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Mystang's Homesteading Circus (Bird extravaganza)

Discussion in 'Member's "BackYardHerds" Journals' started by mystang89, May 23, 2018.

  1. May 23, 2018
    mystang89

    mystang89 Loving the herd life

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    I'd been wanting to start a journal for a while now but never really found the time. Well, it's 7am now and the children actually aren't awake yet, giving me much sought after peace and quite.

    Much of my journey can be found in different threads but the main parts of my story would probably be
    https://www.backyardherds.com/threads/splitting-up-my-7-acres.34780/
    https://www.backyardherds.com/threads/new-to-shepherding.34738/#post-453684
    https://www.backyardherds.com/threads/installing-hot-wire.36390/
    https://www.backyardherds.com/threads/a-bush-to-pull-things-together.37735/
    https://www.backyardherds.com/threads/wishful-thinking.37763/page-5#post-551738

    A bit of an introduction. I am a stay at home father of 8 children with a wonderful wife who's a nurse. I was born and raised in the city, a bona fide city boy, but must have received my love for nature, animals and the country from my parents who were born and raised in the country, especially my father. It's amazing how much you get from your parents even without realizing it. About 1 1/2 years ago we moved from the city where we could hardly put our hand out our window without shaking hands with our neighbor, to the country, where I can still unfortunately see my neighbor. Nothing against neighbors or people in general, I'm just a rather introspective person who likes to not SEE my neighbors from my porch.

    When we found the house it was love at first sight but we both (my wife and I, not my neighbor) knew that there was going to be tons of work involved in getting it fixed up. That was fine with me, as I had done as much as I could at my other house and was honestly getting bored there. We purchased the house and have been working on it since.

    First thing needing worked on was making the house into a livable HOUSE and not a drafty barn. We had a fireplace insert installed but couldn't even get the temp past 57F in the winter. After lots of checking and a home audit we found that we were as drafty as the barn outside. That's when I had a company come in and spray insulation foam around the gables of the house along with the roof. Worked a charm! We were now nice and warm during the winter.

    Next thing was the fencing. We had always wanted farm animals. In the city we started with 5 chickens which is the max we were allowed. (I hate that.) Then we upped it to 10 chickens....you know, just in case something happened to the other 5 and then finally to 12 chickens...because, you know.....CHICKEN MATH! With continuous bribings of the neighbor with eggs we were allowed our chickens. Plus I mowed their yard and they didn't like mowing. Tit for tat. We then started raising rabbits. They were/are easy and not very noticeable. Afterwards we dabbled in pigeons. I liked raising them but couldn't really get a good breeding program going for them so when I moved out here I haven't had them on the agenda......yet. That, however, was the extent of our homestead. We honestly thought about getting one of those mini cows that don't get much larger than your dog and then putting up a privacy fence but I digress. We had as large a garden as we could make without taking all of our .25 acres and having nothing for the children to play in. (Speaking of children...they are now awake. There goes the peace and quite. :() That was as much as we could have there. Moving to our current house we new things had to increase.

    One of those links tells about getting the pasture fenced up. My father came to help and we ALMOST finished the fencing before we went for the sheep. We purchased 3 Awassi sheep, 1 ram and 2 ewes, from a man in Wisconsin, a 10 hour drive from where we live. That was the best 10 hour trip ever. It was just my wife and myself. Anyway, once we get back we still have the rest of the fencing to put up but no where for the sheep. So they decided to keep my lawn mowed....and my flowers (which were here when I moved in) and pretty much anything else that decided to grow.

    After the fencing came the lean to on my barn. The barn was built around 1900 and needed a bit of TLC. Ok, more than a bit. The lean to was falling down. The corner post was gone. Seriously, it wasn't there, MIA, KIA, notta, zilch. Now, I don't build houses for a living but I was pretty sure that this particular corner post was needed lol. Fortunately the former residence decided to keep a few telephone poles around the property because....you never know when you're going to need a telephone post?:thAnyway, it's a good thing they did because I cut that puppy down to size and, with my wife and children in the hay loft, a rope on the top of the pole, and my tractor bucket lifting the bottom of the pole, we secured it in place!!! Guardian angels work over time that day. Actually, they've been working overtime since moving in here. Think they probably deserve a few weeks vacation time lol.

    Back to the lean to. 20170221_161414.jpg This doesn't really give a good picture of it since I was actually taking a picture of my garden plots (and apparently my wife) but it does give an impression of what I was dealing with. The inside was being held together by a few 2x4's that they decided to try and buttress up the lean to with. Before we moved in they had used it as a haunted house....I'm sure there were reasons but I can't stand seeing perfectly good buildings be let fall into disrepair when you have the means and capability of repairing them, especially when I know how much hard work, blood and sweat was put into building the things. Seems so disrespectful to me. I needed wood to fix this. I needed roofing to fix this. I need a lot of both to fix this. We are on a very limited budget so buying was out of the question but fortunately there was a tabacco barn right behind us which was falling down as well. The owner of that land actually grew up in the house we bought. The original land I live on was actually around 100+ acres but get partitioned off and we ended up with 7 acres, far more than we ever imagined. I got in contact with him and asked if I could take his barn down to repair the one on my property. He said he wanted a bit of the wood for himself but if we could take the barn down and bring him the small portion of wood, everything else was ours. SOLD! I made sure and take care of him first then worked on getting the rest of the barn down. That's still a work in progress BUT it is down....just not cleaned up. Work in progress I said!!!! I've been going there and getting pieces of wood I need.

    Where was I? Lean to. Yesterday we finally got the roof up on it. Where did the metal from the roof come from? The man who let us take down his tabacco barn. The roof didn't come from that barn though. He actually had reroofed a barn near his house, kept the old roofing and gave it to us. Gave. Free. SOLD! (We've been very well taken care of and blessed.) Now all I need to do is put the sides and door up so my sheep won't have to worry about going through a slog full of mud in order to get into the barn at night. (footrot is constantly on my mind).

    What else? We wanted to name our property. We wanted it to be very appropriate. We have a very gracious Benefactor. He's taken care of ALL our needs and we really don't have a want. He's a shepherd for us and our family. So we decided to name our sheep homestead after Him. The Good Shepherd Homestead.
    20180112_133704.jpg

    When I moved in there was a full trove of locus trees that needed to be removed. I used those trees for my posts in the fencing but I have tons more left over. I decided to make a sign out of the wood and there it is, at the beginning of our driveway.

    I know there is more, electric fencing and such, but with children away, the smell of burning eggs and a crying baby, they will have to wait until I get extra time. In the meanwhile, I'll leave you with a picture of our God given place. Thanks for reading. 20170606_095423.jpg
     
  2. May 23, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    I have enjoyed your other threads, can’t wait for this one to continue. I love the old barn and applaud your efforts to save it. I am a scrounger, I collected used lumber, tin and even telephone poles. We built a 36’x36’ barn. Just so you know, Lowes has a cull/reject rack where you can buy lumber for less than half price. If you don’t have a Lowes in your area, check out the lumber stores. If there is new construction going on near you, ask if you can go through the big roll off boxes, it is AMAZING what they throw away!
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
  3. May 23, 2018
    RollingAcres

    RollingAcres Loving the herd life

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    Hello @mystang89 , looking forward to reading your journal. That last pic is beautiful!
    Like @Baymule said, your local lumber store or Home Depot has those reject rack as well. We were able to (in the past) pick up some free lumber from a local lumber store. They had a pile of not so good/can't sell lumber that they just wanted to get rid of, we got them and used some to build our cow barn. Also sometimes they may have something that a customer ordered and paid for but failed to pick up and have been there over a year, they might want to just sell them to you for cheap just to get it out of their warehouse.
     
  4. May 23, 2018
    Latestarter

    Latestarter Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry Golden Herd Member

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    Great start to your journal! Really nice looking place you have there. Thanks for sharing the pics. I think you'll like it much better having everything in one place rather than trying to keep up with multiple threads. :thumbsup
     
  5. May 25, 2018
    mystang89

    mystang89 Loving the herd life

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    Been a couple of days (and a few injuries) since I updated this so i figured now as good a time as any.

    After what seems like an eternity, 1 1/2 years, the lean to is completed!.....ish. I still have to put the door up and cut the rafter runners to size plus put in a milking station but the sheep now have a clean ("clean" is a very relative word atm) place to stay that is out of the heat, out of the mud (once it dries up under the lean to) and out of the rain. They have a place that is sturdy and I don't have to worry about falling down on them. I hope. It hasn't fallen down yet! So that's a positive lol.
    20180525_172016[1].jpg 20180525_172315[1].jpg
    That last picture sure looks like it's more empty space than wood in the picture LOL. It really is fully covered haha. Anyway, the children were out there helping too. I can only hope and pray that they learned something from it. Not necessarily how to screw to boards together, or even how a lean-to goes up. I can only pray they learned how to work, how to help people, each other, their parents. Memories. How to suffer. Getting hurt and working through it. I was trying to cut part of some wood with a jig saw. It had a dull blade, I wasn't positioned well and the jigsaw used my thumb as a tasty dinner. No big wound. Just a deep wound. Think it hit the bone and tore the muscle. I grimaced, closed my eyes, took control of myself again, thanks be to God, and continued working. If it had been bad enough I would have done something. I've tried to cut my fingers off before so I know when its serious enough, but this was just a bit of blood and tons of pain. My children were there, watching, learning. I wonder what they learned. God knows, not me. This was a few days ago. My thumb feels like its been crushed by a tractor each day lol. My wife works at a hand surgeons office. It's something I could get looked at for free if I wanted to but I'm not the type that goes to the doctor unless I'm holding my fingers in my other hand. I think that drives my wife crazy. (not in the good way :p)

    We worked on the lean to for a week straight at least. As long as it wasn't raining we were working. In that time the grass had grown quite long. It had already been a week before that so now it was 2 weeks long. The pasture is about 4 feet tall right now. I sure wish I had some hay equipment. I'd cut it and use it for bedding if nothing else. All that said, I was able to get the lawn mowed today. I'm fairly OCD about cutting my lawn so when it got that tall even my wife was worried about me lol. Still needs to be trimmed but I'll try to do that and the pasture tomorrow if the rain holds off. We'll see what the next days bring but in the mean time I'll leave you with another view from my house.
    20180418_202218[1].jpg
     
  6. May 25, 2018
    Wehner Homestead

    Wehner Homestead True BYH Addict

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    I’m now following along too and looking forward to it! I’ll
     
    CntryBoy777 and RollingAcres like this.
  7. May 25, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    I love old barns, yours is awesome. You might want to take advantage of your wife working for a hand doctor. She might change jobs some day and Murphy's Law says that you will need hand surgery the next week. If you have problems, get it looked at. I am a big believer in "If it's broke-FIX it!"
     
  8. May 25, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    I love old barns, yours is awesome. You might want to take advantage of your wife working for a hand doctor. She might change jobs some day and Murphy's Law says that you will need hand surgery the next week. If you have problems, get it looked at. I am a big believer in "If it's broke-FIX it!"
     
  9. May 25, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    I love old barns, yours is awesome. You might want to take advantage of your wife working for a hand doctor. She might change jobs some day and Murphy's Law says that you will need hand surgery the next week. If you have problems, get it looked at. I am a big believer in "If it's broke-FIX it!"
     
  10. May 25, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    I love old barns, yours is awesome. You might want to take advantage of your wife working for a hand doctor. She might change jobs some day and Murphy's Law says that you will need hand surgery the next week. If you have problems, get it looked at. I am a big believer in "If it's broke-FIX it!"
     
    mystang89 likes this.