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.

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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

One Mo' Time!

The Fish Box. Made of heavy-duty food grade plastic, these fixed-wall Magnum pallet containers have lived many, many lives over the years. This one in particular began its life as a tote for the transportation of commercial sea urchin harvests from the dock to the processor sometime back in the 1980's. It has also functioned as:
  • Kid's swimming pool
  • Adult's hot tub (notice the plumbing fixtures)
  • Water tank for gardens & livestock
  • Moving container (how I got all my fragile items from CA to PA without breaking)
  • Grain bin
  • Layer box (big failure as I used the black one and it got too hot)
  • Weight lifting supports
  • Table (especially at the annual Goat Roasts)
 And so I introduce to  you today yet another lifetime for this handy item---a chick brooder!
It's been a really cool spring and if it's one thing that will stunt or kill peeps quicker than anything else (except cats & rats), it's the cold & damp. Over the years, I've brooded chicks in commercial brooder boxes, brooder  hoods, custom-built portable pens (through which Megs the Merciless could still catch and chew off the heads of several turkey poults before I caught her and reconfigured the whole contraption), plastic totes, water tanks and even cardboard boxes and I've got to say this is about my favorite idea so far. The lid has a hole through which I ran the cord and hanger for the heat lamp. The waterer fits well, it's critter-proof and there's plenty of room for a batch of 50 chicks. When I'm done brooding this batch, I'll simply dump the litter, hose it out and reload it with a new set of peeps.

Sadly, neither tote is water-tight anymore so I won't feel bad modifying this one with a few ventilation holes.

And for all you Star Trek Next Generation fans, you may recall that these things were a standard set item for all the cargo bay scenes. 

As a proponent of sustainability, I try to get multiple uses out of a single item--multi-species portable shelters made from recycled shipping crates, futon frames turned hay racks, a drag made from a pallet & chain link for breaking up manure patties and covering seeds, water tanks, feeders and kid warmers made from plastic barrels are just a few goodies. I'm also a big fan of the many uses and configurations of portable panels and gates that can easily be turned into a multitude of functional farm items.

Just last week I was able to easily, and more importantly, safely load a beef on to my stock trailer by myself with the use of two 10' corral panels. Each panel retails for about $140. With a few sets of short chains and snap shackles, those same two panels have also been used for a swing/squeeze chute with which to safely work cattle. Remember my nasty yak? That's how I handled her without incident. 

My 'game' in farming has been to see how much value I can pull from a single item and the fish box ranks right up at the top of my list. So next time you're embarking on a project, look around and get creative. That's what makes life interesting and fun!