Becoming a Do-It-Yourselfer

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By Amy Conley, Conley Farm | May 16, 2014

My dad had three girls, and not one of us was interested in learning how to build stuff. My mom was a hairdresser, and I definitely wanted to use a comb and scissors over a hammer and nails. My dad will tell you he isn’t a very good builder, but I tend to disagree. He helped build our childhood home, built our sheep barn when I was a kid, built our current chicken coop and just finished building my milking stand (shown below) among lots of other projects over the years.

I refer to my dad as my own personal handyman. I figure he’s retired so it gives him something to do. Of course, he isn’t getting any younger. Well, when it was time to build our shed for the goats, I figured I wasn’t going to let him do it by himself. We had an idea of what we wanted, just a simple three-sided shed to keep the animals out of the elements. He came up with some plans and measurements, and I went with him to the local hardware store to purchase materials.

I should back up a minute and tell you that when we had the eaves redone on our 150-year-old house, the contractor told us to keep the wood because we could reuse it for our shed. At the time, this pile of wood with nails all sticking out did not appeal to me, but when we didn’t have to purchase extra wood to cover the sides, it became really appealing. We have become really good at recycling leftover materials. I have learned, that is what farmers do. It was also really cool to see the old nails that were used when the house was originally built, a little piece of history.

So when the work began, I didn’t want to be a passive by-stander. This was my shed so time to grab a hammer and get to work. It was fun, tiring and fulfilling all at the same time. I didn’t know how much work it was to hammer in a few nails, my arms were killing me, and I work out regularly. Slowly it came together. My husband and mother-in-law helped with the “barn raising,” well, getting it standing so my dad and I could finish it. We only had enough wood from the house for the back and one side but that is what I love about a recycled barn, the hodge-podgeness of it. I know that is not a real word, but that is my description.

The winter hit us before I could get a coat of paint on it, but that is going to be a good spring project. I am already thinking of adding a sliding door to the front for those winter nights when the snow is blowing. Lots of projects, never enough time. Everyday living on a hobby farm is a new experience and I love it. Please like my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/conleyfarm.