I’ve got a dream. Had this dream for some 40 years-to be a farmer. I’ll bet you have a dream too. The toughest thing about living your dream is the fear. The fear of “is it going to work?”. I guess we won’t know til we do it. The “journey” is half the fun.
The past couple days of expecting rain there’s been a calmness, a cooling down from this sweltering heatwave we’ve been experiencing here in the south. During the warmer days where we couldn’t do much I had been taking that time to plan, construct, weed the garden, and plan some more. It’s finally raining today so now is the time to share with you the developments over the past month.
A month or so back we experienced a terrible storm where the winds were gusting from every direction forcing the rain into the goat shelter. The winds were so strong they even scared me. I was so worried about them that I was tempted to go out and get them to take shelter in my bathroom. But hey! I wasn’t going out there. After the rains let up I went to inspect to see how I could improve their shelter. A day or so later we had another rain and noticed how the bullies would push little Flake out even in the rain. Yes, we have some bullies here. There names are Rollo and Molly. I knew I definitely had to come up with a new construction for their shelter. Down with the old and up with the new. I had to completely take down the old structure to redesign a more effective one taking into account for rain run off and wind direction. I also had to make a more useful gate as they kept pushing their way out into the yard. Off to Lowes to purchase some cement and a new drill. More power-I felt like Tim Allen on Tool Time. All the materials used were existing around the house even the 2×4’s which were taken from the old roof last year.
I constructed a new gate to their shelter that I could open and close to clean out using existing pallets. I re positioned the tin sheets I had on their roof to accommodate the rain run off.
Seeing that the wind blows from every direction I covered the new door with some old tarps. I laid another pallet on the floor to keep them more dry. Buttercup likes it, I guess it’s OK.
Next thing: the outside gate to the pen. First I had to cement posts for the gate to attach to. Playing in the cement I reinforced some pallets that make up the walls of the pen, along with their play ramp cementing that into the ground, as well as putting in a scratching tree for them to rub against. After the posts set a couple days I hung the gate. It’s so great to have a power drill. That made this so much easier. I love that black hardware. Oh the little things that make us happy.
Now that that part of the project is complete onto building another shelter. If Flake is forced out of one she can go to the other. My design was aimed at the northeast corner of the pen. At the time of completing the second shelter we still have not received rain so I was unsure if the design had worked or not. Looks like a regular goat condo-three bedroom and playground. Ok, I’m gonna start charging them rent.
Next phase of this “goat project” was to plant them some pasture. Then to fence the pasture so the #1 I wouldn’t have to spend my entire day outside and #2 that maybe, just maybe I can enjoy my winter gardening without having to examine who left their hoof print in the dirt.
For the next couple weeks we planted clover, rape seed, winter mix and lupine. A proverbial smorgasbord-what a meal!
When we purchased the seed we also picked up some chicken wire fencing. I had decided chicken wire rather than 4×4 fencing so as to keep the small furry animals out of the garden as well. The cost of posts would have run double the cost of the fencing so a substitution of fallen trees was made.
Excited and ready for the challenge, I dress up (or down) in my “woodsy” attire of jeans and tennis shoes. Joining me on this scout are my “woodsy” tools “Mr. Bandsaw” and “Ms. Gloves”. Off in search of fallen trees. Using my deductive reasoning I concluded that the diameter had to be 2 to 4 inches and not rotted through. At least I got that part right.
After collecting the trees, I measured the length and spacing I needed using the standard tool for measurement: my foot. It only had to be approximate. I set my posts, digging holes about 2ft deep, reinforcing with broken concrete and tin cans, tapping the dirt to pack hard. For about a week or so it appeared as though I had planted a row of dead trees. I think they look great! I can’t wait for them to blossom (just kidding).
Time to roll out the fencing. That’s when I noticed on the tag that there was 150ft rather than 130ft. I knew I didn’t have enough posts. Two days totaling 7 hours of back breaking labor, I completed what I thought was a pretty nice pastured area.
For the test of my efforts I took out one of the anchored pallets to the pen that I could use for a gate. I sat and watched. At first they were confused as they’ve always run the yard. Ba-da-boom, ba-da-bing! First one out, Molly (the ring leader). Ok, first time was funny. I’ll give you that one. Second time, now 2 were out, I’m not laughing. I grabbed my zip ties and wire to re secure the fencing.
Unbeknownst to me: All posts and fasteners need to be of some substantial strength when it comes to goats. This is one factor I did not apply to the equation. They will rub and butt up against everything. I simply thought that they would be to busy grazing that they wouldn’t notice. It will be just a matter of time before they notice that all 4 sides are not fenced as they follow the “Yoda” cat. She sneaks in and out of there with no problem.
On the upside of all this: after the rain this morning they were all dry.
Guess it’s back to the drawing board.
- 9 Inspired Ideas For Transforming Shipping Pallets (casasugar.com)
- Dogs & Comfrey Root (rockycropfarm.com)
- Show us your gates (and your fences and your walls) (timesunion.com)