Sunday, January 15, 2017

Basement Joist Work

The work has begun on the basement! Alan spent Saturday afternoon propping up the old joists so he could add support to the main beam.
Today he added a 2x8 to the main beam (he had cut away the ends of the joists yesterday) and then sistered 2x8s to each joist on the east side of this section of the basement.
The original joists were only 3x4s and there was considerable sag in the floors. We had added extra support when we first moved in and Alan had taken most of the sag out so the support added to the main beam required no shimming. The floor in our bedroom feels different already. Next up, the other side. That will be a little more difficult since all the plumbing for the bathroom is there.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2017 Goals

I can start with the goals we are carrying over from 2016; the root cellar and other basement work, the mudroom, and the wool room.
The root cellar sounds like a pretty simple goal, but the section of the basement getting the root cellar has a dirt floor that is currently covered in black plastic. The plastic is a kitty magnet and they love to pee on it, right next to their litter boxes. But before we can get the floor poured there is some structural support work that needs to be done. The floor joists and main beam support are all undersized and need to be beefed up.

Our old Ford E150 van is nearing 190,000 miles and needs to be replaced. We love the van for it's versatility. We can put 10 foot boards in it and still close the back doors. It has served us very well when we go camping too. Ford, in their infinite wisdom, no longer makes the E series vans. Instead we could get a Sprinter type van that everyone we know who has one hates. 2014 was the last year for the E series vans so we have been looking for one in that year. But E150s are next to impossible to find. Looks like we might have to go with an E350.

My big gardening goals for 2017 are to have a flax plot and to give a quarter of my garden to my daughter so she can start a flower business. These changes, plus putting the chickens into another quarter of the garden, should make to remaining veggie garden much more manageable.

In the sheep world I really need to pare down my numbers of hair sheep. And I am building a business brand. LLC paperwork is ready to go in to the state. Next up is an EIN and business insurance. I am booked at my first fiber festival, in April, and have to get a booth ready too!

So we'll see how we go with all these goals. Hopefully we will do better than 2016!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 in Review

Wow, no blog posts for December. And we didn't fare too well on our goals for 2016 either!

The goals we actually met:
The ram hut for our boys for the winter was pretty smashed up by Elwood. It took a bit of work to get it back to a normal shape, but it provided nice shade and a place to get out of the weather during this hot summer.

The lambing jug I made from hog panels worked well. Now I need to figure out how to get more jugs set up in the barn since I have five ewes due in the third week of February.
Mama Sadie ended up in the lambing jug much longer than she should have been but she has a problem with letting ram lambs nurse. We would have to halter her so she would let her ram lamb nurse. Eventually she would stand still and let him if we just stood next to her and scratched her back.

The pasture seeding went well. The feed mill up in Kempton sells orchard grass and clover seed by the pound and my little seeder worked well. The pastures still need work though and I wasn't able to get any lime down this fall since it never went on sale. And when you need to by almost a 100 bags, a dollar off makes a difference.

The garage is basically finished. We still need to change the siding on the back and one side but that will get done when the rest of the siding gets replaced on the house.

And the rotting foot bridge was replaced. I can now get a wheel barrow across the stream without going around to the road.

The goals we didn't meet:
The garden was a complete bust this year due to the extreme heat we had. So no irrigation system was installed. The older I get the less I am able to tolerate the heat. Early mornings were the only time I could work outside and the garden was the loser.

The barn addition/wool storage room did not get built, but I wasn't really thinking that would get done. Another goal I didn't really think we would accomplish was the mudroom. We'll just tack these two goals on to 2017.

One goal I really did want to get accomplished was the root cellar. Again, another add on for 2017.

But we did accomplish quite a bit that was not on our list for 2016.

We managed through over two feet of snow in one day.
We continued to learn more about lambing and had a pretty successful season, only needing the vet once. But we did lose three lambs; one was sat on by her mother, one was stillborn or died at birth before I got there and one was my own fault for not feeling deep enough into the uterus looking for another lamb. We had out first Coopworth lambs born here on the farm.

We had our first visit with the shearer!

 And I decided it was time I learned how to spin.

 This whole fiber thing led to a collection of spinning wheels and fiber. And then there was the education on dyeing.

Alan learned about spinning wheel repair.

The grapes and raspberries got the attention they have been needing with the installation of the new trellises.

We welcomed Della to our flock!

So the year was busy and we did accomplish a lot of projects and we continue to grow the farm.