To Grade

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With the use of the level my father-in-law left behind we are to grade with a flat surface to begin the work on our footings! There sure was a lot of fill in the front left corner, over a meter.

A pad at this elevation will allow for proper drainage and swale to be built on the driveway side of the barn so that water inside will not be an issue. It will also help to ensure that the footings are the same elevation with proper depth.

I need to keep reminding myself to take the time to ensure everything is level with a good base as this will set up the rest of the project. Its all so very exciting!

Monitor Barn Plans

The barn dream began about 4 years ago when we first purchased the property. We knew that at some point we would want to have a permanent structure to hold equipment and feed for the winter.

It was fairly easy to pick a spot that wasn’t too far from the house but also had desirable drainage, water is always a tough one to deal with, and access to the front of the barn was another concern.

Then began picking the style of barn; The Gable, The Gambrel, and The Monitor.

Each one has its advantages and useful qualities but because we are planning on having some areas of the barn where we can keep our equipment over the winter we decided that the monitor with its lower wing portions, potential loft space and additional center aisle room was the best fit.

Now just to find plans. There are all sorts of web sites out there willing to sell you full barn packages and come set them up for you but that wasn’t what we wanted. Then I happened to stumble upon the University of Tennessee web site with all sorts of great plans.

Here’s the set of plans we chose.

Barn Plans Overhead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barn Plans Front

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the barn plans in hand and a very talented carpenter friend we went and visited our local building inspector to have him review, mark up any expectations and provide me with some advice for proceeding with the construction. He was also really helpful and fixed up the roofing requirements for our northern climate and snow bearing necessities.

With these drawings I can begin the layout of the pad and footings of the barn to determine the orientation and distance from our house/road before beginning work on the grade around the building.

Black Beauty

  While having my coffee on the deck I heard a distinctive new sound, a “baaa”, and not one I recognized.

Upon further investigation it turned out Cala had decided last night was the perfect time to lamb and had a beautiful little black one.
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Cala’s Lamb

1. Black, grey ram lamb – 11lbs

 

On our way to an ostentation

At long last, a peafowl update!

All the new lambs have been getting the main focus on the blog of late, but Shatner and his ladies have also had a very busy spring.  The peafowl were given free range of the farm (and all of Wynndel apparently) last fall.  They enjoyed regular walks through our neighbours’ fields, orchards, and gardens, but mostly they really liked visiting other chickens in the area, sometimes even sleeping over in coops if there was a warm perch to spare.  Eventually we decided it would be best to pen them this spring before they became a nuisance.  Another advantage of the penned peafowl, is if they lay any eggs, we will be able to find them!  Which leads to this evening’s post:
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for anyone not familiar, a group of peafowl is called an ostentation

Lambing update

Lots of excitement around the farm this past week, including lambs from Joni and Tippy.

We now have only two more ewes left to lamb.  The girls are all back together now with everyone moving through our home pastures. With the help of our neighbour’s pastures, we have had the opportunity to really let the forages grow before setting the girls loose on our fields.

Joni had a whopper of a white spotted ram lamb who tipped the scale at 11 pounds.

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Tippy was another late night lamber and had a ram lamb ( 9 lbs, white spotted, horns) and a small ewe lamb (5.5 lbs, white spotted).

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The Lamb Ham

Actually this is mutton ham, but that doesn’t sound any where near as catchy…

According to NPR, lamb ham is having a revival.  So far this trend hasn’t caught on here in the Kootenays, but that didn’t stop us from trying out the recipe.  For anyone interested you can find the recipe on the aforementioned NPR link.  It comes highly recommended.  The smokey sweet and salty combination works beautifully with the delicate Icelandic sheep flavours.  

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Our lamb ham roughly followed Kevin Johnson’s recipe on NPR, though we opted for a leg of mutton, and left the bone in, and didn’t bother with the rub, or the two day drying period between the brine and the smoking (some of us don’t follow instructions well).  This was our first smoking experience and it definitely won’t be our last.  We used plum wood from the old orchard and smoked the ham on our propane barbecue. It was a bit finicky so we may look at constructing a more permanent smoking set up in the future.  

 

 

Grass is gold

This year we we’re approached by a neighbor to the south who was interested in grazing our sheep through his beautiful pastures. When it comes to having more grass, you can never go wrong.

So we set out to organize a way for us to run the girls and lambs over to his place without having to take them up onto the road. Our neighbor directly to the south of us generously offered a strip at the top of his property to use as a lane for moving the sheep. This worked out perfectly.

Next we set up gates and ensured his fencing around the the pastures were adequate for the girls. All that was left to do was to release the sheep!

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Here the lamb s are enjoying the view while their mothers have a taste of some grain.

 

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These lambs have settled in to the new pasture and really enjoy the slopes and obstacles.

Violet’s lambs

More lambs, this time from one of the rookies, Violet. Farmer A. took Violet for a photoshoot on the pasture. Aside from important photos or a rare treat, the sheep are still in our main yard anxiously waiting for the grass to be long enough to graze.

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Brown ram lamb 8 lbs

Black ram lamb 8.5 lbs