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Your Homestead Tell and show others with words and pictures how you built or are building your homestead and how you keep things going day-to-day. One thread per member, please.

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  #41  
Old 08-01-2012, 02:25 AM
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My condolences, also
I too know how you feel like Gracie said Grizzy was one of my friends also. And I miss her very much. We miss the ones that have the most to teach us it seems.
I also keep up with your post. I love reading them all but don't post much. But this thread is always keep up lol
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  #42  
Old 08-01-2012, 05:33 AM
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Default Lumber Toting Day

In the last month or so I've bought 2 lots of lumber at garage sales, and today was the day that I was able to collect it. Rented a trailer in town yesterday, and hired my son's friend to tow it with his truck. He rolled in at 8 this morning and off we went with both pickups and the trailer to town.

The first stop was at a former mushroom farm, all of the racking for holding the growing boxes is what I bought, 4x4s that are 14' long and 2x10s - between 10-14'. I don't know why the owner shut it down as a mushroom farm, he supplied all the local grocery stores and had a great product. Seems a shame that we now have to truck in the mushrooms.
If you've never been to a mushroom farm (and I hadn't before the garage sale) - the buildings are incredible. Instead of leaving them sit empty, he's converted several of them into an indoor paintball arena. Clever idea. He has all kinds of plywood walls and different things, adjustable lighting and can blare music. There are also observation windows that look down on the playing areas. What a mess those paintballs make though! They left a very sticky residue on everything. After an interesting tour of the paintball facility we were off for the next pickup...the one we were all dreading.

I had bought railroad ties that are 6"x10" by 14', as well as a number of 8 footers. And a 10" on the butt - green treated telephone pole that was 12' long. My son & his buddy thought we could get the 8' stuff on the front of the trailer, but might have to come back for the longer stuff. But of course, once we were there...we pondered on how to do it all in one load. The guys could handle the 8' ties by themselves, but not those 14' ones. We put a long pry bar under one end, with my son & I on each end of the bar to lift, while the other fella was by himself on the far end of the tie. People slowed down as they were driving by to watch...but not one of them stopped to offer to give a hand! Maybe because we were filthy from the creosote? The owner of the house was home..but we didn't know that - HE didn't come out either...UNTIL the last of those 14 footers were on the trailer.

But that was okay, because he said that he had a bunch more of the railroad ties in a trailer, if I wanted those, I could have them. Deal! We got 10 more 8' ties.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...adoflumber.png


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...oadLumber2.jpg


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...dTies_Pole.jpg

So what am I planning to do with all of this lumber? Build a lean-to addition to one of my farm buildings. It has one addition on it already that I keep my rabbit breeding stock in. Here's a link to a pic of it.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...yBunnyBarn.jpg
The red door is where the rabbits are. The rolling door with the X is where I keep hay. Little window in the front is the grainery (that's a doubled - double window, so can handle the weight of the grain), we can auger grain in through the "attic" door. Originally I thought I'd use the far side for shavings by the huge truck load - but this building is not big enough, nor high enough to handle the truck that they bring shavings in. Plus the price has gone sky high since wood pellet stoves have come into fashion. The majority of wood pellets produced here are shipped overseas. Since I'm not using it for shavings, the boards that can be lifted in & out of the front "bin boards" need to marked as keepers and put up into the rafters, (just in case the shavings situation changes) and another sliding door needs to be put on the front.

I think the building will look more balanced if it is extended on the far side. There is a pasture fence quite close, so the new addition can be set up for small livestock. Perhaps weaner pigs, or eventually a milk goat or small breed cow. Not going to get a milking animal while I'm still working in town though, I don't want to put that pressure on myself, the rest of the critters are forgiving if I'm an hour or 2 early or late. This project won't likely get built until next year, there is enough on my plate for this year (more than enough I think some days!)

Last edited by KarenBC; 08-01-2012 at 05:39 AM.
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  #43  
Old 08-01-2012, 02:00 PM
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Sweet deal, Karen. I hope to find a load like that for building a racken (rabbits + chickens) barn.
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  #44  
Old 08-01-2012, 05:39 PM
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S2 - are you planning to have the chickens & rabbits together in the same barn - or 2 separate sides, with a wall between them? I'd highly recommend a wall, and keeping them apart from each other. I tried having them together...once...the rabbits developed hacking coughs, I think from the dust chickens put off.

I just spent a couple of hours cleaning in the "Brew'dr Barn" (all my buildings seem to be developing tea related names). This is the building that the incubator is in and a wall of small cages that the chicks are brooded in. So I've been in chicken dust all morning, now I sound like a smoker.

Last year I was fortunate enough to find an older Sportsman incubator for a really good price. Amazing machine, have hatched out a lot of barnyard mix chicks, guineas, bantys and turkeys. Selling the chicks helps to cover the cost of feed.

Something I'm sort of playing with is developing my own barnyard mix of laying bird, that is also heavy enough to be worth butchering for the table, lays a big egg (through the winter), is winter hardy, calm, lays coloured eggs and has nice coloured feathers, oh and converts feed well. I don't ask for much huh?

Right now I have about 8 or 10 purebred Ameracaunas and a purebred rooster. Just separated them off so that any eggs from them will be straight Ameracauna. Should be able to get a much higher price per chick with those. If they don't sell as chicks, I'll likely winter them, and then stick a heck of a high price on them about March as new layers in their first laying season.

Also have 2 mature Welsumer hens, and 4 supposedly purebred Welsumer poults coming along. I dunno about them, they are almost black with red highlights. Welsumers are more of a red with a gold neck mantle, but perhaps they start out dark and lighten as they moult into their adult feathers. Just found a young purebred Welsumer rooster the same size as my poults.
If you haven't seen Welsumers or the eggs they lay, I can't recommend them highly enough. They lay a very large, very dark brown egg. Nice calm bird. Seems they were originally bred in Holland.

The other breed I'm trying to get ahold of to get the bloodline into my barnyard mix is Cucko Maran. (Strange name for a barred rock looking bird). I had 3 roosters and am kicking myself I didn't keep one. They were supposed to be a trio of 2 hens/1 rooster...got ripped off on that deal. The roosters grew to a very good size, but their combs were prone to frost bite. When we butchered, it was my pal who passed away this week who pointed out that of all the roosters and old hens we butchered, only these 3 had a substantial amount of body fat, and this was in the middle of the winter. I'd been keeping the rosoters separate and only feeding them whole oats. He said it meant that they were very good at converting feed to meat and fat.
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  #45  
Old 08-01-2012, 08:10 PM
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Default Defrosting the Freezer - a valuable household tip



First time I've tried this! It worked like a charm.

Today was moving day for the freezers, from the workshop into the garage. We tackled the biggest one first. Wrassled out the whole spit pig that is in there, getting the giggles in the midst of a job like that is not recommended. A frozen pig wrapped in plastic is a wriggly critter to hang on to, must be nigh onto 80 lbs. We have got to have a bbq and get this fella out of the freezer.

Discovered the freezer has rotted out the plywood floor in the workshop. Wunnerful. Projects on the homestead always seem to lead to one more thing that needs to be taken care of. After a cuppa tea I'm going back out to ponder on the floor situation...hoping to heck that only the plywood is rotted and not the joist underneath.

There is a smaller lighter freezer to move yet. Mostly keep flour, rabbit ice bottles and berries in it, oh & cloth bags of feathers! (I'm saving up every time I butcher - eventually going to make a feathered tick bed cover.)

This is day 2 of my summer holidays...yesterday moving lumber, today freezers...hmm..perhaps I need to rethink this whole holidays thing.
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  #46  
Old 08-01-2012, 11:27 PM
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Dang Karen, wish ya would have posted that hint last week when it took all evening to chip away at the ice in my freezer. But of course this freezer had not been defrosted for about 8 years except for when the power went out on occasion. Anyways thanks for the tip, for next time. Oh the hair drier works too, hubby suggested that about 11 at night. lol Some days are just longer. lol
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  #47  
Old 08-02-2012, 12:41 AM
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Karen

I too offer my condolences.
I true friend indeed--that teaches
us to live better in our private worlds.

I would have loved to meet another off-gridder.
The stories he could share with me--so I could
learn.

Hugs
annie
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  #48  
Old 08-02-2012, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by KarenBC View Post


First time I've tried this! It worked like a charm.

Today was moving day for the freezers, from the workshop into the garage. We tackled the biggest one first. Wrassled out the whole spit pig that is in there, getting the giggles in the midst of a job like that is not recommended. A frozen pig wrapped in plastic is a wriggly critter to hang on to, must be nigh onto 80 lbs. We have got to have a bbq and get this fella out of the freezer.

Discovered the freezer has rotted out the plywood floor in the workshop. Wunnerful. Projects on the homestead always seem to lead to one more thing that needs to be taken care of. After a cuppa tea I'm going back out to ponder on the floor situation...hoping to heck that only the plywood is rotted and not the joist underneath.

There is a smaller lighter freezer to move yet. Mostly keep flour, rabbit ice bottles and berries in it, oh & cloth bags of feathers! (I'm saving up every time I butcher - eventually going to make a feathered tick bed cover.)

This is day 2 of my summer holidays...yesterday moving lumber, today freezers...hmm..perhaps I need to rethink this whole holidays thing.

If you could find a cardboard barrel--love those thing for feathers.
They are usally waxed and the feathers cant cause static and the feathers settle.

I had 2 feather pillows I changed the covers on every year--loved that barrel.

Just an old thing I did.

annie
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  #49  
Old 08-02-2012, 01:04 AM
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I have a couple of cardboard barrels, but neither is waxed inside and one is way to big to fit in the freezer! I keep my shavings in it up at the chicken barn to put in the nest boxes.
The other smaller one is in the back porch and I keep dog kibbles in it - it will hold a couple of big bags of dog food. Getting grease marks on the inside from the dog food. Every once in a while I dump out all of the dog food into a Rubbermaid bin, sweep out the barrel, and put the newest food on the bottom, and the oldest back on the top. Seems that if there is enough grease in it to mark the cardboard over time, there's enough grease to go rancid too.

My pal wasn't much for meeting new folks, or new technology Anne. Though he did have a cell phone and as cell towers went up in the city he was able to get reception out at their homestead. He used to tease us when we could see a storm coming in and started filling big pots for extra water, and setting the candles out on the table. He'd make comments like "oh no, what am I going to do if the power goes out?!" then would slap his thigh and chuckle.

The one time I went out to visit them in the summer, they had a tin bathtub, not a round wash tub, but an actual galvanized tin bathtub out on their lawn, with black plastic floating on top of the water. Solar powered hot water for their evening bath. I've been hunting for one of those bathtubs ever since. I'd like to get one of those mosquito net gazebo things and line it with shower curtains that could be pulled back so the sun could warm the tub. Have my own outdoor short season bath house.
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  #50  
Old 08-02-2012, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by KarenBC View Post
I have a couple of cardboard barrels, but neither is waxed inside and one is way to big to fit in the freezer! I keep my shavings in it up at the chicken barn to put in the nest boxes.
The other smaller one is in the back porch and I keep dog kibbles in it - it will hold a couple of big bags of dog food. Getting grease marks on the inside from the dog food. Every once in a while I dump out all of the dog food into a Rubbermaid bin, sweep out the barrel, and put the newest food on the bottom, and the oldest back on the top. Seems that if there is enough grease in it to mark the cardboard over time, there's enough grease to go rancid too.

My pal wasn't much for meeting new folks, or new technology Anne. Though he did have a cell phone and as cell towers went up in the city he was able to get reception out at their homestead. He used to tease us when we could see a storm coming in and started filling big pots for extra water, and setting the candles out on the table. He'd make comments like "oh no, what am I going to do if the power goes out?!" then would slap his thigh and chuckle.

The one time I went out to visit them in the summer, they had a tin bathtub, not a round wash tub, but an actual galvanized tin bathtub out on their lawn, with black plastic floating on top of the water. Solar powered hot water for their evening bath. I've been hunting for one of those bathtubs ever since. I'd like to get one of those mosquito net gazebo things and line it with shower curtains that could be pulled back so the sun could warm the tub. Have my own outdoor short season bath house.
I had one of those later off-grid--built a pallet privacy fence--also had a 4x4 post I could hang my solar-shower on for those quick before bed rinses--grit LOL

Karen---the one thing that bothers me now---My mind was so far off grid also--I didnt
get pictures of my little inventions---never thought about it--it was a mode of survial
and comfort for myself-

Txanne
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  #51  
Old 08-02-2012, 03:18 PM
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That's such a shame Anne. I've always been a picture taker, even before digital cameras. So I have pics of over 20 years of renos and projects on this farm, have been here since the early 1990s.

Stayed up way to late last evening canning cranberry sauce, so I'd best be getting at it. Going to have critters wondering where in the heck breakfast is.
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  #52  
Old 08-02-2012, 03:44 PM
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Congrats on the cranberry sauce. We purchased a plant this spring, and so far, it is hanging in there despite the heat and lack of rain water. Can't wait, till it grows, and can make some 'real' cranberry sauce too. Gracie
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  #53  
Old 08-02-2012, 06:04 PM
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That's such a shame Anne. I've always been a picture taker, even before digital cameras. So I have pics of over 20 years of renos and projects on this farm, have been here since the early 1990s.

Stayed up way to late last evening canning cranberry sauce, so I'd best be getting at it. Going to have critters wondering where in the heck breakfast is.
I love cranberry sauce--jellied LOL

But I have the memories tagged in my mind.LOL

Sorry to hyjack--wont do it anymore--just love to read
how great you have put it all togather--Blood Sweat and Tears

annie
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  #54  
Old 08-03-2012, 03:23 AM
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Hijack away Anne I'm always glad for a diversion.

Today was "fix the hole in the floor day". We started out by figuring out how thick the plywood on the floor was. Not happy to see it's only 1/2 inch on 16" centres. It ought to be 3/4" or better.

Here's the hole that the freezer caused in the workshop:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...eInFloor01.jpg

Didn't have 1/2" plywood...so off to town. We needed 1/4" plywood & a batt of insulation for the cattle shed-to-barn conversion project. I swear that Home Depot gets their staff at Dumb'R'Us.

We stopped on the way home and picked a gallon of Saskatoons (Service Berries or perhap Bilberries to some of you?). Because "town" has 2 rivers that meet up, the climate there is warmer than where we are half an hour away...so the berries ripen earlier, and seem bigger near the river. Discovered someone had tossed out some lumber from a fence project. We picked up some 1x6s (used) and some treated 1x1x8, as well as a few pieces of concrete stepping stone pads. Will use the cement pieces for leveling when we put the floor in the barn.

Sure used a lot of different tools for this fixin' the hole project, skil-saw, electric chain saw, chop saw, hand saw, pry bars, hammers & nail pullers, and the truck's tailgate.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...leInFloor5.jpg
My son is neatening up the edge with a handsaw.

Had to beef up one of the joists, the top of it had been damaged by the rot, we scabbed a 2x6 on either side of it, predrilling the holes and starting the screws made that go really smoothly.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...leInFloor7.jpg

By evening we had the floor fixed. It's not pretty, but it's fixed and safe. There is one gap where the skil-saw went off kilter. We are going to tell folks that's our floor-sweeping hole - so all the dust can be swept down it. (Think they'll buy that?)

If I get a deal on plywood in my garage sale forays or something, I'm thinking of putting another layer over the whole floor in the workshop. It would be some chore. There is a Baby-bear woodstove in there, and lots of work benches. But that 1/2" floor - argh! Who does that?

Had hoped to can up the Saskatoons and today's picking of strawberries, but tomorrow is another day.

Last edited by KarenBC; 08-03-2012 at 03:33 AM.
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  #55  
Old 08-03-2012, 12:58 PM
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Yes, I was going to house the chickens and rabbits together, so the chooks could scratch around under the cages. I've read Joel Salatin runs his this way. I'll have to get his books and see if he had and problems/solutions. Thanks for the tip.

I've read the Welsumers rate high for foraging their own food. I'm glad you like your's, because they are on my wish list.
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  #56  
Old 08-03-2012, 06:05 PM
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Hmm, the chooks would roost on top of the rabbit cages...and I sure wouldn't my rabbits UNDER roosting birds. If you could find a way to deal with that, and have lots of air movement through the building it might be ok.

I feed a lot more hay & greens to the rabbits (depending on the season) than they can ever eat. Whatever doesn't fall through the cages, I rake out. All of that gets wheelbarrowed up to the chicken run.

The chickens also get buckets of the chaff that falls out of the hay in the winter. Gives them something to scratch about in.
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Old 08-03-2012, 06:50 PM
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Commercial rabbit raisers use stacked cages with sloped sheetmetal between the cages to deflect droppings from the rabbits above. These are suspended from the ceiling. I had something like that in mind, so the top cage would be pretty high for the chickens to reach.

I'll consult Salatin's books before I decide. If I'm not satisfied with the arrangement, they'll be separated.
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Old 08-03-2012, 08:16 PM
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BAHAHAAAAAAAAAA LOL Floor sweeping hole!!

Everyone should have one----of those shouldnt we?

BTW--looks great---
annie
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Old 08-05-2012, 02:09 PM
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Default When it's berry picking time...

pick berries!

Yesterday I went to town, so like to combine a few things to make the best use of the time away from the farm and the gas.

Took in the garbage & at the same time did a boo around the swap shed at the dump. (I must have mentioned the swap shed earlier - where folks can leave good stuff for others to take - all for free). Got a gate contraption that someone made from 1/4" sanded plywood, complete with hinges.
I had just bought good one side 1/4" plywood and paid a disgusting $23 a sheet for the stuff earlier this week. They didn't have econo plywood at any of the places I checked. Would have gone for 5/8 which was cheaper, but the barn ceiling is half done in 1/4" already. And my momma is a'coming up next week to help with the barn project. So I bit the bullet for 5 sheets worth. Anyhow, finding almost a full sheet, albeit in big pieces was a nice find.
Got quite a few canning jars there too.

Went garage saleing in town for the rest of the morning. Scored another laundry tub (for strawberries) and quite a few canning jars & some packages of new lids too. A nice heavy metal framed 12"x12" shelf for $2, the place I bought that had the most amazing little guy, maybe 8 years old. The parents asked him to carry the shelf out to the vehicle for me. He was such a polite little fella and very good at making conversation. Hopped right in the back of the Honda to help organize the plywood so the shelf would fit, thanked me for coming to their garage sale. I made a note of the address of that sale and am going to write them a little note about what a great job they are doing of parenting. It was so refreshing to run into a child like this one (gives me hope for the future of society if there are a few like this about). Going to get on that note this morning, so it doesn't get forgotten!

Got a mallet head for $1, big heavy round sledge type thing, need to get the broken handle out of it. Was thinking of putting it in the firepit to do that. Anyone know if that's okay? Won't do anything to serious to the metal? Not like it's an ax or knife that has a temper I'd be messing with. For a buck, I think I'll take a chance on it. I picked up a new sledge handle at a garage sale last summer.

After garage saleing til noonish, it was berry picking time:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...askatoons1.jpg
These are Saskatoons as we call 'em on the north side of the border. (You might call them Serviceberries or bilberries if you are on the south side of the border!)
Picked 9 lbs. in about 2 hours, found a good spot in town, just up from the Nechako River. I find that berries near rivers ripen earlier and tend to be bigger. I think the river moderates the temperature just enough to cause that. My pet theory.
Did up the berries with a very light sugar syrup - ala Jackie Clay's canning book, and water bathed them for 15 minutes.

Once the critter chores are done this morning and the dew is off I'm heading down the road about 5 miles to a favorite spot to pick huckleberries. Seems that huckleberries can be a completely different berry, depending on where a person is. On the northwest coast of Canada, a huckleberry can be either a very round pink berry on a medium high bush, or a bluish berry on the same sized bush. In my neck o' the woods, they are a shorter plant, about 18" tall, with a large fat flattish black coloured berry. Really juicy too. The oldtimers tell me they are hit & miss...that some years the crop is really good, and other years will be sparse. Their advice, pick all you can on a good year.

I'm trying to get as much fruit canned as possible this summer, so that I don't buy as much store bought fruit this winter.

Last edited by KarenBC; 08-05-2012 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 08-06-2012, 02:39 PM
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Default Huckleberries


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...kleberries.jpg

It's a great year for huckleberries! Picked 13 lbs. yesterday, that canned up to over 30 half pint jars in the evening. Would love to have gone back to my "secret spot" for more berries today, but I have family coming mid week and need to be getting ready.

My momma is a one-woman whirlwind, very much like an older version of Dorothy Ainsworth. While she is here we are going to add a 30" roof extension overhang to the back of the cattle-shed-to-barn conversion project. Trying to get the snow buildup further away from the building. Will use that 30" to build lumber storage racks under it and against the barn back wall.
Hoping to get a floor down in this building too. Between garage sales and a deck demolition project I have used 2x8 & 2x10s on hand for that.

Also need to fix the outer door on the backporch. This past winter my son thought the back door had frozen shut, which it does sometimes, the door knob turned, so he figured the door was frozen in place. The door wasn't frozen, I had thrown the deadbolt. Wham! He put his shoulder into it, splintered the door casing and knocked the door catch hardware and the molding right off the door. This doesn't make me feel very secure, if it was that easy for him to break it in. Have been pondering on the door situation. Seriously thinking about putting drop bars on all the house doors.

While we are fixin' the porch door, I'd like to get a dog door put in, either on the door, or into the wall. If we are all away from the farm at work, in the depth of winter, I'd like the dogs to have the option of coming into the porch to stay warm. They have an insulated dog house built under the front porch of the house, but at -30F for a short haired dog I'd be more comfortable knowing they have another option. Hopefully I can train an old dog a new trick - using a dog door.

My gram is coming up with momma, gram is now 96 and still a going concern, perhaps not quite as speedy as she was at 70. She'll be taking over the kitchen while we are in building mode. She makes excellent pie crust, so I can usually convince her to make several batches and freeze them.
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