April 10, 2016

One Step Closer to the Goat Barn

Finally. I've been blogging about building a goat barn for years, presenting various ideas, sketches, and floor plans from time to time. Our little old shed has been okay for making-do, but I've long wished for something more suitable for goats so I wouldn't have to continually work around my problems. The hold up has always been the old oak tree.

Dead branches fell to the ground regularly.

We took down its sister tree awhile ago; cutting it back in August 2012 and then finally taking it down in September 2013. Most of that one was already dead and much of the inside was rotten, so it was fortunate it never fell on the house. This one was more alive but also old. Some of the branches you see are still alive, others are just growing mistletoe.

Our barnyard is fairly small and tight, and with various size branches crashing down regularly, we decided this tree needed to be dealt with before we could commence building the barn.


The guys who topped the first oak used a high reach. These guys showed up with a pick up, ropes, and two chainsaws. I was amazed to see one of them was a climber: ropes, safety belt, boot spikes and a chainsaw. It only took two hours to do this...


We negotiated a lower price by doing our own clean-up. Dan prefers that anyway, to make sure we get the logs cut into a size that will fit our woodstoves. The first order of business was to clear the driveway. To help with that we decided to invest in a few tools.

Something Dan has been wanting is a cant hook. A cant hook is used for handling and moving logs. We took a trip to Northern Tool to try and find one, but they only had them with 3-foot handles. Dan chose a timberjack instead.


The timberjack is a cant hook with a built in log stand.



That made it easier to cut it. When the log is lying on the ground it sometimes pinches the saw near the end of the cut. Not fun.

The other thing we got was something I've been wanting for a long time.


About twelve or thirteen years ago I had an old Gardenway cart that I just loved. Its design made it so easy to move heavy loads with minimal effort. When we bought this place I looked for a new one, but they were priced somewhere around $350. Northern Tool had this one for $130 plus free shipping to the nearest store. It's got a 14 cubic foot/400 pound capacity and makes it easy to move firewood for stacking.

Clean up will be a little at a time.


40 comments:

  1. I like that timber jack I've not seen one like it before. Be handy for chopping firewood. I also like your cart but if I had one no doubt the girls would expect me to tow them everywhere and their legs are perfectly good!

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    1. Oh yes, that cart is a kid magnet. The only problem is that if the weight isn't distributed evenly, it tips over. So if all firewood (or kids) pile in over the wheels the handle goes flying up and contents go dumping out.

      The timberjack is highly recommended!

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  2. I love the tree climbing tree guys. There is less disturbance and much less chance of me trying to help (getting up in a cherry picker). We have a logrite timber jack. It has stopped the pinching, but there is a lot of trouble lifting smaller trees. The hook is too big. I often have to employ my trusty pinch bar to just set it on the spike. Nice to see that dangerous big tree out of there!
    Just because they grew there doesn't mean they have to spend decades threatening people and livestock. I had a big branch pick up yesterday. Many of them augered into the ground like trees that grew there. When it falls from 150', a bit of momentum builds up!

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    1. We looked into trying to rent equipment to limb it ourselves, but it would cost just as much to rent the equipment as it would to hire somebody to do it. This worked out to a better deal. Fortunately it was healthier than it's sister oak, so more of the wood is usable. :)

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  3. Gene has had one of those timber jacks for a few years. Loves it and it gets a lot of use since we put up about 8 cords plus a year for the boiler. Between the chainsaw and the log splitter it is not an easy job, but it is easier. Our heating season is long here in the mountains, from mid-October into May sometimes.

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    1. You certainly do have a long heating season. The timber jack was a great find. Like you, we've got that, a chainsaw, and a log splitter to do the job!

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  4. Love watching the professional guys climb & cut trees. I think it's almost a lost art. Oh, & love love love the cart!

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    1. I so agree about the tree climbing. It was amazing to watch!

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  5. I love to watch those guys work. Don't you just love finally getting some of those big jobs done and over with? It's a good feeling.

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  6. Leigh,

    Having the professionals down tree's makes life much easier. And when you're able to negotiate the price, that makes life much better. Now you have wood on the ground to use for your winter stash.

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    1. And we're really thankful for that firewood. With more still on the tree for another year!

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  7. What a smashing tool, dont think we have them in the UK, we have a lot of trees to come down when we start on the new land, looking forward to seeing how the new goat house develops

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    1. We've thrown out all our old plans for the barn and are starting fresh. One of these days we're going to have to commit to some plans!

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  8. I've had the same yard cart for over 20 years. The original 1/4" plywood eventually rotted (stored outside) so I used the pieces to fabricate new ones. The cart is going strong. Excited for you that the oak downing is opening up new avenues for you in terms of goat barn. AND all that nice firewood. Never seen a timberjack before. Really does the job.

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    1. Yes, the plywood can be replaced! Makes it a real bargain in the long run.

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  9. I always jump at the chance to do projects that require me to buy more tools! I see a timber jack in my future!

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    1. LOL. Wait till I show you what else Dan got. :)

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  10. I got a decayed and falling-apart garden cart at the town dump and - after a long delay - took it apart, found a picture of a similar model online, and rebuilt it. I made one change in the design: moved the handle so it would be higher, as leaning is one of the worst things for my back. I use that little cart nearly every day - very satisfying :)

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    1. Great rescue! Those are the best carts. And I can see how raising the handle would be easier on the back.

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  11. How wonderful! new wood, new toys and new planning for the barn. :D
    I cut down my cherry tree the other day...it has been infested with aphids for years and we can't keep the birds and yellow jackets from eating all the fruit. So now my lower garden is going to be sunnier. Looking forward to planting season.

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    1. I know you'll love the sun for your garden with the cherry tree gone. And if you can't get the cherries, there's no sense having it!

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  12. My Hubby is a climber and until his op last year was doing this work. I am not sure he will go back to it as it is hard on the body and now in his 40's he wants a change. Great progress though, on to the goat house.

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    1. The job definitely looks like it requires good body strength and fitness. Can't blame your husband for wanting a change from that. We do need to adjust as our bodies get older.

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  13. You must be absolutely thrilled to get that huge tree down. Glad you could get it done. Safely!

    We just two weeks ago bought the exact same garden cart, same price, from Northern Tool! We had reached the point where our old one (whadda work horse!) could be repaired no more so it had to be replaced. We did the same thing as you, searching for one and were amazed and frustrated at the price for most of them. Then we found this one at Northern Tool and are very happy with it. Hope you are, too.

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    1. I love it that you just bought the same cart! Vermont Cart seems to have taken over Gardenway carts and yes, the price is way too high. I'm sure they are beautifully crafted, but all things considered, the Northern Tool enabled us to actually buy one.

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  14. I loved your cart until I read about loading it evenly! Guess that would not work on my little place. Glad you had the tree taken down and the goats will be getting a nice new home! Nancy

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    1. That was a surprise to me when I loaded my first load of firewood! Oops! Then some visiting kids made a beeline to pile in but fortunately they are well-trained enough to obey when I hollered "stop," and that prevented a potential injury! They had great fun pushing it though, and two kids could easily move two chunky little pigs in a crate.

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  15. I love that garden cart! New tools are fun, especially with projects.

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  16. Leigh,
    I love the photos of the blossoms all around your blog-so dreamy and beautiful!
    Lots of work, but that's what we do-right?
    My hub needs one of those hook and stand tools- must show this to him!
    Congrats on Jessie's new little one- sooo sweet!
    hugs, Jackie

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    1. Thanks Jackie! You're right, we live this way because we love being physically active. Who needs a membership to the gym? I get all the exercise I need plus fresh air and the satisfaction of accomplishing something worthwhile. Priceless!

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  17. What a great deal on the cart! Two-wheeled carts are SUCH a help on a small farm; I'm so glad you finally have one.

    I have such a hard time "killing" trees....

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    1. At least this tree will still have a chance to send out new branches and leaves. We won't get the good shade, but at least we won't be worrying about branches falling on something.

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    2. Oh, I didn't realize you were leaving the trunk standing! Unfortunately, this type of "pruning" produces much weaker branches and destroys a tree's natural shape. (Sorry; 30-year member of the National Arbor Day Foundation speaking here. ;-)

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    3. Yes, that's correct. We discussed taking the entire tree down, but with a circumference of 12 feet it's too much tree to deal with all at once, and more firewood than we need for the upcoming winter. So we're storing our firewood in the live, upright position until such a time that we can take it down and have room to cut it and store it.

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  18. Sad for the magnificent old tree but good for the woodstove and the new barn!! I love your new garden cart - I've been looking at those lately also but the price keeps me away....you will have to let us know how this one holds out at that MUCH better price!! :)

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    1. I think it will hold up fairly well, and has been mentioned, the plywood can be replaced. :) They have a smaller cart as well. I'm thinking it would be good for the garden.

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  19. I love reading your blog Leigh. I'm learning so much. I never knew that cant tool existed. Wonderful cart too. I think one of the goals when I buy my property is to set it up (slowly but surely) for an aging couple. Work needs to be done but the proper tools are essential. I'm glad you're finally able to start the goat barn!

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    1. Thank you Rain! We have the same concern, i.e. thinking ahead to as we get older, and thinking of ways to work smarter not harder. The goat barn will be a huge help!

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