Fancy barn door in progress

I spent the afternoon with Mr. President constructing a work of art.  A door to last the ages.  I wanted a door within a door.  I wanted a small sliding door for the sheep to go through inside the whole door.  The trouble was how to make it stiff enough to have a hollow center.  I ended up using 2×6 on the outside and then creating two frames and joining them with the 2x6s. We then sheathed the door with 1×12 rough cut boards.  The door weighed almost 200 pounds.  It is massive, four feet high and six feet wide. 

We wrestled it into the door opening and used large long bolts to attach them to the main beam.  I have 8 more bolts to attach before we can test the door.  There is a sliding door inside the door, 2 feet wide and 3 feet tall.  We can open the sheep door without opening the large main door. 

I was giving Mr. President some flack about getting stung this afternoon.  He said he hadn’t been stung in three years.  I told him that was too long ago to truly remember what it felt like.  Not ten minutes later as I strolled by the honey bee hive opening I got stung on the back of the neck.  It did not feel good, but it was tolerable.  I caught quite a bit of flack.  I think I was just too close to the hive opening. 

Tomorrow is hay pickup day.  We are going to start up early and bring in all the hay left in the field, about 6.5 tons.

Double tin today

2/3 finished with low section of the barn.

Screws are killing me.  We were doing the upper layer of roofing and 1.5 inches was not long enough.  We had to stop and I had to call four different stores before I found one in the whole town that had them.  I went in and bought 10#.  We used about 12# of screws just today.  I also special ordered another 10 bags (1000 screws) of the 3/8 screws (big).  I need those to cover up the big holes left in the sheet metal when pulling the old nails was difficult.  I have to go to town tomorrow and I will get the last of the long roofing screws at the hardware store.  They are 2.5 inches long and all the boxes were covered in dust.  I am guessing not a popular item.  Sucks to be the next guy that needs some.  By the time I am done with the barn I figure at least 100 pounds of screws will have gone into it, screws run any where from $3-$8/lb. 

The tin is going far further than I thought it would.  We found another 11 pieces in the old granary.  Those are the shiny new pieces on the top left of the above picture.  They were brand new with no holes.  The long pieces are 16 feet long and the new pieces were 12 feet long.  The old ones that are bent and going up the steep roof are 14 feet long.  Mr. President and I just kicked and beat them into a bend to make the angle change.  It is working so we are going to stick with the method.  The steep roof is 16 feet to the peak.  I am not going to get this covered.  It is a project for next summer.  I do know the measurement now so I will be able to predict how much tin I will need for that project.  We still have over 10 pieces of the 16 footers and more than that in the 14 feet.  We are going to be so close to finishing the entire low roof!  If we don’t get the whole thing done there will only be a couple of feet unfinished.  I will go and buy what is needed to finish it at that point.  I had only envisioned about half the roof done. 

Twin girls in the yard next to momma.

The sheep escaped from the orchard pasture this afternoon.  Annmarie and I went and walked the fence line.  There is a large hole down at the other end where the flood had removed four feet of dirt.  The weeds had made a nice barrier.  The sheep ate all the weeds.  So now I need a panel to cover the V-shaped hole under the fence.  This meant that we needed to go get the sheep and bring them in.  Zeke has been in puppy prison since his attack on the ewe momma.  I have been keeping close tabs on him when we are outside and he doesn’t even get to go outside without sitting and waiting for a release command.  It was test time for the dog.  We had one ewe in the yard and I took him out to scoot her to the other side of the yard.  Zeke was pretty good.  He would lay and stay on command.  The ewe was not good.  She kept stomping her front hooves in the ground and would not give way.  I had to walk up to her and give her a knee to get her moving.  I had Zeke scoot a little closer and finally the ewe charged him.  He raised hell, growling and jumping on her side.  I called him off and in the mayhem one of the babies got separated from the momma and ran with Zeke.  He left the baby alone and she finally cried so momma would come get her.  Not perfect but not his fault either.  So Annmarie and I went out the upper gate and onto the back hillside.  I am proud to report that the spray is killing the star thistle.  Most of it is dying.  I saw a handful of healthy plants on the hillside while we were walking (thousands died).  First, Zeke spotted the sheep, Annmarie and I were headed left, the sheep were actually to our right.  He herded the sheep back to the ram pasture with virtually no input from us.  It was quite amazing.  He did a fantastic job.  By next year I hope to be able to open the gate and just tell Zeke to go get them and bring them to me.  Totally think this is going to happen. 

Tin going up on roof.

Resident buck   He lives next to the grain bins.

We know have a resident buck deer.  The females have been living here for years but never a buck.  He stays right next to the grain silos during the day.  They are in direct view of our front living room window.  I see him hunched down and sleeping all the time during the day. 

One of our ewes had twins yesterday, two girls.  She had triplets but one of them was stillborn.  I had to take it up to the bone pile.  The girls are doing fine.  Momma likes hanging out in the yard next to the house.  The grass is very green and there is lots of shade.  Zeke has not been too bad. 

Newborn baby girls x2.

Roof ready for tin.

I spent all day Sunday getting the barn roof ready for tin roofing.  I finished cutting loose the old torn up wooden roof and installed all the cross braces.  The cross pieces are all 2×6 so they should be plenty strong.  The first pieces I am putting on are 16 feet long.  The other pieces are 14 feet long.  This is going to force me to bend them in half and run them up the steep part of the roof.  It will look odd for a while until I can get the entire side roofed.  I simply do not have enough tin to do the entire side.  I will have to purchase some more used from the local salvage yard.  He has been saving it for me.  I buy it by the pound.  On a side note, when of the things I had not counted on was the cost of the roofing screws.  The cheap ones are $8/pound.  I need some large ones to fill the old holes from when we pulled the nails out.  Those cost about $16/100.  It is crazy how expensive the screws are going to be.  I have just started roofing and have already used 300 of the special order screws.  I just went and purchased 10# of 1.5 inch roofing screws today.  I have already used 25% of them .  I expect to spend over $500 on just screws for the barn.  I totally overlooked this expense when budgeting for the barn. 

Completed jugs.

I fixed the latches on all the jugs except one.  I took a latch off of a door in the lamb shed and I cannot find the dang thing.  I looked all over but the inside of the barn is a mess and stuff is scattered everywhere.  I will find it eventually or go snag another one.  I finished fixing the tack room door today.  It needed some door edging so I could mount the latch mechanism.  It has a hole through the bar so the latch can be reached from both sides.  I found an old broom handle that fit the hole and pounded it in place.  You can now go in and out from both sides without difficulty.  We got the ceiling supports in place and started laying the first layer of the floor. I am using 1×12 in two layers to cover the tack room ceiling. We had to switch to inside work once the wind started up today.  I may have to have Mr. President up on the roof with me tomorrow just so he can keep the tin from blowing off while I screw it down. I checked the calendar and Mr President only has a couple more weeks of work.  He wants to go off to college and live the good life and I am going to run out of money.  So the next big push is to get the tin on the roof, and the wood scrap pile up to the burn pile.  Once that is done we can empty out the old granary so I can pull it down and start salvaging wood from the roof and the floor.  It is going to be a fast two weeks.

Old granary door now the tack room door.
Tin going up on roof today.

Barn Goals 1 of 3 completed.

The jugs (creches) are finished.  I have six pens for newborn babies and mommas to stay in for the first few days of the babies lives.  This bonding time cements the moms to the newborns.  We had one baby this spring bond to the whole flock and had to go to a new home to be bottle fed. There is room for 1-2 more pens if needed.  The pens are all different sizes.  We reused the old doors from the old lamb shed (now tractor/mule storage area).  They were made to fit that building and unbeknownst to me they were multiple different sizes.  Luckily, the size difference was apparent when we laid the doors out along the back wall.  So the jugs were built one at a time to fit the doors.  I had to custom make one door as the jug straddled a large pillar support.  I even remembered to make a gap in the side planks for water buckets and feeders to be hung.  This completes 1 of 3 barn goals for the summer.

This weekend it is all about the roof.  I have done the math and guesstimate (fairly well) that there is enough tin to cover 2/3 of the lower roof.  Putting on the tin and cleaning up next to the barn is the new priority.  I would like to get the lot near the barn all cleaned up and ready for fencing. 

The weather is totally screwing things up.  There is oat hay cut and down on the ground attempting to dry on the upper pasture.  Rain and thunderstorms every evening/night are not helping.  We are not sure the hay is going to dry before it molds.  If it molds we will be buying hay again this year to get through the winter. 

On a side note, I applied for a new job closer to home.  It is in Pendleton only 15 miles from our home.  I would be home 40% more than I am now.  Annmarie helped me pick out my interview outfit (doesn’t everyone’s wife help them dress?).  One thing we had not considered was how the barn work would change my shirt size.  I used to wear a 15 inch neck.  We had to try on most of the shirts in my closet to find a 15 1/2 I could button closed.  It was snug, but I could swallow and a tie would go on over the shirt now. 
The interview was at a local hotel conference room.  I showed up early to verify the location.  I had time to kill so I went off and bought a coffee at a new coffee roaster shop in town.  I showed up 10 minutes early and sat down in the lobby.  I saw the last candidate go by and the front receptionist asked him how it went, his response was “good but it lasted an hour”.  This struck a chord with me and I asked the receptionist were the bathroom was located with five minutes to spare before my interview. 
At this point it turned into a “National Lampoon’s” scene.  I finished my upright business quickly and turned to wash my hands.  I stepped right up to the counter and started scrubbing my hands quickly when it happened.  I felt wetness on the right side of my crotch!  I looked down and the water from the counter had formed a wet spot on the right side of my crotch near my zipper.  I totally panicked, sweat beads popped up on my head and I made a rash decision.  My hands were dripping wet so I flicked water all over the front of my pants.  I thought maybe I could disguise the water spot with more water.   NOPE, this just made things worse, now my light colored pants look liked I had peed myself then gotten in a water fight with a 3 year old.  I frantically check my watch, 3 minutes until interview time.  I rush to the bathroom stall grab some toilet paper and start rubbing furiously on the outside of my pants.  It was kinda working but it was still obviously a large wet spot on my crotch.  At this point I remember I had placed a cotton handkerchief in my back pocket (for after the interview in case it didn’t go well!).  I dropped my trousers, stretched them between my knees and started furiously rubbing them dry with my lifesaving device.  Two minutes later it was dry enough you could not see the wet spot.  Thank goodness for natural fibers.  I swabbed the sweat off my forehead, went out and sat down to wait for my interview.  Three minutes later someone came down to get me.  Where is a man bag when you need one?  I forgot about the hand towels in the bathroom, I forgot to shut the stall door, good thing no one came in.  The interview went well from my perspective.  I will know by this weekend If I get the job.  Sometimes you just cannot make this stuff up.

The weeds are slowly dying.  They have started to wilt but are not just keeling over and dying.  The sprays usually mess with some enzyme or something so the plants basically starve to death, a slow process.  Burning is much more satisfying.

We pulled the old main door off the granary to use as the tack room door.  It is only a few inches too tall and too wide.  The sawzall will fix that in a jiffy.  That leaves on other door on the granary to salvage.  We are going to have to spend one day salvaging material from the granary before I tear it down with the tractor.

It is pouring down horizontal rain right now.  The baby lambs and moms are running for the barn to get out of the weather.  This is messing up plans to finish the roof and use the tractor to finish moving the sheep dung.  Okay, glad we don’t have wheat, the 1/2 inch hail just started pouring out of the sky, tree leaves are getting ripped right off.  The lawn is turning white.  Ugh, mother nature is embracing her woman hood.

Executive Decision.

Soon to be jugs (creches) (pens for newborns and mommas).

 I made an executive decision this morning, NO Roofing today!  After yesterday I was not in a mood to crawl up on a roof and deal with hot metal.  I even put on a long sleeve shirt prior to going out with the good intention of actually roofing.  Once out in the heat, I just could not make myself crawl up on the roof.  I didn’t really want to do anything, but that won’t help me get finished.

So we went over and loaded up the tin onto the trailer.  The tin pieces off the granary are 15 feet long and the tin off the hog enclosure are 12 feet long.  I did the math and to cover the lower barn roof I have enough tin to cover 42 feet (2/3 of the lower roof).  More than I had anticipated initially.  Enough to make a good run at it and know how much more I will need to buy.

Storage bins for buckets and feeders

 When we were loading up the tin it dawned on me I could use the old concrete forms as flooring in the barn where I wanted to add the jugs.  So Mr. President and I dug around inside the granary.  We found another old window, some fancy wheel gear thing (cool decoration for barn) and some two sided wooden things (not sure what they were used for).  Only about 1/3 of the concrete forms were useable for our purposes.  Most of them were coated in oil (it keeps the concrete from sticking to them) and I don’t want the sheep laying on them.  We were able to get enough to use as flooring for six jugs.  Plenty for our purposes in the future.  We will build all six now, but in reality we probably only need three currently, the others are for herd growth.  I can even add two more if needed.

New two story storage area, in process.

We used the L-shaped things we found in the granary to make a couple of storage bins for feeders, buckets, water buckets and various other containers we seem to use in the barn.  I made two separate containers after adding a new floor to the area.  I went out and salvaged about 8 buckets from the old lamb shed.  They will need to be soaked and scrubbed out first, but after that good as new.

Annmarie wanted me to tear out the jugs in the lamb shed and use all the wood in the barn.  It was not coming out easily or intact so I salvaged all the doors with attached hinges.  The only problem with that is the doors are various widths!  So I am making the jugs one at a time to fit each door.  It took me a while to get a design that was sturdy enough.  I thought I was going to have to add a beam that ran from the floor to the overhead walkway, but managed to stiffen the sides by using 2×6 boards and adding a 2×4 kickboard under the doors.  I only have one wall up so it isn’t real easy to see where I am headed yet.  This is one of the “Big Three” projects for the summer (Fix barn roof, build jugs, build feeders).  So I will work on it early next week again.

This is an old granary with the inside cut out, it is L-shaped.  The horizontal board you see inside the room is going to be a support for the floor.  I am going to make two rooms out of this so we have more storage area.  Most likely, this will be an area for storing some left over lumber.  The hay rooms have lumber in both of them.  I just remembered that I will probably be picking up hay on Monday, not doing anything else.  I had totally forgotten about it. 
I love my impact drill!  It is the only reason I can drive any screw in the barn.  The wood is so hard there is no way I can make any headway with a normal drill.  The last few days it has been getting very warm when I use it for longer than 15 minutes.  Well today I smelt something burning and it was getting so hot I could not hardly hold it with leather gloves on my hands.  I actually had to give it a rest every few minutes so I could continue to use it.  This does not bode well for the life of this handy device.  The worst part is it is brand new last year.  I have used it to death.

Roofing progress, making headway.

Grain auger at sunset, courtesy of Sarah.  I guess that college photography class paid off.

West side of granary roof.

 It is really happening!  We spent yesterday finishing the roof removal on the granary.  If you look at the picture you can see the wall falling apart.  It was that way before we started in on the roof.  I was just glad it didn’t give way while we were crawling around.  You can even see that I have not crawled up and unscrewed the safety ropes from the anchors at the peak.  Will have to do that eventually, sooner rather than later.  The West side was Mr. President’s and was nailed down.  The East side was mine and it was all screwed down.  I finished mine in a few hours and did a little bit for Mr. President.  He spent 8 hours on the roof in 100 degree weather.  He did get it finished.

East side of granary roof

Baby lamb, they are so cute. 

I had to go spray another 10 acres.  I sprayed the bottoms and hill side down by the school house.  The weeds were thick!  In a few weeks I am going to have to take the mower down there and mow all the dead stuff.  Gotta get the roof on the barn first.  Still more spraying to do in the upper fields and up by the bone pile. 

We have two sets of twins currently.  One boy and girl from each mother.

The back creek stopped flowing yesterday.  I had to drive across it with the mule and it just kept slowly dropping until by late evening it was running no more.  I don’t see it picking up again any time soon with this hot weather expecting to stay. 

Granary roof winning.

Today was the day Mr. President got up on the granary roof to remove some tin.  This meant that I had to spend 45 minutes getting all the safety gear set up and in place.  If he falls off the roof I don’t want his mother
coming back to me, so he wore the harness all day long while he was on the roof.  He only almost went off the roof face first once.  The roof is a pretty steep pitch.  Once the first piece of tin was off there would be a place to stand.  It just was not happening.  My ladder is about 10 feet too short.  I really need a 30 foot ladder and those are not very common or very cheap.  I tried to get the nails but straddling the roof and holding on while trying to pry screws out was not easy nor fast.  I finally ended up screwing a standing block directly onto the tin that allowed me to pull the nails above it.  Once the first piece was gone it went much faster.  One side of the roof is fairly modern.  The East side is new tin held in place with screws and the West side has those old galvanized twisted nails.  I am working on the modern side and it is fairly obvious why it needed to be replaced, the boards underneath are rotten and brittle.  I have already broke two different boards, yes, I am also wearing a harness.  It will hurt when I fall, but I won’t die. 

I spent the morning spraying again today.  I am all the way down by the bluffs now.  I am still concentrating on the upper hillside.  The star thistle is the worst on the dry hot hilllside.  I ran out of 2-4-D today and had get some more.  I will spray the bottoms last as they are mostly just Russian thistle and 2-4-d will kill it.  The fancy spray is for the hillside.

At 1500 today I was done working on the tin roof.  It was just too hot.  I drank over 2 gallons of liquid today.  I never drink that much fluid.  We went into the barn and worked on the inside cleaning up nails and getting ready for the second elevated storage room from the grain tower conversion.

When I was spraying I saw lots of baby birds, baby woodpeckers, blackbirds and a whole covey of Hungarian Partridges (around 20 birds).  The most Huns I have seen on the property have been five a couple of years ago.  I am hoping they make it to adulthood. I did see the baby deer twins up on top of the hillside. I saw the little two point buck this evening as he wandered down to the front creek in front of the house for a drink of water.  He is living by the metal grain bins.

Side note, the mule has 1250 hours on it after the engine rebuild.