Tag Archives: moving

Two tone pigs

The pigs were lying in the mud on one side only, so they (two of them) are browned right down the middle like mimes. They look fully mudded, but they’re not. There’s the pink side!

Yesterday they liberated themselves.  I came home, no pigs, and did my usual march all over all the places they could get themselves in trouble with a pail in hand, but I couldn’t find any trace of them.  It was too late to rouse them.  I was sure they’d chosen a place to sleep, and when pigs are asleep, you can walk right past them. Which meant they hadn’t gotten into any trouble, and I expected them home for breakfast.

They were.  They returned right to the place where they’d breached the fence.  They were a pain to get back in. Why should we, when we can just upset the chicken food?  But once recaptured, they were so tuckered out from their big adventure they spent half the day napping in their house.

Later when I was moving their enclosure, I discovered they had been right on the other side of their fence, exactly where I was shifting them to.  They’d gone for a sneak pre-root.  It’s a nice spot.  I’ve been working them over to here.  Now they’re under two big apple trees.  Not a lot of apples, but they can just wait for them to drop.

Moving the pig fence is one of the most nightmarish jobs I do here.  It’s like untangling a big snarl of wool while dragging it through dense brush, with a time limit.  If the snarl of wool were 40 lbs and also snagged on absolutely everything, as did your hair, and it tripped you.  It takes two hours, weekly when the pigs are big, and it’s exhausting and frustrating.  And I’ve got it dialed.  I can even estimate routes that make the fence ends meet pretty accurately.  It’s been worse.  Much worse.  But the results are good;  I’m slowly reclaiming the field, although it’s a multistage project to get rid of the glossy leaf buckthorn.

It’s not exactly a thankless job.  I get this:

Happiest pigs everThe pigs are expressive and clearly joyful.  They have enough room that I can’t even see them from one side to the other.

Pigs first move

(David Attenborough voice)

After the new enclosure has been prepared for these lucky piglets, the fence is parted, allowing access to the abundant unspoiled greenery this species thrives upon.But how long will it take them to discover their new freedom?

Their attendant retrieves the food bowls they are familiar with and places them in plain view just beyond the fence opening, filling them with fresh food.The young pigs observe these proceedings with interest, but from a distance.  They are agitated by the presence of the human, and grunt with suspicion. 

As the human withdraws, curiosity and hunger overcome their trepidation, and one pig tentatively leads the way over the threshold!  Its sibling, still  visibly anxious, follows soon after.  To the boldest pig goes the spoils!

 

 

Greenhouse, moved.

It was miserable, it was hard.  We almost lost it.  It’s over.  It’s been a rough week.

The verdict is in: it takes just as long to move it as it does to put it up in the first place; the few places where time is saved, particularly that holes are already drilled and not everything needs to come apart, are cancelled out by the places where it takes more time to undo and redo, like wrestling ribs onto pins that have been twice-pounded.  A nightmare.

In theory, a simple series of steps:

Undo all the wiggle wire, drop the skin off to one side.

Detach end walls and lay them down inside.

There’s the pile of associated crap- gutters, gutter mounting lumber, baseboards, doors, screen doors, etc etcPull up one side of mounting pins, and drive them again one greenhouse width to the side.“Walk” the greenhouse over like a 26 legged spider, dragging the endwalls along with.  Remount on pins.Reskin.  Stand up the endwalls.Do all the wiggle wire, reattach baseboards, doors, etc.

A simple series of steps…

In my head.

Hahaha!  Each step beset by setbacks, unforeseen time-consumers, irritations, and risk of injury.  Miserable.

In the space vacated by the greenhouse, the chickens moved right in for a good dirt bath. Least they’re having fun.

Then came the wind….

 

 

 

The time of the fledglings

In addition to the local young woodpecker, who continues to flop around the house with no fear and seems to never get more than five feet off the ground, I found this little guy on our path.

I surprised the whole family, I suppose, as there were three full size robins flapping around in the trees, panicking and screeching.  The chick, size of a guinea chick, let me walk right up.

It doesn´t seem to have a lot of lift.  It seemed a big achievement to make it up on the stick pile, and then it flap flap flap! Coasted down into the field.  I wonder if this is the first day out of the nest. 

 

There´s a woodpecker zooming backing and forth from in front of the beehive to over the poplars behind the pigs.  She´s as regular as a transatlantic flight and obviously is tending a nest at one end of the flight path, or the other.

Meanwhile, back in the livestock zone:

It´s a pig´s life.  The pigs are happy to lounge in the shade. 

The Oreo mom insists on being inside the pig fence.  She´s mastered jumping up and through, where the holes in the fence are bigger, while the babies flow right through.

She´s out there now, smack in the middle of pigland.  She found a shady spot she likes.

I guess the pigs have proved that they won´t hurt her or her chicks.  At least she´s not worried.  They are 15´away sleeping off a big meal of milk  in the pig house.

Now I can´t electrify the fence if she´s making a habit of this.  Which is ok.  The fence is off more often than on these days.  The pigs and I have an agreement.  If I meet all their needs, they are perfectly content to stay in the fence.  Which means they are really in charge.  They´re simple girls, though.  They want shade, water – poured in the bowl and over their heads, variety, food before they get too hungry, and sometimes a scratch.

Funny how the birds make decisions.  Or is it the chicks?  Oreo mom has been all independent and  furtive, always hiding in shrubs and drifting out into the pasture, towards the pigs where only  the guineas roam, while Blondie mom has went her way the opposite direction and rejoined the Colonel´s main tribe.  Hey, I had some chicks!

Moving the Oinkers

The first thing you´ll notice is how they´ve grown!  The pigs got BIG, just like that.  Just, one day, they couldn´t be called pig-lets anymore.

They still enjoy a good sprint, they´re just…big.  Growing fast.

We´ve been shifting them along with their sheep/chicken fence.

It´s very gratifying to see them start rummaging joyously in whatever´s new and green.  It won´t be green for long.

It was hot day, so I couldn´t cut them off from their latest wallow.  I put a loop in the fence to contain their latest dig.  We´ll just have to accept that they´re going to dig a crater at every stop.

This one is quite large.  Quite deep.  Almost square.  The perfect size for one pig.

A little bit awkward to climb out of.

Until another pig comes along.

 

Can I get in there now?

Surprisingly, they both kind of fit.

This is just before they had a big fight, one with no winner, that looked like two water balloons trying to escape from a taco shell.  There isn´t room to wrestle in the wallow.

On the other side of the fence, the chickens wasted no time moving  in where the pigs had been, checking out the pig pallet.

Playing queen of the haystack.

And doing some wallowing of their own.

Moving House

The wretched old farmhouse is getting moved across the field to a new home.

Surprisingly on schedule (our third year here), we’re getting the old building moved off of its very sketchy “foundation” (six cinder blocks) and off of the eroded wet hole that it stands over, in favour of level ground.

If we let it go any longer, it’s going to fall over or rot.

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Before. Jacked up and set on skids, but still on the eroded hole.

Let me just say at the outset:  I know, I know, it would be cheaper and easier to knock this thing down and build a new one.   (It’s the first thing everybody says).

It would. I know.

I think I’m saving the house for purely sentimental reasons.  It’s over 100 years old, it’s the only remaining structure from the once flourishing and now completely non-existent turn-of-the-century gold mining community that once populated this corner of Nova Scotia, and I don’t want to be the one to tear it down, although that would make more sense in many ways.

We don’t even have a plan for it, just that we’re going to start with a basic rescue.

Before moving time, HW took out the central brick chimney, before the chimney fell through the floor and took some of the house with it.  The chimney wasn’t salvageable, because it took a couple of jogs, so could never have a liner inserted.

A neighbour of ours is contracted to move it.

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Tractor glamour shot

Initially he jacked it up, put two 8x8s under it, and under those, 4x10s, supported by cribbing set up in the muddy hole.

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Before initial move

That gave enough support to roll the house off of the hole and onto the planks set in the solid ground.

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Off the hole

Some problems arose at that point.  One gable wall is in serious trouble, having had structural members cut out for windows (?) and not having been reframed properly, so the whole wall decided to “burst” outward, threatening the roof.

We more or less tied it back together with come-alongs and a winch and bracing, to hold the rafters from spreading, and take this broken wall along for the ride.  It’s going to need to be completely reframed.  There turned out to be no header over either window.  This wall was never going to make it.

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Since the house has now proved too fragile to move like “normal”, by dragging across the ground on skids, he’s continuing to roll it on 1.5″ pipe rollers, under the skids on heavy planks.img_4487img_4484

This is time consuming, as every few feet you have to collect the pipes that spit out the back and move them to the front, and also move the (v heavy) planks to the front.  The house wants to drift sideways off of its planks, so he has to jack it up to adjust its heading periodically, plus the intended direction is not quite a straight line, so he’s slowly turning it.

Although it’s slow, the house just glides along when it rolls.

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It’s now past the leaning woodshed (we aren’t going to save that)

Moving day for the dog. Hilarity ensues.

It was time to move the dog house from its temporary location over to by our house.

Since the dog house, large, for a large dog, weighed about 300lbs, this meant taking it all apart, carrying the frame through the woods, and putting it back together.

First thing, the steel roof came off.

This made the dog very nervous.  He settled into the house like an Occupy protester and started dealing out morose looks.

IMGP8383Next, the sides started coming off, until we were down to the stick frame.

Perhaps I should explain that the dog is very attached to his house.  He loves it.   I’m not sure why he’s so attached, but it’s his happy sanctuary.  He visibly relaxes when he retreats to his house.  He keeps a select few favorite bones in there with him, and he gets a little worked up when I get in there to fold his blankets.

But it needs to move with us, so a little renovation is in order.

We took his blankets out and made a spot for him aside from the dog house.  He elected to stay in the house.

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Finally, we had to make him get out of the house, and sit on his blankets.  He did that with all the joy of a hunger strike.

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Are you going to take my blankets away, too?

We moved the house frame to its new spot, every step anxiously supervised, and the moment we dropped it in place, guess what?

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Then we brought over all the pieces, reassembled, and insulated his house.

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Now we have matching Tyvek houses

He’s still not sure about us.  Now he knows what we’re capable of.

Upheaved

I’ve been gone on a long blog hiatus, as I sometimes do, but this time, I have a better excuse than usual.

Due to bureaucratic whim/circumstances beyond our control, we were suddenly required to uproot and completely relocate at the end of March.  Moving stock and barrel is rough at the best of times, but to have to do it quickly and unexpectedly, with no warning, is traumatizing.

We managed.  It was exhausting, frazzling, and affirming.  We got unexpected help and had wonderful things happen to offset the difficulty, but the whole experience was more or less on par with eating a solid dropkick.  I’ve been doing the emotional equivalent of  sitting and blinking like a lizard suddenly exposed to light ever since, but I’m recovering the faculty of movement, optimism, and the sense that everything is turning out for the best.  For a long while we were just telling ourselves and each other that it would surely turn out for the best, while the present moment was most definitely sucking.

Coming so soon on the heels of completing the barn reno made the title of this blog post cruelly ironic.  Since I’d expected to be able to enjoy the finished barn suite/home for at least a little while, having to leave it abruptly on the eve of completion was sad and painful.  Now our next fixer-upper is an 11′ long little project.

Now I live in the USA.  We are temporarily settled into a corner of the Pacific Northwest, staying with friends who are living and studying sustainable agriculture, so there is an abundance of poultry, mulch, and weeding to make us feel at home.

Forth!  Blogging on this channel will resume shortly….

Phew

Survived the move.  The last couple days of moving were terribly hard, and the two after driving away passed in a daze of aftershock.  An awful lot to do in the days after, so I couldn’t just collapse into a three day nap, although life is much simpler in a 14’ camper.