Sunday, September 19, 2010

To Do List

As I may have conveyed earlier, there is a lot of work to do around the farm. Here is a short, albeit incomplete, list of some of the major projects that need to be done in the next year while I'm here. Of course, some of this will be hard to do during the winter months what with cold and snow and all, but I'm sure I'll be able to keep busy.

Replace roof on garage/goat shelter roof
As it stands, the garage was built by my grandfather for function more and aesthetics. It was built with railroad ties, plywood, and nails. Being that he was a farmer, and not a carpenter, everything he built was basically for function, and not looks. Looksee here:

Now, thats a rear view of what I'll be working on (Actually, this is my first project and it looks completely different now, but we'll pretend I haven't done any of that for the time being. That's for a completely new post). Basically, the structure of the garage is solid enough that we will be keeping it up, but the roof was simply made of plywood and asphalt roofing rolls. No felt paper underneath, and it has been patched at least 3 times because it leaks. Extending off the back of the garage is a 12'x24' cover that is just over dirt. Since we now have a goat, we are replacing all of the beams on the enclosure and making that 12'x24' cover into a goat shelter, and making a 75' by 25' encolure of the goat and any subsequent goats we will be getting. As you can see, there are a few cars in the way. Those need to be moved before we can build the fence around the goat pen. As of today, they are both moved thanks to cousin Mandy's husband Scott and a few of his friends. Those cars were a pain in the ass.

Cleanup Fallen Milk Barn
Grandpa Al had cows. My mom loves cows, and thinks they're pretty. sometime in the Summer of 2002, after my Grandpa died, my mom and I came out to the farm to start cleaning the basement and farmhouse. We were here over the 4th of july, and had family out to set off fireworks, etc. I don't know how we got to this point, but my cousins and I somehow convinced my mom that we could push the milk barn down, because it was leaning to one side anyway. Well, wouldn't you know, it was not as easy to push down as we thought, and it took probably a good 2 hours to push this down. Don't ask me why we decided to push it down, or why we stuck to it for 2 hours while it would not go down, but this is what it looks like now:

Sufficed to say, it is a mess. We *think* there is a concrete pad underneath that would serve well for putting things on. We have a bunch of single-paned windows in the shop laying around from when my parents replaced the windows in the farmhouse with energy efficient ones. My dream is to construct a greenhouse using these windows, and probably a covered area on the north side of that greenhouse to brew beer under. It is right next to the well pump, so it would be easy to get water to. No plans have been made yet, but this is a project i can work on when i have nothing else to do. I just need to rip apart the boards that are still nailed together. Also, that roof does not look like it will be fun to have to deal with.

Garden and Barn

The garden and barn are kind of both ongoing projects.

The garden from this year has some good production in the Zucchini, carrot, tomato, and beet department. But the corn, peppers, and pumpkins seem to need some help. The ground was far too cold in the spring to start anything when it really needed to be started. Thats why I want to make this greenhouse. So that we can start the garden earlier in the year to have better production. I imagine Dad will have a better idea about this stuff, as he has taken a master gardening class.

The barn is a mess. Plain and simple. It is storing so many generations of tools and filth that it feels like there can be no end in sight. However, it is better than it was. A few things we have already done to the barn by me and Dad: the roof has been replaced (New metal roof, very nice and water-tight. it is our inspiration for the roof that is going to be installed on the garage). The original roof had so many holes in it that it let birds in. Those birds crapped everywhere up there, leaving, in some places, up to 3-4 inches of bird waste (Including full bird skeletons!). I scooped all of that, quite literally, shit out of the attic of the barn. Just last thanksgiving Dad and I also cleaned out most of the decomposed straw that was on the floor of the barn, which was spotted with all kinds of old farm equipment. That equipment is now a little bit better organized, however, there is an infinity of work left out there in the barn. For instance,we need to re-build the doors. I would never be wanting for something to do on the farm even if I only had that barn to worry about.

Tearing down fences

There are a bunch of fences around the farm that are in complete disrepair. They will no longer contain any animals because they are far too rickety. They need to come down. I imagine once the fences get taken apart, we will be free to put fences in wherever we want in the future, that planning is far off, probably not until spring 2011 which is wishful thinking in the first place. However! being that I am calling myself "the rural brewer", these poles look great for something....Growing hops! Hops are a perennial vine that die back to the root every winter, but they can grow up to 20 ft every year! Its true! I read it Here! Those long, straight poles can be used to train the hops upwards, which increase hops flower production. Looks like I could do this with them:

Green House

This house was originally brought here for my great-grandmother to get away from everybody. I don't know when this was last occupied (other than by mice, rats, skunks, whatever rodent takes charge). The floors are rotted out, and it is just gross. This might be a nice place if I demolish everything but the frame and build it anew. Seems like a big project. May be worth it, may not be, I have yet to decide. It is a "possible" to-do.

Rebuild Windmill

Back in 2002 when I knocked down the milk barn with my cousins, we had to replace the water pump and re-drill the well. I guess i was in a destructive mood. You know teenagers....
Anyway, the windmill has been down for 8 years, and any self-respecting farm needs a windmill. The picture above shows the tail of the windmill thats used to point it in the correct direction. I will still need to replace the blades on the face of it, but we have so many spare parts, I'm sure it will not be that big of a deal. That being said, I have noticed that things around here take maybe 1.5 - 2 times as long as you think it will. That is probably a direct result of there being so much junk all over the place, and needing to either sort it, or at the very least, throw it away.

Its going to be a real chore, but I'm going to have to watch quite a few sunsets here. Heres an example of how mundane I can expect them:

Psych! Yeah, the sunsets are all pretty great.

Train the goat!
Apparently, goats are highly motivated by food, and can be trained just like a dog. I can't wait to train this goat. Look what she can already do!

What a Cutie.

Anyway, that concludes by initial to-do list. This is all, of course, in addition to me cooking every evening for my parents' dinner (Which i like doing! any my mom doesn't like cooking, so its a good trade-off). Its going to be a full year.

Cheers and Signing off,

Jon E