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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Pastured duck 9 of 17

Move to the rear of the tractor
On the rear cross piece mark center.

Cut 1 1X3 69" long, install centered on this mark.

From the center mark measure 26" to each side and mark.

Cut 2: 1X3's 59"long, and install to the outside of the two marks.

Mobile pen 8 of 17

On the front cross piece mark the center (55 1/1")

Then mark from each end of the cross piece 39 3/3" this should give you a 32" door opening.
Cut 2: 1 X 3's 68" lone, install on the 39 3/3" marks, Square it up, I use 1 5/8" coarse sheet rock screws.

When I ripped the 1 X 12 X 12's I left two boards (I am building five tractors)6" wide. Cut 1: 1 X 6 37 1/2 inches long. Screw this to the top of the door boards. Mark the center on the top of this "header" board. This mark will be used later to run a 2 X 4 front to rear as a ridge pole.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hoophouse 7 0f 17

Chicken coop 6 0f 17

Moveable chicken house 5 of 17

These are old picture when we used 4 X 4's but it will give you a good idea of what I am talking about

Chicken panel house 4 of 17

Tighten up all your timber locks then set two cattle panels in to place.

Put a shim under the ends of the cattle panel and using big fence staples nail them in place. Since your skids are still wobbly and bow somewhat be sure to put your foot behind where you are nailing.

Hoop house 3 of 17

Pre drill and add a 4" timber lock screw on each end of each skid, this will true it up better and provide more strength.

Cattle panel hoop house 2 of 17

We used to use 4 X 4's for the skids, you don't need it, now we use 2 X 4's
Cut 2 2 X $'s each 121' long.
Cut one end of each "skid" at an angle to form the "skid" end. this "wedge" measures 6" long and 2" deep

Cut 2 2 X 4's 111 1/2" long (Cross Piece)
Cut a knotch on each end so this 2 X 4 will fit over the "skid" This sut out is 2" deep and 1 1/2" wide, this will form a tounge

Drill a 3/16" hole in each "tounge" tp prevent splitting when bolting together using 4" "Timber lock screws" from Home Depot.

Lay the skids about 108" apart, mark a line 6" from the back end. Lay your cross pieces so that they will be on this mark 6" from the back end.

Mark another line from the first 6" line 120" towards the front. The outside of the back cross piece is 120" from the inside of the front piece. (two cattle panels together wil be 100" wide, I add a bit extra so it is easier to get them in to place)

Bolt the cross pieces loosley together with the "timber Locks" and square the frame 152" corner to corner of the cross pieces.

Drill pilot holes for hooks about half way up on the front end of the skids, angle them a bit and install your hooks for the pulling rope.

Chicken Tractor 1 of 17

This will be a series for those who have had many questions about chicken tractors, we will also call it different names so hopefully google etc will pick them up so others can find it.

We use rough cut 1 X 12 X 12 pine for all the brace material, it is about the cheapest we can get, here we are ripping the planks in to 3" boards

Here is the pile of materials to build five tractors, we use cattle panel it is 50" X 16'

Your first Kiss

Thanks to Marisa for this.

So, it's your first kiss and several questions might come to mind:

Is it the right time?

Is anyone watching?

Does your partner even want to?

Is your breath fresh?

And... Should you use some tongue?

Then you lean in and just go for it!!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Congrats to John, Earl and Ch 61

They won this Award for the story they did about our farm. Here is the press release:

HARTFORD --- Governor Jodi Rell and more than 20 Connecticut agricultural organizations will formally present the annual Connecticut Agricultural Journalism Awards to 12 state journalists at the state capitol here March 21 (est. at 11:30am).
The Awards, now in their 11th year, are given annually by the nonprofit Connecticut Agricultural Information Council (CAIC), a coalition of state farming groups, as part of the festivities surrounding Connecticut Agriculture Day at the state capitol. Each recipient receives an honorarium of $100 and a plaque. The Awards recognize excellence in reporting on agricultural issues published or broadcast in the state during the calendar year 2006.
The Awards were made possible by grants from First Pioneer Farm Credit, Monsanto Company, Big Y World Class Markets, Prides Corner Farms, and Clinton Nurseries.

Winners of the 2006 Connecticut Agricultural Journalism Awards include:

*Connecticut Farm Bureau, Best Graphic Design/Newsletters
*Terri Miles, Amity Observer, Best Photography/Weekly Newspapers, "A Gourdy Display", October 19
*Deborah Beckwith, The Lyme Times, Best Photography/Weekly Newspapers, "Talking Turkey", Nov. 23
*Danielle Sherry, The Lyme Times, Best Feature Story/Weekly Newspapers, "Sand, Surf& Sedum", Aug. 10
*John Smith, Town of Suffield Annual Report, Best Photography
*John Charlton, Fox 61 News, Best Feature Story/Television, "Heritage Breeds", November 22
*Earl Glazier, Fox 61 News, Best Photography/Television, "Heritage Breeds", November 22
*John Voket, Cox Broadcasting/WPLR/WEZN, Best Series/Radio, Series on agriculture
*Steve Grant, Hartford Courant, Best Feature/Daily Newspapers, "Home-State Cooking", September 26
*Linda Giuca, Hartford Courant, Best Feature/Daily Newspapers, "The Vintner's Harvest", October 2
*Joe Wojtas, The Day (New London), Best Feature/Daily Newspapers, "Casting An Eye on Chefs", Oct. 5
*Laurel Tuohy, Litchfield County Times, Best Feature Story/Weekly Newspapers, "In Sharon, Trust's Fundraiser Features State's Farms Bounty", September 15

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Chicken Tractor questions

Recently I had a Lady ask some questions about our chicken tractors. The following should help a bit.

If you look at the photo, the tractor is facing north. The skids are made of 2X4X10's and they are about 110 3/4 inches apart (inside to inside dimension). These run north-south.

Then two 2X4X10's are cut 105" long and each end is notched so as to sit down on the skids but they leave about a 1 1/2" gap on the bottom so as to not catch stumps and stones. These rails run east and west and are attached using "timber lock" screws from Home Depot.

The doorway's inside dimension is 33 1/2" wide and 61" tall.

Remember there is also a 2X4X10 that is ripped to be a 2X4X10, and is then cut to length to fit inside the cattle panel. This connects the top front to the top rear and gives stability.

BTW, the cattle panel is 16' long and 50" high and we use two.

All the rest of the framing is 1X3 that has been ripped from rough cut 1X12X12 pine.

The bracing around the door and the rear is drilled on the ends so that wire wraps can be inserted through the holes and around the cattle pannel to provide more stability.

There is about an 8" "tounge" on the skids where the hooks for the pulling rope is attached.

Since I use 2X4's for skids I have to use a tie-down strap with a ratchet to pull the center together to square it up. I then put on the cattle panel, recheck square and then add four cross braces to hold it square. Then I remove the tie-down. If you don't do this the spring action of the cattle panel will "bow" out the skids

Chicken wire is attached with wire wraps as is the trap. The tarps need to be replaced each year.

This year we will wire wrap on some of that plastic roofing panel that look corragated. We will use clear panelling and it will give us some wind and rain protection in the early part of the season. This should help keep the death rate down as the young birds do NOT like cold damp weather.

Some day when I have some free time I will do this up right with plans, dimensions and better pictures. I will be building five more tractors this month so I should be able to get it done then.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Decran Ag supply

We have contacted Decran in Lebanon Ct to spread 24 tons of lime on our pastures, this is supposed to be done tomorrow (friday) and I have taken the day off from the PO to be here to move animals and oversee the operation.

Tomorrow I will got to Thompson Saw Mill in RI to get the rought cut 1 X 12 X 12's I need to make the new brooders...

Did I say the Murray McMurray screwd up our chicken order, we were supposed to get 50 Delaware's and 50 Cornish X last we will get them plus 50 more Cornish X this coming MOnday...I wasn't happy, Last year they sent me the completly wrong breed...

Got my 150 pounds of pasture seed from Welter Seed co in Iowa, will spread that as 100 pounds in the 4 acre lot and 50 in the oxpasture's west section.


Sare Grant

We heard last night that we got the Sare Grant with a couple of changes. Dale has tried to e-mail us but for some reason it doesn't come through. More on this later.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Farm Grant Journal

I will try to keep this up dated to have a record of our grant progress.

Farm Grant Journal

February 15th, finally heard from Ron Olsen (grant coordinator from Ct dept of AG) that we can get started, he is still waiting to get the contracts back from the Sec of State…taking entirely too long.

Feb 16th: Called The Barn Store in Salisbury NH to order 6 porta hut for the pigs, 10: 50 gallon water tanks, 3 fence sections to fit on a porta hut, was told they only had 3 huts and would order more in April.

Feb 26th called The Barn store to verify my order, all is set

March 1st, called The Barn store to verify again, all is set to pick up on Sunday the 4th of Mar. But check back to be sure the water tanks come in.

March 2nd: Barn store will only have 5 water tanks

March 4th: Kevin and I drove 3 ¼ hours to the Barn store, they only had five water tanks and two porta hut which were frozen in ice and snow (they got a storm Friday nite) they had to be dug out took about an hour. Jim (the owner) said they “might” order more huts in april. I explained my dissatisfaction over them not having the 3 huts they said they would and that two guys plus Kevin and I had to dig out the huts, they should have all been ready. I told Jim this wasn’t a good way to do business and that his office gal was the one responsible for the error.

Jim’s son is the store manager and he took my name and number and will call me when the huts come in. After my experience with them I will call them and not wait for them to call me. This is the second time I went up there for huts, nice store, they have a nice diner in the store and despite this experience I will still continue to do business with them.

March 5th, called Murray McMurray to find out why we didn’t get out first order of 50 broilers and 50 Delaware chickens, they flat screwed up and didn’t send them, they will send this order plus next weeks order all at once. The brooders are ready but we need to get the new ones built this weekend.