Thursday, June 19, 2008

new calf pen out of pallets

kassi and i went to the local lumber yard and asked if we could have their old pallets. they had a large pile but they were mostly of different sizes. i sorted and measured to find a few groups of similar sizes. i managed six of one size, three of another and some random other sizes of good quality wood. we knew roughly where we wanted the pen but the logisics of putting it there were a bit tricky--i was fenced out of that area with no gate in sight.

i backed my little truck to the edge of the fence near the intended spot and threw a few of the odd sized ones over the fence for a step-over of sorts. i set out all the tools that i thought i might need on the back of the truck so i could reach them form the other side of the fence. having studied ron's technique and sizing up the task ahead i sullied forth. i decided that i didn't want to dig a trench. i also thought that if i were to suspend the pallets on a small piece of pressure treated landscape timber they'd probably last longer. my only concern was how to keep the proposed fence in place attached to the ground. i decided to drive some cedar posts at fencing intervals and attach the pallets to them.

pallet fence secure to the ground, rot and bug susceptible wood off the ground and my area laid out i started attaching the pallets together. this would have been easier with a second person but tabitha is busy nesting and keeping the house from internal collapse. i like to screw things together instead of nailing wherever i can afford. screws afford me the luxury of changing things fairly easily if necessary.

i just fenced in the brush that was there cause the cow will happily eat it--it'll give her something different to do. here is what i came up with.

there is no gate yet that will happen over the next few days.

initially the pen will hold boca. she is a fairly content cow and mostly eats and chews her cud. the suspended pallets should work fine. especially since they are on the low side of a slope and drainage could become an issue. after we send her to the butcher we hope to raise pigs. this could be the spot. as ron pointed out in his hog pen they like to root under fences. i'll likely run a hot wire from our fence charger around the perimeter at a low (rooting height) level. our fence charger is frighteningly strong--it kills plants that touch the wires. a little monitoring and shoring where necessary should suffice beyond that.

some storms rolled in and suggested that i needed a break, thanks. i did need a break. kassi and toly like playing in the rain.

kassi turned four years old yesterday. she is such a wonderful princess.

the tomatoes really liked the rain.

the loofah sponge squash have finally started to come to the front. this is where we plan to plant our grapes next year. this is also the spot that broke my tiller.

scrub, scrub, scrub

these are wild black raspberries that we transplanted from the woods. they are so tasty. as you can see the kids already cleaned them out. there aren't many, just enough for a tasty daily treat for the kids--this year.

we had our first salsa from the garden today. i made pico de gallo with tomatillos instead of tomatoes. we picked that black pepper, pulled an onion and chopped some fresh garlic. oh how i missed pico de gallo. tristan did too. he ate the lions share of the small bowl i managed to make. tomatoes are a few weeks away yet. this pico was an excellent substitute until the real thing is available.
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