What’s Growing?

non GMO

We have lift off on the few seeds that I have started for the season. Five different kinds of peppers and four different kinds of tomatoes. Today I am starting parsley, the plan being to again make a small batch of parsley wine later this year.


non GMO

All the seeds are heirloom and I’m growing such a variety of them because we want to save seed from each of them. The peppers and the tomatoes will be planted in the greenhouse, once it is warm enough. They likely won’t move to their new home until the beginning of June, as we have such cold night temperatures here.


Heirloom Tomatoes

I’ve had to start them without the lights, unlike past years. They did a LOT better when they had their own room.


Sweet and Hot Peppers

This year they are upstairs with us, hanging about near the windows where they can get the most light. When they get a little bigger I will transplant each into their own pot. A few years ago, I forgot to transplant 3 pepper plants into the greenhouse and here’s proof you can grow peppers in little pots.

There is a lot of yardwork to be done around here, raking and cleaning up all the flower beds. I am working on raking the worst of the lawn area, pulling up the dead grass. I have had the chickens give me a great head start with this, as they have been roaming around scratching at whatever they can find. They were doing too good of a job and starting to be a nuisance in the flower beds which is a bit dangerous at this time of year. Now they have temporary fencing set up for them, so they have the run of the grass down between their coop and the animal garden. Plenty of space for 11 girls to find something to do and eat and they are out of my hair, so to speak.

Building a Barn – Part 2

barn 2 Jan 2008

A few days ago, I wrote about how we started building our barn. Click on the link to read that post if you missed it and want to read it.


build your own barn


Here’s a picture of how our barn looked at the end of that first year. We got farther along on the building than we thought we would. You can see the chicken coop on the left is completed. Behind the coop, is our feed area. To this day, it remains open although we had intended to close it in by putting siding on the outside walls. We will likely still do that at some point, it just has not got that high on our priority list.

The right hand side of the barn (where the old truck is) has been completely closed in. Here’s how we did that:


build your own barn, barns, milling wood


We framed in that right side, allowing for one window on the end and two windows along the side. Tere are also a total of 3 man doors. This room is now being used for a variety of things. When we raise meat birds, we set up heat lights and they grow out in that room. When we raise weaner pigs, they start off in this room. We get them around the end of March and there is still far too much snow on the ground for us to have them outside.

We throw lots of hay down on the dirt floor and the weaners stay in there for probably 4 or 5 weeks. At that point, we move them out to a pastured area and they sleep in their own little house. Since we have quite a few predators here in the Valley, there is no way we would put small weaner pigs out in the open right away. They are probably about 30 pounds when they arrive and they are far too small to be able to fend off predators.

Once the weaners are moved out, we open up the big end doors and clean out the room. Note: If you have a dirt floor in your barn, you may want to put down a layer of sand on top of the dirt. Then throw your hay on top of that. It makes cleanup so much easier it is quite amazing.

We let the room air out for several weeks. Then we can set up the heat lamps, feeders and waterers for the meat birds. Once they are grown out and sent to freezer camp, we clean the room out again. Actually the room gets cleaned out probably three times while the meat birds are there, as they generate a lot of manure!

After the room is again thoroughly cleaned out, it is usually late Fall. Time for cleanup and putting things away. Many items get put into this room for storing over winter. If we put the old truck in there, we simply put our tools, etc in the bed of the truck. Then the truck stays there until mid-March, when we take it out and get ready for pigs again.

So this “meat bird room” is more of a multipurpose room and it is great to have a room like that in your barn. Use it seasonally like we do for different things, but try to plan ahead for various uses. This way, you can make the appropriate changes to your barn building plans.


insulation, building a barn


Back to the building – friends in the Valley had a lot of insulation laying around that they weren’t going to use and they were happy to pass it along to us. Here you can see that the meat bird room is now totally framed in and insulating can begin.


insulation, building a barn

Here’s that room being insulated and covered with OSB.




homemade hinges, hinges for barns, build your own barn


Homemade hinges for the two large doors.



build your own barn, barn doors

Here’s how it looks with those end doors open.  That thing on the inside left wall is the greenhouse (the one we had under the porch) – we used to store the pieces in this room for Winter. The lumber that you see in the breezeway is all the wood we reclaimed from building the shop foundation. The Gman will reuse it, to do some framing for those gable ends down at the barn.

Next up, I’ll post pictures of the loft area.

If you need to build a barn or are waiting to move to your bare land, here is a good resource. How to Build Small Barns & Outbuildings will take you step by step through the process.