Goodbye Poultry Barn

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Last Spring, we said goodbye to our old poultry barn.   It has always been called the poultry barn because that is what it was named on our deed.  We believe that the original homeowners used to raise a lot of chickens in this old barn.  It was built in the early 60’s.

Unfortunately, it has been falling apart.  It would cost a small fortune to try and stabilize it.  And to be honest, we haven’t been able to find a good use for the building other than just storing leftover weird junk.  It floods all the time and was just a big mess.

So we made the decision to take it down.  And we could reuse a lot of the materials in other projects.  So our friends said they could bring it down and they started early last spring.  It was amazing to see how easy the old barn came down!  They started early morning and by afternoon if was pretty much a big pile of rubble!

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Part of the problem was the high level of MUD everywhere.   We have a lot of spring flooding each year and we are trying to create plans to contain some of this flooding.  Some of the effort is helping, but it’s still pretty wet around the homestead in the Spring!

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Once the guys got most of the sheet metal off the barn, it totally started to collapse.  This building was really in bad shape and really unsafe.   We tried not to spend much time in there, especially during high winds or heavy rain!  IMG_3013

Once it was done, we sure had a HUGE pile of stuff!  Over the next couple weeks, we would sort, burn and pitch a good deal of the materials as they were rotten and nasty.  All the cement blocks we would save for a lot of cool projects around the homestead.  And of course, all the metal sheeting is going towards new building and some cool ideas.  We had no idea of just how many cement blocks we would end up with!   A zillion!

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It looks so weird now, to look out in the middle yard and see it so much more open and spacious.  It’s a lot cleaner now, but there are still a few piles of odds and ends that we hope to clean up this spring.  Got big plans!  We are hoping to reroof the sheep barn that is at the back of the old poultry barn.  That roof is in rough shape and we would like to save that building.

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Around our place, cement blocks are about a dollar a piece.    We ended up with hundreds of blocks!  We used a lot of them to make resting places or to shore up some of the areas on the homestead.  My favorite is our redo of the fire pit area!  We made a lovely spiral that wraps around the fire pit.  Part of it is closer than the far area so that you can move in and out of the heat.  We are going to put some nice slab wood tops on the bench areas this year!  It’s going to be really cool.  Windhaven Fire Henge

We also built a outdoor kitchen!  That was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to use it more this year!  And believe it or not, we still have a lot of the blocks left!  Going to be fun this year.

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January Flood…

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Around here, on January 11th, it’s pretty rare to have 57 degrees in the morning!!!

And when it happens, and we have snow on the ground…  it melts.  And then you throw in 12+ hours of rain and you have a flooded homestead.   Not much you can do about it, but hand out life preservers to the livestock and hope the sump pump doesn’t fail.

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At least you can see that my cottage chicken house is still above the flood water!  This is really the worse flooding we have ever seen.  Thankfully, by late in the afternoon it was starting to go down.  Our ditch does work, but this was just too much too fast.  A good gully washer that is hard and fast will go through and lightly flood us, but when a big, weird system just parks over us and drops several inches, it’s gonna be a real mess.

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The whole county was pretty much underwater.  We were not the only flooded for sure.  So many fields were simply lakes!  This is rare that our front yard even flooded badly.  We installed a secondary sump pump last summer and that was one of the best $50 investments we have made in the long time!   When the primary, big pump started to get overwhelmed and was running constantly, the second, higher pump started to assist.  It was just like a fancy dance to watch those two machines working together to keep the basement just to an inch or so of water instead of 4 feet.  Honestly, I think we might get another one to sit in a box just in case!  It’s cheap insurance.  If we were loose either during a bad storm or series of heavy rain days, we could immediately hook up the third instead of having to go out and head for a big box store.  All of those are at least 30+ miles away and a 60-70 round trip all said and done.  And in bad weather, who wants to do that?   We have twice in the last 10 years that we have lived here.  I think it will go on our list of things to watch out for at garage sales and if we see them go on sale brand new, we might grab one more.

It’s only a matter of time that one will wear out.  Ours run a lot for many months out of the year.  Our basement is something called a Michigan basement which is dirt floored and just about always wet.  It’s no fun.

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When we get too much rain in a hurry, the main calverts along the road start to back up and fill onto our property.  I have put a call in to the county and we hope that this year they might come and clean them out.  One time they had neglected to do so and about 15 years ago the place flooded up about 5 foot on the house!  And it flooded out the whole major route in front of our house near our railroad crossing.  It was a dreadful mess as we understand.  And the previous homeowners got a sizable settlement for all the damage from the county.  I certainly hope to never have to go through that.

We are very watchful of the weather and levels of flooding.  We have also made some new berms around the shop and house to help divert the flooding.  So far, the shop has flooded a wee bit, like an inch or two.   The house has never flooded.  Thank goodness!!!  We have a plan in place, so it should be okay, even if it gets really bad.   Another investment we hope to make is a small trash pump.   These pumps will move great amounts of water, even yucky yard water with junk and trash in it.  They generally have openings of 2 to 3 inches to move water through.  And they run on small gas engines so you don’t need electricity.  In the case of a bad storm and we lose power, we should be able to keep a few areas of the homestead clear, like the house and shop and the big barn in the back.

Thats the plan.   Hopefully, it will never need to be put into action!!!

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