The cow pen.
One cow pen, 50 feet long
What a huge relief. Jade, my brother Alan and I had been working on it as we could all summer. Old debris and such had been cleaned out. The floor swept bare. I kept finding pieces of glass, all summer. I finally found where they were coming from. A bigger piece, in a window sill, that my short legs couldn't see over the board that was nailed up who knows how many years ago, to keep stubborn heifers from putting their heads through the Plexiglas. Problem solved now, as it has all been disposed of properly.
The men cut old hog/cow panels to length, cut sections of them that were twisted or too battered to use away. I used some 1000lb -40 zip ties to attach them. The plan is to re-do the pen in a more permanent way next summer. The zip ties for now should hold. If not we will buy water clamps and replace them with those as needed
A good strong wall of fencing
Saturday night, Jade, Princess P and I went out to get a gate and some 4x4 uprights. We needed something to attach the two end gates. One side was going to be tied in to the I-beams and round uprights that support the barn. Some in the middle will need to be re-concreted but the two on the end, where the most stress will be, were good and solid. However, one wall is just poured concrete, with no real way to attach or tie in to anything other than with tap-cons. As such, our first stop was to the local Amish saw mill. Lo and behold they had nothing, and I do mean nothing, bigger than a 2x4 in stock.
Well guess we are off to try again. Next stop another Amish saw mill...with the sign "gone fishing be back Monday". Ookkk we are not having any luck here, guess we are going to just get our gate!
One shiny new gate, a gift for me
Runnings, ahhh dangerous store. Husband and I could spend a grand there a week and not get everything we want/need. And P-the-wild loves their toy and clothes sections. Everything a little farm girl could want or need, all in one place. And for her folks, gates. We spoke with the folks at the register, yes the gate we want is in stock, oo they carry 5 inch diameter 10 ft fence posts, shoot that will work. Sooo we buy two. Nope, this is not something they actually carry, and despite the girl who was out in the "bull pen" (supply yard) swearing to the girl at the register that they did indeed have them in stock, in either blunt or pointed end, they really didn't.
New upright, the shiny spots are the taps
We headed off to deliver some eggs to my Aunt, and decided well we are only 2 towns away from Lowes, we will go see what they have. So for cheaper than the Amish would have charged, we got 2 10 ft 4x4's, that are HEAVY.
Once home we unloaded, and set up the end swing gate. By the time we got finished, Peg was cold, and hungry, and her parents weren't feeling too much better. Sunday would be soon enough to finish.
Headlocks, such a useful thing, but so very heavy!
Sunday morning, the brother got in on the action. With Peggy moving tools, not necessarily where they needed to go, he put in big taps, all the better to stabilize the gate, and make sure the cows wouldn't be popping it out any time soon. Then, while my dad went for the feed through gate we needed on the south end, Alan and Jade tore out the headlocks that were by my rabbit hutch. I need those bad boys if I am going to get these cows bred by spring. They then installed them, on the north end of the pen by the main gate. Now I have a 4-hole place I can lock the cows in to do routine stuff such as vaccinate, and breed, so that in 9 or so months we have another crop of beef calves roaming the hills.
Feeding area, room for a round bale plus!
So now we wait. The weather has been so mild there is no reason to lock the old girls in. The grass is still there, and it is easy as all get out to just haul up a few bales with the skid steer. Once they are in for the winter I will have to haul water to them, make sure the pen is cleaned, and keep a lot of hay in the barn to keep them fed. It is a chore taking care of animals that weigh over a 1000 lbs. But I am thrilled to be ready for them. It is good to have one more winter prep item off of the list!