As a kid I remember my mother making homemade pasta. Mostly because my brother and I would sneak into the kitchen and snag the doughy pasta as it was drying on the racks. Having a few extra minutes on my hands now-a-days I decided to make my first batch of noodles as an adult. It seemed well worth it when I was done. Also, our chickens add a little fun to it… Here is how I did it: Continue reading
My husband and I have different opinions on how the finer things in life should be done. Such as painting over hinges and hardware on doors. He can’t stand painting over hinges. I don’t care. He has the mindset of if you are going to do it, do it right, while I have the mindset of lets just get this done as quickly as possible. I must say, this being the third time we’ve encountered this problem, I think he might just be right. Continue reading
I guess it’s more of a bur cutter – but that didn’t have the same ring. Why am I “mowing” the pasture in April with a barbed-wire infused log? Well, despite the fact that the plants are almost totally dead by October, they’re mischief is just beginning at that time. The stalks collapse very slowly and the prickle seed of the plant is ripe for the stickin’ for months to come.
The first step in remodeling both the kitchen and the upstairs bedroom was the removal of the dropped ceiling. I’ll be honest, I have never in my life seen these ceilings in the living space of a residential building; outside of a basement. However, we’ve learned it wasn’t terribly uncommon in rural homes as it was a cheap way to insulate and a fast way to have a new ceiling. Our prior owner also used it to hide new wire runs – which were easier to do over top the old bead board ceiling. Although in some places he still went above the bead board and through the joists, so I don’t know… Continue reading
When we first moved to the farm there were a lot of Do-It-Yourself type repairs by the previous owner. For example, the previous owner worked at the high school as a maintenance man, so when there were holes in the barn, he used old locker doors to patch them. He also must have drank a ton of coffee because there are flattened out coffee cans nailed to the barn. At first it caused giggles between us and our reaction was: “wow, what was this guy thinking.” However, the longer we are here, the more we find ourselves doing the same type of things. Yesterday was one of those days. Continue reading
One of the last farm auctions of the season, and as Joe was off getting coffee, I bid $4 on a wooden bench and won. The bench came with a cushion with some very faded, well worn fabric that just had to go. Whippie! A new bench and a small project for me. Here is what I did:
Here is a before and after for ya.
We’ve sorely neglected our blog the past few weeks, mostly because we dove into renovating one of the upstairs bedrooms. The second story of our house has been basically closed off for two years, but with the family growing we’ve decided to start sprucing it up. It has had zero updates since the 1970’s – or at least nothing significant – so there is much to do.
I will have a number of posts on this project when it’s done, but we’ve tackled too many different things to do one post. We’ve continued to struggle to find contractors, so even on the rare occasion when I realize a job is better left to the experts, calling one isn’t an option. In the meantime, the vast array of work we’ve taken on has had me thinking about a topic dear to my heart: the lack of skilled trades.
I think it’s certainly true that many in this country have come to view these once-sought-after jobs as the employment scraps leftover for those who can’t go to college. I know when I was growing up, that’s how middle-class suburban high schools pitched it.
That is a terrible shame because at the end of the day these jobs are often more important and even more complicated than many of the ones of college students end up with. Any successful economy needs men and women wearing blue and white collars, don’t get me wrong. What I take issue with is the notion that one is a better representation of success than the other.
Plumbers, electricians and carpenters provide the most essential work there is, and their jobs are no more likely to become automated than a CEOs. We need these people around and we should encourage ALL students to go after these jobs if they have an interest – even if they do score a 34 on their ACT. Shouldn’t your electrician be as smart as the guy deciding what Facebook ads you see? But, instead of listening to me on a soap box, just enjoy this curated content from AFV as proof we still need skilled tradesman. So far, our project is going better than these… so far.
We finally added some stalls to our goat barn. Kate came up with the basic design and I sort of pieced it together in late October. It’s two stalls and a corral, built with treated 4x6s and 2x8s for the sides. I’d say both stalls are big enough for a horse, although one is pushing the limits. It’d be fine for a large horse that’s lame and needs to be rested for a few days, but long term it might be cramped.
The sheep currently occupy the stalls and buying a horse is certainly not on our to-do list, so I think they’ll serve us well. Goats or pigs are more likely tenants than horses for now. I’m not sure this really requires a step-by-step. It’s two squares framed off of the barn walls so everyone’s would be slightly different depending on the dimensions of your pole barn. But here’s a few tips and “how I did-its.”
The labor was intensive… I set the posts using a hand auger. It went through the gravel bottom OK, but after drilling over 10 of them, I’ll admit I was pooped.
Things got a little tricky because of the concrete foundation, so I did get a little creative in a few spots. Personally, I’m most proud of the gates, which I built from scratch out of 2x4s. I used deck screws in pocket holes to frame them out and covered with 2x6s. They’re surprising light and function well. If I can find the photos, I will do a step-by-step on the gates. The design would work for fences, decks, etc.
I really enjoyed this project, as I always do when I get to try my hand at carpentry. I kick myself I didn’t pursue carpentry as a career, I enjoy it more than anything else in the world. Maybe someday. Luckily there is plenty of it to do around here for now. I finished the two 10’x10′ stalls and will finish the smaller pens this spring/summer. But for now, here is a glance at our new stalls and happy sheep!