I seemed to have completely missed the holidays, we hope everyone had a marvelous time with family and food.
It’s amazing to be well into 2018. We have had a horrible run of cold weather, usually this area has a few days at a time then gets mild again. We have had serious cold since mid December.
So this turned the holidays into a blur of changed plans and project delays. We finalized the fencing project. The fence contractor and Ralph took our designs out to the fields and went to work seeing what we could do and what would not work. The very back of the property about 2 acres is our woods. It was not fenced when we bought the place. Now we know why, the steep lay of the land combined with the probe hitting rock continually made us re-evaluate the design. Now the new fence runs close to the trees and is angled across the south end of the farm.
I have built fence, hiring a contractor is not a cheap option but we knew, for us, it was the only option. Our design made sense to our fencer and with only a few modifications we confirmed a price and final design. Mr. Byler arranged to be here and have the fence done the week before Christmas.
That did not quite happen. He had to delay due to the cold, the oil in the hydraulics of the pounder simply would not get warm enough. There were days where I was in awe of the men as they tore out old fences and set out posts in bitter weather with horrible wind chill.
The project is getting closer to finished and to see the design take shape is so exciting. We have 6 wire high tensile fence between pastures, double lock woven wire on the perimeter of the back and a new fence energizer waiting to heat it all up. The gardens will be fenced to keep out poultry or keep them in, depending what stage the gardens in.
The other huge event was the barn rebuild and renovation. We spent hours pricing things out, to build new or repair and restore the old. Old won and I know I am very glad it did. We found a barn builder, another Amish contractor. He knows barns and in the middle of November he came to look at the barn. It was worth saving was his opinion. So a new roof, new doors [track not hinge] and the south end metal torn off and a lean too added on. The north end wood was to be replaced with new lumber and the sides patched where needed. He was finishing a job in early December and would be at our farm before Christmas.
Well he traumatized all our poultry when they did the roof but it was done between Christmas and New Years. The rest of the work was finished on Friday of last week. It is beautiful. The doors close now with out a huge struggle and in the recent snow we were able to shut the breezeway to the weather. It will take about a year for the new lumber to loose its brand new pale look and start to weather the wonderful silver grey of the old barn.
We bought a calf.....yes we will be having bovines to help with the grass situation. Ralph found a lovely Jersey cow as well. She will arrive when the fence project is done. The calf was initially to keep the cow company. She arrived early, a Holstein x Angus heifer calf we call Mischeif. Ralph is really enjoying her and can almost touch her. The barn is starting to sound like a barn when we can listen to her eating her grain in one of the box stalls. The sheep pen is ready too. We salvaged two old pipe farm gates from the fences. Ralph was thinking they were not much use but we were thrilled to find they fit two holes in the barn we needed gates for. One closes the sheep fold and makes a perfect wing to move the sheep into the pen, the other shuts bay 3 which will be the Jersey’s pen for now.
So tonight we relaxed by working on our seed selection for the next cycle. Our garlic went in and we are looking forward to it. The fig trees areca concern. We made thermal blankets for them. Round fences of chicken wire, filled with shavings. This was before the extremely long cold spell. They are buried by the shavings about 2 feet thick around and over top them. We thought it was too much but now we are not so sure.
Now I will sign off....the poultry is all well and tonight the turkey’s stayed in the tobacco barn by their own choice. That tells you how the cold has effected everyone. They love their deck rail perch....but even turkey’s get tired of cold weather.
God bless you all and keep safe in the new year. We are looking forward to more adventures as our plans continue to come together.