This Week on the Farm 1/17
Well, it seems like every January we have a big building project. Last year we built a potting shed in part of the West barn. This year we are going to finish off the rest of the basement of the West barn and turn it into a washing and packing shed. In past years we have washed and packed boxes under tents or in the small garage. The weather, especially the wind and the cold, made working in those conditions pretty difficult. With an enclosed area we should be able to make it a more comfortable working environment.
The area that we are going to renovate was rented out to some neighbors about a decade ago to house 4H animals. When they were done using the barn they were supposed to clean out all of the manure. However, that never happened. So first things first, we have to clean about a foot of dried goat/pig/geese/and what ever else manure out of the barn. Thankfully we borrowed a neighbor’s manure spreader and the ground is frozen enough that we can drive the spreader right up to the barn and unload our wheelbarrow full of manure right into the spreader.
After two days of hauling manure, we have a little over half of the floor cleaned off. The concrete under all of the manure looks much better than we had anticipated. There are several troughs and gutters that we will have to remove/fill in before we have a level surface to work with. In a work space with as much foot traffic as a washing/packing shed, we want to make sure there are no areas that can trip people. When you are carrying boxes full of produce, you don’t want to have to look where you are stepping.
Once the floor has been cleaned we are going to pressure wash the ceiling to remove any old whitewash and birds nests. That will not only clean the ceiling, but it will also show us how the floor drains. Once we figure out how the floor drains we can figure out where we can put drains and plumbing to be able to wash and sterilize the floor during the summer.
We also have some tuck pointing that needs to get done along the walls and we are going to have to address the gutters on the north side of the barn to make sure we don’t have any water seeping into the barn. As you can see, there are a lot of projects that need to get done before we are even able to start with the major renovations in the space. But, that is what winter is for.
We ordered our sweet potato slips this week and other than our cover crop seed and strawberry plants that we will order a little later this spring, everything has now been ordered. We expect that most of the seed will arrive by the end of the week. There are a few items that are back ordered until mid-February, but all of those items get planted later in the spring so we are not concerned.