Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Royal Hilton Welcomes Its New Resident

Friday was the BIG DAY!  Kara and I drove to Knoxville to pick up Royal, our future herd sire, for the last leg of his journey from Washington.  Everything was ready for his arrival, including his deluxe accommodations in the Home Pasture.  He needs to spend three weeks in "quarantine" (except for one buddy), so the barnyard was out since I need it for milking.  So we made him a temporary "stall" in the Home Pasture where he can be separated from the other animals, but close for us to spend time getting to know him.

Here's how we made his temporary home:

We cannibalized our round pen, taking the corral panels off and carrying them into the pasture.

The first time we did it wrong and put a 12' panel across the back.  You can tell the panels apart because the 12' ones have two uprights while the 10' ones have only one upright.

We soon realized our mistake and swapped the 12' back panel for a 10' one.  You'll see why . . .

Because the best way to put a roof on was to lay the discarded 12' panel on top of the pen across the back.  The pen was now only 10' wide instead of 12'.  This provided a much sturdier base on which to rest the roof panel.

Herb temporarily tied everything together with hay bale twine.

Next he brought a piece of plywood from the barn and laid it across the back of the pen, clean side to the inside.  He drilled holes with his cordless drill, spacing them around the bars of the corral panel.
We tied off the plywood with twine through the holes going around the bars of the panel.  This held our sturdy windbreak in place.

With just a couple hours' work, the framework of the structure was in place.
I was able to finish the job myself after buying a 10' x 12' heavy duty tarp and several packs of rubber bungies, or tie-downs.  First, I positioned the tarp where I wanted it and attached it with bungies, but not too tightly.

Next, I used a box cutter to cut pieces of old carpet to put underneath the tarp. . .

... to cushion all the rough places on the framework so the wind tugging on the tarp wouldn't cause it to fray and tear at those spots.
The final step was to pull the bungies tight.  The D-rings on the tarp are reinforced and should hold much better than a tarp with grommets.

Where the tarp hung over the front of the "roof," I folded it back under and used more bungies to secure it.  One end of a bungie went in one D-ring, the bungie was looped over a bar of the corral panel, and the opposite end of the bungie went in another D-ring.

I wanted more of a windbreak than we had, so I stacked straw bales on the side of the enclosure adjoining the plywood.  Then I wedged heavy-duty plastic sheeting around the straw bales and weighted it down.  This made a very good windbreak in that corner in addition to the 5' roof overhead (because the corral panel is 5' high, which makes the roof 5' deep).

The night before Royal was scheduled to come home, since no precipitation was predicted, I scattered a bale of straw under the roof area, nice and deep so he could nestle down and stay warm.  I bungied a bucket in the corner, ready to fill the next day--no point in doing it the night before and welcoming the poor guy with a bucket of solid ice!

I wanted to be very sure the tarp would stay snug on the roof and not flap in the wind, so I used a large tie-down . . .

... and strapped it tightly across the roof, tying off the end of the strap so it wouldn't flap and annoy our illustrious resident.

Just in case there could be any doubt about Royal's welcome, I made a fancy sign for the door of his hotel room gate.

Once Royal met his new buddy Sir Loin, he settled in really quickly enjoying the beverage bar and the meal from room service.  By the dent in the bed this morning, he found the straw mattress to his liking, and he seemed to appreciate the personal spa treatment (brushing) he got today.  In a few days when he's had a chance to get acclimated, we'll bring him out and introduce him to everyone.

But he's already got the message, "Welcome home, Royal!" 


  1. Nice Susan, you are really treating that cow like Royalty and I hope he can rise to the occasion:)

    1. From what I know of his breeding, his dam's udder classification and her milk tests, he sure will, Gordon. Can you tell we're excited about him? :D

  2. A truly Royal welcome!

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  7. The above comments were spam and were removed by the blog administrator. If these people have that much time and energy to waste, let them come on over and I will put them to work with a fork shoveling some of the real stuff they like to (virtually) spread so liberally!


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