At last, we decided on the fate of the big concrete steps that have been in the way for so long. We rented a jack hammer and it took Dad about 2 hours to break them up into movable pieces, and we loaded them into the white utility trailer and hauled them to the dump.
Papa (grandpa) came over again to help us pour the east foundation wall. We built the same thing to direct the concrete into the form; a wooden support which held up a piece of sheet metal, and our little concrete mixer, which can hold three 60 lb bags' worth of Sakrete, poured the wet concrete onto the sheet metal, which slid down into the form. Putting into effect the things we learned from pouring the south wall, we didn't have any leaks or blow-outs this time, and all went smoothly.
After two long years, the digging under the house is completed! We were close, but were running out of time. It took the renting of a Hilti TE 1000- AVR hammer drill for a day, and with the whole family working together, we powered through the hard clay and got it done! Soon after it's completion, Jamen White of Energy Lock Spray Foam came and sprayed Spray Foam insulation under the house.
Well, with not being able to get out to Garfield this winter, we had to find a place to board the cow. At first, our plan was to drive her 3 hours away, to Dad's sisters' house, in a town called Prosser, because she has other cows already. But we found a place closer. The guy that we bought alfalfa from agreed to board her in a pasture with other cows. However, he is sort of "renting" the pasture, so he will move her in a month to the tiny town of Viola, which is not far away. We went to see them, because we had to get their halters off, and she was happy to see us! We discovered she is a cow that is determined to be the lead cow, because she pushed all the other cows away from us to get the alfalfa and grain we gave to her. She is happy with her new place to stay, and Bella especially is enjoying the company of the other calves.
Mom, Isaiah, Kellen and I set to work clearing out a small portion of the old milking parlor part of the barn, making room for our cow. These are both "after" pictures of the milking parlor part. Before, there was some re-bar and junk and halters and sinks and horse-shoes in this small section of the barn. Now it is removed or pushed over and all we need to do is put a barrier in front of the hay and something to block Delight from the other part of the milking parlor.
We went to a farm outside of St. Johns, a little town in Washington, to buy a trailer. We kids were petting one of the nice cats they had there, and since they had said they had a lot of cats, we decided to ask if we could get one. They said sure! They gave her to us for free. We call her Speckles. We are keeping her in this cage for a couple days until we are pretty sure that she won't run off as soon as we let her out! She is getting petted a lot and getting fed raw meat.
With almost all of the under-the-house work done, Dad, Mom and the older kids decided to do a little bit of framing before going under the house and putting up a beam. Also, it precedes electrical and plumbing. On Tuesday the 4th, I and Mom and the toddlers went home until 1:30 p.m. while Dad and the three other kids framed almost the entire future bathroom. Ashleigh and Isaiah and Kellen had fun being Dad's main helpers instead of Mom, and it was an altogether nice change from digging and putting up beams under the house.
This is Delightful, or Delight. She is the best cow I have ever seen. When we first entered her pen, she walked up to us (Mom, Dad, Joseph, Joshy, and I with the owners) and licked us. She loves to be scratched and stroked. Formerly named Delilah, Daddy felt so overjoyed with her sweetness that he wanted to name her Joy, but it didn't quite fit. Since Delightful and Delilah sound similar, we thought her new name for her new home could be Delightful.
She will be easy to hand milk. Her heifer calf needs some more people training, though. The wonderful owners have generously offered to bring her two hours to Garfield for us in 2 weeks (from the 22nd)! She and her calf will be the first animals on the farm!
Josh: Founder, father