Friday, December 18, 2009

Finally...Cement in the Barn!

Since we moved into the house and started renovating the barns for the alpacas, Noah and I have discussed cementing in the floors of the horse stalls that we turned into the alpaca shelter area in our large barn. While the floors in the rest of that barn and the other barns were cemented already, the horse stalls where we house the alpacas were not. When we moved in, they hadn't used the barn for horses in a few years, but there was about 2 feet of old horse manure and straw in the 4 horse stalls. Since moving in almost 2 years ago, we have mucked the stalls out until it was just dirt and we took 2 stall walls out to make one large stall for the female alpacas instead of 3 horse stalls. Clean up last winter was a mess with the dirt floor. A couple times, when things would thaw out, we would have to move our alpacas into the hay barn temporarily because the stalls would become flooded with melted snow and ice from outside. Also, the alpacas' poo piles became messy holes dug into the dirt. As we tried to clean up poo and pee, we kept digging further and further into the ground, making a very uneven floor. We decided this year that we would take the money we made from our alpaca farm open house for National Alpaca Farm Days and pay to cement in the floors. So on Halloween day we had a cement truck deliver a few tons of cement and we got to work (I know...I am about a month and a half late in writing this, but things have been very busy!). The original plan was to drive the cement truck right up to the barn and run the funnel thing into the stall and poor the cement. Noah had already prepped the stalls by evening out the holes in the floor and sloping it towards the door so water and pee would run out the door. He also made forms to hold all the cement in. Well, the day before Halloween, we got lots and lots of rain. We told the cement truck driver about our concerns of the ground being very mushy and fear that he may get stuck. He said he would be fine and proceeded across our lawn with his big truck. Well, just as we predicted, he got stuck about halfway to the barn! He was unable to get unstuck and his funnel thing was not long enough to run to the barn. He thought that he might be able to move the truck once he got some of the weight of the cement out. So, Noah began the labor intensive task of pushing wheel barrows of cement from the middle of our yard into the barn. After moving several tons of cement himself, the truck was still not able to budge and was putting big muddy gouges in our lawn! The driver ended up having to call another cement truck driver and waiting several hours before the other driver could come pull him out with his cement truck. In the meantime, Noah and I worked to smooth out the cement with a 2 x 4 and some tools we had rented. The cement job really turned out much better than I had anticipated! The yard didn't fair as well. Here are some pictures.

wet cement

The picture below is when the other cement truck arrived and was getting ready to pull the stuck truck out.
As I watched from the window, I cringed as the first cement truck barely missed our well!

Here was the "artwork" left behind!

And a little "artwork" of our own!

We had originally wanted to put the dogs paw prints in the cement as well, but decided against it as we imagined the dogs getting loose from us and running through the newly laid wet cement!

Well, the alpacas seem to like the new cemented in stall. No more muddy mess! I was so excited when none of the alpacas attempted to poo or pee in the barn for the first 4 weeks after cementing it in! Unfortunately, when the snow hit, they alpacas refused to go outside to relieve themselves and started a big ol' pile right in the center of the stall. Fortunately, clean up has been much easier than the dirt floor! All in all, I am happy we did it and I hope that our grass returns in the mud trenches next spring!

1 comment:

Dad said...

Nice story, especially all the poop references! :-)