Welcome to Painted Hand Farm

Painted Hand Farm is a 20 acre Civil War era farm located in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. We raise meat goats, veal calves, turkeys and organic vegetables using humane and sustainable agricultural practices.

Search This Blog

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Give Me Shelter

Last summer we held a Fencing Workshop for the Pennsylvania Women's Agricultural Network here at the farm. During the day, several attendees expressed interest in our low-cost portable shelters we had built so this year we are hosting another workshop--a day of hands-on building of a set of portable shelters on Monday, June 9th. You can sign up for the workshop HERE. Although the shelters are listed as being for small ruminants, they also work well for calves, pigs, turkeys, chickens, miniature horses....anything that can fit inside! They can be set apart individually, but we like to build them in pairs and set them up facing each other. We then place a sheet of reinforced plywood between the two and drape rubber roof down over the openings to make an excellent winter shelter. In the summer, we set them up side-by-side and place the plywood between the shelters creating a breezeway that provides shade This is the fourth set of portable shelters we've built--all of them have been constructed using salvaged materials for minimal costs. The first set used wooden pallets and old garage doors and wasn't very portable.

The second set was made out of a shipping box from a gigantic network attached storage system that was delivered to my former workplace. Six geeks trying to bust it up with a hammer was just too much, so I had them load it in the back of the truck. What a score! Ralph cut the box in half and mounted each side on a pair of landscaping timbers my Uncle asked us to burn for him, but we set aside because they were still in usable condition. The outer shell is the thin, flexible aluminum from a dough-boy swimming pool that was headed to the landfill on a local large item dump day. It's imprinted to look like wood, no less.
The third set was constructed from the T-111 Ralph tore out of a neighbor's house. We sprung for the barn red paint.This latest set is something different in materials--the aluminum roofing pieces that have been amassing behind the house--leftovers from neighborhood roofing jobs and a pile I bought at an auction for $5. Ralph found that cutting them with a circular saw with the blade turned backwards works, but is a royal pain the the butt.
With all the agricultural construction in our area, there are two local businesses that specialize in the aluminum roofing & siding materials. They sell the cap pieces (the ones that get scratched up) for $0.50 a linear foot---much cheaper than retail and they cut the pieces to size for free. The goats don't care what color the shelters are or if there are scratches so these last two shelters have been constructed out of metal instead of wood. Since the metal edges were very sharp, Ralph decided to add trim. It turned out that the trim added a significant expense to the shelters--about $45--and required more time and screws to install.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sandra and Ralph- I'm a farmer out in the Hudson Valley, NY. I've heard of the workshop you folks are doing on portable shelters, but I don't think I can travel 4 hours to get to your farm, especially in June! Do you have plans you can pass on to us? We might have the materials lying around and we definitely have the sheep for it! You can email me at jesica.pascual@gmail.com