We have several projects we are scrambling to complete before winter hits. Now that the days have gotten noticeably shorter and chillier, we decided it was time to begin our fall project list.
The first thing we wanted to complete was the winter barnyard. Ryan demolished most of the old, pieced-together, wooden barnyard fence where our sheep and cows wintered last year.
We have decided this space will house a future green house. Our winter barnyard will be constructed on the other side of our barn, with access to the barn doors in case we need to bring any animals inside during the winter.
The first thing Ryan did was dig 8 foot posts into the ground for the gate, which we are reusing from the previous fence. He mixed some concrete and filled the deep holes with it, ensuring the posts will be stable and secure as they support the heavy gate.
It was at this time I decided the kids should leave handprints in the wet concrete. We marked each handprint with its corresponding first initial. I’ve learned not to rely on my memory and since several handprints are similar in size, I can almost guarantee I will forget which handprint belongs to which child had they not marked their first initial. I also dated the cement so we will remember when the handprints were left. The kids were excited to leave their handprints and will have fun comparing how their hands have grown through the years.
While we were waiting to pour the concrete, we noticed several small, dead trees inside the new barnyard area. They were tall enough that when they fall, they will be falling right on top of our new fence. Redoing a project that has been recently completed is a big bummer. To prevent this, Ryan cut down the trees and the wood was added to our growing wood pile.
The fence will consist of woven wire fencing attached to T-posts, many of which are already in place as this area connected with the main pasture in the past. The winter pen will be bordered by the hay shed, making throwing heavy bales of hay in the frigid air a little more convenient.
I’m very excited for the woven wire fence. We have had our animals in the electronet ever since the spring. The electronet is an amazing fence that makes rotational grazing easy and affordable. The electronet has kept our animals in and predators out. Electric fences aren’t very kid-friendly, though. We have to turn off the energizer and lift the kids over the fence whenever they want to see the sheep. As a result, the kids haven’t spent much time with the sheep this summer. Having the animals inside the barnyard, with easy access gates, will allow them to go and visit the sheep much more often and with less help from Mom and Dad. This will be even more important when our ewes lamb, which we are expecting in February. Lambing is one of the most exciting events on our farm, and the kids visit and play with the new lambs several times each day.
Due to a number of factors, progress on the fence has been slow. I am hoping for nice weather this weekend so we can make headway on this project. The animals won’t need the winter barnyard for quite a while yet, since we still have plenty of grass out in the pasture. But whenever we can cross something off our list, especially a bigger project like this fence, we feel slightly less overwhelmed by what we still need to accomplish. 🙂