Farm News

Here is the latest goings on at HTF.

CHICKENS

We experienced a loss- (see this post).  One of our roosters bit the dust.

New life is also springing forth.  Huey (the recently deceased) may soon be a father.  We have had a Buff Orpington hen sitting for about 3 weeks.  One of our “wild” girls is also sitting….but no pictures of her (she is camera shy & I don’t wish to disturb her)

We are expecting chicks any day from the gold hen pictured below!  When they arrive, pictures will certainly be posted.

Broody Hen

Broody Hen

We have also set up our incubator and have about 25 eggs in there.  Some are from under the broody hen.  She had far too many eggs in her nest…as some of the other chickens were still going in with her and laying their eggs.  I candled some of these and there’s definitely movement inside….so we shall see if the incubator is successful in hatching out some additional babies.  Tis the season!

eggs1-2009

GARDEN FENCE

Yesterday Dave & I pounded in half of the t-posts for the garden fence.  It is likely we’ll do the other two sides today.  The plan is to string the wire portion this weekend.  We figure by then the concrete will have set up good enough to take the weight.  It is a good idea to give concrete time to cure before beginning to “put it to work”.

HOUSE PLANNING

I have been posting “wanted” ads on craigslist.  We are on the lookout for building materials and a source for straw bales.  About 2 weeks ago a lady who saw my ad for straw bales called.  She gave me the number for a couple who had built a straw bale house in central Texas.  And to her I say-  THANK YOU!!!

I called and spoke to the lady whose number had been provided.  She was happy to talk with me about her straw bale home and offered useful information.  Dave & I have also been invited to stop in and see her house in when we are in that area.  We probably will and when we do I’ll report on it here.

We are remaining flexible at this point in our design.  We know the basic floor plan for the house.  It will be 900 square feet.  This is small by today’s house standards, but we feel it is more than large enough for the two of us.

Still undecided about which straw bale building method we will use.  It will be either:

IN-FILL-  a frame is constructed which supports the roof.  Bales are used to fill in the walls.  The construction is a bit different from the other method since the bales do not bear the load of the roof.  In-fill lends itself to more complex designs, bigger windows, etc.  Our design will be very simple and huge windows are not on the list for us- so those things are not really a factor.

or

LOAD BEARING- the straw bale walls are built first.  They support the weight of the roof which is attached after the walls are raised via a wall cap.  This method obviously can use much less lumber.  An idea I like because the environmental impact aspects ARE important to me.

If we were planning a very large house or a shape other than a simple rectangle, my research indicates that the In-Fill method would be the best choice.  Since our plans are to keep it simple and small, the load bearing method can work for us and may prove to be far more economical.

We are working on our budget and once we know the numbers on both methods…that will likely help to determine which way we go with.  The type and quantity of salvaged materials we can accumulate will also factor in.

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