As most of you who follow along know, we put up a livestock barn this past winter. After selling the city house and moving out here permanently, The farmer retiree can now take care of critters in a way that we couldn’t do when we were both having to be corporate slaves.
The barn is awesome and we had the guys that installed the solar system come out and run electricity to it. That alone is fabulous! Not having to lug my big ol’ generator out there when I have to work on something AND being able to switch on the lights while feeding in the evening is down right decadent.
The issue was water. Out here we are practically in the desert. Most of the time you can get things to grow if you can get water to it, but that requires irrigation systems (which we have) and lots of hoses (which we also have). We discovered in a big hurry what a pain in the butt it is to drag hundreds of feet of hose to different stations for use – Especially when it is full of water! We had a hose attached to the house that we would drag to the garden, drag to the apple trees, drag into the barn area to water the goats, turkeys and donkeys. I was loathing this in the morning. Last winter when the donkeys arrived we also were faced with having to haul buckets of warm water out to them through snow drifts twice a day so they wouldn’t have a frozen water trough. Now with the electricity out there we can add a trough heater.
Fed up with the hose situation we got in touch with a contractor that we have used before and talked about running farm hydrants. I was hesitant to do so as some of the last quotes we got were pretty shocking (the cost to trench from the well to the barn (about 350 feet) was considerable). He quoted far less than this and we pulled the plug and did it. He worked incredibly fast and had the thing done in a day and a half! We had a line run from the well head up to the greenhouse, had a faucet installed there, and from there ran the line to the barn and installed a faucet there. NO MORE HOSE HAULING!! Woohoo! The water pressure is fantastic and I’ll be able to hook up the faucet by the greenhouse to the drip irrigation cutting off a good 150 feet of tube and making the flow rate much better. We now just have to walk out to the barn, turn on the faucet and fill the troughs. Sisyphus has been freed!
It must be nice to have so much flat space. Most of my garden and orchard was on a very steep hillside. There was flat space up higher, but it was way up higher, and the road up there needed to be cleared. I was fortunate that I did not use much space at home. There is of course much more usable space at the farm. None of it is flat, but some of it is a gently sloping alluvial plain. The horticultural commodities that we grow do not need much space. Other crops would not be practical. More than half of the lower parcel is unusable. There is some flat area on top of the upper parcel, but again, access is a problem.