Dog House Build Part 1: Put it on the Floor!

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And so it begins.  With the addition of a couple of Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD), the need for additional housing is upon us.  The need for housing is nothing new for a farm.  Most livestock farmers seem to be in a perpetual state of need.  The same could be said about farmers in general.  I suppose those that are fortunate enough to have the ability to build a 40×80 structure probably don’t have the same issues.  Either way, we are at a deficit.  The most reasonable course of action would seem to be, get the materials and equipment ready and knock it out.  Being a male, it would also follow that this be done in the most efficient way possible.  Which typically results in me working alone–this does not always wind up being the most efficient method.  But it occurred to me, what really am I teaching our children.  Yes, some tasks should be done alone–even if only to instill that even though there may not always be someone around, you still need to get things done when and where possible.  It can also help build a sense of self confidence, independence, free thinking and problem solving.  Sure they’ve been helpers before–tasks reasonable and safe for their age.  However, it often precludes them from most work as there is something thoroughly and utterly terrifying about the thought of a 7,8 or 9 year-old with a pneumatic nailer in their hand.  Just saying.

Sure, this dog house can be built with power tools.  Yes, it will most assuredly be done faster.  Yes there will sanctification in actually checking something off the always growing to do list.  But, how much will my children learn?  The answer is not as much as they could.  There is something to be said about learning by doing.  Most folks process and retain information at a higher rate by doing rather than watching.

So going against ever fiber of my “must-get-it-done” being, we are I am learning to let go and doing it as a team.  Work together is what we preach.  Be it herding (when it works, it’s like pied piper) the free-ranged chickens in at night.  Feeding the animals.  Taking buckets of water down to the barns in the winter time.  Or helping the shorter family members put the dishes away in the hard to reach places.  And so it begins…

Day 1:  Put it on the Floor

Like all things in life, success is the benefactor of a good, strong foundation.  Whether it be a house, a shed, a career or our Christian lives.  A house built on unsupported sand, will not stand.  A life built on anything other than Christ will fall away.  A dog house built on junky wood will cause me to have to build it again in a few years time.  Which is one of the worst thing that can happen for a left-brained person such as myself.

Seeing that this is going to be a dog house and not the Taj Mahal, I opted for 2×4 framing/joists.  In the end, it is not going to be that big and the load that it will support should not be all that great.

Having said that, we framed out the floor, hand in hand, one nail at a time, together.

Enjoy.  (No power tools, children or father were harmed in the building on this day)

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Baby Chicks 2015

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Located in Pomona, KS

* Straight Run * Hatch Dates:

2/1/15: 28 Sold Out
2/24/15: 72 Sold Out
3/1/15: Approx 45 30 9 Sold Out
3/8/15: Approx 37 13 Sold Out
3/15/15: Approx 72 35 Sold Out
3/22/15: Approx 70 Sold Out
3/30/15: Approx 58 Sold Out
4/5/15: Approx 67 12 Sold Out

 

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We are hatching Production Red and Production Red crosses (Barnyard Mix). All breeds are high egg producers so the crosses will also lay high volume of eggs.chick3

We will be hatching through the spring and possibly the summer months. If you’re new to raising chickens or thinking about it, we can help you get started and hopefully alleviate some of the fear and stress you might have.

Pricing:
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1-20 chickens $2.25 each
21+ chickens $2.00 each

Breed Information:
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Our roosters are a non-heritage Rhode Island Red, which is more like a Production Red.  Production Reds are an offshoot of the Rhode Island Red. They will lay approximately 300 eggs per year. Although they may not jump on your lap, ours coming running, and I do mean running, to us when we have treats. Have you ever seen several dozen chickens all running together at the same time because you are bringing treats?

They’re temperament is neutral. By that I mean, they are no less friendly and no more aggressive than other breeds.

They will large brown eggs. The shades of brown will vary.

Production Reds are a dual purpose bird. Meaning, they are primarily used for egg production but are large enough to use as small fryers.

We have several breeds of hen:  Non-heritage Rhode Island Red, Production Red and Easter Eggers.

10838262_10152656116820950_1807162918264837377_oBeginner Notes:
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In the chicken pen picture you’ll note we have a waterer with rocks (clean and thoroughly rinsed) in the trough section. This is to prevent them from drowning. It may be a little overkill but we’ve had Cornish Crosses that would literally fall asleep with their heads in the feeding trough. Those birds really loved food. Their pen also contains wood shavings to provide a bedding and something to give their feet traction. It also contains an overhead heat lamp (we use a red bulb as opposed to a clear bulb. A red bulb will help prevent the chicks from attacking another should a chick have an injury and is bleeding). The feed trough is the standard baby chick feeding trough available and any farm store. It works well because the top prevents them from getting into the feed trough and pooping in their food. It doesn’t eliminate it, but it does significantly reduce.

Again, we will be hatching through the spring and summer months.

Baby Chicks Hatching !

Baby Chicks are hatching !

For this hatch we have mostly Production Reds but also have a few Production Red crossed with Amercunas and one Production Red and Silkie cross.

This is the first hatching of 2015 and we will be hatching through the spring and summer months. If you’re new to raising chickens or thinking about it, we can help you get started and hopefully alleviate some of the fear and stress you might have.  Contact us to get started.

Pricing:
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1-10 chickens $2.25 each
11+ chickens $2.00 each

Breed Information:
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Production Reds are an offshoot of the Rhode Island Red. They are not the sit and cuddle in your lap type of chicken BUT will lay approximately 300+ eggs per year. Although they may not jump on your lap, ours coming running, and I do mean running, to us when we have treats. Have you ever seen several dozen chickens all running together at the same time because you are bringing treats?

They’re temperament is neutral. By that I mean, they are no less friendly and no more aggressive than other breeds.

They will large brown eggs. The shades of brown will vary.

Production Reds are a dual purpose bird. They are primarily used for egg production but are large enough to use as small fryers.

Pictures:
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The first picture is a pure bred Silkie.
The second picture is part of our flock as baby chicks.
The third picture is a full grown Production Red hen.
The fourth picture is a full grown Production Red rooster.

Again, this is the first hatching of 2015 and we will be hatching through the spring and summer months.

Contact us now to purchase, reserve and/or request yours. We can take pre-orders for just about any number of chickens.

Kata (Anatolian, Great Pyrenees Mix)

Katarina or Kata as she goes by is a 50/50 mix between an Anatolian Shepherd and a Great Pyrenees.  Anatolians and Great Pyrenees are part of the livestock guardian dog _MG_0145(LGD) breeding lines.  Livestock guardian dogs are bred to be protectors and often times herders of livestock due to their size, strength, agility and their instinctive drive to protect.  LGDs usually do not posses the same set of traits as other breeds kept for pets.  LGDs are instinctively autonomous and posses the independent spirit that is required when tasked with guarding and protecting herds.

Great Pyrenees posses are rare combination of independence and affection.  “In nature, the Great Pyrenees is confident, gentle (especially with children), and affectionate. While territorial and protective of its flock or family when necessary, its general demeanor is of composure and patience and loyalty. It is a strong willed, independent and reserved breed. It is also attentive, quite fearless and loyal to its duties. ” [ Wikipedia ]

Anatolians, originating from Turkey, are renowned for their size, strength, agility, eye sight, hearing and loyalty.  For more information on our Anatolians, visit here.

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Solomon (Anatolian Shepherd)

Solomon is the resident stud.  He is a pure breed Anatolian measuring 32 inches at the withers.  Anatolian is one of the several type of Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD).  Anatolian shepherd dogs originated in Turkey (Anatolia) and were well suited for the harsh environments in that region.  Anatolians are renowned for their size, strength, agility, eye sight, hearing and loyalty.

“The Anatolian Shepherd dog was developed to be independent and forceful, responsible for guarding its master’s flocks without human assistance or direction. These traits make it challenging as a pet; owners of dogs of this breed must socialize the dogs to turn them into appropriate companions. They are intelligent and can learn quickly but might choose not to obey.” [ Wikipedia ]

LGDs are not meant as house pets.  They are working dogs who need responsibility. While they could be trained and kept as pets, they will thrive and derive satisfaction when tending and protecting a herd(s).

 

Topeka Craft Show

The Topeka Craft show was a success!  Thanks to all who visited our booth.  We Burlington Thank youenjoyed talking to folks and just hearing your stories.

A extra special thanks goes out to Ms Hill, who took time out of her day to talk with us for an extended period of time.

It was great to just talk with folks and to hear how God is moving in their lives.  He is always faithful.

Another big thank you goes to the folks at Crestview for hosting and providing assistance with loading and unloading.  You have no idea how helpful that is at the end of a long day.

If you stopped by and we were sold out of the item(s) you wanted, you can purchase online.  We are adding inventory and restocking over the next few days.

Burlington Craft Show: Success!

The Burlington Craft show was a success!  Thanks to all who visited our booth.  We Burlington Thank youenjoyed talking to folks and just hearing your stories.  We’ve added items to our online shop!

Out of all of the people we spoke with, I have to say our all time favorite was the old time farmer who was more than happy to tell us some of his stories! There was a fire in the woods that burned everything in it’s path. As he went out to inspect the damage, he found a circle nest of eggs that the fire went around on both sides. Being as cold as it was, he didn’t think they would be any good. Willing to take a chance, he took 6 of the eggs from the middle home with him. Sometime later, they all hatched on the same day!

If you stopped by and we were sold out of the item(s) you wanted, you can purchase online.  We are adding inventory and restocking over the next few days.

Recently Added items:
11/22/2014:

Cucumber Melon Scented Soap

The relaxing and refreshing sensation of cucumber melon.  There really isn’t anything quite like it.  It’s always been one of may favorite combinations.  Whether in soap, lotion or as melted scent.  It’s a must for our home.

For our Goat’s Milk Cucumber Soap, we currently have two color profiles to choose from.  Both use the same balanced recipe but you have the choice between coastal blue and white and sea foam and cream.

Cucumber Melon Scented Melt

The relaxing and refreshing sensation of cucumber melon.  There really isn’t anything quite like it.  It’s always been one of may favorite combinations.  Whether in soap, lotion or as melted scent.  It’s a must for our home.Scented Melt

Currently we have two color profiles to choose from.  Both use the same balanced recipe but you have the choice between coastal blue and white and sea foam and cream.

 

Pallet Barn Build

Since it’s our first year at the farm, we were in need of winter storage for our hay.  Even though there are thousands of trees here, we still have yet to find one that has dollar bills for leaves.  Thus began the build a barn from pallets project.  We were able to find a couple of places locally that were giving/throwing away perfectly good pallets.  Even better, we were able to find a place where the pallets were mostly all the same size.

This is particularly important when trying to build a structure from pallets.  It makes the process significantly easier than having to match greens and yellows up to form a purple.

Step 1:  “Figurin”

Pallet Barn Build Step 1I needed do some figurin about the size of what I needed to build.  I wanted something that wasn’t going to take forever but something that sufficed our current needs while accommodating our growing herd requirements.  So I needed to get a grasp on what our hay requirements would be to get through the winter.  This involved a little bit a math: area and volume calculations.  Being a city boy, it also required me to understand the haystack configuration which did modify the total number bales we’d be able to stuff in the barn.  That being said, I decided on an approximate 13.5′ x 20′ Lean-to / loafing shed / run-in horse shed barn.  Pick your name.  Basically, a three-sided barn with an opening in the front to allow for easy hay storage and removal.  After crunching the numbers, by my calculations I should be able to fit over 300 small sized square bales–not including any space above the wall plate.  We’ll see how close or far away I am once everything is completed.

The second part of the first step, is site selection.  A good location can take a significant portion of the pain out of the work.  Unfortunately for us, we didn’t have the most ideal spot.  It wasn’t the worse, but definitely not the best.  So we were required to level with 2x8x16 and 4x8x16 solid pewter slab pavestone.

Step 2:

Pallet Barn Build Step 2Once the site was selected and the corners marked out it was time to start putting the first pallets together. The way I accomplished this was to stand the pallets with their open ends facing down and up, placing two pallets side by side and drilling through each side of the pallet and attaching with a 5/16″ hex bolt. I choose to connect the pallets together with three bolts (Top, Middle and Bottom). I would however, suggest that you only connect the pallets together at the middle and bottom at this time and adding the top bolt once you start the second layer. Reason being, when you add the second row of pallets, you are going to want to affix the second row to the first (bottom) row. This is most easily accomplished by sistering another board against both levels. (e.g. in the opening of the pallets, place the additional piece of wood so that half of it is on the upper level and half on the lower level). You can clamp that board in place, drill and then bolt together. If you already put the top bolt on the first level in, you’ll have to take it out and drill a new hole. Waiting until you place the second level on, only one hole and you don’t have to take anything out.

Here is a picture of how I fastened the pallets together
Fastening Pallets together

A couple more of the first level going up:

First Level of Pallets
First Level of Pallets

Step 3:  “Leveling Up”

Once I got the first level up, attached and square, it was time to start getting the second level up. I found it’s easiest to start in a corner and do a pallet on each side of the corner. This will help provide stability to the wall as you go. The pallets on the second level were attached the same way as the pallets were done on the first level. The only difference being, is the additional piece of wood I slide inside the pallet opening (the openings that face up) to be used to fasten the top and bottom levels together. Tip: put the piece of wood in before you put the second level pallet on. It’s easier to get the piece of wood in this way, rather than having to fit it in between the slats or dropping it in from the top. The other tidbit would be to not fasten the second level pallets together at the bottom. (Same reason for not doing the tops of the first level). Once the pallets are up, flush (as can be) and level, I clamped the connector wood in the position I wanted and drilled through. This step is probably going to require a longer drill bit because you are going through at least 3 pieces of wood at this point. Depending on the thickness of the connector piece, you could be drilling through as much as 5 to 6 inches or as little as 4. It will depend on the wood you have and the wood the pallets were built using.

barn1-largePallet Barn Build

 

 

 

 

Step 4:  “Topping it Off”

Once the second level is up and secured, the next step is to put the top plates and any ridge beams on. For our barn, I choose to have an open front, to allow for easy loading, unloading and access to our hay. This required a ridge beam/seat to span the opening. Since I was concerned about costs and structural load I added an interior wall that split the opening. This allowed me to use lumber I could find at our lumber yard and not have to special order a 20′ LVL beam. Instead I was able to use two 4″x6″x12′ pieces. I affixed the top plate and then affixed the 4×6 pieces to the top plate with strong tie brackets every foot or so.

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The build is nearing completion.  Thankfully.  The next steps are to finish the front risers, then cut the rafters and then install the roofing and siding.  I will update as the progress continues.  Here is the most recent shot of what has been completed.

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In the mean time, if you are considering building a barn or a shed from pallets, here are things to consider that I have run into that have caused minor inconveniences to utterly driven me mad:

  • Pallets are not the same size (I suspect there are no carpenters in pallet factories).  Even if the two pallets have the same specified size, there will be variations.  They variations manifest themselves in 1/4 + inch differences in width, height and depth.
  • The horizontal slates on pallets can be any piece of wood that can be cut to length.  One pallet may have slates of different thicknesses.  This will come into play when trying to get your pallet wall level and possibly when affixing sheathing.
  • Beware of rebuilt pallets.  Sure it looks alright, however that rebuilt pallet may not be structurally sound.  It may have had the load bearing members doubled up in a sistering configuration to support the member that broke or rotted.  This sistering configuration can cause issues when you bolt adjacent pallets together in your wall building.
  • Be sure to have drill bits long enough.  Nothing like being mid stream of building your wall and being 1/4″ short of being able to completely pre-drill your bolt hole.
  • Take the time to level your wall pads (if you are not pouring an entire concrete pad or placing directly on the ground.
  • Pallets are like irregular sized lego pieces.  They will fit together but they are probably going to require some manipulation since they are not all exactly the same.