Thursday, May 8, 2014

the new little barn

The past ten days have been a bit of a blur, due to a combination of two very different things: four appointments that meant hours spent driving and sitting in waiting rooms, and trying to get ready for the builder coming to put up my new little goat barn.

Last week, the builder said, “It'll be Tuesday or Wednesday, and I'll call the night before.” I got cracking and found that tackling big tasks one day with frequent rest breaks, then doing multiple smaller chores the next day, also with lots of rest breaks, was getting the job/s done. (And I would like to take a moment right here to thank whoever invented electric heating pads. I am so, so grateful!)

Monday night I was stumbling-tired, so I was relieved when I did not get a call from the builder. That meant the crew would be here Wednesday. Tuesday could be spent puttering through the last of the smaller tasks in the morning, before facing the final, major project of taking down the last half-a-bungalow in the afternoon. Everything would be done and dusted well before the Wednesday morning arrival of the builder.


So, early Tuesday morning I was lounging around with a nice breakfast glass of banana mango kefir, wondering how long the residual achiness of the prior day would last, when the phone rang. At 6:30 AM.

It was the builder.
His plans had changed, he said. He would be at my place at around 9 AM.
“Great!” I said. “See you then!”

Ten minutes later, I had done some pretty zippy muscle-stretching routines, and was out in the paddock. The goats worked on their breakfast buckets while I gathered up tools, then I gated them out of the upper paddock so I could take down some of the fence for temporary access. And I got cracking on the bungalow removal. I never stopped moving til the builders arrived at 9:30, but by golly that paddock was ready for them!

I had planned to just get out of the way once the work had commenced, but after the third time I got called over for a decision, I stuck around and worked on tasks within easy hailing distance. I didn't build a barn, but I sure got a few other things done that day.  Never any shortage of tasks around here!

The doors were built beforehand, which saves site-time.
The dutch/stable doors would be hung in one piece, then cut;

The construction went quickly, so between noon and 1 PM, I took some snaps.
I think you can click to embiggen all of these.

The spots on some of these pictures are from raindrops.
There were several brief, light showers.
It's been like that all week, really,
and it's been pleasant.
A little soft cool rain in the middle of tearing something down
or building something up
can be quite refreshing.

The above picture shows about half the space,
with a Quinn-comparable human for scale.
Although it may look big in some pictures, at 10 x 20 feet, this is a tiny barn.
Or a good-sized shed.
Not sure what to call it, really. Suggestions welcome!
Any ideas?

In the above picture,
with my soon-to-be-reclaimed(!) 10 x 12' workshop on the right,
you can see the building emerging as a whole.

My design was simple: like a run-in shed.
But with a doors. And a floor.
And with openings cut for big windows, which I will add.
And with dutch doors all across the front, for maximum flexibility:
for temporarily fencing off interior areas, with separate entrances;
or reducing access of rain or flies by just opening the bottom doors;
or keeping snow out but letting fresh air in, by just opening the tops.

Oh, and there's a single, ordinary door on the west gable wall.
That's the Staff Entrance.

When we first discussed the design back in January,
the builder was dubious about putting
four, four-foot-wide, dutch doors on a 20' wall.
He thought I did not understand that all four doors could not be opened
all the way, at the same time.

But I did understand that.
And I agree that it is not ideal, but it is also not a problem.
I'm all about The Flexibility.

For example, here are two doors open, one door closed, one half open:

And a lawn chair inside, for scale.
(Am I overly concerned about the scale?
Wide-angle shooting can be useful, but also very misleading.
If you ever visit, I don't want you to be disappointed!)

As unbelievable as it seems,
especially considering the crew didn't arrive until 9:30 AM,
the job was done by evening and we all shook hands and said
thank you very much and
let's all do this again sometime real soon.

The heavy equipment rumbled away and I dragged myself back to the paddock 
to drive fenceposts and wire three stock panels securely into place
and pick up every piece of goat-mouth-sized construction detritus I could find in the paddock.
Then I called to the four girls and they all came up to the gate.

And finally, I opened the gate and stood back.

I really didn't need to stand back.
It wasn't exactly a stampede.
There was just enough light to take a couple of shots of the initial encounter:

Seriously, now. Where is my Bungalow?

Not sure if I ever mentioned this, but goats do not like Change.
Even good change
Is Not Good.

I have several small projects ahead, including
building benches along some of the inside walls,
adding useful door hardware,
and putting in screens and windows...
but nothing pressing.
This is the fun stuff.

And the goats are slowly warming up to the new monster that ate their bungalows.
This morning after breakfast, I saw Lily and Tsuga sleeping under it.
That's a start!


  1. Great post, Love it! Your goats are adorable. Change liking or no, they are a real pleasure to read about.
    I'd like a little bungalo like that for a studio.

    1. There's something about little wooden structures, isn't there? When I had my workshop built, I think everyone who walked into it when it was brand-new and empty felt the urge (and the ability) to write a novel.

  2. Wow, once they take to it, this will be a veritable Goat Hilton!

    1. Or a Goat Roller Derby arena. Violet and her daughter are both getting a bit thuggish. If they try to take over the entire new barn, I'll be doing some rearranging of goats.

  3. It's amazing how fast it went up. It's a great little barn. It's cute to see how they're checking it out...cautiously.

    1. I know, right? I really could not believe they were finished.

  4. Very cool! Amazing what trained professionals can do. I'm still boggled by the way things are built here. Very shoddy indeed. But your little goat quarters turned out great. Lucky goats! You sure do keep busy. Take care, Tammy

    1. I've had my share of shoddy work done here, too. Once, some long-awaited carpentry in my kitchen was so poor I began to actually hate going into my kitchen at all. After only three miserable weeks, I accepted that I would have to tear out the work myself and start over, chalking it up to a costly learning experience. Gave me a new perspective on just what a license is worth, for sure!

  5. T'was the same with the stables we built for the alpacas. It took them a while (and some food) to get them to enter the structures :)

    It looks amazing, and the big double doors were a brainwave. Well done!!

    1. I thought of you tonight when I picked up feed at an alpaca farm. The flock of about 30 animals had just been shorn, and those little pompom heads at the top of those incredibly thin and long necks, made them look like a field of fantastic living flowers!

  6. Love the barn!! I hope your goats don't do what mine did and have one goat take over the whole place, keeping everyone else out in the cold. When I built mine, I had grand visions of everyone sharing a big open space and living peacefully. HA! Dottie didn't like the change to begin with, so she decided to just declare it hers and not let the other two in. I had to build separate stalls and lock her in till she got used to the whole thing.

    1. A goat herd is such a social experiment, isn't it? I also started with the (quite reasonable!) idea of a peaceful group, but had my outlook adjusted the very first year. I'm guessing the only long-term happy little herd would be one doe with one season's kids, full stop.

  7. I think I would've been a little unhappy with the builder's sudden arrival - but, the end result was awesome!!!! I hope the goats are liking it!

    I hope that your back survived all that work. Oh my - I cannot imagine it.

    1. I was relieved that the builder's "change of plan" was only timing, not that he was bailing out at the last minute like the last TWO builders who each kept me waiting for months, then disappeared! This gentleman is a friend of one of my forester friends and is Old School...say you'll do it, show up and do it, then go home. I love Old School! :)


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