Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mini tornado

Half of my neighbor's barn was knocked down by a tornado this past year. I spent part of a day a two weeks back clearing barn wood and roof tin out of his cow pasture that had been ripped from the barn and blown several hundred feet away from the barn.

Today I was ripping apart the neighbor's barn to gather wood for the chicken coop when I heard lots of banging around in the pasture, just out of sight. I looked up, and over the other barn I saw the twisting cloud of a dust devil, or mini-tornado. It disturbed the nice piles of wood and tin I cleaned up out there, and started coming my direction around his cow barn. Leaves and dirt were blowing in a tight twist, and hawks or turkey vultures were riding a drastic updraft right over the spot. Those birds were flying straight one second and then nearly straight up to 100 feet or so. Very odd looking.

So, I'm standing there next to a partially standing barn; the remaining portion of which is leaning towards where I'm working. The twister is heading my way about 500 feet away, when I lose sight of it. It seems to have just dispersed, but about 20 seconds later it hits another dust patch and kicks up a big cloud. It hit the cattle fence around 30 feet, I could tell not so much by the dust, as by the loud whistling coming from the fence. I ducked down at this point, hoping that if any of the barn fell I'd be partially protected from large falling beams by the foundation wall. It vanished from perception again, until about 10 seconds later when the ripped tin on the roof, 30 feet up, stared blowing around wildly. That was it. A bit of wind remained behind, but no destruction. No injury. Just a wild view.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Spent most of today figuring out how I want the trap door (for cleaning out the chicken coop), to work and putting in most of the work for it. I sure hope it doesn't interfere with the walls when I put them up.

I'm making it a lift out/drop in door, that way I don't have to go buy hinges :) It is positioned as far out into the overhanging portion as possible, so that I can position a wheel barrow or cart under it, lift the hatch, and sweep everything out into the barrow. On the other hand, I'm making it as strong as the rest of the floor, so it can still be walked on without fear of dropping out the bottom with chicken poo following right behind.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

farm buildings, reading

Another good read from concerning farm buildings. Covers topics like safe loads for wooden spans of varying length based on the width and depth, considerations of dairy barn sanitary issues, issues of air flow in the buildings, different roof designs, and good use of carpenters square.

Only nailed in one more floor board in the coop. Trying to plan out where I want the shovel-out trap door set before I finish off the floor where it will be located. Need to get more wood for walls and roof. Spent a couple hours cutting box wood trees out of the field by their roots.

Monday, July 21, 2008

more seeds

Didn't do any work on the coop today. Pretty lazy day.

Went picking for red clover seeds today before rain showers. Got maybe 10 pounds of wet weight heads. They'll dry in the sunshine and wind, and I'll sow them back into the fields for goat browse. I'll gather more when it dries up.

For Kentucky reference, a good harvest time is around July 15. Sowing in mid August or mid Feburary to March. See for more info.

Friday, July 18, 2008

bottom half of the treehouse coop

It has been slow going, but here are some photos of the supports and floor of the soon to be functional tree house chicken coop. The floor boards haven't been nailed in yet,. The platform size is about 8' x 8'.

All of the wood for this part of the structure (except the two really crooked ground posts) has been salvaged for free from a tornado damaged barn. It only took most of a day to harvest the wood from a field, and a partially collapsed barn. I'll need to go back for more before attacking the walls and roof.

[pictures at Treehouse Coop]

Monday, July 14, 2008

Archive is great

You can never have enough reading material. From the not-Oprah's reading list, the new-as-of-the-turn-of-the-20th-century, now "copiously illustrated": Poultry Appliances & Handicraft.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Started building the chicken coop. Boxing a couple tree trunks for one side. One of the trees will pass through the coop. Slow going due to my lack of construction experience. Broke a hammer, right off, trying to pull nails out of the salvaged barn timbers. Most is old growth oak with copious amounts of super rusty nails.

Picked up another crop of healthy chiggers. They like my ankles and bikini line. *scratch*

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Went to see niece Hanna act in 'Oliver' in Versailles. Picked up banjo strings on the way. Was told that there are lots of requests for banjo instructors... may have to hang up a shingle for some spare cash.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Spent a few hours cleaning up part of the barn and the field for David; in trade. Kept a truckload of wood and tin roof from the tornado hit barn for the coop.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Finished ripping apart the barn wall this morning. Saw about 10 more snakes. Need to clean up the wood pile left over, and do something with the tin wall panels. Tried to make a helical pump from a 5 gallon bucket, old hose and a rake. It pumped, though, not sure of capacity or head. Will be picking up some pvc pipe connectors to finish it off.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Spent more time clearing the forested gully for the chicken coops. Thought more about positioning and layout of where they should be placed. Took 3 more pickup loads of cleared brush down to the beaver den to fill in the washed out area.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Spent a couple hours breaking apart the wall. Now 2/3s done. Found 6 snakes. Think they were Garter, Rat, and Scarlet snakes.

Went to the bluegrass jamboree in Woodland park, Lexington with some friends and kiddo companions.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Started to break apart the tin wall section that blew into the field a couple years back during a tornado. The snakes won today, but I'll be back to finish.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Started clearing brush and trees from a gully where I'll put a chicken coop or two.