Posted by Kitty Sharkey , Thursday, May 24, 2012 12:19 PM
Upcycling: the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.
When most people see my homestead, they incorrectly assume that everything was purchased new. But that's not always the case. A lot of the structure itself is upcycled, while the facial is purchased. For example, the main part of my barn is actually a reclaimed 6' x 8' metal utility shed. I had to replace some of the supporting lumber inside to stabilize it. But it's worked out perfectly for my needs.
Yesterday, I designed and helped construct an upcycled goat shed for Lydia and her three goats, Ginny, James, and Madonna. Freya came along to help out. OK.. So Freya's main job ended up to be keeping the goats distracted and out of the way.
She also gave little Madonna a ton of snuggle time. She's super cute. I nicknamed her Boo, because she was a surprise. No one knew Ginny was pregnant when they got her. I like to take those big floppy ears and cover her eyes for a second, then pull them away and say "BOO"! I know, I know... but I like playing with four legged kids!
Lydia's daughter Andrea and her husband handled the heavy construction while I supervised and gave guidance. We used three pallets to build the walls and I pitched in a couple of 4" x 4"'s from my construction scrap pile that were about 4-1/2' long for supports in the front. Lydia had a pile of old fencing boards that were perfect for making the siding. It actually looked really nice. I love weathered wood.
When it came to the roof, we started scouting the work shed, garage, and yard for something to use as a main support beam across the front opening. After tossing around a bunch of ideas, Lydia said we could use the old step ramp for her deck. They are in the process of replacing her steps with new redwood ones. Basically, the ramp was a 9' x 2'(ish) pallet. Once we had the 4"x4"s secured to the front and a cleat screwed into the side of the work shed, it fit like a dream. It was screwed in firmly on both ends, and the new goat shed was suddenly extremely stable and solid.
Andrea and I went to work overlapping and attaching additional fencing boards to create the roof. As designed, it turned out to be perfect and slanted away from the work shed, sloping down towards the back far corner. Any rainwater should drain nicely off the back side.
To finish, we spread a bale of straw underneath and the goats immediately took to it. The final dimensions are 9' long by 6' deep. Perfect for these three lucky kids!
I'd call that one happy family! We had a lot of fun putting the shed together. And the only thing purchased for the entire goat shed were screws. Upcycling is awesome!