Friday, April 30, 2010

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: New Kids "Rhett" and "Scarlett"

Once again, the Lord graciously granted new kids to be born to one of our goats Betsy, who's full Nubian; and with our full Nubian billy Shatner, the kids are full Nubian as well.

And here they are: please meet Rhett (on the right) and Scarlett (on the left):

Nubian Nanny Goat Betsy with New Kids Rhett and Scarlett
New Nubian Kids Rhett and Scarlett

Here is some live-action resting :) . And actually, as of this video, we had 15 goats:


We are again very grateful to God for allowing us these provisions, and pray these kids become productive members of the herd.

-- David

Friday, April 23, 2010

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: New Kid "Woodrow"

A few months ago we did a blog post about our goat kids graduation, where we put all the does with the bucks we had planned for them, the first generation offspring does to be with a buck for the first time. Well, a couple of days ago, the Lord graciously granted our first second generation kid, a buck, to our Nubian doe Marie. His sire was Eastwood, who I recently mentioned had died during the winter. But, he apparently helped bring along Marie's first kid; and in honor of him, we're calling the new kid "Woodrow."

He has his father's colors; and he sure seemed large for a new-born; but I have a feeling we're used to twins and triplets, who probably end up a little smaller than a single kid might, although I can't be sure. It appears he's doing pretty well:

Nubian Doe Marie and Her New Nubian-Alpine Kid Woodrow

Here he is in action. The whining goat in the background is Pammy, who recently gave birth as well:


We are thankful once again to God for His graces and mercies in granting this healthy new provision to us.

-- David

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A House - Update VI - Beams Be Up, Scotty

Once the concrete piers for the house were completed, and the homemade termite shields in place, it was time to put on the beams. I decided to use built-up beams (which is basically constructing together beams out of thinner wood) instead of buying one-piece beams, mostly because of the almost certain tremendous cost of beams for the sizes needed.

In looking at typical wood spanning charts, and with help from friends, I decided to go with two yellow pine (for strength) 2x10s, with 1/2 inch plywood in between, which sandwiched together would fit nicely into the brackets on the piers. Apparently, 1/2 inch plywood standing on end has about the same strength as 2-by wood used similarly. In fact, they make floor joists that way (or perhaps with OSB) called TJI joists.

And so, on one of our monthly community work days, the men graciously helped me in working on them.

Here is everyone hard at work, with Michael planing the one I had already done:

Men Working on Foundation Built-up Beams on Community Work Day

For strength across the spans, except for the end pieces, each 2x10 was to span two piers and was to be staggered from the other (ie. one 2x10 would span from piers one and three, and the 2x10 placed next to it would span from piers two to four, etc.); and all breaks would be positioned on the brackets on the piers. Also, the plywood pieces would span from pier to pier; but the breaks were to be staggered off the 2x10 breaks by 1 1/2 inches. The ends of each beam would extend past the concrete part of the piers at the end of each row by around two inches so the concrete would not be setting outside the perimeter of the floor (I had to plan for that at the time the concrete piers were poured).

And so, with the wood cut, here is Robert, Michael's son, applying Liquid Nails to the plywood to help keep the built-up beam together:

Gluing Plywood for Foundation Built-up Beam

The glued plywood is set in place, flush with the top:

Placing Plywood in Foundation Built-up Beam

And some screws are put partially in to hold it in place:

Setting Screws in Plywood in Foundation Built-up Beam

After gluing the second 2x10, it is placed in position as well:

Placing Second 2x10 in Foundation Built-up Beam

With the tops all flush, clamps are put in place to squeeze all of the wood together and hold it in place while some holding screws are set:

Clamps Set on Foundation Built-up Beam
Screw Setting in Foundation Built-up Beam

And then Robert finishes it off with the nail gun:

Nailing the Foundation Built-up Beams

Some time later, after the rest of the beams were assembled, I did some further planing on them, to even them out on the bottom where they would sit on the piers, and on the tops overall:

Planing the Foundation Built-up Beams

Sadly, my strategy of placing a screw or nail two inches vertically apart every two feet horizontally, staggering each side offset by one foot, didn't keep the beams together that well, even with the glue. And so I decided to add 5/8" galvanized bolts every three feet to make sure things wouldn't get worse:

Galvanized Bolts in Foundation Built-up Beams

I mentioned in the homemade termite shield blog post above that I had originally tightened the brackets down onto the termite shields and piers, but that the brackets began to bend in the middle, which caused the holes that lined up where the vertical sides of the brackets overlapped to not be lined up anymore; and when I loosened them before, I had thought that I would be able to tighten the nuts down on the concrete pier bolts after the beams were in place. However, once the beams were set on the brackets, there ended up being no way to turn the nut with the wrench. And so, I had to figure out a way to solve my original problem of the brackets bending while tightening the nut. I thought I might try inserting a screw tip into the two lined-up holes on each side of the overlapped part of the bracket to hold them apart while I tightened down the nut, and this worked well:

Tightening Down Concrete Pier Brackets with Screws Holding the Bracket Sides Apart

Sadly here too, I ended up tightening down one of the nuts too hard; and the bolt sheered off at the base of the concrete pier. Nice. So, I drilled a 5/8" hole next to the bolt in the pier down far enough to hold a 4 1/2" concrete anchor bolt. Thankfully, this repair worked pretty well:

Repairing Broken Concrete Pier Bolt

When it came time to attach the beams to the brackets, I had to bend the beams to an upright position as the beam, over the 40 foot length of it, was often torqued. I used a floor jack against a concrete pier and 2-by wood to do the work:

Using Floor Jack to Upright the Torqued Foundation Beams

To keep the beams more securely fastened, it was suggested that I tie them to the concrete pier brackets with metal strapping:

Tying the Beams to the Concrete Pier Brackets Using Metal Strapping

And here are the beams finished and in place! (I had originally thought I would need the entire end piers under the floor; but in looking back, given there is planned to be a porch, I probably would have moved the end piers all the way to the end of the beams.)

Built-up Beams in Place for Pier and Beam Foundation

(Please see an update where I added some brackets to fortify the beam overhang, just as a precaution.)

Here are a couple of wider angles:

General View of Built-up Beams in Place for Pier and Beam Foundation
Side View of Built-up Beams in Place for Pier and Beam Foundation

We once again thank the Lord for His gracious provision of the fellowship that He's given us, and for the resources, strength, and guidance to continue with the building of the house.

-- David

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Gigi's New Digs

Last year, our goose Gigi laid a clutch of eggs in a nest she made behind our main, inner fence area. With all of the critters running around at night looking for a delectable morsel, such as a goose, to eat, we couldn't let her continue to nest back there; and so, we tried moving her eggs into the barn, where she and Gary are put at night. Sadly, that didn't work as she showed no interest in sitting on them; and so nothing came of the eggs she laid.

Also last year, I had put together a couple of palettes on their sides, end to end in a right angle to use as a separator in our goat sheds to keep kids away from their mother over night to allow us to be able to milk the doe in the morning. When the milking had stopped, I moved it into another pen area to get it out of the way. Well, this year, Gigi decided to nest in the inside the corner of that palette structure. With it away from the back wooded area by maybe 150 feet, we figured this would be a fine place for her, if I could build up the structure to make it a shelter that would keep out critters if they discovered her presence up there.

And so, I did some work on the structure to enclose it for her, adding two more palette sides, putting some plywood on them, and adding a roof. This was to allow her to begin to have a more secure place in which to sit, but wasn't quite ready for her to be there all night, as it had many places for critters to get in. Then, one night recently, Gigi decided to sit on the eggs, even up to darkness, when we would have typically put she and Gary in the barn. And so, suddenly she needed the finished product available to her. Sue and I grabbed some spare wood, and we worked to finish sealing it up as best we could. Gigi sat there the whole time we shored it up too. And here is her completed nesting shed:

Gigi the Goose's Laying Shed Front
Gigi the Goose's Laying Shed Back
Gigi the Goose's Laying Shed Inside

However, the next morning, she decided to not nest anymore, and hasn't tried to again in the evening since; but now she has her place ready, if she decides to again sit.

This is a look at her clutch of eggs:

Gigi the Goose's Eggs in Laying Shed

And here she is another day actually on the eggs:

Gigi the Goose Sitting on Her Clutch of Eggs

It would be neat if the Lord granted some goslings, although it appears that since Gary and Gigi don't have access to a real watering hole (like a pond), and they seem to mate when they're in the water, I don't know if they've actually connected; but we'll see what happens.

We're thankful to God for allowing us to watch this process, and for ordaining that Gigi would nest in a more secure area.

-- David

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: New Calf "Cuervo"

I was looking out our camper this last week into one of our fields, and saw something black behind one of the cows. I wondered what it was (and thought maybe it was a plastic bag...or maybe even a new calf!). Sue and I slowly made our way toward it, still trying to make out what it was that was behind her. Well, we got within 30 feet or so, and finally realized indeed it was a new calf, and that the cow was Rosa, one of ours. We hadn't noticed Rosa showing signs of immanently giving birth, but there it was.

And so, after discovering it to be a little bull calf, and continuing with our Spanish naming convention, Sue was looking in Spanish for things black, and looked up the word "crow." And with that, we decided to name him Cuervo:

Here are a couple of pictures:

New Longhorn Bull Calf Cuervo
New Longhorn Bull Calf Cuervo

And a video:

videoVideo of Rosa's New Bull Calf Cuervo

The larger bull we show in the video was not the sire, even though he has the same colorings. We think one of the other younger bulls, which has black and white colorings, and is penned away elsewhere right now, but happened to get out for a few days some time ago (9 months perhaps?) might have gotten to Rosa; although there was another bull, a grullo (grey) one, running with the herd at the time, but he would have had to have gotten to Rosa right around the time he was removed from the herd; and even then, Rosa was a few days late in delivering beyond that. At any rate, I guess we'll have to see how Cuervo's colors end up, although evidence is pointing to the younger black and white bull.

Also, even though in the video he isn't doing much, and he typically doesn't move around a lot during the warmer days that have been occurring lately; but at night, he's literally running circles around his mother.

We are thankful to the Lord for granting this provision of the calf, and we pray for God's continued guidance with the animals.

-- David