Saturday, July 29, 2006

All Things Reconsidered

We were all set to begin construction on our on farm store when I noticed how roughly Old Man Winter had treated our old cinder block chicken house. This chicken house was built probably starting in the 1950's and was built in two sections. The first section (the left hand side) was built by someone who apparently thought that footers that extended deeper than the frost line (4 feet for us) were optional, and opted not to. Last winter we didn't have much snow so the frost picked up and put back down this section of the building repeatedly. That third of the building was in pretty rough shape before, but now there is a split that runs from the ground to the rafter plate right in the left corner of the big doorway in the picture. As a matter of fact that whole wall is starting to buckle.

So anyway, I figured we had better do something about that building before it collapses. What I decided to do was to prop up the roof on that third of the building, knock the walls out from underneath it and replace them with a pole barn like structure. I thought that was a golden opportunity to change our store plans and build the farm store into the front half of that bay and a new poultry processing facility in the back half. Both rooms would measure 15 x 20 feet. This should end up being a better space for the store and it will be very convenient to get the chickens from the processing room into the store. When I undertake projects like this that are beyond my mental capacity to figure out, I always call on my friend and honorary brother in law Drake. He is the kind of guy who can figure out how to replace the bottom section of a chimney while leaving the top intact. Of course, guys like that tend to be a little busy, but I have him nailed down to begin this project the weekend after next. Stay tuned for more updates

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Our friend and sometimes hired man has had an eventfull summer. Seamus is one of the last homesteaders. For the past few years he had been living in the milkhouse of his old family farm, with cold running water and a cookstove which he used for cooking and which kept the milkhouse from freezing up. He has an old jersey milk cow which, in conjunction with his chickens and garden provide him with almost all of his sustainance. He has been able to sustain himself this way with only occasional outside work. This spring the word came down from his aunt and uncle who own the land that his milk house, garden and pasture are on, that they would be selling this property, so Seamus had to find other arrangements. Since we depend on Seamus for some part time help like butchering chickens and stacking hay, as well as doing chores so that we can go away once in a while, we decided that he could set up down by the barn until a better opportunity presented itself. He traded a neighbor a few pounds of butter for the camper in the picture. The shed that says "produce" on it was a building I built on skids to use as a scale shack back when we used to raise strawberries. Seamus has that set up as a kitchen.

Seamusville was settled June 8th, 2006.

Since then he has been offered a great opportunity at the other end of our road. A couple we have known for a few years bought a parcel of land that adjoins their other land. It happens to have a rundown house on it that would be considered uninhabitable by most people, but Seamus has lived in some rough conditions, so for him the place is loaded with potential. In exchange for his ridiculously low rent he is going to be making some improvements to the house. He also has access to a fair amount of land that goes with this property, so his cow will be able to graze and he should have enough land to be able to begin a market garden. He also got a full time job which is only a half mile from his new house, which is pretty amazing when you consider how remote of a location we are talking about.

He is moving in over there today.