Archive for January 2012

Barn Tour — Stalls


In the “working” side of the barn, where the “office” is (see Barn Tour–the “Office”), there are five roomy stalls, accessed from the alleyway.

Three of them seem to have been constructed with horses in mind. (Or at least, reconstructed with horses in mind. The barn is vintage 1890s, and the stalls were obviously renovated at some later period.) Across the left side, there are three equal-sized stalls with sliding metal doors.

Outside the stalls, there are “doors” to fill feed buckets without going inside.

Inside, there are hay racks and the feed buckets.

There’s a window for ventilation in each stall, and there’s plenty of room for a horse or several sheep or goats.

All the stalls have electric lighting. With the way the doors are constructed, it’s easy to see inside if you want to know what’s going on without opening it up. One of these stalls will be for Morgan’s horse. It will be spring soon! Horse time! The horse, by the way, along with expenses and supplies/equipment for said yet imaginary horse, is a gift from Morgan’s dad. (I can’t afford a horse. And know nothing about horses. Looks like I’m going to be learning soon, though.) The last two horses housed here were named Reggie–

–and Cavalier.

I told Morgan it would be so much simpler if she named her horse Reggie or Cavalier, but she didn’t seem to think that was going to happen.

I’ve already found these stalls very handy for sheltering the sheep and goats when it snows, and for bringing in the donkeys for hoof-trimming. I’m planning to bring the sheep in here for shearing. It feels luxurious to have such a nice place to pen up animals when work needs done, and is so much easier than chasing them around pastures and trying to herd them into temporary holding spots. I’ve done enough of that to genuinely appreciate the convenience the barn and its stalls afford.

Across the alleyway from those three stalls are two more. One is the “odd” stall that I haven’t quite figured out yet. There’s a bit of a step up to it and it’s quite rough in comparison to the three stalls across from it. The door is wooden, and you can’t see in if it’s shut.

I’m not sure what may have been kept in here in the past, or what I’ll use it for in the future. I’ve had the sheep in here a few times, but I’m not using it now.

Between the odd stall and the “office” (aka tack room), there is another roomy stall with a sliding metal door.

It’s not set up quite as nicely as the three stalls across, and whatever it was used for in the past, it was last used for storage of this white aluminum picket fencing, which was left behind by the previous owners.

Directly outside this stall is where there was another (third) barn water faucet. (There are two water faucets in the front barn yard–one right outside the barn and another one in front of the goat yard.) I say was in regard to this third faucet inside the alleyway because it was knocked down by the previous owner’s horse. I’m planning to have it repaired.

My thoughts on this stall is to turn it into my milking parlor, which is why I want to have the faucet repaired–for easy water access to the milking room. The stall will need quite a bit of work (more labor than money). The ground is uneven and could use some minor grading. While there is electric light here, it needs a bit more lighting, and of course the addition of a head lock for a cow. I’d also like to add a small goat stanchion for milking the goats when I dare. A work table and some shelves would be helpful as well.

It will be nice to have a dedicated, indoor, dry space to milk!

There is one more stall–but it’s accessed from the outside (the rear barn yard) and is where the cows and donkeys shelter and is on the other side of the barn.

The alleyway outside the stalls is interesting in and off itself. It’s lighted, of course, and has electrical outlets if you need them. There are also some interesting things hanging around here and there, such as another one of those horseshoes–at least this one is hanging up right!

Lots of giant hooks to tie animals.

I use those to hang my camera sometimes if I’ve taken it to the barn and need to put it somewhere while I do some work.

I like this sun thing.

I’ve got some buckets and stuff lined up here because there’s a space here where those naughty goats would slip into and go under the barn. I have to constantly assess the barn for goat escape routes because they’re so ornery.

There are a couple of metaphysical shop signs that belonged to the previous owner’s sister, the one who was a psychic and lived in the studio. She had a shop in Clendenin.

I might set up one of these signs and a little booth and see if Poky wants to go into business in the rear barn yard.

Maybe she could start with predicting when/if she’s going to have a baby. Donkeys are pregnant for 11 months. She’s been with Jack for a year and a half. Where’s the baby?

I love this barn. Every time I do something with the animals in the barn, I feel like I’m on a vacation. In a storybook. It’s just all so cute.

Next up–

I’ll take you through the “people” (or “storage”) side of the barn.

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It Begins


Digging began yesterday to lay the pipe connecting the studio to public water. It’s the first step to turning the studio into a health department-approved kitchen to open an important new income stream for the farm. I’m running on a shoestring and determined to make it to the finish line! Thank you to those of you who have donated to the studio fund so far. I’ve got a tax refund coming soon (yay for tax time) and I’m plugging away on a wing and a prayer! I’m a believer!

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....

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