Monthly Archives: June 2017

a new pen for peafowl

As you’re no doubt aware, in 2013 we adopted a rescue peacock who needed a home. His name is Elliott, and he has his own facebook page. He wandered the property for a couple of years, and then we decided he was lonely and we acquired some peahens. That took more structure than we were quite ready for — they kept leaving our property and joining our neighbor’s flock. The neighbor finds this to be a problem, so we got busy and sorted them into a pen, the largest one we had on hand, which was the turkey-pen carport extension from a couple years ago, originally built to allow our turkey flock more room to roam when they are penned.

so of course, with peafowl in there, we don’t have that space available for the turkeys, which takes us back to the high-pressure space before we built that pen — a real problem for the sanitation and overall well-being of our birds. we needed the carport-exension back. and the peafowl didn’t quite have enough room there — no space to fly, very little sunlight (it’s a roofed shady-space, also desirable for the turkeys, whose main pen has plenty of sun).

so we worked our way around to the decision that if we are going to breed peafowl, they need more space. this spring, in an ongoing effort to solve these types of issues and also clean the property up, we cleaned out the junkyard we affectionately call “the goat pen,” named after what Jenny calls The Prophesied Goats — the goats we intend to eventually get, but never yet have fully prioritized. the Goat Pen had long since become a dumping ground for random construction supplies, yard-related objects, and all manner of miscellany.

So first, we built a “boneyard” for supplies we draw from and will use, and then we organized that with some degree of actual rigor (pallets go here, fencing goes there, etc). This helped us locate the earth inside the goat pen. Part of the barn remodel process ejected more material into the goat pen, so we had to sort that out as well.

It took two workdays to clean up the pen, and begin fencing it for peafowl. We added a layer of chicken wire to the fence all the way around, and then doubled its height as well, so the birds would have 7′-8′ or mroe of clearance at all places.

Finally, yesterday, we roofed the entire enclosure, which is 40’x75′ at its widest points, with bird netting. This took five people all day, and there were points in the day where I despaired of ever finishing it, but ultimately, all five Stewards got involved and we got it done! We set up nesting boxes for the peahens (hope springs eternal! we want them to set a nest and raise chicks.) and moved their food and water over.

Then Alan captured the peafowl from the smaller pen, and brought them over one at a time to move into their new digs.

sunlight!

as of last night, they had begun settling comfortably into their new home. let’s hope they’re comfortable enough to set a nest!

The Great Barn Remodel of 2017

For some years, we’ve badly needed to remodel our barn. One slow step at a time, things have been shifting — first we found these blue plastic outdoor storage bins for animal feed, so now each animal has feed stored near its pen, and we no longer have a feed vs rats problem, and we no longer store feed in the barn. So we decommissioned the wire feed cage in which we used to store feed bags (and still contended with rats getting into it all the time!) We also acquired the potting shed and moved all the garden supplies, as well as camping supplies, and for a while painting supplies (which are now in the better-insulated pump house) out of the barn into it. But meanwhile, we were remodelling Mahazda, and a wide array of remodel-related items landed in the center of the only open floors pace in the barn, starting with a giant pile of great hardwood flooring intended for other projects, on top of which a pile of miscellaneous storage accumulated until the pile was over 7′ tall in places. not functional! and we had this half-wall separating the workshop area from the feed area… but we no longer needed to store feed in there.

photos of the “Before”:

So this spring, as part of our “catch up on lingering projects” year, we decided to empty it and remodel it. We scheduled a workday for our whole group to clean it out and make executive decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of (building materials we’ve stored for 10 years with no use in sight? freecycle, already! we had a very busy freecycling day, and are much better for the lightened load!).

these all became destined to become someone else’s backyard fence project — a much better use than sitting around in the back of our barn taking up space.

And when we had the barn emptied out, then Rev pretty much single-handedly tackled the task of turning the barn’s full floor-space into a functional workshop.

It took some thinking.

And some creative re-invention of space.

and some help from the cat.

and a great deal of building of benches, counters and shelves.

but after a while, the space took shape.

(note how this chop-saw is level with the counter. nice, eh? safer, too.)

and having taken shape, order emerged.

there’s room to work! a place for everything, and room for expansion! and it’s considerably easier to find tools, to put them back where they belong, and to fully utilize the space. whew! brilliant work, Rev!