On February 20th our new cattle holding/working pen had progressed to this.
Hubby and I have been working everyday on the pen when the weather permitted. We were delayed in the beginning due to problems finding the lumber we needed. One of our neighbors, Mr. All, has a portable sawmill and sold us 20 of the 1 x 6 x 16 boards to get us started. We then finally found a sawmill that took private orders and we bought 100 of the boards. Most sawmills that we contacted don’t take private orders anymore and only sell to commercial builders such as mining operations.
100 oak boards from Bennett’s Sawmill in Lowmoor.
First row of posts are boarded and this side of the pen faces Little Mountain Road. We put heavy woven wire on first and then put the boards on top of that. We did this to prevent the cattle and calves from sticking their heads through the fence and breaking the boards. We’re learning from EXPERIENCE!!
Post holes are dug using a drill and our Kubota tractor. We are drilling into a bank of slate and sometimes had to use our big tractor and its front loader to press on the drill to force it into the slate and break it up.
Next row of posts are dug and post put in the ground with Quikrete.
And some bracing rocks are placed in the holes for durability.
This is the roll of wire that we placed between the posts and the boards.
The is the outside of the pen next to the main road.
This is the second section of boards and woven wire. We put boards on both sides of the posts for a sturdier loading chute. This needs to be sturdy because if the cows or calves are going to get honery getting on the truck, this is the spot where they’ll do it. They’ll try to back out, turn around or go over if they’re really anxious.
From this angle you can see the double layer of boards reinforcing the woven wire
This is another angle from the end of the pen to see the reinforced chute.
This gate is at the entry of the loading chute.The chute opens to an eight foot chute that narrows into a four-foot chute. The eight foot gate will swing from the narrow chute to the wider chute depending on what we are loading, cows or calves.
This four foot gate was then hung at the end of the chute where the trailer will load. You can also see another short gate about half way down the chute to help control turning and backing. Cattle are more apt to go into a wider space at the other end and that’s why we start with a 8 ft space that narrows as you get toward the end of the chute.
This section is where the wider chute will be and the next we will board up. The posts are set and now we put the boards on. I might mention the posts are treated but the boards are not. We are using 3 inch screws to mount the boards. Once those green boards dry they’ll make the chance of coming out because the boards will shrink around the screws.
This is another section of the pen that we expanded from the old pen. We were experiencing lots of pushing and shoving when trying to separate 50 – 75 head of cattle at the same time. This section will have a gate that opens on both sides at the end of the pen toward the scale house. We can release them into the barnlot or if we still need to do some separating we can release them back in to the loading section.
Yes we have a scale house. The scales with in this building are state certified every year. We can watch the growth of the calves, we can check the weight of the cows or bulls and we can get an idea of how much weight is going to the market before they’re loaded on the truck.
This all I have for now but will continue the saga when the pen is completely finished and we can send a load of fall calves that we’ve weaned and been holding for the completion of the pen and hopefully a price increase. I’m hopeful it will be completed this week!!!
My husband always asked me around Thanksgiving what I want for Christmas or he’ll ask our daughter to find out what I want for Christmas, my birthday, anniversary! He won’t forget but he hates figure out what to give me on his own. I think a lot of men are like this! It’s just too hard to listen or use their imagination or worse than that, they’re afraid we won’t like it. I love ALL gifts I receive, I promise, but especially if it’s handmade or took a little thought about what I’m about!!
I November 2014 I was asked the question once again. I was ready!!! I told him I wanted a new bookshelf beside my “spot” in the living room to replace the cheapy I bought from WalMart which was falling apart and I’d only had it about a year. Pressed wood sucks!!! Or, I would like for him to make me a new spice rack for my kitchen and I wanted them made from barnwood or any kind of lumber taken from the farm.
Well, I didn’t get them for Christmas but since then he has made them both and just in time for our anniversary which was in February! Both are made from boards lumbered from the farm. He did such a great job!! Here they are:
Three spice racks made from oak, cedar and pine and now full and hanging in my country kitchen!
My new bookcase and full of the things I love to work on at night while watching TV together.
While he was working so hard on my wishes he also made our daughter a gift for her new house and made out of wormy chestnut sawed on the farm by her great uncle Holl.
Made from wormy chestnut from the farm.
Hangers on the top and two coats of polyurethane to make it easy to clean.
She can use it for spices in her kitchen or in another room for anything she wants to display.
From Dad to daughter.
He is so very clever and had no pattern to go by, just my explanation of what I wanted.
Now I have to decide what I want for 2015!!
It’s the time of year when the farm is on the way to being very busy, not only with cleaning up from winter and gardening a little but also for preparing for next winter.
There’s filling the wood house with enough firewood to last through the worst of winter’s even it doesn’t come to fruition.
You can never be sure! So, prepare, prepare, prepare!!
Mowing, raking and baling enough hay to keep the cattle fat and happy through a rough winter when they’re carrying prospective new babies.
We’re always mending and replacing fences and cleaning up line-fences (fences bordering neighbors). Gates get in disrepair and have to be changed. Fence posts after so many years will rot off at the top of the ground and they’ll need to be replaced. Did I mention deer running through the fences and making openings where none should be while a predator (coyote) is chasing them? These all need to be watched and corrected all year long to keep your cattle where they’re supposed to be and keep your neighbors happy.
Building fences, sheds, working pens and more can run into loads of money. One way that we are able to cut some of those costs is to go into our woodland and cut mature trees, saw into 8′, 10′ and 12′ logs, haul them out of the woods and have a neighbor with a portable sawmill come to the farm and saw our logs into lumber. Our woodland has lots of mature oak and pine perfect for the job and if you leave them in the woods they will fall and rot. We’re returning the logs to the farm in the way of lumber.
I’ve decided this post will go on forever so for time and adventure I will save the rest for several segments of “Work, work, work! Until then, look around your day to day life and re-evaluate the work you do for your family. When you break it down like this, it’ll be very gratifying but may make you tired too!!