Sunday, May 15, 2011

Building a Sheepfold

I wound up building this wall three times. The first time I had a friend helping me who reversed the top and bottom plates so that all the studs were angled. That in itself should have alerted me to a design problem, but we simply knocked off one plate with a sledge hammer, flipped it end over end and renailed it. Fortunately we didn't have time to put it up that evening. The next day I realized that I had marked the studs incorrectly. The studs are 16 inches apart, but I neglected to center them on the 16" increments. When you are marking them you need to remember to subtract 3/4" and put your pencil mark there. It has been several years since I built a wall so it slipped my mind. Plywood comes in 4' wide sheets and you need to nail adjoining sheets to the same stud. If you space all of your studs a full 16 inches apart the plywood will end right at the edge of the stud and the next sheet will be resting on air.

Finally, the first wall was standing. Note the water puddle inside the frame. We had a lot of rain this week.

Getting set up to nail together the second wall.

Finally, all four walls are up. I hauled a half dozen bucket loads of sand in with my tractor to level the floor and provide a drier substrate. The tall wall will have a large opening for sheep to use during inclemet weather. I'm planning on anchoring the fence to the wall just to left of this doorway, which would allow me to enter without opening a fence gate, which can be a problem when the snow gets deep.

This is actually more of a hayshed than a sheepfold. From what I've read (my knowledge of sheep is almost all from books at this point), sheep would just as seen stay outdoors in all but the worst weather and don't need much of a shelter. Hay bales on the other hand need a good roof over their head. But sheepfold has a nicer ring to it.

And yes, it is going to have a slanted roof.

Collateral damage. Trees and pastures are somewhat inimicable. A few trees go a long way, so I had to do some selective cutting with my chainsaw. Next fall after there is snow on the ground I plan to have the mother of all bonfires.

I moved the beehives near the chicken coop. This past week my buddy Paul delivered four packages of bees, three of which I installed here. The fourth went to another friend who is just starting as a beekeeper and lost his first hive during the cold weather.

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