Sunday, December 28, 2008

No use crying over flooded pastures

Although we didn't get everything done, yesterday was a productive day. We started with a very messy barn . . .

and we wound up with three pens that will hopefully make 2009 kidding easier than ever. The small pen on the left is the kidding pen. The pen in the middle is about 16 X 16 feet, and that's where the moms and babies will be staying once the babies are a couple days old. The pen on the right is where the pregnant does will stay during the last month before kidding. They need their own separate area because we start feeding grain in the last month of pregnancy. The advantage of the new pens is that they are in a barn that has a heated office with windows that look out into the area with the pens. In the top picture, you can see the office window on the left behind the wire crate.

When I first started writing this post, I said yesterday was a "good" day but quickly changed that to "productive" because it was really a pretty lousy day, although we got some good work done. The temperature jumped into the 60s, which means all the snow melted and had nowhere to go, since the ground has been frozen for several weeks already. That means the creek flooded. As if that were not bad enough, we had rain almost all day, so it was really disgusting around here. Since the creek had already frozen, the rushing flood waters lifted some rather large pieces of ice and moved them onto land. What can I say other than, it looks interesting?

Storm refugee
Katherine discovered this little guy huddling in a tree above a flooded pasture.

Suggestions, anyone?
While I have your attention, perhaps you could suggest a solution to this problem. This is the view from our front door after we have rain. We built our house behind a mobile home, which was sitting on a concrete pad. Now that the mobile is gone, the concrete pad fills up with water every time it rains. The concrete blocks are our bridge to civilization, and after a really hard rain, the water is at the top of those blocks! Ripping up the concrete would be expensive and/or difficult. Putting dirt on top of it wouldn't help much unless we put in drain tiles; otherwise, the dirt wouldn't be able to drain, and we'd have a muddy front yard. Any thoughts on what we can do with our moat?


Ivy said...

My unprofessional opinion on what you could do w/ that concrete pad is... Drill some holes on the pad until you hit dirt below, fill holes with gravel. I imagine this will allow water to drain at least 9 months of the year, and eventually drain when the ground is frozen solid during the other 3 months. Then build some type of deck over the pad for walking from house to parked cars.

MaskedMan said...

In my also-unprofessional opinion, I like Ivy's suggestion, but I'd go a bit further. Not only punch drainage holes through the pad, but cover it completely in gravel - up to the level of the tops of the cinder blocks, if you can afford it. Putting a deck of some nature there might turn it into useful space, but I don't think you want free-standing water under your deck. Gravel, at least, will give you a solid surface.

On the subject of "productive" vs. "good," well, I tend to call productive days "good" anyway, even if the weather sucks. A bad day would be one in which nothing gets done AND you can't enjoy the day. Frankly, "productive" is one of the better ways to spend a dreary day.

Ivy said...

I thought about the materials for the decking. I know you might prefer natural materials, but in this case, I would check plastic lumber or things similar. I googled "plastic lumber" and a slew of sites came up. It seems many companies use recycled plastic to make this. I would think plastic would withstand water damage and fading by sunlight better.

MaskedMan said...

My brother-in-law did a deck for my mother from a product called "Trex(tm)" ( ). It's not a structural product (meaning the structural members will be of another material - usually wood), but has withstood weather and grandchildren very well. It does fade somewhat, though, and I don't think it takes stain or paint. All told, it was a good choice. But you don't need to put the support beams into the ground - you've already got a stable platform in the pad. All you need are some precast concrete footers that will set on the pad, and into which your support beams will socket. That raises the wood or composite material up out of the wet zone, and not coincidentally makes building the deck much easier for non-specialists. Check your local codes first, of course!

Some other links for floating decks:
(I am in NO way affiliated with these, nor am I trying to sell you anything - Just trying to help. Smack me, if I'm not helping)

Deborah said...

Thanks Ivy and MM, you've given me some good things to think about!


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