Tuesday, March 18, 2014

a {small} barn and other homestead happenings...

{I'm absolutely squealing with delight right now that I can finally share this news with you.}

We're building a barn. Yep. It's actually quite a small barn. Only 14 ft x 14 ft square. Brad's been spending all of his extra moments planning, designing, sketching, and calculating.

And he ordered the last of the lumber this morning. Rough cut for the exterior, of course, because we do love that rustic look of rough cut. {Plus, all of our other outbuildings are done in rough cut.}

So by tomorrow evening, we should have a big, neat stack of lumber sitting out in our driveway. And then Saturday {weather permitting; I heard we're to have a mix of rain and snow all day which is awful weather for barn building} we're having a barn-building party. You're invited, of course, as long as you come willing to work hard. {wink. wink.}

So why are we building a small barn? Well, scroll on down...

To house these two beauties! Our new alpacas!
Do you even know how much this excites me???? If you've been reading my blog for the last several years you probably remember me talking about my dream of owning alpacas. {Here, here, and here} But, goodness sakes, they are so pricey! Unaffordable. That's what consistently held us back.

Until now. Do you remember my post about All Above Alpaca Farm? You can read about the amazing yarn that Peggy, co-owner of the farm, gave me a couple of years ago and what I did with one of the hanks in this post.

We took the long, but very scenic, drive out to Frank and Peggy's farm a little over a week ago. They had called and offered us an unbelievable price on two of their male alpacas. Well, I didn't think Brad would go for it. He's so busy with work and, of course, we would need a barn and fencing installed. 

But we went anyway. 

And we all fell in love. With Majestico {the brown one} and Gander {the white one.}

And the really funny thing {to me anyway} is that I got out of the car in their driveway and saw this woman with a huge smile on her face coming towards us with two full plastic bags. Now keep in mind that Brad and I never met Peggy or Frank. Brad works with their son. 

This woman came up to me so happy and smiley, and I have to say I was confused because there were several cars there as a party they were having was just breaking up and other people were coming out of the house as well. {Forgive the run-on.} So I really had no idea who this was! 

She started pulling all of this wonderful crafty stuff out the bags ~ sewing books, a felt kit, fabric, and quilt kit, etc. And she said that she knew that Lily would enjoy it since she was learning to sew. I was even more confused. I still did not know who this woman was for sure, and I really did not know how she knew so much about Lily learning to sew. 

Until she preceded to tell me that she reads my blog. And then I realized that she was Peggy. And I think at that point I gave her a big excited hug!

Okay, I realize that that was probably one of those "you-had-to-be-there" moments. :) It was just funny to me.

We spent several hours at Frank and Peggy's. We just clicked. It was one of those occasions where you don't realize how late it is and how far past dinnertime it really is because you're having such a good time! {Of course, my kids may beg to differ. Ahem.}  

 We talked about life and alpacas, and, gee, I'm really not sure what else. It was such a good time.

I traded three of my handmade scarves for a beautiful {no, stunning really} alpaca rug which now adorns the floor on my side of the bed so I can feel its softness squish between my toes each morning and night.

And we left their farm the brand new owners of two male alpacas. 

Really? Did that really just happen? I keep asking myself that.

So, we're in sonic mode here as we try to get this barn-building rolling. They are keeping Majestico and Gander on the farm until we get it up and ready. 

This is such an exciting thing for our family. We're all thrilled and, admittedly, a bit intimidated. But this is how we usually do things ~ research a bit and then jump right in because you really don't learn fully until you are in the midst of doing. 

And now that you read that whole mouthful of information, I'm wondering if you stuck with me. 

Well, for those of you who have, the other homesteading happenings that are going on right now are some planning and prepping for the spring weather which {surely} isn't too far ahead.

I bought most of my seeds this morning. We will still buy plants for some of the veggies we plant, but that purchasing and planting comes much later. I'm itching to get my seeds in, but I don't dare until I know we're out of the freeze zone that has been so relentless this winter.

I organized my seed packets using a new method I just recently discovered online. I found the photo albums for $1.00 a piece. I have veggies/herbs in one and flowers in another.  {By the way, GRIT is a wonderful online resource, and they have an awesome and very informative magazine that we have a subscription to as well.}

Oh my goodness, now I just have to gear up to make these raised beds workable again. I don't know where all of these rocks could possibly come from. This is what my beds look like at every winter's end, and I spend hours cleaning them out. But, alas, these rocks just seem to reproduce each winter. 

I will scatter oats on the surface of the beds for the chickens as I do every spring. They love oats, and they will get in the beds and scratch up the dirt. This helps to get that first crusty layer of dirt loosened up. Then I go in with my tools.

And I've been working on getting Midi ready to be the farm dog she was purchased to be. She's been around the chickens since we first got her. At first she was scared and very timid, but now she's a regular ole' herding dog. She runs around them, herds them up, and pushes them towards the chicken yard. It's really cute. And it's funny how that instinct just exists in some dogs without them even being taught. She is a "mutt" but two of the breeds that she has in her are known to be excellent farm dogs. 

And the other planning I'm doing is the chicken planning. We're down to eighteen hens. And they've laid exceptionally {and surprisingly} well throughout the entire winter. So I'm really afraid that come next winter, they're all going to just stop producing {chickens are born with all of their eggs so once those eggs are laid, they are unable to lay more.)

I'm thinking I may get eight more layers. I'd like to get more, but the coop only permits accommodation for that many more.

I've also been throwing around the idea of getting Cornish Rocks to raise for meat. Brad wants to eventually raise turkeys for meat because you get a lot more bang for your buck with those (some meat turkeys weigh in at 35-40 pounds when they are dressed.) It really does make sense. 

But I've already been told by my wonderful {but often stressed out husband because I have so many homesteading ideas and endeavors} that turkeys are out this year. As is the pig I wanted to raise for meat. 

That's okay. They're on my homesteading goals list. And so were alpacas. {Smile}


Lulu said...

how exciting, a barn and two adorable alpacas...
what great new friends you found..Blessings..
take care,

Wendi said...

Well, that is some exciting news! Looking forward to following along on this adventure.

Angie said...

It's amazing how new friends can come from the least expected places. Very excited to see how the barn turns out, I'll definitely be checking back.

I love the photo album idea for seed storage. Very tidy and organized. The fact that you can flip through it and see both sides of the seed packet is great.

Heather said...

So exciting!!! And I bet those rugs feel amazing under foot. My mom adores alpacas, I'll have to send her thus post, she'll be jealous.

And the barn--what a project! Can't wait to see more progress. We just got our first chicks, so we're building too. A new coop is in order.

Keep us posted ;-)

A Primitive Homestead said...

Amber I am so happy for you. Your post was so upbeat and yes I read it all. Still with you to. I look forward to hear so much more. I am guessing you will be shearing these majestic creatures and making your own yarns for your projects. Maybe even dieing your own colors. If so your yarn shelf will be full and colorful. From what I have read in the past these creatures are genetal. I really like your seed organizing. I guess I could be OCD. I am into full mode in organizing these days. Our home and animal houses are all rough cut board batten. Just beautiful. I had to laugh when you invited for the barn build. I have been jocking about inviting for a rock party. Of course bring some large rocks for out linning my sidewalk expansion and bring your own bucket for gathering small rocks in the Woods to fill inside. Good luck and many blessings.

A Primitive Homestead said...
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Pam said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your happenings. Your Alpacas are beautiful. I have always liked Alapacas and have considered the possibility of them as well… just never got that far in making it come together. I love hearing all of your yarn stories and love that you will have these Alpacas at your finger tips. You may stir me up yet; to get the Alpaca bug going again. What fun that Peggy reads your blog, those kinds of story are definitely the best flavors in life. I think I would really like Peggy. All of your projects are inspiring. I always like seeing your gardens and chickens. You have some lovely grassy level ground on your property. Dogs are great; the herding instinct does come naturally in some of them to be sure; we have had a few of those. The seed album is a great idea. Have a great week. You'll have to post some updates of your barn and Alpacas..