As our Dairy business plan fleshed out and became well developed we immediately recognized the need for some new facilities for our growing dairy goat herd. Their accommodations here so far had been more than sufficient but with the 2004 season kiddings we would be stretching their space utilization beyond where we wanted to keep it.
Our plan was to take the 2 months of January and February 2004 when the girls would all be dried off (not milking) in anticipation of their imminent kidding, and just before the first of their kids were expected to arrive (2/28/04) and build us a barn. We decided on making it a 30' x 50' (1500 sq. ft.) building with about 1/4 of the space reserved for hay/feed storage.
Kathryn researched a dozen different construction types from all-metal buildings (fast erection) to conventional masonry (great thermal properties but highly skilled, difficult work), to stick-built and wood post-and-beam (construction techniques we were very comfortable with) to straw bale and many, many more.
All of the methods had their plusses and minuses but we kept coming back to masonry, specifically concrete block (CMU). Masonry would last forever. It would provide great thermal mass for evening out our extreme temperature variations for the girls and it didn't end up with a lot of dangerous cross tie cables that most of the metal buildings we looked into had. The biggest two problems we had with masonry were a) the requirement for a higher degree of proficiency with masonry materials than we had and b) the problems with coordinating a large masonry project with our generally cold and erratic winter weather.
Fortunately, Kathryn found the perfect solution in a company called NuBlock in Phoenix. They manufacture an interlocking dry-stacked concrete block that looks very much like regular concrete block when finished (including struck mortar joints) that was just right for our application. The stacked blocks got reinforced with lots of rebar and each and every cell was filled with concrete "grout" making them more of a pour-in-place form in effect.
We decided on a standing seam-type metal roof (with several translucent skylight panels) over engineered and locally manufactured full-span trusses and chose a deep green color for the roofing to help minimize the new structure's visual impact.
We had substantially completed the project by 2/24/04 with the construction of 35 linear feet of manger of a particularly cleaver design (by Kathryn, of course). The manger, completely accessible for filling from the hay room will substantially improve the ease of evening feeding times.
1. January 5, 2004 - The pad is cleared, ready for construction.
3. January 10: Digging and rebar ready for footing pour.
4. January 14-16: NuBlock is delivered and first courses laid.
6. January 27: first grout is in, feedroom floor ready to pour.
13: February 24: Kathryn fills the manger from the feed room as the girls give the system "two hooves up".
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