Yet another really successful weekend.

We got up early Sunday morning with the intention of getting the ShelterLogic hay house moved and that area cleaned out so the carport could be installed.  While I was milking, Wally got the torn cover off, leaving the roll-up doors on the frame.  We disconnected it in the middle with the intention of carrying it up to the poultry pasture.  This shelter is 20 feet long; 12 feet wide and eight feet tall.  The frame is steel so it is not light.  When we first got going I told Wally that we really needed two more people to help us carry it, but once we figured out where best to support the weight and awkwardness of the frame, we got going up the hill, made it through two gates, around the rabbit cages and in place.  Yea!  We got the back half in place and we were worried that there wasn’t going to be enough room for the front half and that we’d have to install the building at an angle which I really didn’t want to have to do.  The alternative would have been to move the fence to accommodate the shelter.

We got the second half of the frame up the hill and through the gates just as easily and slid it in place.  It fit perfectly!!!  The back half of the structure is right up against the two pine trees in the poultry pasture and quite close to the fence, but that’s actually a good thing because it fences in that side of the structure.  Eventually we will fence in the entire structure to keep the chickens and goats out.

Next was the tarp: a 20′ x 24′ monster tarp!  We unrolled it and got it up over the frame and in place.  Now how best to secure it on the frame and pull it tight enough to prevent rain pooling on the top?  We got it done and it’s quite tight, almost as tight as the original ShelterLogic cover was.  It doesn’t come all the way down to the bottom of the frame, which is what I wanted to allow air circulation.  We still need to secure the ends of the tarp on the frame which will be done next weekend.  It rained pretty hard last night and as soon as it’s light enough to see, I’ll check for pooling, but I think it’s pretty tight.  A heavy snowfall will likely do damage to it so we’ll need to watch for that.  The grommets on the tarp may not hold up long term and I think we’ll weave an additional line of rope from the grommets around the frame just in case the first rope breaks or loosens.  Eventually we may have to buy a real ShelterLogic cover to install on the frame, but what we did on Sunday should hold up for now.

All in all it came out quite nice and it is reasonably cool in there.  When we went out to check the rabbits around 5:00, they were up and moving around and many of them were eating.  Granted, it was a bit cooler yesterday than it has been, but it was still hot and that the rabbits were eating was a sign that they were comfortable.  It is supposed to get bloody hot toward the middle of the week so I’m going to freeze some bottles to put in their cages.

The funny thing is that where that shelter is now was where we were going to install the first ShelterLogic building that we bought, but we decided it was too big to put there.  The farm has grown so much since then.  I started out milking goats in a dog run, then to the 10 x 10 “blue building” (still the main milk parlor).  We added on a 10 x 10 extension (the hitching area) and then another 10 x 10 extension (the staging area).

I wanted to be able to get in the garden yesterday morning, but getting the ShelterLogic moved was high priority.  I’ll call the company that is supposed to install the carport to see if maybe they could come out Tuesday or Thursday of this week since I’m off work.  I’m kind of looking forward to having Tuesday and Thursday off.  Tuesday’s priority is the garden.  I have to get in there and harvest tomatoes and green beans and get another crop of green beans, carrots, beets, turnips and rutabaga planted.  Last night we installed panels for the cucumbers and zucchini Rampicante to climb.  All of the plants in the pots are doing really, really well.  I inspect they daily for squash bugs and am giving them a lot of water.  Hopefully some variety of poultry will consume any squash bugs that try to take over.

I’m looking forward to having Tuesday and Thursday off, but I’m not looking forward to working on Saturday.  I’m dreading it actually.  Hopefully it will be a slow Saturday.  Hopefully this whole week will be slow.

It’s extremely difficult managing the animals and the garden.  So much of our time is put towards the animals that it’s hard to find the time for the garden.  I need to figure out a way to make the gardening easier to handle.  Harvesting tomatoes is a chore because the garden is so over-grown with tomato plants.  I want nice, neat rows of tomatoes that I can easily get to.  Maybe next year.

Off to milk.

Until later …