July 19, 2016

Milling the Big Ones

Some of you have asked if upgrading the goat shed was going to take the place of building the new barn. The answer to that is no, because we've always planned to build a proper workshop with storage someday. The goat shed will become that once the barn is done. So once Dan finished putting the new roof on the old goat shed, he thought he'd better finish milling the girders and posts for the new barn.


The logs were already down and sitting in the driveway, but a problem had developed which needed tending to. Plus, it was beginning to look like it's going to be awhile before building can begin, and Dan wanted all the lumber to have approximately the same curing time.

What was that problem? Pine bark beetle. Bark beetles infest the inner bark of trees and can be very destructive. They kill trees by disrupting the sap flow to the leaves. Removing infested trees is part of the management protocol, so cutting and milling our own lumber is hopefully helpful in that regard. At a certain point in the beetles' life cycle they make a curious clicking sound from under the bark of the tree, and the remainder of Dan's cut logs were clicking.

Once the new roof was secure Dan put on his lumberjack hat once again and recruited some help.

This is "Sister," the last of our Speckled Sussex
and one of our two oldest hens. She knew what to do.



Dan peeled sections of the bark off.

This exposed pine bark beetle larva.

Sister cleaned them up including the ones that fell to the ground

That was the easy part. Getting the logs onto the sawmill track was a bit trickier. How did he manage that by himself?


He made ramps of a sort with angle iron and pushed the logs up with the drawbar on the back of the tractor.




Then the milling could begin.


This presented another set of challenges because the logs are really too big for our little sawmill. Cutting down with the ripping chain was necessary.


Wedges helped.

Sister remained on duty, just in case,

but the snoopervisors kept their distance
because the whole business was too noisy.



That particular log gave Dan one 6x6, two 2x6s, and three 2x10s. He would have gotten more if the trunk hadn't been curved. From the other huge logs I showed you in the first photo, he got five 15-foot 6x12s, plus some 1- and 2-inch boards to be cut to size as he needs them.


So there it is, the bones of the new barn, all properly stacked, stickered, and covered. Summer staycation is almost over, so these will have to sit for awhile. Happily everything will be cured and ready to go when it's time to build.

Milling the Big Ones © July 2016 by Leigh 


42 comments:

Michelle said...

That has got to be immensely satisfying!

Sarah said...

Wow! Go Sister & Dan! Doing it like a boss! That's a lot of beautiful wood waiting for great stuff to happen! :)

jewlz said...

Found myself trying to decide which of you two were the most resourceful... it's a tough call! :)

TC Goatldi said...

I would love to do that at our place. We have an abundance of Oak, Manzanita and California Ghost Pines. Imagine the Manzanita is more of a wood working type wood. But the Oak and Pine would be nice. Good job!

Leigh said...

It is, on multiple levels, especially because those trees aren't going to waste. :)

Leigh said...

We love it when we can truly partner with our animals!

Leigh said...

Ha, it's called teamwork. :)

Leigh said...

The oak would be gorgeous but heavy! It's amazing how heavy the pine is when it's green.

Theresa said...

Hmm, that was a stay cation!? Dan probably goes back to work not only to make $ but to relax. Beautiful job. Those pine bark beetles are so destructive. You go Sister!

aart said...

"Sister remained on duty, just in case," hahaha! What a great pic and caption!

Love to watch Dan work solving sawyer issues, thanks for documenting and sharing it.....y'all are indeed a great team.

So the timber will in fact be cured before building, good to see. I asked about that on another post, and read the Reverence for Wood book ya'll recommended, which was excellent but didn't really address the green wood building.

Caroline J. Baines said...

This is just awesome, Leigh! Tell Sister she's a good girl :)

DFW said...

What an accomplishment! Great job for all involved.

Fiona said...

People underestimate the usefulness of chickens....we have been struggling with Japanese beetles in some of our corn.The chickens found out where I was getting them and now I am followed by a hungry, demanding horde when I go out to pick beetles. It is the best of organic pest control although I admit picking them is worse than potato beetles.
Your lumber stack is so good to see, there is so much we can do with our own resources with good planning!

Renee Nefe said...

great work on the lumber milling! Always great to have helpers and snoozervisors too. ;) I usually have to put Lilly on her tie out so she isn't under foot.

Erika Keller said...

Seeing that beautiful stack of lumber curing is like looking at money in the bank!

Ed said...

I'm about as excited to see this barn go up as you two are! Probably not but pretty darn close!

Farmer Barb said...

One of the greater joys is being able to grow your own lumber!

Leigh said...

LOL, very true about the "staycation." Actually he would love to stay home, if we could figure out how to make that happen.

Leigh said...

If it didn't come from Reverence For Wood, it probably came from YouTube, LOL. But yes, it will be cured, which I think will have the advantage of making the timbers not so heavy!

Leigh said...

Now every time she sees Dan she comes running and follows him around. ;0

Leigh said...

It's huge for us. :)

Leigh said...

That's exactly right! Ours polish off crickets, pill bugs, and slugs too, although apparently centipedes and millipedes are not edible. :)

Leigh said...

We might need a tie out for Sister, LOL. She's Dan's enthusiastic companion nowadays.

Leigh said...

I feel the same way, especially considering the cost and quality of lumber these days.

Leigh said...

It's going to be hard to have to wait to start on it!

Leigh said...

Amen!

Laurie said...

Good job, Sister!

Sharon in Surrey said...

Amazing what a man & a chicken can accomplish!!! Just one question. Where were the other hens???

Leigh said...

:)

Leigh said...

The other hens were in the chicken yard and pasture. Sister is the only one that's "allowed" out. I use quotation marks because she actually lets herself out. She slips through and hops fences.

Her partnership with Dan began when he was working on the roof for the goat shed. He had to do some digging and she was right there, gobbling down any tidbits he unearthed. When he realized how badly infested those logs were with pine bark beetle, he called her over and showed her some. She knew what to do! Now she goes running over to him wherever he is outside.

Dan particularly likes this chicken. The breed (Speckled Sussex) are excellent foragers and quite intelligent. They aren't the greatest layers, however, which is why we keep mostly Black Australorps.

Michelle said...

I'm happy to read your opinion on Black Australorps, as I am getting three started pullets soon!

Chris said...

A lovely stack of lumber. Remember to measure thrice, then cut once. ;)

M.K. said...

That's quite impressive!! Good work, Dan. And good work from your chicken ladies too -- that's great use of them!

Tricky Wolf said...

Whoah! impressive beams, what a wonderful resource to be able to make use of, especially under the expert instruction of the chicken!

Leigh said...

Everybody who has them seems to love them and I can see why. I worried a bit about their black color in our heat, but they fare just as well as the other breeds we've had. There was some discussion of whether or not they go broody, but I have two of them setting as I write!

Leigh said...

Haha, even then mistakes are sometimes made!

Leigh said...

This is a good example of partnering with our critters! It's taken some time to observe the nature of our various animals and learn to go with that rather than fight it. That being said, I would still prefer that the chickens didn't unmulch whatever I've just mulched! ;)

Leigh said...

Thank you! And oh those chickens. It is said that humans enslave animals, but I think it's the other way around. Who provides the food and hauls fresh water? Who cleans up the mess? Stays up all night to catch predators? Opens gates? Comes running when the critters call? I think our critters have us very well trained. :)

Harry Flashman said...

Pine beetles are a problem in North Georgia as well. Since I don't mill my own wood, my issues are different. I have heavily wooded property, and when we have big storms come through, you get forty foot tall pines that the beetles have killed crashing down.

Leigh said...

That's exactly what they do! It was one of the reasons we decided to mill our own lumber. No sense letting those trees fall down on goats and lay there and rot.

Chris said...

You're right. Tell Dan I know, how it feels to still manage that, after applying the thrice rule myself. Some days are just too big, to fit all those equations in!

Kris said...

I'm just shaking my head in wonderment at Dan's accomplishment. If I'm ever stranded on an island I pick Dan (and you of course) to be there. There'd be good shelter, roads and infrastructure set up in no time. Oh, and bring sister..just in case. :-D