Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Recycled Pig Stuff

Back when I was a young 'un, we raised pigs. Some of the people who've been hanging around this blog for a while might even remember Arnold, the coolest pig ever. We had a pretty nice set up for farrowing (that's pig for childbirth). The barn had comfy little pens with a screened-off corner where the babies could lounge under the heat lamp, toasty warm and safe from getting crushed by their mother. Each pen even had it's own water nozzle and feeder, and a door flap to outside runs for the warmer months. When pork prices went south we got out of the pig business. Then the barn caught fire and the north wall was pretty much destroyed, and it stayed that way for the next twenty or so years.

Last fall we decided it was time to do something about the barn. We had a whole list of fix it and build it projects and a whole lot of perfectly good metal siding and wood just standing there doing nothing. So we started the gradual process of deconstruction and recycling.

First, we removed the siding and rebuilt the door to our calving barn:


Then we went to work on the lean to, which had been decapitated by the wind and a whole section of the wall torn up. We used rafters from the pig barn to replace this section of the roof:

Then rebuilt the wall with recycled siding:

Then we used the wall boards to build this calf shelter. Come March, a sixteen foot panel lined with wind proof plastic will be put on each end and between the two shelters. The inside of the shelter is bedded down with straw. The poles across the front allow the calves to crawl in and be nice and snug, but their mommas can't get in there to hog the best spots.

Throughout the last year, boards and pieces of iron and chunks of tin have been used here and there and everywhere, but the next major recycling project was this stockade on the new pen where we'll be housing our baby bulls for the winter:

Next up is a new back door for the roping arena, since our Jersey steer decided to shove his way out through the bottom half of this one last summer:

And last but certainly not least, are the wallboards. Turns out they're red cedar. My husband planed a couple down and now we have this in our house:

After all that, we've still got more boards waiting their turn to be sheds or doors or walls, or maybe, if I'm a really, really good wife, kitchen cabinets:

The only part of the building we couldn't salvage were the rotten floorboards. We were amazed to find that even the big support planks underneath were still good. Now this is all that's left. A footprint and a pile of kindling that will make one heck of a bonfire one of these days, when there's snow on the ground. Of course, we'll have to wait for a day when the wind isn't blowing.

Come to think of it, that may take another twenty years.


Stan Grace said...

It appears that all that remains to be used is the 'squeal'.

Bill Kirton said...

At last a common experience (well, sort of). My wife and I spent a year in France in the 90s. She taught in a school there and we lived in deepest France. Our nearest neighbours, who became good friends, were 'paysans', which literally means peasants but has none of the pejorative qualities of the English word. Each year they bought a piglet, reared it and killed it to provide meat, pates and other delicacies to last the following year.
As townies (and exotic foreigners) we were enlightened as to the mysteries of rearing (and respecting) the animal. It was one of the family and when the time came to slaughter it, even though it was an annual ritual, there was a clear sadness about everyone and a distaste for what had to be done.

It was so different from our usual practice of driving to the supermarket and buying a lump or a jar full of pale red meat. And Albert, for that was his name, was delicious.

Crystal Posey said...

Your husband MADE your door? That is cool.

Crystal Posey said...

P.S. I love the pictures!