Tag Archives: Construction

Goat milking stand made from junk

UPDATE: there’s a newer post with a picture of the device being used, for anyone who wondered exactly how that worked.

In keeping with the already established aesthetic of our livestock equipment and housing, I built a milking/hoof care stand and stanchion out of old pallets and scrap wood.

Here’s the overview:

With the stanchion open:

Though it looks like a medieval torture device, the blue bucket full of treats keeps goats happy and distracted during milking, hoof trimming, etc.:

Goat’s-eye view:

Teri pointed out that it would be disasterous for a goat’s body to slip off the side while her head was in the stanchion, so I added side rails. One can be flipped out of the way to release the goat (goats don’t like to go in reverse)

Locked closed:


Old lawnmower wheels make this weighty contraption sort of portable:

It may look slapped together, but typical of my engineering, it’s sturdy enough for a small elephant. I studied various sets of plans, made a few sketches, and adapted what I had in my imagination to the supply of old pallets and scrap we had lying around.

Here’s proof that I didn’t major in drafting (or penmanship, which has continued its downhill progress through almost 30 years of computer use):

Chicken nest box from salvaged lumber

A year or so ago, I got a truckload of free seconds from a friend with a sawmill…nice stuff, but too knotty/cracked/warped to charge top dollar to a client for. Excellent for building livestock equipment, though!

This box is for a friend who gave us our beautiful new chickens. It’s very similar to the one I made for us, but went a LOT faster and is a bit more refined. Total investment: about 1 hour and $1 worth of screws and such.
Nesting box for chickens, made out of salvaged lumber

November photo assortment

peasWell, mostly November. This picture of 2008’s second pea crop is about two months old (the weather changed and the plants became goat food)

greenhouseWith Western Oregon’s mild climate, we will be trying our hands at winter gardening. I’ve replaced the leaky, opaque roof on the greenhouse with “sun-tuff” – corrugated plastic panels – and used some of our old windows to make a cold frame (the 2′ high glassed projection on the front). We hope to grow kale and a few other greens in there, after getting them started indoors and gradually acclimating them to outdoor life.

Outside the greenhouse there’s still plenty to do. Cover crops of clover, cereal ryegrain, faba beans, and vetch have been planted in last year’s beds:
cover crops

garlicHere’s a 40′ double row of garlic, about 1/3 planted. We’ll be doing three different varieties, with different storage life and flavor attributes. In our mild climate, the garlic will (we hope) grow slowly through the winter and burst into life in the spring, with harvest coming in May and June.

goth sunflowersPerhaps inspired by Halloween festivities, these sunflowers have gone goth.

Goats, of course, don’t take a break in the winter as most of the garden does. Stand by for gratuitous cuteness:
aberdeen door

koko aberdeen door


goat gateNext year, the goats will enjoy another little pasture area. I’m putting a lot of radish seeds in there, because goats love the greens, which grow early and fast. Here’s the door from their current enclosure to the new pasture. The door is of course made from old shipping pallets.

firepit stepsIn non-farming news, visitors will be happy to see that the deadly mudslide down to our fire pit now has steps.

And finally, the Yamaha saga. I found what seemed like a good deal on a mid-size road bike, and bought it with dreams of 55mpg dancing in my head.yamahaThe wiring and tires were a mess, but I’ve fixed that and a few other things. The title was lost, but the previous owner’s widow filled out all sorts of paperwork that should have helped me get a title.

Finally the day came – I went to the DMV and all my papers were in order, but there is a lien on the bike from the 1980s, and I’m currently navigating a voicemail maze at the finance company in question to determine whether the lien is satisfied. Oh well, it’s raining all the time anyway now, but I hope to get this thing on the road for next spring. For now, it just sits there looking cool (as cool as it can with the ill-fitting Harley seat, slated for replacement with a stock one)

Goatlandia infrastructure report

The goat house now has a floor, all its walls, and half a roof! It has also been jacked up and set back down on (scavenged, naturally) concrete blocks to prevent the wood beams from rotting in the Oregon moisture. The top 1/2 of 3 walls will be left open for ventilation and light, and shuttered during any cold winter storms.

Investment so far: about $50 for roof beams, screws, tar paper (partial rolls from a local construction materials reclamation facility called Bring Recycling.), and a roof vent (also from Bring).

Goathaus 20080303

Room for ruminants

After a few weeks of mild weather, today dawned chill and rainy. I stayed inside for a while, but then had to just go “look at” the goat house. About 8 hours later, I had cleared several hundred square feet of thick old blackberry brambles. That’s the sort of thing we do for excitement out here, you see. Now I’m satisfyingly exhausted and enjoying fresh banana bread (Teri) and oatmeal cookies (me).

The whole reddish area in this picture was a tangled net of blackberry vines, mostly dead ones. It was about as tall as me, and to get the scale of it, you have to know that the white square is a bathtub that was hidden in there. (background mosaic-ed out to preserve neighbor’s privacy)

Clearing Goatlandia of old blackberry canes

Yesterday, I created and placed the roof beams for the goats’ house. They’re the only part of the structure made of purchased materials (aside from some screws) . I want it to be really, really solid in case one of the 30 foot limbs from the tree above the house falls.

You can tell I did more work on it – there’s another empty beer container resting on the beam.

Goathouse 20080224

Goatlandia shaping up

3-day weekend! Pretty much finished two websites that I’ve been doing on evenings-n-weekends, ahhhhhh.

In between bouts of coding I cleared several hundred square feet of old blackberry cane and continued to work on this gorgeous mansion:

goat house about 14 hours of work in

I know, still looks like a ragged pile of garbage, but it’s a damn sturdy and shaping up nicely pile of garbage. Pretty much literally; everything here is repurposed/recycled/used.

These shipping pallets account for an astonishing percentage of the hardwood we cut in the U.S. – estimates from around Y2K ran to millions of board-feet every year; over 40% of our domestic hardwoods. Joined properly, they are a ready-made complex frame that can accept any type of sheathing, treatment, paint, etc., but gazillions (ish) end up in landfills.

Many of the screws used to be part of a gigantic loftbed-garden-closet-bookshelf thing that took up a whole room in Brooklyn for years. The nails came in a bucket of “building crap” from Craigslist Free.

And really, trust me – it’s gonna be cute when it’s done. I’m already plotting out a workshop for myself, based on a 6-pallet floor. That would enable us to use the current workshop/junk storage area as an aux living space, office, etc. It’s just too nice to be filled up with my sawdust and greasy tools.

OK, you come here for pretty pictures…here’s some of today’s programming from the wacky nature show that is our life here:


Beautiful! And here’s something even prettier – Teri visiting the goat house construction site:



It may not look like much yet, but it’ll be sturdy and cozy for a couple of goats, coming this spring:
Pallets becoming a stable

Here’s the gate to goatland…this will take a bit of work too:
Door to the goat area

* Oh, the title…it’s meant to mean “The goat house rises”, but freetranslation.com may have betrayed me. The goats we’re planning on are half Oberhasli, which is a Swiss breed. The Swiss people are predominantly German speakers…yeah, it’s a stretch. But German is fun for making enormous compound words!

Tantalizing taste of what’s to come!

Gods I love the weather out here.

Found this little beauty behind the house today:
First flower feb 15 2008

Spent a little time brainstorming about the goat stable…the primary construction material will be shipping pallets, plus a few stout, rough-split poles I originally collected for firewood. Here’s about half of what I figure I’ll need (more scrounging to do!):
Future goat house

The fencing is mostly in good shape, but about 100′ of it droops beneath a thick mat of blackberry. I’ve already spent hours clearing it, but there’s a full day of work just getting the rest of it off the fence:
blackburied fence

Finally, to cap off this random little post, a backlit photo of one of last year’s hot peppers:
hot pepper backlit