. Both are due to kindle this week, so we should have a lot of kits very soon. We are discussing the options of what to do about the loss of the buck.
Mr. Smiles’ Surgery
Mr. Smiles has recovered from his 5th surgery and a 4-day hospital stay. The Pediatric Hospital Pajamas I sewed for him worked beautifully and we got many comments from nurses about how convenient and wonderful they were. He did have tubes coming out of his arms, so the ability to open and close the sleeve was essential and I was very glad to have them for him while we were there.
We will continue on with our projects this coming week as we take advantage of the weather and time available to work on things.