This last weekend we decided it was time to take care of some odds and ends and finish some incomplete projects.
First, we clipped all the chickens’ wings. We clipped them when we first started letting them out in the barnyard a couple of months ago, but since they are young, growing birds they grew back enough that lately they have been getting quite a bit of height when they try to fly over the barnyard fence. We want them to stay in the barnyard, so we re-clipped their wings.
Then we fixed a couple of things that had broken from time, use, and animal destruction. The small chicken door from their pen into the barnyard kept falling out of it’s slide, so it got fixed.
While we were working with the chickens we found our first pullet egg. One of the Easter Egger pullets laid us a nice little blue egg!
The gate between the front and back barnyards had some bent and broken wires from Anya putting her feet up on it, so we added a diagonal wood bar to it to support it better.
And we put weaning devices in the lambs’ noses. We have been waiting to see if the ewes would encourage it on their own, but they are letting them go longer than we wanted. We want the ewes to be in good condition come breeding season, so it was time to wean the lambs. The devices make weaning so easy – they block the lamb from being able to nurse, but they can still eat and drink. And the lambs get to still live with their mothers, so it isn’t as stressful as separating them from each other. We have found them to be very useful over the years with lambs and calves. They didn’t work as well with the goats because their teats are longer and the goat kids could nurse from the side of their mouths.
They will stay in for a week or so, until the ewes’ udders dry up. Then we can take them out.
Then we turned part of the compost pile. Since the chickens were not out on in this last winter it hasn’t composted as well. We need to do several turns before fall so that hopefully we can use it in the garden next spring.
After turning it we started a new pile by cleaning out the sheep stall.
Then we focused on making some more progress on a project we have been working on a long time…a little here and there. The interior walls of the barn. When we built the barn we hooked siding on the outside of the framing. Then we put up foil bubble insulation that we had leftover from a different project. Then, in the stalls we were able to put up board and batten interior walls over the foil. But we didn’t have enough wood to do the rest of the inside of the barn. Over time, when we have the wood, we have put up a section of wall here or there. Last winter the wind blew down a big tree at a friend’s property and they said we could have all the wood if we hauled it off and cleaned up the area. So we took the tree to the lumber mill and had them make it into boards for us. We used some of it to build the fence earlier this summer. And all that was left was one-by boards. So we decided to use it to make more progress on the walls in the barn.
On the left you are seeing one of the walls that just has insulation over the siding. On the right is a wall with board on it. Still needs it’s batten, but looks much better!
And here is that same area after we finished the board and batten on it. It is so nice!
Each section we add helps close up the cracks and keeps drafts out of the barn, thus making it better for the animals through the long cold winters we have.
I love how the barn and property just keep getting nicer and nicer the longer we live here and the more we work on it. The first year or so it looked like shanty-town, but over time with a lot of hard work, patience to wait for the right materials to come along, and a lot of dreaming about what we want it to be – we have been able to slowly turn it into exactly what we want and make it nicer and nicer. What a blessing!