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Sunday, April 29, 2012

The 3rd Building on CGF Arrives!

As many of our blog followers might know, we purchased our farm about 4 years ago with absolutely nothing on it except trees, grasses, and massive ant hills. We have come along way since we first broke ground here, but we still have quite a bit of set up to do! 

One of the things that we are much in need of is more structures.  We have our house and our open face shed that we built, but that is it.  With all of our different livestock, we really would like more buildings.

About 1/2 mile away, on the top of the hill on an old farmstead, we saw this old 12 x 20 grain building.  We contacted the owners of the land, met with them and enjoyed hearing the history of the farmstead, and we were given permission to purchase and move the building.

Since it was built with 3 skids, which had been resting on concrete, it would have been a simple-ish task to move it to our property after a good snow, pulling it behind our tractor. But alas, we didn't have much snow this winter and it is now almost May.  So we did the next best thing. Ethan got ahold of his cousin, who also farms and can do about anything - and who has a grate trailer and an assortment of tractors, and requested some help.

I trailed behind with the camera to capture the process.  Here's my best attempt.
*You can click on the photos to enlarge them.

Ethan and Verne hooked up the front corners of the building with chains to the loaders of 2 4020 tractors.  They then lifted up the front of the building.

Verne backed the trailer under the building. (The trailer had some steel extensions on the bed so the skids would have support on them.)

Next, the building was hooked up to the winch.  This would have easily pulled the building up onto the trailer . . . except the winch wasn't getting power from the batteries or something.  I didn't ask!

So plan B - Pull both tractors parallel to the trailer, hook them up again to the corners of the building, and back the tractors up to pull the building onto the trailer.

 Now, the large, heavy building somewhat was on pivot point being pulled on different corners by 2 tractors.  All I will say is that it is a bit tricky to reverse at the same rate with 2 different tractors, and I was glad with the building was on the trailer and sitting still!

After the building was on the trailer, I had to take off to town with our kiddos for our home school coop.

Ethan said that they then chained the building to the trailer and headed down the road.

The 1/2 mile drive was uneventful, and they pulled up into our pasture behind the house.

Unloading the building seemed to be a bit easier, although pulling the building off with the tractor didn't seem to be the best way to go power wise.  They kept the tractor chained up, though, and just pulled the trailer ahead. The weight of the tractor seemed to do the trick as the trailer pulled ahead, and the building slid off the back.  Just before the last part of the building came off the trailer, they once again hooked the building up to both tractor loaders to hold it in the air while they finished pulling the trailer out, and then they gently lowered the end of the building to the ground.

So now we have another building here!  We have a bit of work to do before we use it though.  First off - we discovered that it came with honey bees in the walls! Thankfully we have a bee keeping friend who is excited to capture the colony for a hive.  We then need will need to reside it to keep it tight.  We need to make it predator safe since we plan on brooding some chicks in one of half of it. (There is a full wall in the middle, dividing the building in half.)  And lastly, before we pull it to its permanent location, we want to put some lengths of cement down to help it be level and stay off of the ground.  Since we will be putting a bit of work and some money into it, we want it to last a long time! 

So there you have it!  Hopefully I can get some pictures and posts of the bee extraction and fixing up of it. I'm sure excited to put it to use though!

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Asparagus and Fruit!

If you know Ethan and myself well, you will know that he is the meat guy and I am the fruit and vegetable gal.  Ethan would be perfectly happy to only eat meat - and never fruits or vegetables.  And although I do enjoy smaller portions of good meat, I would be perfectly happy to live off of fruits and vegetables.

Our farm is definitely a meat farm.  There's no getting around that.  But, I would love to take my love for fruits and vegetables - eating, growing, and preserving them, and add a little bit to the farm as well. Since these things aren't the main focus of the farm (read - our money and time need to go into the meat aspect of the farm right now), the fruits and veggies are going to need to be added slowly.  This year I've made some steps ahead though!

Along with my orchard, I finally got a nice row of black raspberries to winter over from moving starts up from the woods.  My brother dug up a rhubarb plant he didn't want from his new house - I divided around 60 roots from this plant!  I am also receiving some additional strawberry plants from my mom and everbearing red raspberries from a family friend.

I've had my eye on some asparagus in the ditches that I would have liked to move, but from what I have read, it is very hard to move.  Since I don't have a lot of time to spend trying to transplant something that might not take and not a lot of money to buy crowns for the size of patch I would like, I decided to give seeds a try.

So I purchased about $5 worth of seeds, made homemade planting pots out of newspaper and filled them with our very own compost, read the planting instructions, and planted the seeds.  (I tried half in my planting pots and half outside just to experiment. I haven't disturbed the mulch outside where I planted the ones outside, but my inside ones are growing!

I'm excited to see what will happen with these 200 seeds I planted, and I hope to have a nice asparagus patch down the road!

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