June 4, 2015

Goat Barn Plan C

"And which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?"   Luke 14:28
That's exactly what Dan and I have been discussing these days in terms of our proposed round goat barn. No matter which way we slice it, dice it, or julienne fry it, this would be a large and expensive undertaking. Don't get me wrong, we absolutely love the round barn idea and the plan, but the more we've discussed it, the less realistic it seems. Since we are not yet committed through either action or money, we decided to re-evaluate our needs and see if there isn't another option. Not too long ago we spent quite a bit of time at the proposed building site with tape measure and graph paper in hand.

The old "coal barn" is gone, leaving a cleared site for a new building. Carport
used to be at left, workshop in middle, remnants of coal storage on the right. 

That concrete pad was for the carport on the old coal barn, and it makes sense to use it for a new milking and feed storage room. My Plan A was to simply rebuild in the exact same footprint, using the other two sections as the area for the goats.

Goat barn Plan A. Click for larger view. Details here.

Then Dan came up with the idea for a round barn.

 photo round_barn_floorplan_zps1d96970a.jpg
Plan B was a larger, round barn. Details here. Click for a larger view.

Once we determined that the round barn was too much to build, we revisited Plan A. However, in trying to round out our numbers to utilize whole 4 foot by 8 foot sheets of plywood for the walls, we were right up against the huge magnolia tree and utility pole. We could either cut back on the length of the barn, or we could change the orientation of the main part of the barn to gain a some building room plus a little length. That's what we did for Plan C.

Plan C. Click to enlarge. The slab becomes the milking room with the
orientation of the barn giving me a porch overhang for the milking room
and a pen in the back. We still plan for a hayloft with drop chute for hay

With Plan C I lose the feed processing and equipment storage room I was getting with the round barn plan, but gain a pen for breeding / showing goats. It also gives us a little more room for the goats (or maybe it's for more goats ;). More importantly, the plan seems more doable. That's assuming we can ever get to it. Seasonal jobs become intense in spring and summer which means less time for things like building projects. Then too, Dan likes to finish one thing before he starts another, in this case the rest of the front porch, bay window, and interior trim for the front door. So I must be patient. Everything happens in it's own good time.

30 comments:

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    1. Chute, of course. Shoot the hay down the chute. I'd better go correct that, LOL

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  2. I find that the longer we wait to do something the more changes happen to the plan. Perhaps that's all part of God's plan in that we are patient for it to all work out for the best.

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    1. Renee, I've never regretted taking time to plan our projects. It took us two years to get started on the kitchen, although many folks said they would have done the kitchen right off the bat. I felt like I needed to live in the house for awhile to figure out what I needed and where to put it. I still love my kitchen.

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  3. Finishing what I start keeps me from being overwhelmed with unfinished projects. Plus finishing something feels so good!

    It's always easier to change a few lines on a drawing that to move walls after they are up. Bet Dan is building and mulling over ideas as he works on finishing the house project.

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    1. You're right. Dan spends a lot of time thinking about the various steps of whatever plan we're considering. Especially the foundation. It's a little tricky because of the slab already being there.

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  4. I need a little "finish what you start" in my life, too. The goats reinforced that yesterday when they jumped my temporary garden fence to eat all the strawberry leaves, again...

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    1. Oh no! Trouble is, now that they know there is such a tasty treat there it will be hard to keep them out. Goats, even little goats, are tricksy!

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  5. I think getting Dan to finish off the other jobs first is the wisest way to go....

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    1. Trouble is, he gets on a mental track to want to finish the rest of the house, which is probably a 3 or 4 year project. Before we got started on the porch I told him I'd be putting the brakes on. I told him he'd hear "but the barn..." as a reminder of that need. :)

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  6. I find it hard to take on any significant project until summer begins winding down. Just keeping up with what nature is throwing at us this time of year takes all the time we have (and more).
    Having said that, I don't have your patience and I've got regrets to prove it. Much better to think it all through very carefully and move forward very deliberately. Your post is a good reminder of that.

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    1. Bill, that's exactly it - summer offers no time for things like building and improving projects. Unless a lot of rain keeps us out of field and garden.

      In truth, we're really not all that patient, but restricted by lack of time and money. The challenge is to not get frustrated with what isn't done, but to focus on being thankful for what we have, trying to focus on the next task at hand. Easier said than done.

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  7. Reevaluating plans before committing them to action is a constant on a homestead. There are times when we have come up with a better alternative that way. Dreams are always more fun, but practical, sound decisions beat them every time. It's great when they match up. Thank you for sharing your thought process, decisions and why. It helps us realize that other folks do it this way as well.

    Fern

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    1. Fern, I call it the blessing of not having much money. If we had a lot of money we could afford to blast on through ideas without really thinking them through. As frustrated as I've been with our little goat shed, all of its problems have helped me design a better layout for goat handling. After all the brainstorming it boils down to time and money. That's what really helps us prioritize.

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  8. Your quote is the exact reason I have never built a tower ;)

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    1. Yet it's such common sense! I confess I find myself too often motivated by impulse rather than thinking a thing through. And I have dozens of no longer used items around the place to prove it.

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  9. Leigh,

    One step at a time! Complete one job, then move on to another is sound advice. If money grew on tree's our plans would never change.....that's why money doesn't grow on trees.
    Plan C provides positive changes!

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    1. Not having a money tree is one reason we try to plan our biggest projects in stages. We're also constantly struggling with priorities. On the one hand, the work on the house is necessary for repair and energy efficiency. On the other, with our allotment of time and money, it will take years to complete. On the other hand are issues of preparedness and therefore working toward a greater degree of self-sufficiency. If the sugar hits the fan and our culture truly collapses, then some of what we're doing on the house is moot, and our time and money would be better spent working true needs rather than the neighbors being offended by our rundown eyesore. On the other hand, when the weather is too cold or rainy to work outside, we still have something productive to do, i.e. the house. On the other hand, well looks like I'm out of hands. :)

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  10. "It will get done when it's time for it to get done" as my Grandmother used to say. Not really sure, but I guess it means whatever is meant to be will be ... in due time.

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    1. Great saying! You had a wise grandmother, and I can honestly say I've found it to be true. Seems like when it's time to do something then the ideas and resources work themselves out.

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  11. Have you ever read "Swiss Family Robinson"? We've read and listened to it many times. Until we moved to our farm a year ago I took the book as it was written. Yes, the wealthier people back then did read a lot and could have picked up a lot of information from those books. We listened to it in the car just a couple of weeks ago and I'll tell you, I was much more skeptical. A lot of "oh, isn't that convenient", and " wow, I guess when you have nothing else to do you can get a project like that done quckly."
    Farm life has ruined me for "Swiss Family Robinson."

    When husbands have jobs that pay them and all the big projects on the farm, bills to pay so all money can't just go for the "next project" then YES, we wait, we adjust our plans. It is a great lesson in patience and putting off what you want to do now rather than going into debt. We have two boys and we are hoping that the "delaying gratification until you can pay cash" is rubbing off on them.
    The words "it isn't a priority" are often heard when trying to decide which project to do next.
    I do believe delaying gratification is something lost in our culture of everything available at our fingertips, fast food, 24 hour markets etc. Farm life is hard but it is good.

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    1. Karen, very interesting about your change in perception for Swiss Family Robinson. It's been eons since I read it, so now I'll have to track it down! I think you point to something significant in terms of how living close to the land (or not) influences our perception of reality.

      I so agree about delaying gratification. Human nature wants instant gratification and without self-discipline a person is enslaved to the whim of the moment. I would go so far as to say that advertising and marketing take advantage of that! The farm life/homesteading skill set is so much more than knowing what to feed animals or what to plant when. As you point out, it's learning to weigh the value of the needs at hand and prioritize doing something about them. Well said.

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  12. As much as I loved the idea of the round barn, if I was building it, I would be tempted to do a square building too, simply because its easier to build with straight materials. Unless you were planning to do something like a cob or strawbale round barn, that is - as they can lend themselves well to round buildings, especially cob.

    I notice you said you'd lose storage for equipment and I've been looking for storage solutions, for my tools, which don't involve building a whole shed. A "lean-to" attached to an existing wall, seems the way to go. These can be narrow, from 1 metre, up to 3m.

    The beauty is, you can add them later, after you've gotten the barn built. I was looking at the left-hand side of your plan, and there should be room for a lean-to. It can be fully enclosed with shelves, and accessible with either hinge or sliding doors. We can actually buy metal shed kits, in a lean too style, which is only a few hundred dollars. I've been looking at sticking one under our verandah, attached to the brick wall.

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    1. Chris, those lean-tos are really a great answer for so many things. I didn't do a sketch of the barn from ground level, but what you describe is exactly what we have in mind. The main part of the barn (for the goats) will be a traditional looking gambrel roof barn with the milking room as a lean-to type of addition.

      That's a real good deal for metal shed kits! I've not seen lean-to kits here, but we've looked at possibly starting with a metal carport for the roof and building the barn on it. The size we'd like is over $1000.

      Storage is a perennial problem! Not only for equipment but for hay and feed.

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    2. I should be more specific with those prices. It can range from $300 to $500, depending what finish you go with (zinc or colorbond) and because you're attaching it to an existing structure, you don't have to buy the rear wall.

      I've been looking at ones which are 3m long x nearly 80cm deep. Large enough to put 3m worth of shelving in. You don't really walk into them, just open the doors and grab stuff off the shelves.

      We have a verandah which is 1.8m wide, so I'd still have a metre clearance to walk by. I like the idea of having one place I could stick all my electric and hand tools together, which I use for building. They seem to get lost in the garden shed, with all the garden tools and its annoying as heck if you can't find something.

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    3. I finally did find a building such as you describe, i.e. a lean-to addition for a house. I'm thinking that versus the cost of materials to build from scratch makes it a fairly attractive option. We haven't figured it all out yet, but a carport roof for the main barn and a carport roof lean-to add-on may be an option.

      I have to agree about tool storage! Our tools are usually spread out over several projects which is definitely not a good way to do things.

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  13. Plan C looks good, too. I do like the idea of a round barn, too; They just have so much character, at least from the outside. I can see construction being a complicated thing though. Dan would likely have been fine (I can hardly make a straight cut and a square corner) but it still more takes time which also doesn't grow on trees (At least in our zone).

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    1. Mark, I'll just be thankful to get the goats into something a bit larger and more convenient for me. It won't begin to happen until after we get the ground and planting taken care of, however. sigh.

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  14. I am really interested in following your planning for the new goat barn. I'm still waiting on permission for goats, but financially we won't be getting them until next spring anyway, best case scenario. It gives me time to plan how we will house them as well. We have a building already that will work really well, that was the previous owner's woodworking shop. The inside will have to be retrofitted for goat purposes, and there is no loft so a large section will need to be set aside for hay and straw storage. I also need to do something about the flooring, which is wood. I was wondering about putting a layer of those rubber mats for horses down underneath the bedding? I'm not sure exactly what would be best. Dividing up the space is something to consider too. I appreciate being able to follow your planning process, since you're experienced with goats. I can only afford to do this once, so I want to do it right! One thing I'm excited about is that there is a little lean-to section on the outside of the building that doesn't extend all the way to the ground--it's open on the bottom but has a roof, walls and a door. It was used to store lumber before, I'm hoping to use it to store tree fodder for goats--something I'm really interested in experimenting with since we have so many trees.

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    1. Rosalyn, this is the perfect time to be preparing for goats. :) Raising Goats The Modern Way discusses flooring in the goat housing chapter, and mentions wooden floors. The author says one shouldn't build a goat barn with wood floors, "But if you already have the building, there's no reason you shouldn't use it." The biggest problem with wood is that it rots. He doesn't say so, but I'm guessing goat urine would only facilitate rotting. His solution is highly absorbent bedding such as peat moss or chopped oat straw. Of course it has to be changed frequently (think compost). I'm thinking your idea of the mats would certainly protect the wood; you'd just need plenty of absorbent bedding.

      We build a platform for hoop house hay storage which has worked very well. The trick is to keep it off the ground if you're in a damp area.

      Sounds like you're doing a very good job of trying tho think this through.

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