Saturday, January 12, 2019

New Year, New Goals, New Stairs

As I write, we are in the midst of snowmageddan  2019. A one thousand mile swatch of snowy, icy weather has graced the Midwest. St Louis was hit the hardest last night with up to 14 inches of snow in some areas, while we here in central Illinois are dealing with 4-7 inches. Winds are moderate but drifting is rearing its ugly head and travel is not advised. This makes for a great excuse to stay inside and do some serious farm planning. 

We were gifted with several aerial farm photos over Christmas and we're thrilled to use them to complete one year, three year and five year plans for The Poor Farm. I was even more thrilled to see that from up on high, our piles of "inventory" were not so noticeable, nor did they consume as much land area as I thought they did.

It's good to put things in perspective. 

We'll be working with this main shot, which shows are entire seven acres, all  bordered by conventional (chemically treated) fields on three sides and one county road on the north side. Our grain bin house is hidden behind the evergreen trees to the far right of the driveway. The pig area is even father right. Our small pond is to the left of the drive, with yellowish tree cover, near the road. Family cemetery area is lower left.


Below is a flipped view (with north on the bottom) which shows our Grain Bin House and it's relationship to the other buildings. I used the Microsoft paint program already on my pc, for the lettering. Old dog, new trick. Woof.


On yet a third picture, which we had made into an 11 by 17 poster size, (thank you Vistaprint) we slid it inside a large plastic sleeve and used dry erase marker to plot out existing pastures, cow paths etc...It worked great, just draw and erase. Pink lines designate current pastures, black is our cattle path, black square in upper right is family cemetery area, and pond is in lower right. Once satisfied with our plan I'll take a permanent photo to use for future reference. 



Primary goals for 2019 include (but are never limited to)

-Complete the teardown of the 1868 house
-Complete new barn build (two enclosed storage lofts, one open hay loft and Keith's shop)
-Build picket fence to enclose kitchen garden
-Start hügelkultur area behind barn with wood from two large oaks we felled last year.
-Install small propane heater for studio so I can use in winter

I'll share three and five year goals and financial budgets later this month. 

Now, about that 50 foot by 60 foot barn build. Before this recent storm Keith had many mild days to work inside the barn. Stairs are nearly complete up to the loft area which will house the last of the stuff we still have in storage in the surviving half of the 1868 house. An end is in sight! Our shepherd/husky mix Ashland and Keith demonstrate correct use.





It doesn't look like it in the picture below, but floor to ceiling height in the upper loft is seven foot. This  area will be walled in with a door and windows to keep out birds, rodents and the occasional free ranging horse. 




17 comments:

  1. That bones yard in the upper loft, was a sensible investment and design. Great to have all your second-hand building supplies, under cover, so they don't deteriorate over time. Fantastic images, and great to see the whole of your farm. It's big! But also workable for the committed. I admire all that (mostly) flat land. Well wishes on your new projects! Especially having the house completely demolished - freeing up new land for new ventures. :)

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    1. The flat land part is a misnomer. There are many hills, inclines and declines on the property that just don't show up on the photo, but we have plans for them all. What we actually accomplish before we take advantage of our own family cemetery, is another thing altogether.

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  2. I like the idea of planning for optimum use. It always pays. You have many more trees than I'd imagined; it all looks lovely.

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    1. It only we started planning when we were younger, but we were on another farm then and busy planning it! Which is all so ironic since someone else owns it now and has no idea what our plans were for it. And I bet they don't care :)

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  3. I love that you live in a grain bin. Now I need to search your blog to see if you have photos of that as I really need to see it. This is what I would do if I could get my husband on board with the planning and actual doing of the work.

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    1. If you go back to the first posts in 2015 you'll see lots of pics taken as we built the grain bin. Most went really well. We would do the windows differently though. So hard to put square windows into a round building!

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  4. Donna, the photos are wonderful. So helpful to visualize your place and to see your plans and progress. Your homestead is coming along beautifully. Looking forward to how it goes for you this year!

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  5. We were so happy to get the photos too. Makes planning much easier and dreaming more fun. Illinois weather can be a pain but the cold snaps make it easier to stay inside and do such planning.

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  6. That really puts a perspective on things. What a great gift, I can imagine you had long conversations over that! I hope it all comes to fruition, and you get the old house completely disassembled, and the barn done. Great set of stairs! -Jenn

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    1. The stairs mirror those we have in our grain bin house, wide and sturdy, like the author of this blog.

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  7. What a wonderful gift... those aerial photos! I love it! Here in northern Indiana we got 4-5" of the white stuff but we're so used to it that that amount is hardly even worth getting out the shovel for... we just kick it aside with our boots. :-D Have a wonderful Sunday afternoon. ~Andrea

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    1. If we didn't have kids with babies, we wouldn't shovel sidewalks either or plow out the drive. We're spoiling them I tell you.

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  8. Nosey me - I just love being able to peer down on your world with a bird's eye view and see the space and the plans ahead. I like the look of the writing studio.

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    1. Me too! I feel like I'm spying on myself when I look at these pictures. I would like all the bloggers I follow (like you) to do the same thing so I can peer down into their worlds!

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  9. I love your blog! I've been reading it for a while, but I never comment. I just wanted you to know that I appreciate your humor and admire what you do. Have a great day!

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  10. Putting up stairs must be quite the job! I like that you're going to do a hügelkultur area, I'll be keeping an eye on your progress!

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  11. I too enjoyed seeing the lay of your land, Donna, and it does seem larger in the aerial photos than I had imaged. I smiled when I read your comment about your former farm and how the new owners have no clue about how to use the land. We feel the same about our former VA home, but try not to think about it too much because it's someone else's place now.

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Comments are good, as long as you're a real person and not some goof telling me how you were cured of hepatitis by snorting a pulverized neon blue crayon. Your comments don't even have to agree with my viewpoint, I love a good discussion, but civility does matter.