Monthly Archives: March 2015

Barn Project – Finished!

We were very lucky to find the farm with a barn already on it, but, when we moved in the barn definitely had some issues.  For one thing, they built it in a damp, low spot, and over the years the drainage was failing and the barn floor flooded in significant rainfall.  Because of the wet ground, the support posts were no longer in their original place, and there were areas of the barn that tipped a bit more than they ought to. The stalls were horse-sized, huge, and had small doors we couldn’t get the tractor through, requiring us to clean stalls by hand. And the tack room floor was rotten, the stairs were an outright deathtrap, and because it had no real walls, everything in the tack room was a dusty mess!

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So, with Archer’s assistance, John spent the winter rebuilding the inside of the barn.  Support posts got straightened (or added), beams were leveled.  New stall doors were installed.  And most exciting of all, the tack room got a significant overhaul!

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New safe stairs – you could climb these blindfolded!  And, a separate light for upstairs loft lighting to make it safer at night.  There are now three lights in the tack room, too, making it nice and bright for working in.

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The metal bins hold nearly a ton of feed bags, and are on rolling casters to allow them to go out of the way under the worktop counter.  The counter ensures us clean workspace, and some shelving above and to the right keeps things organized (and dust-free).

We are so grateful to John for all the hard work, and so lucky to have the skills in the family to do this project right!

Sam’s Broken Leg

Back in mid-January, our ram Sams somehow managed to break his right foreleg – probably cavorting around with the goats on the hills.

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When we first put him in solitary, he wouldn’t put any weight on the leg at all.  We called the vet — $800 to amputate, $1300 to set and cast.  We love Sams, but he’s only worth about $300 on the market and since we got him from our neighbors at Distracted Acres down the hill from us, finding a well-bred replacement wouldn’t be that difficult.

Our next step was to call our mentors at Distracted Acres and ask them for their guidance.  Heath dropped by the next day to take a look, and recommended we try setting it ourselves with split PVC pipe and vetwrap.  Since the worst of the pain seemed to be gone, and we knew we wouldn’t be spending more, it was worth a try!  As a breeder, his hind legs were still intact, so all we needed him to be able to do was get around comfortably, not necessarily have full use of the broken leg.  And if it didn’t work, as long as we kept him fed and comfortable, we still had the option to harvest him after giving him time.

The local Ace Hardware folks helped us by cutting some short lengths of PVC pipe, 1.5″ and 2″ diameter, in half the long way.  We packed the pipe with cotton batting, and attached it to Sams leg with vetwrap tight enough to hold the swelling and keep it in place.  At first he didn’t put any weight on it, and he certainly didn’t enjoy being confined to his stall for 6 weeks, but when he’d put in his time, we were thrilled to see him able to put full weight on the leg!

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Photo above is Sams out for a brief sunny visit to the lawn, still limping but with just vetwrap, no PVC for support.

After about 8 weeks, Sams shows no limits with the leg.  We’re so glad we didn’t give up on him too early, and that we managed to get the same results with $10 worth of supplies as we might have for $1300 at the vet!