Free time affects everyone differently. Some binge watch, some cook, some hike or fish, but here, we build. It seems like every time we catch up, we find a new project to keep us busy and improve the function of the homestead. Because of the current shutdown, we have found ourselves with additional time to devote to the homestead. In our previous blog, we discussed how Marge came to be a fixture here. We were not really prepared for her to stay so we converted our turkey coop into her home and nursery.
It worked well but with the arrival of baby turkeys we knew that Marge would need a more permanent home. We decided to use the same basic design as the turkey coop. We would use the same materials so it matched not only the turkey coop but also our chicken coop.
After some thought, we finally decided on an 8’x12′ building with a rough cut hemlock exterior. We have used this in the past and it holds up well. We purchased it from our friends at Porosky Lumber in Preston Park, PA. The dimensions would allow for feed and hay storage. We also included several doors in order to give us more control over the pig’s access to different areas. The new pig house would be built inside the current pig area. Mud was definitely an issue. My son Luke and I built a base of pressure treated beams and plywood. We then leveled it on blocks. Marge came to inspect as well as the piglets. Building with pigs around was a bit challenging. They are so curious and often Marge would block construction and we would have to work on something else.
Coming in and out of fences and having your boots stuck in the mud definitely slowed us down. The 2″ of rain certainly didn’t help the situation. We carried on with hot coffee and lunches from Tracy along with her moving boards, since this was a team effort. Next we moved on to framing the walls. Because Marge is heavy we used conventional construction instead of what you would typically see in a shed. These projects are great opportunities to see what works and what doesn’t. There is constant problem solving as the plan goes from your minds eye into reality. Keeping an open mind to others ideas isn’t easy, but often it is essential. (after I yell and say its a crazy idea of course)
Marge was always helping. Soon it was time to move onto the roof and we were reminded of why we were building this house.
During the roof construction, our older son Gary stopped by, and as usual Dad put him to work for an hour helping to sheath the roof. Our homestead is a family affair and I am so happy when I get to spend time with my sons working on a project. They gang up on me, but it makes me smile its the way it should be.
After the roof, it was time for the rough cut siding, and we used a board and batten style which we love. We made lots of sawdust or as I like to call it “man glitter”.
We could finally start to see the structure take shape.
Marge even gave it her seal of approval by rubbing her muddy body on it. The piglets and Marge enjoyed scratching on every square inch of the place. We then decided on a trim style that would make this structure unique.
The doors were made and installed, and we decided on a double door on the front so we could leave just the bottom open for marge.
We then re-positioned some fencing and leveled the spots where the pigs had dug down several feet and made some gates
Marge and the piglets are now happily living in their new house. We are so lucky to have the tools and access to materials to build things like this on the homestead. The time spent together is priceless and to have a beautiful pig house to show for it is the icing on the cake. This extra time project was just what the doctor ordered to break us out of a bit of a shutdown funk. It got our juices flowing and challenged us physically and mentally. So its not just Marge who is better off, we are too.
If you are interested in an MTV Cribs style tour watch this video