Outdoor Labor Party


In keeping with my purging and decluttering theme inside the house, I got an itch to do the same thing outside. It needed it. And so yesterday we had a long and exhausting outdoor labor party. On the agenda were the areas around the house where clutter has collected, and in particular, the area under the front porch. The main living area of our house is on the second story. Our front yard is the goat yard. The fence of the goat yard runs right along the porch posts under the front porch, which stretches all the way along the front of the house (and the porch runs around both sides, too).

This area under the front porch is used as a staging area for taking care of the animals and other farm-related things. We keep the feed box there as well as various tools and supplies. It’s gradually grown out of control as the chickens moved in, making messes. During the winters, we’ve put straw down there at different times because of mud. The straw has piled up and was rotting. Things got lost under the straw. Trash was everywhere because I’d empty a feed bag and, due to the lack of an available trash can (which I did nothing to correct all this time), drop the empty bag on the ground by the feed box. Then the chickens would cart it away and tear it to pieces. Anything that belonged outside but didn’t have a proper place seemed to end up down there. It was getting to where I’d trip over things lost in the straw on my way to the feed box. To say things were bad down there would be an understatement.

We spent hours yesterday clearing the area out. Together with Weston and Morgan, I got the entire area unloaded onto the driveway where I divided things into piles to keep, to trash, or to store somewhere else. Every bit of straw was raked out and piled up to put on the garden later.

Children at work.

A huge trash pile was taken to the fire pit to be burned later.

Other items that aren’t used very often were put away in a shed in the meadow bottom. The rest was put back, organized neatly and properly, under the porch. (And I got myself a trash can to keep down there, too.) The newly neat and tidy work area under the front porch:

I’m as excited about getting this area cleaned up as I was about my sewing room. I make animal rounds every morning and every evening. This area sort of grew into its function over time, so it wasn’t set up to begin with to fulfill this purpose. It’s so much easier to keep an area organized if it’s set up properly for its purpose, and with realistic understanding of what goes on there. (Note the tarp covering the tools on the picnic table.)

The chickens were pretty excited, too. Chickens love to dust their feathers in freshly-turned dirt.

Hoping to stop them from laying eggs in corners and on top of bales of hay (which are stored around to the side of the porch), I set up these nesting boxes for them on a table (so the dogs can’t get to the eggs).

We’ll see how many days, weeks, or years it takes them to lay an egg in there. Chickens are so cooperative.

I know not everyone would want a goat yard in their front yard (and no, it doesn’t stink), but we enjoy it. I love to look over the porch rail onto the yard and watch them.

I love to just walk downstairs and pet them. They hang out along the fence, always excited to see me.

Clover, standing on top of the “dog house” in the goat pen, the better to keep an eye on my every move.

Getting this area straightened up and functional was exhausting, but worth it. The children thought it was the most fun party ever. Which is good, because we’re going to have another one in a couple weeks.

The chicken house needs cleaned out!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on August 30, 2010  

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19 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 8-30

    :snoopy: Love the extra posts!!! :shimmy:

  2. 8-30

    Congratulations on a job well done!

    In the picture with both donkeys, is Jack the one closest to us, and is Poky peeking at us from around the support?

    And what’s going on with Annabelle? You haven’t mentioned her in a while. I still love to watch her bouncing around in the video on your main page.

  3. 8-30

    Julia, Annabelle is in the pasture with the rest of the sheep. She’s fine! And yes, that’s Jack that’s closest in the picture and Poky peeking around the post.

  4. 8-30

    Nothing like a good cleanout and organise. Wanna come round to my place and help me? Oh, and bring those two kids along!

  5. 8-30

    What a great day that was! I really like that space under the porch. I wish I had goats in my front yard. Donkeys, too.

  6. 8-30

    Looks great, Suzanne!
    Wish I could get things under control around here. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day.

  7. 8-30

    From the looks of things around here, the goat yard is in the house..not outside the front porch. Kudos on a job well done!!

  8. 8-30

    I’m so anxious to get my act together around here. I’ve been purging closets. Next,I have my pantry to do. There is a shed, and an attic that really need attention. I need a nap just thinking about all that has to be done. My kids help too. I think knowing how to work is very valuable.

  9. 8-30

    Surely someone has an old barn around your parts that they don’t need andymore and want torn down….Now wouldn’t that be a great project…and then all you animal stuff could go there…
    I think outback of your house past the chicken/goat house would be a great place to rebuild your old barn….What I’m doing here is helping you dream about that barn….LOL

  10. 8-30

    Your outdoor labor party sounds like hard work but with a great reward. Stepping back to see an organized workspace is always so comforting. There was one other thing I noticed about your post: the regionalism in The chicken house needs cleaned out! This construction is often found in a narrow strip along the northern border of Ohio. This is the first I’ve heard of it as far south as WV. It’s one of those little quirks that some of us notice. Infinitives or gerunds need not apply!

  11. 8-30

    Great job! Lots of hard work, and it’s so easy for it to get out of hand. Our donkeys are just behind our backyard, and it’s great to step outside, walk about 50 feet or so, and find yourself petting those lovable furry friends.

  12. 8-30

    When I had my 2 goats, my goat yard was the front yard. It was great because I didn’t have to weed wack or trim the trees. Or fertilize. The goats are gone, but my makeshift goat shed remains in the front yard and houses some of the chickens and ducks now. The grass is lush and green from years of goat poop. I just wish I had your porch. Such a neat setup.

  13. 8-31

    Don’t mean to be negative, but thought I’d let you know that it’s highly illegal to burn anything but leaves and sticks and grass cuttings, etc. You can’t burn the stuff you had in your picture. I only know because a friend of ours got a ticket from the WVDEP when they inspected his burn barrel and found traces of dog food bags. Just wanted to let you know. ;)

  14. 8-31

    I would love to have your view! I know the amount of work you must put in to take care of your animals. I so miss living where I can have chickens and such! Love, Love, Love to check your blog and just imagine being there!

  15. 8-31

    WV has laws against burning? out where you live? You’ve got to be kidding me? Here in Missouri, (the Show Me state) we have true freedom. Would love a porch set-up like you have! :wave:

  16. 8-31

    There was one other thing I noticed about your post: the regionalism in The chicken house needs cleaned out! This construction is often found in a narrow strip along the northern border of Ohio. This is the first I’ve heard of it as far south as WV. It’s one of those little quirks that some of us notice. Infinitives or gerunds need not apply!

    Perhaps you could help me with the origin of this quote, “I woosh you wuld hersh up.” My father would say this to me when I got on his last nerve.

  17. 9-1

    oh I would love to walk out my door and have my animals right there! You only have to step outside to milk! how awesome! I love your set up! I have one major question though, how much did you pay them kids to say they thought it was the best labor party ever?? I have to hog tie my 12 year old to do any work around here at all and he even gets paid an allowance! I would love to know more on that subject!

  18. 9-1

    A day’s work well done is a very good feeling, and it’s so good to have helpers. Makes the job much more pleasant. The area looks terrific. Great job! :happyflower:
    We are enjoying seeing sheep and cows in our meadow this summer :sheep: :moo:

  19. 9-1

    I love a good clean up! The end results are so satisfying. I love before and after and even during photos. Thanks for sharing. Your burn pile stuff will make a great bonfire.

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