Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Barn Begins

    Here at Kurtwood Farms, the landscape is changing.  Today the contractor began work on the foundation for the new cow barn.  Months ago I decided that a barn for the cows would be a good thing and mentioned it to Frederic Brillant, the local Island French timber framer.  After many discussions about bovine needs and characteristics he came up with a plan.  A simple open barn just to keep the ladies out of the rain during the winter and a room for hay and grain and a simple stall for calving.  
The plans were routed through an assortment of King County offices, making a lot of beaurocrats happy to put their stamp of approval on them.  I am pleased to announce that it will not be built on a septic system, nor on a wetland, nor on th e property line, nor compromise my historic home.  
For the past four years my cows have spent their winters outside in the weather.  In the worst nights of storm and rain they would move to the woods and point their heads into the bushes. It made me crazy.  I would spend the night worrying about them, yet never knowing really what to do.  Or even really knowing if it bothered them.  They would get wet certainly, but was that okay?  They never really seemed sick or upset and always marched into the milking partlor the next morning and gave a respectable amount of milk.
I asked a friend of mine who had grown up on a dairy farm what he thought -- did I really need a barn for them?  His reply was perfect:  'the barn is for you;  if it makes you worry less then build it, the cows will be fine.'  
And so it has begun.  The foundation will be poured later in the week and then Frederic will begin to assemble the timbers that will be the structure of the barn.  Updates to follow.

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