Sunday, December 18, 2011

The "Before" of the Milk Barn Before and After

Sometimes you know when you're looking at a diamond in the rough.  You can see past the years of not being used and disrepair.  You can see on to the potential of what something can be.  This is what I saw when I first saw the empty milking barn here on the ranch.  Knowing all the issues I had with the remodel of the milking facilities at the previous farm, armed me with real knowledge of what it would take to turn this old milk barn into a Grade A milking facility and certified cheese processing plant.

The barn hadn't been used for milking since the mid-1970's.  Yes, that's nearly 40 years of sitting idle.  We had no idea if the water lines were still able to function and the electrical (what was left of it) was sub-standard and definitely not up to safety code!

The biggest thing this barn had going for it is that it's concrete block and has stood the test of time here on this hillside.

 The North and East side of the Milk Barn

 The West and South side of the Milk Barn

 The South end of the Milk Barn

Three things that would have to be accomplished before I could move the goats and the dairy operation to the ranch were:

(1) Repair/remodel the milking parlor and get it ready to milk goats in. It would also have to have water run to it from the well house and electricity run to it from the meter at the house pole.

(2) Repair/remodel the old Tank Room into a functioning milk handling and cheese processing room. This included installing a new concrete layer on the floor to assure the ability to properly seal it for cleanliness and sanitation.

(3) Remove the remains of the old collapsed livestock barn that was just beyond the milk barn.  And, build shelter for the goats in the corral area.

The Milking Parlor

The west side of the milk barn would be the easiest to use for milking the goats.  There was an entry door on the south and an exit door on the west.  Pre-milking and post-milking pens could be set up pretty easily by using this side of the barn.  My existing auto-lock stanchens could also be modified to fit into this area.  This parlor was a few feet shorter than the one I was using, so we would have to cut off 4 of the stanchens.  I would be able to milk 12 goats in this barn at a time instead of the 16 goats I was used to bringing into the barn at once.

The parlor had been used to milk 6 cows at a time (3 to a side).  It was set up so the bulk feed was loaded into the loft part of the milk barn and fed down through the tubes leading to the feeders you see in the photo below.

Well ... the feeders and most of the pipe would have to be removed to set the parlor up for milking goats instead of cows.  The cracks between many of the blocks would have to be repaired and the old chipped pealing paint would also have to be removed so the walls could be repainted.  The drain pit in the floor of the milking platform would also need to be brought up to the level of the rest of the floor so the goats could move through the area easily.

The Before of the milking side of the barn 

 The Before of the milking pit

 A view from the south entry door

At some point in time something had been either backed into or crashed into the wall beside the east entry door.  We decided that this wall was beyond repair and would have to be torn out and replaced.

 The damaged wall

 The damaged side wall and the entry door to the tank room

The ceilings were some sort of very hard material like tile concrete backer board.  It was broken in several places with large holes that would need to be repaired and had pealing paint that would have to be removed before new paint could be applied.

Part of the ceiling in the milk parlor

The Milking Handling & Cheese Processing Room

The north end of the milk barn was the old Tank Room where the bulk tank would have been during the productive years of this milk barn.  This room would become the new milk handling area and cheese processing plant.  But, it needed a lot of work before it would be ready for this new purpose.

The big door on the east side will be replaced with a sliding glass door.   The photo below is an inside view of that wall. There's several places where the cracks between the blocks needs to be filled in and the paint needs to be removed to prepare for new paint.

Below is the west wall across from the big door wall.  There is a lot of cracks to fill in on that wall also and the paint looks like a thick putty on these walls.  All of this will need to be fixed.

You can see the condition of the old cement floor in these photos.  This is the reason I decided to start out right in this "new" processing room by preparing to install a new concrete floor on top of the old one.

The photo below shows the small 24 inch wide door that joins the milk parlor to the tank room.  This will need to be made wider.  In fact, I decided to remove part of this wall and set it farther back into the milking parlor hall area to give more room to the processing area.

The ceiling had several holes in it to repair and needed the seems sealed before putting on a fresh coat of paint.

The Old Livestock Barn

If the old barn had still been standing ... it would have been a really nice goat shelter.  But, a storm flattened it a few years ago.  I have no idea how old the barn was.  But, the nails that it was built with were hand made square nails.  It's amazing to think of the people who build this old barn and how they used it for their livestock.

The photo of the old barn below is taken standing at the back of the milking barn.  This is the area I'll need to build temporary goat shelters.  So, it's gotta go.

Cody and the summer interns worked on pushing it together with the bucket on the tractor and then set it on fire.  It burned slowly for a couple of days.  Below are some photos of the summer interns tending the old barn while its burning.

Arlin came from Berkeley California for a summer internship here at the ranch

Arlin and Dylon

 Dylon also came from California for a summer internship

Lina came from Hawaii for the summer internship program

The photos below show what was left after it finished burning.

They cleaned up all the left over tin and ran a magnet over the ground to pick up all of the nails possible.  I was left with a two level open flat space to build the goat corral and shelters.

Yes, there was a lot of work to be done before I could move my goat dairy onto the ranch.  It was already late May and I had to be out of my current farm by mid-August. So, I got busy and got to work!  I had lots of help from family, friends, and the ranch interns.  I'll share the work and progress next.



rebecca said...

wow. lots of work indeed. these photos remind me of home.... :)

goatgirl said...

This is very exciting! What a beautiful farm.

OurCrazyFarm said...

I am excited to see the next step, Brenda! You had a busy summer! I bet it looks great, and hope you are happy with the new set-up. The goat girls looked so content in their big pasture.