Of Pallets and Plans


We’re continuing to lay in our supplies to build a pallet barn. We’re in the process of hauling home 40 of these massive six-foot pallets (for FREE!) to build a hay barn in the meadow bottom over a pre-existing 22′ x 24′ cement pad.

It’ll need a roof and a loft (and doors), and can double as a sheep shelter. As I’ve noted previously, “sheep shelter” is an oxymoron since it will be a miracle if the sheep ever deign to enter its doors.

But the donkeys might! The donkeys stay down in the bottom pastures from mid-spring to mid-fall. And in any case, we need the hay storage.

You can read more about pallet barns and check out some handy links in the pallet barn topic on the CITR forum here.

When I first posted about the pallet barn plans, I got a lot of questions in the comments about pulling nails…. We will not be tearing the pallets apart and pulling nails. We will be using the pallets as they are. (See link above to forum topic on pallet barns with links to pictures.)

In further farm-building, now that the duck ‘n’ buck yard has come to fruition, my next brainstorm is that we should build a winter BP-land.

Right out–

–here, which is the area just past the duck ‘n’ buck yard.

It’s brilliant! And that’s just what the people who do the heavy lifting around here say every time I come up with a new idea. Or not. But! This one’s brilliant! Really! I was making plans for some changes/additions in BP-land, including a separation fence and a small hay shed/shelter and new milk stand. But this idea is so much better! The problem in the winter is getting hay over to BP-land, which is on the other side of the house from the driveway. (See the Farm Map.) BP has to have hay all winter, of course. Big hassle. It would make much more sense to build a winter BP-land out past the duck ‘n’ buck yard, which is convenient to the driveway and hay delivery. We can play right off the fencing for the outer buck enclosure when putting up the fencing. I want all woven wire fencing out there, no electric as in BP-land, because it can also be a calf area. (And I’ve learned the electric does no good with calves who walk right under it.) We don’t even need much hay storage there because we already have some hay storage up by the house and more hay can always be brought up periodically in loads from the new pallet barn at the bottom. We’ll still need another milk stand and a shelter, and an arrangement for water, etc, but it’s not much more work than the changes/additions I was planning in BP-land, and this makes much more sense. It will be a smaller area than the main BP-land, but in the winter, that’s okay, they’re on hay anyway. In the spring, BP and Glory Bee will be moved back to BP-land to pasture. This will just be their winter quarters. I’m planning/hoping for BP to have a calf at the start of spring, so we’ll keep her in her winterland a few extra months with the calf, allowing BP-land to grow up more before putting her on it, and move her when it’s time to wean the calf. (The next calf won’t be a keeper.)

BP’s going to love her new winterland! Can’t wait till we get started. Or, well, till somebody gets started…… Hello? HELLO!


  1. Jen R. (emeraldsunshine.org) says:

    Good luck with all your plans! I can’t wait to see the end result.

    I love the picture of the sheep in this post. 🙂

  2. Tracey In Paradise Pa. says:

    :dancingmonster: I have lots of plans others ignore..lol Good luck with yours..
    Granny Trace

  3. B. Ruth says:

    I love it….”The next calf won’t be a keeper” ha….until you see its beautiful brown eyes…and sweet smile.. and now with your experience with Glory Bee, it will simply be a breeze training the new sweet baby! lol

  4. backwoodsdreaming says:

    LOL @Tracey!

    Once, in the midst of remodeling our house, my poor husband turned to me and snapped “Enough with your ideas! I need to finish a project before you give me the next one!” I just chuckled at him and said “Honey, you have no idea how many ideas I DON’T tell you…”

  5. lauren says:

    LOL those three dreaded words my husband hates to hear “I was thinking…” always means work for him LOL

  6. Carmi says:

    Suzanne, I would be interested in what you do with the pallets to be the duck & buck yard and your forthcoming project. I have access to lots of pallets and would be interested in making something for my chicken for free. Love your blog.

  7. holstein woman says:

    Suzanne, this is great that you are getting these things finished. I have a thought for you as I fight poop all year in my barn. I fixed most of the problem last Summer by moving my cows to an upper field. I have heard it said that a cow (1) can poop 30 gallons per day. Thats alot of poop! Do you have a steadfast poop removal plan? If you do it with a shovel you will have a pile outside the barn and if you do you could end up with so much drainage back into the barn that your hay can get wet.
    Also, if you are the one carrying the hay from the lower barn to this barn in the future years (when Weston, Ross and Princess aren’t home anymore)I hope you have a 4 wheeler like a quad or something that is 4×4 to get the hay uphill in the winter because it will be a hassle and heavy. I hope you don’t think I am telling what you HAVE TO DO, but I have the experience in this area to just want to caution you. You are in the position to make the necessary changes now instead of wishing later that you had done it. Think 2 cows 60 gallons of poop per day, 60 gallons of urine per day…. You may want some hydrated lime to keep in the barn so when the new calves are born you can keep the urine smell down as it can make them sick if there is too much. OK I’ll shut up!!!! Blessings girl

  8. Bev says:

    Have you ever thought of doing some of your outbuildings using straw? Its pretty inexpensive, they look great and are extremely warm. The straw bales are stacked like bricks, then stuccoed both inside and outside.
    We have some very expensive homes here in Co. made of straw. You could maybe even get by with a flat roof if you don’t get much snow there in W. Virginia.

  9. Catherine says:

    I think it’s great that you’re building using pallets and diverting them from landfill.

    There’s a guy in Nova Scotia who built a tractor shed out of pallets in 2002 and it’s still in great shape even after 9 years of Canadian winters! People have also sent him pictures of their projects – his page is at https://summerville-novascotia.com/PalletShed/ – well worth a visit, some of them are amazing.

  10. Karen Anne says:

    Bev, does straw bale construction hold up in a rainy climate?

  11. Ramona says:

    Looking foward to seeing the completed project.

  12. Runningtrails says:

    That is a beautiful picture of Annabelle! One of her best!

Add Your Thoughts