The sorting took a full 8 days of heavy work. And remembering we were coming down for a couple of days at a time.. this was how we spent last July.
Now throught the magic of the internet... and hindsight, we fast forward to early October. We have been living in the house for about 6 weeks, and this was about 1 month post shoulder surgery for me
Putting in my garden.. well at least the start of it
getting our animals settled in. With no existing barn structure on the
property we brought the pasture shelters we had from our previous place and
these were weather proofed. The pigs were fine. Their shelters were pretty
much bomb -proof and they made short order of excavating the interiors.
Pasture shelters work best when they have a roof that is about 12- 18 inches
taller than the animal they are housing. You then dig out about 6
inches inside the shelter. The extra room allows for a deep pack bedding.
With a deep pack you remove the wet bedding and add to the pack. The
decomposing lower layers give off heat, (think compost), and actually warm
the animal from below. The low roof keeps the heat down at the animal's
level. All you need is a door, facing south if you can mange it, that does
not fit tight to allow some fresh air to circulate in.
As I said the
pigs settled in comfortably, the goats I was more concerned about. They
had their shelter but as they are grazers, they spent their days eating hay
and were not as comfortable as the pigs. So we put one of those portable
garage shelters up. Their pens were at the back and there was room for them
to stand outside the hut and graze at the hay rack while out of the
Second was getting familiar with our new community; locating
services and people. We also had a bit of a PR job to do here at the house
as the people who were here before us had some issues with the neighbours,
apart from the mounds of garbage.
Third was water control. Water is a huge issue here. We have a great
artesian well, water is almost always pouring out of the top of the well
cap. In addition to that there are a couple of springs on the property, and
previous owners have filled in some natural drainage areas that handled
run-off from the neighbours property. To add insult to injury when the house
was lifted and put on it's present concrete foundation, the basement
entrance was placed at the back of the house and an entry was cut into
the slope creating a 12 ft channel that was dumping every ounce of
run-off from the property into our dirt floor basement.
The first thing
we did was dig a trench from the corner of the basement out to the ditch.
There had been an old french drain there but it had collapsed at some point.
(On the pictures above that is the dug up area in the picture with the
weather vane) We put a 26 ft drain pipe about 6 feet below ground that lets
water flow from the basement to the ditch. This alleviated the standing
water problem in the basement but we were still faced with a small river
running through the basement. What we needed to do was stop or decrease the
water coming into the basement. To accomplish this we dug a drainage ditch,
on contour, across the back of the house to carry water away from the house
and into a more natural drainage basin. We began lining this with stone
and have a temporary bridge across as this is our access to the animals.
Then the snow hit, and all work came to a screeching halt. A further
reminder that homesteading is about planning and working with mother nature.
Sometimes though we just need reminding that we can't control nature and its
just better to sit back and watch the show.