In the fall last year we put a lot of work into pulling the shingle roof off the house. Insurance wouldn’t cover it and it was just waiting for a storm to destroy it.
I installed a metal roof with a radiant barrier underlayment. I am looking forward to seeing how the energy savings stack up this summer. If nothing else it’s nice to not worry about a roof for the next 50 years.
The project was to install gutters on the roof top capture the water running off the roof, rather then water carving deep channels under the foundation. The plan is to harvest the water into a rainwater collection system and use the sweet, sweet rainwater for the garden and livestock applications.
First line of gutters installed and…nope. Not going to work. The water coming off the rooftop is moving so fast is just zips right over the top of the gutters.
The next phase of this project will be building out the eves with wood to increase our installation surface area, and then moving the gutters up closer to the actual rooftop.
Previously we talked about Hay bales representing a great store of value over the winter and bragged about how much hay was in the barn. Since that time all the goats have decided the green spring grass is no good and they want to tear up all the unauthorized Hay bales. It’s great fun.
Wood is pricey right now and we have stacks of pallets bought cheap on Craigslist last year. Time to put them to work.
This was one of the good days in life. Kids played, all the materials were on hand, clear objectives and smooth work flow. Finished the whole side of the barn by lunch.
After that we hung gates on the two ends of the barn to finish isolating it.
Momma Marbles has successfully accepted our bottle buckling and has turned out to be the most nurturing momma we’ve worked with. After putting them together in their bonding pen, we held her still for a bit and helped little guy get busy. It worked and then kept working, and now they’re just free ranging the back yard and nursing freely.
Those pallets behind them will turn out to be useful for the next project… fencing in the pole barn from nefarious and untimely hay consumption. Pallets are cheap and lumber is really expensive right now!
Joel Salatin talks about having hay on hand as a high yield savings account. He’s right. We had our pastures baled over the summer before any livestock set foot and came away with 16 bales at $22 each. Our friends from BA Agriculture helped line the bales up in the pole barn with their tractor.
This last week of feeding unlimited hay has used up 3 bales, at current winter rates that’s $65 per bale. We should make it through the whole winter using about 5 bales and have hay for the next two winters as well.
Going into 2021, working to figure out a square bale solution. For our plans human sized solutions are needed. The round bales look rolly, but they aren’t. It’s a huge labor to move one around, and we have no way to sell them as we can’t load up someone’s trailer with it. Square bales may cost more but will fit our purposes, and agricultural antifragility, much better.
It’s been holding steady well below freezing for 3 days now. I’m a Texas boy, this is new and strange. One of the problems we noticed quickly is the animals water freezes over, so you have to go break it open.
It doesn’t sound daunting or tedious until you have to suit up for the cold. I freezer burned an earlobe on day one without enough head coverings.
The best tool so far is the mattock from EasyDigging. Normally a good hand tool for people of all ages in the garden, it’s become my go to for opening water portals. Then there’s steers like this that don’t want the easy water, they’ll get some on their own.
Through it all, I’ve been impressed by the Anatolian Shepherd, Sullivan, having the least amount of concern about the cold.
The Cold is not something we spend much time preparing for. It seldom freezes in north texas, and never for long. Until this week, a week looking to be solid below freezing and with many inches of… What’s this? Real snow??
We don’t have much infrastructure for winter, so we are learning what our livestock need by watching closely and adjusting, and beating the ice off the water tubs many times today.