Jan 4, 2014

"Mighty Joe Banks" 
and his 
"Beautiful Assistant"

Pappa and Joe moving the super heavy threshing machine.
First,  let's talk about the threshing barn and the threshing barn:

The original threshing barn (shown above) on the farm was filled with machines, odd equipment, pieces of wood,  old furniture the onion racks and the remnants of a skateboarding ramp that the boys had built years ago. 
We knew that we had to get it cleaned out and organized so that it could hold the amount of straw we would need for the animals when the cold weather hit.  
The straw chopper is housed in one corner of that threshing barn and works with an ingenious vacuum system that blows the chopped straw through pipes and into the straw room in the small animal barn.   
From there we can basket it up and spread it in the stalls in both barns to keep the animals warm and clean.
The road to Ericsson's.
Loading the bales on the trailer.

And with the threshing barn cleared it would mean fewer trips to Arne Ericsson's farm on the other side of Junsele where we get our straw. 

Fewer trips = less gas = less expense. 

Heading home with the load.

In Sweden gas is about $10.00 per gallon and hauling a trailer loaded with bales of straw sucks up the gas 

Joe was a whirlwind and between he and Pappa they cleaned the entire thing out.  

 The newly emptied threshing barn meant room for a winter's supply of straw.  
A winter's supply of straw meant the chopping could begin.  

I  had been working in the house and glanced out the window to see them unloading all the new straw bales through the big black double doors .  
The next thing I heard was the straw chopper starting up.

A half hour later Joe sent Pappa to get me with the camera and this is what I saw...
Joe had filled the room full and was reclining...straw covered from head to toe, on the top layer.  
So fun!

Months later when it was time for the calfing to begin we still had plenty of clean fresh straw to get all the pens ready for the new babies.

Spurred on by their success in bringing the original threshing barn up to snuff, 
 Pappa, Gustav and Joe decided to tackle the building of the  new/old threshing barn that we had moved onto our farm the year before
 ( You can read about it in a former post called "Lincoln Logs"). 
This is the barn that was taken down log by marked log from another village and was to be used as a storage facility and parking garage for our cars. 

The previous winter we had covered the logs to protect them out in the field.
Here Gustav and one of our dear missionaries who had come with his companion offering a "service day" on the farm,  laid the large metal sheets on the piles so the logs wouldn't rot.

In northern Sweden there is a great emphasis on  wasting nothing.  

I had seen the big pile of rocks out behind the hay barn for years, but until the boys started erecting the new threshing barn I had no idea what the purpose was for all those boulders.  
These were large rocks that had once been foundation stones for other buildings on the farm and when the buildings were moved or the lumber used for other things the rocks were put in one place for future use.  
Hans and Gustav took the tractor out and the loading began.

Earlier they had measured and marked and staked out the perimeter with Joe.

One by one the stones were roped and hauled to the building site.
Holes were dug according to the measurements that had been taken and the foundation stones were sunk and laid.

Positioning the next stone.
The corners were laid and leveled.

And then came the logs and floors and roof and trusses that had been out in the front field waiting for this time.
The assembly began in earnest.

With the tractor and forklift they hoisted each log and swung it over into place.

Joe directed, Gustav acted as the counterweight, and the progression was steady.

Again, two of our missionaries volunteered for a day on the farm and moved more and more of the seemingly endless pile,

and on this beautiful Autumn day, Pappa checked the joints at every corner, and we called it done for that season.  

We felt so good about what we had been able to complete on such a big project.
We were moving along.

Second, let's talk about the upper floor of the källarboden
 (root cellar building):

1.  The chaos on the upper floor of the källarboden with household articles piled everywhere.

2.  The cinder blocks and boards Joe and Gustav brought over and put up for me.

3.  Everything organized on the shelves according to composition:
 wood, iron, copper, etc.

4.  The floor swept and the only things left over in one corner - 
the canning supplies to be used the next Autumn.

No more trekking over to the frozen källarboden in the dead of winter trying to find something I needed for the kitchen before hypothermia set in!

Third,  let's talk about calf boxes:

See these three gated boxes?  
They are invaluable come late winter/early spring when all the babies start to be born.  Each week-old baby is put into a box to learn to drink from a bottle when he/she is separated from the mother.

But we had a problem:

The cement workers who  made the pad the boxes stand on poured them too short from front to back so the entire year before we could only get two of the small boxes in that space and they had to be turned sideways with the gates facing each other. 
Can I just say that when you were standing in the middle space between the two boxes feeding a bottle to a calf in one box, another calf in the box behind you was biting your back and other unmentionable parts of your body by putting his/her head through the bars in the gate?

Not good.

When the babies are born it is still super cold outside so there is nowhere else to put them safely except in these boxes. 
We are in a remote part of Sweden so there was little chance that we could get a qualified workman back again to correct the cement pad problem in a timely manner.

It was Gustav, in his brilliance,
 who found the solution, 
(and it was so simple that we wondered why in the world we hadn't thought of it before).

Can you guess how he did it? 

After taking a closer look, he saw that the metal strips would allow him to dismantle the boxes one by one and cut down the wooden sideboards and the wooden floor slats by enough - it only took about 20 cm - to make them fit in the space we had,
facing front!

Not only did they fit front to back with the stability we needed on the cement pad,
 we were able to put all three in there side by side, 
ready for calfing.

With that solved, we could turn our attention to: