In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine
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A final push to get the pigs out of the barn.

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Whew.  Can I get a 'woo hoo' for three-day weekends?  Thank ya.  Wow, what a weekend.  We were fully booked on Saturday when Guy (my father-in-law) came over to help Kyle fix the truck.  After a few hours they successfully replaced the timing belt, changed the oil and the radiator fluid (upon inspection it was relatively black).  I was happy to know I would no longer have to wait patiently (read: somewhat IMpatiently) at work for my darling hubby to pick me up.

After working outside in the frigid temps, not to mention the wind that is ever-prevaling at our house, they were finished and Guy headed out to do some last-minute shopping for our neice's birthday party that night.  Kyle and I had a quick lunch of sausage/lentil soup with some cornbread muffins before settling in to take a quick nap before heading to Georgia for the party.  Its amazing how hot soup will knock you out after spending the day outside in the cold.  Luckily, my groggy head quickly dissapated after a few minutes of visiting with excited children (my neices and nephews are the sweetest kids ever).

On our way back home we stopped by Kyle's brother's house where we scored some venison, maple syrup (Sean makes it every year), and a basket of acorns Sean had saved for us to feed our pigs.  Yeah, I have some great in-laws.  After a long week it was great to get home and know we still had two more days off that we would spend just the two of us.

After having a relaxing day on Sunday we decided to get some work done.  After filling in holes left by the pigs in the floor of our barn twice we figured that since it was such a beautiful day (and would continue to be mild for the rest of the week at least) we might as well get the pigs into their new shed.  Problem being: the shed wasn't finished.  We headed to the local building supply where we picked up a few sheets of plywood and got to work.

We fastened two sheets across the roof to help support the metal roofing, then covered the front.  As Kyle was cutting out the openings for the windows on the front of the shed we began to notice that there was something not quite right.  We knew we still needed to level the base- so perhaps that is why the openings for the windows looked so crooked.  After leveling everything (I definitely recommending doing this BEFORE weighing it down too much) we took another look.  Sure enough, the corners of the windows were not really on the diagonals so much as they were going vertically and horizontally.  I couldn't stop laughing at the sight despite my frustration- I sincerely wish I had taken a picture because it almost looked intentional- .  But, it was not, and we immediately started taking down the front of the shed to repair it.

Somewhere along the line we had put up a header that was too short, resulting in the entire shed being squeezed in at the top of the front.  So, as we were making everything square on one side, it was getting more and more UNsquare on the other side.  A word of advice: always be sure you actually draw up plans to scale before building something like this.  We've been flying by the seats of our proverbial pants and look where it has gotten us.

We ran back to the building supply store to get another couple sheets of plywood (the previous ones becoming useless for this particular project since we already had cut them to fit in the incorrect shapes).  As soon as we put in the longer header we were golden.  After another hour we were fastening in the two windows on the front of our south-facing pig shelter.  We grabbed a few wheelbarrow loads of their old bed in the barn and tossed it in there to help it feel more like home.  Along with a full, clean bale of straw, the place was feeling pretty darned cozy so we decided it was now or never: time to move the boys.

It took a good ten minutes before I was able to successfully lure them over to their new house.  They wanted their food and they didn't want to take a walk to get it.  But, I won, and they've been spending the nights in their new shed ever since.  We've been blocking the doorway to keep them in there at night, just until they start to realize that its their home.  During the day they've been going back in the barn to sleep, which is fine for now.  We'll be finishing up gates eventually so they can't go in and harrass the goats.

The only thing we have left to do is fasten on our scrap metal roofing that we salvaged from the big demolition from last year, which shouldn't take too long.  Oh, and hope our neighbors don't hate us forever...these little guys can make quite a bit of noise when they're ready to eat...yikes.


  1. Deb H. Says:
  2. Found the pig pictures! Enjoying reading your blog. You are still a GREAT writer! I love being so in touch with what's going on in your and Kyle's lives. Thanks.

    Love, Deb

  3. Melissa Says:
  4. Thanks, Deb! :) Glad you found the pictures. Hopefully you guys will be able to come up soon and see everything in person! I miss you!!
    love, M