Our Calving Check List
Posted By: Jesse Williams
I am counting down the days until our cows are supposed to start calving- and I am pumped!! Is there any better time of the year when new calves are hitting the ground? I can't think of one. And because I like to be (or attempt to be) organized, I have been preparing for this season almost since last calving season ended. To make things a bit easier I developed a check list of items I like to have on hand in case we need to intervene. It isn't very often we need to, but I would rather be prepared and know what tools I have to work with rather than be scurrying around looking for something I haven't seen since last year. There are probably a lot more items I could add but I think this is a great list for beginners. Add as you go!
Our Calving Check List
Did I forget something? Feel free to comment with your suggestions!
Posted By: Jesse Williams
If you hadn't already noticed from my blog post called Why we're unrolling bales instead of jumping on the bale grazing band wagon, I am a bit of an opinionated person. I also like to call people out when I disagree with what they're saying (and yes that gets me in trouble a lot!).
Shaming ranchers who calve in the winter has been on my mind for a long time- literally years. And I am not talking about the public here. Let's get this straight- I am calling out RANCHERS who are ragging on their FELLOW RANCHERS, peers and friends for exercising their right to pick a breeding season. Yes, you may very well be one of them. And if you are, keep reading and stop rolling your eyes (...please!).
So what am I talking about exactly? Here are a few things I have heard with my own ears probably over 50 times in the last year in person, on social media and even at industry events...
"The only natural way to calve a cow is on grass. Like God intended."
"Calving in the winter is just making work for yourself."
"My cows don't need intervention because they calve on grass.
"I can wean the same number of pounds if not more than you and I calve on grass."
And the list literally goes on...
What is a 'natural' breeding season for a cow?
Archaeological estimates place the domestication of cattle to have occurred approximately 10,500 years ago, in two distinct domestication processes in the Middle East/ Europe and in India. Now I am no archeologist, however I do know that a LOT can happen in 10,500 years, particularly in genetics with outcrosses, mutations, line breeding, genetic selection and the technological advances of artificial insemination, genetic testing and freezing embryos. We have been breeding these animals based on our desires for thousands of years, whether our needs were shifted towards meat production, dairy production, livestock husbandry, or in recent years for things such as show quality or novelty items. Therefore, in my opinion, no matter what the original Bos genus member used as a 'natural' breeding and calving season, there is simply no way we can decide what 'natural' or 'normal' is anymore. Normal for a dairy cow could literally be any time of the year, depending on where it falls in the management cycle of the farmer. There are simply no cattle alive today that have been untouched by the domestication of humans in order to determine what may have been a 'natural' breeding season 10, 500 years ago.
The point I am trying to make is, even if you believe that calving on grass in June is the best time for YOUR operation, it may NOT be the best time for other operations and it certainly cannot be generalized as 'normal' or 'natural'. So PLEASE, I am begging you, STOP SAYING THAT!!
So why WOULD you want to calve in the winter?
By the very definition of winter, it encompasses December, January and February. Now most ranchers would agree winter in Alberta lasts much longer than that, so lets even lump March in there, as the March calvers get just as much flack (or more!) than the January guys. And I am sad to say that I am one of the producers catching the snide comments.
There is an infinite list of reasons why you may choose (because remember, it is YOUR choice) to calve in these 4 coldest months, just as their is an infinite list for calving in the other 8 months of the year. But here is why WE choose to calve in 'winter' and are in fact moving our calving date even deeper into winter next year. I can only speak for myself, so that is exactly what I am doing...
1. The number one reason we want to calve in March (the end of March this year, hopefully the beginning of March next year) is for convenience. Yes, I said it- convenience. While this is usually what I hear from the spring calvers, it is truly a convenient time of year for us. Why? Because March is a quiet time of year- there is no seeding that needs to get done, no fence fixing and no camping trips or family reunions planned. It is also the last quiet month before my schedule explodes with my off farm job as an Ag Fieldman and my hub's water well drilling company can really get going.
And yes, I realize this is completely serving our own needs. But I don't have cattle to make them feel fluffy and happy (although it's a bonus if I do!). I own cattle to earn a living. Plain and simple, they are a business. The animal welfare that goes along with owning cattle is part of the job- a responsibility that we take seriously- but not the reason we own them.
2. The second reason we chose March is because we wanted to have flexibility in our sale dates (we currently sell at auction, typically the end of October) without sacrificing significant pounds, as that is what we are paid by. This way we can deliver high 5 to low 6 weight calves to the auction mart without pounding the grain to them (which would be an added expense).
3. We are set up for it. And that is because we chose to be. We built a barn that is designed to house pairs if there is a cold night or blizzard and is equipped with a maternity pen when we need to assist a cow with a calf she couldn't deliver on her own. Yes this all came at a cost, but if you tell me that just because your herd calves in the summer months it means you'll never need to pull a calf, I'll call you an out right liar. In my opninion, the cost of a barn and maternity pen is peanuts to the number of calves we can save if we didn't have the facilities and the pounds we can put on our calves before fall sale. Not to mention that our barn is multi-purpose as it isn't only used at calving time.
We don't pull a lot of calves. In fact, it is rare. But that has nothing to do with our breeding season, like some ranchers prefer to think. It has everything to do with our sire and dam selection and nutritional program. Of course, there is and always will be those instances you couldn't select out of- like a heifer whose hips just simply cannot deliver a calf on her own. Or a first time mother who doesn't claim her calf. There are always time when ranchers need to intervene, regardless of the breeding season. Even an angus cow bred to a small birth weight bull can have complications- regardless of the time of year. And I would argue strongly that our system allows us to catch those moments early and more often than a summer calver. I would also like to add that it brings my husband and I great joy and a sense of accomplishment when we aid a mother cow with a successful delivery that she couldn't have done healthily on her own. It is our opinion, that as animal caretakers, it is our responsibility to give our animals the best care we can.
We have installed calving cameras in our calving pasture and corrals that allow us to see 360 degrees and has extensive zooming capabilities. They also stream live to our computers, cell phones and tablets. This allows us to always have a set of eyes (or in our case, usually a minimum of 3 sets of eyes, up to 10!) on our cows that are near their due date. We are then able to identify problems early, monitor progess and know when to intervene (although it is rare that we have to). And the cost? Recovered in the first year we installed the system. It cost us $3500- which was the price of just over 2 calves this fall. And I can promise you it saved more than 2 calves.
You cannot tell me that a summer calver who allows his cows to graze on a section of land checks his entire herd in person a minimum of every 3 hours with addition digital supervision almost 24/7. I would then argue that we have a better probability of calving success when problems occur (and they ALWAYS will, no matter what breed, what sire or what time of year you calve).
Those summer calvers that claim they never have to pull a calf- I call BULLSHIT! There are probably instances where you should have intervened, but didn't because you didn't even know there was a problem. Maybe the cow delivered that calf, but she then had a longer recovery period, less or poorer quality colostrum, and that calf may have been weaker, had a lower immune system or may have been slower developmentally. That all costs you pounds in the fall and dollars out of your pocket. Heaven forbid you did lose a cow or a calf that could have potentially been saved by intervention- say good bye to more dollars.
We need to stick together
I want to stress the point that I am NOT saying that calving in the winter months is better. I am not saying it is worse. I AM saying that every rancher has their own reasons for calving when they do. Maybe you calve in January because you are a purebred breeder and require that extra time for bull development prior to your annual bull sale. Maybe you calve in June because you don't have the facilities to calve earlier and prefer not to worry about frozen ears. Or maybe you go south in the winter and therefore calve when you get back. So please don't chastise those who choose to trade a little extra hard work in the winter for more reward in the fall.
The point is, we are all cattle producers and we need to stop pointing the finger at eachother and instead, help each other out. With social licence, animal activitists and interested consumers we have more than enough to deal with these days, without having to worry about the harsh criticisms of our neighbours and friends. Instead of telling that winter calver how stupid he is for calving in -30, why don't you offer to help? Who knows, maybe he will offer to let you use his facilities to perform a c-section on a cow of yours in the summer? Or maybe he'll help out at branding time. We are all in this crazy business and lifestyle together- so let's act like it!
...Rant Over (and thank you for reading!)
Posted By: Jesse Williams
Before you get your knickers in a twist that I am suggesting bale grazing is somehow bad, don't (and it's not). I decided to write this post because of several experiences over the last few winters with ag specialists that seem to think they know our operation better than us. We have literally been told again and again that we are wasting our money by rolling out bales for our cow herd in the winter and that we could apparently save significantly by bale grazing. Now, I am a bit of a stubborn person so I don't like being told what I should and should not do, particularly when it comes to my own ranch and our cost of production. So we simply did the math. With our own numbers. For our own ranch.
Now I can already hear the nay-sayers complaining that this isn't an accurate representation of truck costs associated with bale unrolling, however I don't really care. This is literally the cost (to the penny in the case of 2015) for us. Obviously this would not be a comparable cost for a brand new diesel dually with a Falcan bale deck, but that's not we have so why would I calculate that? I am only interested in what makes sense for my operation, not what the neighbors are doing.
Our Daily Costs
So let's consider fuel. It costs us, on average (with $1.00/L gas) $120/month to feed our cows. We feed a variety of bales including pea straw ($45/bale), oat greenfeed ($100/bale) and hay ($175/bale) each week. I can hear the groans from readers again, however these are the actual bale costs, including delivery that we paid in the summer of 2015 to put them in our stack. And yes, we did pay a whopping $250/ton for that hay, but it was all we could get our hands on in the drought we experienced (we had it shipped from Pincher Creek) and yes, it did hurt to pay that, but our herd needs fed.
The fact that we utilize a variety of feed sources is important. We use Alberta Agriculture's Cowbytes ration balancing program and feed test all of our bales to determine the nutritional requirements of our herd. While we could balance their ration with just high quality hay, we simply couldn't afford to do that. So we got creative and calculated a ration with pea straw, greenfeed and hay that would meet the nutritional requirements of our pregnant and calving cows, that was also economical. Because our herd is small and bale size is fixed, we feed 8 pea straw, 4 greenfeed and 2 hay, on average, per week for a herd of 72. Of course this varies with the weather and as the cows mature during pregnancy. Based on that average, it costs us $2.20/head/day in feed alone.
Let's add that to the $0.05/head/day in fuel, using that $120/month average, which means it costs us $2.25/head/day. Now of course, we need to factor in some repair costs on trusty old Jack, so let's add another $0.25/head/day, which would equal a $1620 allowance, assuming a 3 month winter feeding program. Seeing how that is more than triple our 2015 actual costs of maintenance and repair, I'd call that adequate.
So overall, it is costing us $2.50/head/day, conservatively, to feed our cows on our operation, with our bale deck and truck.
The Economics of Bale Grazing
Let's compare that $2.50/head/day to what it would cost our operation to switch to bale grazing. The main reason we have shied away from bale grazing is the difficulty in varying our herd's diet. In order to be able to continue feeding three sources of bales, we would have to organize bales in our grazing system so that a one week supply of feed would consist of the 8 pea straw, 4 greenfeed and 2 hay. But I can tell you, if you give cows the option of multiple feed types at once, they will gorge themselves on the high quality types, and bed themselves on the pea straw. To battle this when unrolling bales, we only feed one feed type per day, making them clean up before we give them a different source.
The other option would be to give the herd access to only one type of feed per week. While the waste factor may be less, this is not a valid option in our opinion, as the large swings in nutritional value would be unhealthy for our herd.Therefore, the only option to make bale grazing work on our operation is to feed only one feed source, which would have to be hay in order to reach our nutritional requirements, according to Cowbytes. And with the price we had to pay for hay ($100/bale) due to our drought, that would mean a significant change in cost. The total would be $3.88/head/day. In addition to that, according to Alberta Agriculture's Wintering Site Assessment and Design Tool, bale grazing wastage is 8% higher than unrolling hay onto the snow, the total would rise to $4.19/head/day for our operation!
That is an extra $1.69/head/day, which would amount to a total of $10,951.20 extra for our 72 head herd over 3 months of winter feeding.
At the end of the day, PLEASE STOP TELLING ME WHATS BEST FOR MY RANCH! Let me do the math and figure out what's the most economical, time saving, nutritionally optimal for the unique needs of my herd. Just like I want every other producer to do on their own place. I am not telling you to stop bale grazing or start unrolling hay, but I am simply just suggesting that we should all take a look at our own numbers and stop yelling across the fence at the neighbors!
Posted by: Jesse Williams
It's been almost 4.5 years since I married my best friend- and rancher- Clay. While I had strong agricultural influences growing up, our ranch was quite small and our focus was 4-H projects, rather than large scale cow/calf production. So when I married this true blue, rodeo cowboy fresh off his purebred Gelbvieh operation, my eyes were somewhat opened (and continue to be, every day!). Feeling rather reminiscent last night, I came up with 25 surprising things that I have learned to adjust to since our wedding day on August 20, 2011...
I could literally go on forever with this list, as my wonderful husband has opened up my eyes and heart to a new way of living that I would never give up. I joke about the 'sacrifices' I have to make, but if I am being completely honest, I am happy and proud to do so. Most of the time, the party I missed wasn't nearly as satisfying and enjoyable as an evening on the back of my horse chasing a stubborn bull with foot rot into the corrals. And the sleep I'm lacking? I'd trade a cozy bed for a healthy calf and a happy cow after a difficult birth, any day.
I am sure other ranch wives can come up with some great additions to the list. Feel free to share them so we can all have a laugh. Because let’s face it, some days we need it!
Posted by: Jesse Williams
2015 was truly a whirlwind of a year for us, both on and off the ranch! We saw some major changes including Clay quitting his engineering gig to start his own water well drilling company,Legacy Drilling (yes, that was a shameless plug!) while I changed jobs to be based closer to home and more in my field of expertise. Clay also earned his Professional Engineering status from the Association of Professional Engineers & Geoscientists of Alberta- an honor he worked hard to deserve.
We FINALLY sold our acreage in Strathmore, after being on the market for over a year and struggling with renters and the challenge that two home bases bring. I was SO excited to sell our acreage that 13 hours (literally) after the ink had dried on that deal, Clay and I bought our forever home, which will be moved in three pieces onto our new farm site south of Hanna in June 2016. Can I get a WAHOO!?!?
We increased our herd size this year, adding more yearling heifers to the bunch. We also added two new Charolais bulls for our cow herd to put some serious pounds on the ground with tan calves for 2016. Our heifers were bred Gelbvieh, a family favorite, of course. We sold our first crop of calves at Balog Auction in October, and were very pleased that they sold in only 3 bunches. Certainly no complaints here!
Our farm site sure looks different now than when 2015 was rang in. We added utilities (gas, water, power), built a calving barn/three-sided shed combo, moved an arch-ribbed shop onto location and now have a passable driveway (yay!). We spent a lot of time cleaning up an old farm/junk site just northeast of our new yard, and hopefully 2016 will bring the rest of it up to par.
Writing down all of the changes that happened this year doesn't seem as hectic as it really felt. I feel like I haven't put my feet up all year! Regardless, this has been our best year yet and we are so happy and proud to have shared it with amazing family and friends. There are so many people that have helped make our year what it was, and we are ever so grateful.
Here is to you & yours. We wish you all the best in 2016 and hope you stop by for a coffee. The door is always open!
-Clay & Jesse Williams
Take a peek at our year...
You may have known that Clay bought me a camera in 2014 for Christmas. Well, I have been snapping photos all year long and decided to put together a snapshot of our year on the ranch to have as a keepsake. Now of course, it is obnoxiously long with way too many cow photos, but that has been the center of our life this past year so I couldn't shorten it up! Have a browse through, as Clay assures me that nobody but us can watch cows for 9.5 minutes ;)
Click here for the mobile version (no music)
As many of you may know, when Clay and I were living in the city we had started our cow herd back home in Hanna. Because of this, we needed somewhere to stay on the weekend, somewhere to call our own, and somewhere to crash after a long cold night of calving in March. For that reason, in February 2012 we bought a 12' x 24' Knotty Pine Cabin from a Western Producer Auction for $15,000.00. I threw the price in here because everyone that knows us, knows we are CHEAP with a capital 'C'. This cabin really was affordable and by the time it was all said & done 3 years later, we not only got our use out of it, but we sold it for a decent price. I just can't stand a blog post about a DIY that doesn't include numbers, so I tried to include as much as I could in this one, however I am sure I missed a few things.
Let the fun begin- Assembly!
We jokingly called our little cabin the ginger bread house as we basically constructed it the same way you would the tasty Christmas treat. The walls and roof came in sections that we needed to screw together on the floor joists. Everything was pre-measured and cut, it was really just like assembling IKEA furniture, minus the allen keys, on a much larger scale. For some reason I didn't take photos of the assembly portion (or I did and they are lost in the disaster of a storage unit we have!) but it really was quite simple. Everything you need for assembly is given to you by the Knotty Pine company, right down to the screws! You can pay their company to assemble the cabin for you, which would be much quicker, but if you can run a drill you can likely do it yourself! It was that easy. It took us probably a weekend to get the floor joists done, as we wanted to make sure everything was level to start from, and then another weekend or two of work to get to the point pictured.
All of the windows and doors are already assembled in the pre-made wall sections that arrive from the company. During the ordering process you can choose where you would like windows/doors. We had a rough idea how we wanted to set up the living space, with kitchen, living room, bathroom and loft (bedroom). The only place we didn't put a window, but maybe should have, was in the bathroom.
A Few Words of advice...
MAKE IT LEVEL. We built the floor joists on 4x6 skids so that if we ever needed to move it, we could. We are very happy we did that. However, as you can see in the picture, we put the skids right on the ground. While we leveled it as best we could, we later had shifting issues with the cabin, especially under the weight of our wood burning stove. We would highly recommend using a cement foundation, even though the cost would be higher. It will save you the headache of having doors & windows not open/close properly if a shift occurs.
INSULATION. The package we bought included floor and roof insulation only. We opted not to insulate the walls because of the extra cost, and we were happy with our choice. Because of the wood burning stove we put in, we stayed in the cabin up to -40 degrees C, however I wouldn't recommend that for everyone. More on that below...
Staining the Exterior
As you can see in the photo, the color turned out quite nice on the exterior. In the three years we had the cabin we did have to re-stain the exterior twice, just because it looses its shine fast. In the long run it may be worth it to use an exterior stain, provided it's finish lasts longer than a year or two.
To make the staining easier we also used a roller, instead of the 4" brush. Clay rolled the stain on (even going against the grain, you couldn't notice any streaks) and then I followed with a brush to ensure the stain reached all of the crevices and cracks. It took me an afternoon to do the entire exterior which really wasn't bad!
Staining the Interior
CAUTION! A big boo- boo that I made during staining can be seen in this photo. DO NOT start/stop staining n the middle of a wall/ceiling. ALWAYS start/stop at a seam, such as the vertical beams seen in the photo.
When I took the above picture I was done for the day. I had been sitting in the loft and staining as far out as I could reach. DO NOT DO THIS! When I came back to start again the next day, I had a VERY VISIBLE dark line from the overlap of the day's before stain and where I had stained that day. I never could fix it and it bothered me the entire time we had the cabin. Always stain an entire section at a time to avoid lines!!
Cupboards & Countertops
We planned on building shelves in the empty space above the corner cupboard, but never got around to it. We also planned to use leftover tile from the stove as a backsplash in the kitchen, but again, didn't get that done before we soltd it. You can also see the cut outs for the electrical sockets in this photo.
This is the point in our renovation when you may think we have horse shoes up our butts. I wanted to have a kitchen in our cabin so we left an area open that was supposed to be designated as an additional bedroom, for our small kitchen area. We were unsure of how we were going to organize it or what to purchase for cupboards/counter tops so we advertised on our local radio station's 'Tradio' (buy, sell, swap hour) that we were looking for used cupboards. Well we hit the jackpot! A local business man had remodeled his kitchen and removed the cupboards with the intention of later using them in his garage, but never got around to it. He gave us an entire set of oak cupboards for FREE as long as we took them all! While there was a bit of juggling to make the cupboards fit and work, we ended up with something that worked for us at a price we loved!
Continuing with our wood theme, we made the countertops out of pine board, gluing two sheets together, sanding them and filling the cracks with wood filler. We then added the same 1"x2" rounded pine trim around the edges. While that wouldn't be ideal in a kitchen to be used daily, it was more than enough for what we needed. We did oil it with canola oil once a year to keep it from drying out. All together, our cupboards and countertops cost us about $50!
Wood Burning Stove
In a cabin with no utilities (initially), we needed a heat source to keep us warm during the long winter. We decided to install a wood burning stove in the corner of our cabin, purchased for $100 from Kijiji. The stove was quite rough when we got it, but it came with all of the necessary piping, so it was really a steal of deal for us. Before we could install it, we needed to heat proof the corner, which included laying tile on a small pedestal and up the walls of the cabin. The tile was bought from a home improvement store, costing us about $150 including glue and grout. Clay made quick work of his first tiling job, and did a great job might I add.
Note that the pedestal was built specifically to support the weight of the stove, which was quite heavy with all the piping installed.
We eventually did decide we wanted some utilities in our cabin. We had a journeyman electrician run some cable on the interior walls for light switches and plug ins. We didn't need much because it truly was just a weekend cabin. He then wired the electrical panel to be able to be plugged in to an outlet or a generator, as our thoughts were that we may move it one day to another location. Luckily, that journeyman was our relative and graciously did the work for just the cost of materials and a case of beer. I believe we spent about $250 on this portion of the renovation.
We had planned to eventually put water & sewer in the cabin as well, but never got around to it. We did designate a 'closet', as we called it, for our bathroom, but never ended up doing any work to it before we sold the cabin.
Because the cabin was on skids and had no permanent utilities, our municipality did not require us to purchase any building or utility permits. It would be important to check out the requirements in your area before doing any work.
The individual who bought our cabin was nice enough to send us these pictures of the big move. Looks like it was a tight fit but the cabin looks like it belongs in those trees.I hope the new owners enjoy their little gingerbread house as much as we did!
If moving a shop onto the farm is step two, you may be asking yourself what was step one? Well, any normal person would just assume step one would be a home, because of course you want to LIVE at your farm, right? Wrong. In some twisted turn of events, my husband convinced me not only to get a barn (step one) before our house, but he also got a shop! But don't worry, I have my fingers and toes crossed that step three will be our home...
Meet our newest addition to the Williams Family, Clay's Shop
Moving versus New
We hadn't really been looking for a shop, and most certainly weren't thinking about relocating an existing shop to our farm when we started the yard building process. We had actually been to a farm auction sale the summer before when we first set our eyes on our new bundle of building. The coal mine that operates nearby had bought out a farm in order to expand their excavation and in turn, the farmer was having a dispersal sale. While the shop was not for sale at that time, Clay had actually mentioned how much he would enjoy a shop just like it (of course because he only had a dumpy "shed"... you can see how it gets annoying, right?).
A few months later we found out the shop was for sale, so we ran some numbers. By purchasing and moving this shop, including a cement foundation, we would save approximately $28,500. We came to that number based on the cost of a 60 x 40ft pole framed, insulated building from the same company that built our barn- Goodon Industries. We also got the added bonus that the shop to move came with wiring, gas lines, the hot water heater and some additional shop supplies. (Wahoo!) So while the shop to move will need more sweat equity and is a bit older, the arch ribbed shop felt like the right choice for us.
Building the Foundation
Here is where we ran into some snags. The contractor we hired to complete the foundation didn't quite meet our expectations. While we booked the contractor before September long weekend, it wasn't until some very forceful/panicking phone calls the week before the move (mid- October) that they started the project. In fact, they only started 7 days prior to the scheduled move. This was a BIG issue for us. The rushed construction really took a toll on our project...
We were told by our basement builder (note that is most definitely a different contractor than we used on our shop foundation), that he doesn't recommend placing a building on an ICF Cement foundation for a minimum of 3 weeks after pouring. We were also told that at the very least, cement should receive 48 hours of curing before any placement on top. In fact, after 48 hours cement only has 75% of its strength total strength...
Well, on day 4 of the foundation build, there was still no cement. I mentioned the impending deadline to the contractors (and by mentioned, I mean full out panicked in their direction!) but because Day 5 and 6 were a Saturday and Sunday, they wouldn't pour the cement until Monday. We set the shop on the new foundation EXACTLY 24 hours after the cement was poured... This is still giving me anxiety as I type, because we won't know the strength of the cement for at least a week... AHHHH! This also meant we couldn't anchor our new building to our foundation... Yes, our new shop, AKA wind sail, is just exposed on the wide open prairie, waiting for the next wind storm to blow it to Brooks... Insert anxiety attack here!!!!
Keep your fingers crossed!
The day before the big move the guys from Wade's House Moving & Heavy Hauling in Taber met us at the shop. The day consisted of un-screwing the existing anchors from the cement foundation, tearing out the old benches, bracing the shop from the interior and loading it onto the trailer. We were very pleasantly surprised at how efficient the Wade's Crew was. They were in and out in a flash! We had no complaints and were very happy that Wade was able to brace the building with minimal damage (some is always to be expected). The only word of advice I would give others, is that you should go through the building thoroughly before the move and do any salvaging/removal yourself. Wade's crew said it themselves, they are excellent at demolition, they are not a salvage crew. They get things done fast & efficiently!
The location of the shop was only about 20 miles from our new farm yard, so the actual travel time was quite short. It took only about 45 minutes all in all. The video shows the shop moving onto Highway 36 and heading north before turning off onto gravel to it's new home!
The only snags we ran into on this part of the journey was that we have two sets of Texas Gates going down our driveway. We had to torch one gate, un-bolt the other and cut some barbed wire fence to get the access wide enough for the 40ft wide shop to fit through. We also had to keep our cows from mixing with the neighbors, and our bulls, but luckily that went smooth (yay for tame cows!).
I am not sure why I thought moving the shop was the hard part, but it was definitely setting it down on its foundation that was the challenge. The shop arrived on location at 10am but the shop wasn't set on it's foundation until 3 pm. I must give kudos to the Wade's Crew. They did a phenomenal job! Here are a few photos of sliding the building onto the foundation...
At the end of the day we are very excited to have another check mark on our list of farm yard to-do's, even with the few bumps in the road. However, we do have a lot of work ahead of us to make this shop workable for the ranch- power, water, gas hook ups, floor poured, backfilling, landscaping and much more! So if you are interested in our adventures keep stopping by- we will have lots to report on!
I wrote this DIY article for the Rural Housewives website. This board is a staple in our household during calving season and is essential to our farm organization. Check out how we use it here!
Check out the feature Return to Rural did about our 'farm story'...
Cody Baron Farrier Services of Jenner, AB is now accepting new clients. As a certified farrier, Cody has eight years experience behind him, providing trusted, quality workmanship on all breeds of horses. While based in the beautiful open flats of Jenner with his family, Cody travels to the Brooks, Hanna, Medicine Hat, Strathmore and surrounding areas based on client need. If you would like to contact Cody about his reliable services please call him at (403) 363- 5160.
Whiskey Creek Ranch happily relies on Cody Baron Farrier Services for all their farrier needs.
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