Monday, July 31, 2017

Projects - part 1

This weekend was the first reprieve we've had all summer from endless rain and stifling humidity.  With almost 70 inches of rain this year, we are well on track to break all the records.  Record drought last year, record rain this year.  What fun.

I took advantage of the decent weather to work on a project I've been arguing with myself about for months now.  This half of my shed holds about a third of my hay supply, but I've had a lot of problems with it....

Every year, the bottom row of hay gets very musty despite the fact that I put down a layer of plastic, then pallets, followed by another layer of plastic.  It also gets completely overrun with mice who burrow into the bales, leaving basket-ball-sized holes in the bales, chewing through all the twine and contaminating the hay with their droppings.  Given that mice are also the primary carriers of ticks, they are also infesting my good hay with horrid, plague ridden ticks.  It makes me CRAZY.

If you look close, you can see all the tunnels and holes in this bale, half of which was eaten by mice and all of it was riddled with their filth.
And yes, I do have a cat who hangs out in the shed all the time.  She likes to watch the mice play.

I've agonized and debated with myself about what to do with this space.  I talked myself out of burning it to the ground and starting over or burning it all down and moving.  I thought about gravel and rubber mats, but that does not address the moisture or the mouse problems.

The obvious solution is to build a floor, but that posed a lot of technical difficulties, which I won't bore you with.  Finally, I couldn't stand thinking about it anymore and I came up with a plan that I thought might work and ordered lumber.

The plan, like most plans, did not survive long.  There was this whole issue with load bearing and door width and tree roots (because I do NOT want to kill my tree) and I was standing there revisiting the torch idea when I remembered this huge steel pipe that someone gave me years ago.  The chickens were, once again, purely gratuitous.  They were sooo not helpful.

This 5" heavy steel pipe has been lying on the ground, behind the building, slowly sinking into oblivion and after staring at it for a ridiculous amount of time, I finally saw it and decided to see if I could make it work.  It is just barley the right length, but it does fit and an elephant could do a high wire act on this thing.  Load bearing over a 12' span should not be an issue anymore.

It took another ridiculous amount of time to figure out how to make this work without being able to attach anything to it and without having problems with frost heaving, but I think I've got now.  Everything is tied in together so the weight is distributed throughout the whole floor.

Of course, it's not actually done yet because I didn't have enough of the right lumber and it was Sunday and I have to wait to order more and blah, blah, blah, but I have finally made some real progress and I know where to go from here so the hardest part is over.

And...I finally found a use for that ginormous steel pipe that was slowly wasting away.

Next up....


  1. At least you have a plan now. I hope this fixes all of those problems. You need Evie. She's been catching a lot of mice. They are so destructive, so even when I see one she has that is still alive.......I just have to walk on.

    I use to run her off of them, but they started getting into the feed bags. Enough. Go get em Evie.

    Take care,

  2. 70" inches of rain in six months; I had no idea. I've lived here for 30 years, and we have had about 90" of rain during that time. Your ambition also astounds me. And as for watching those stinking mice play - - maybe it is time to get a couple rescues and put them to work.

  3. Glad you got a break from the weather, and put it to good use!! Mice, ugh - I can't stand those good for nothing varmints. Maybe it's time for another cat ;)

  4. Ed always says that every year we figure out how to solve a new problem. I love your creativity.

  5. YOU! are amazing! Good work!!!! So wish we lived closer...

  6. I can't think of much of anything that will stop the mice. We actually don't store hay and pick up hay every few weeks by the truck load. While that seems inefficient, it has saved us ruined bales. When storing bales in a shed like that, I've always figured the bottom row was going to be tossed out due to mold and mice.
    I think this should be a good solution!