Building with a Nonexistent Budget


As we have been expanding our herds, we have been in need of shelters in places that our barn cannot accommodate.  So we have built some incredible shelters that have cost us little to nothing.  Our lower barn took a huge hit with the pigs and horse rubbing on the rotting walls that were built over 25 years ago.  So we had to fence the bigger animals out of that building.  We have plans to rebuild it someday but now it is housing our chickens.

The first shelter was built to cover pigs and the buck goats that we had in the lower pasture. We started with pallets that we had picked up from behind Home Depot for free.  These we nailed together and made a large square with one missing in the front for the door.  To make it so that the pigs couldn’t push it down, we put log pieces that we had picked up from the local mill around the bottom and sank T-posts at each corner.  On top we put an old garage door that was made with tin siding that we had picked up from a building recycle place for $15.  After nailing that down we had our shelter complete…..or so I thought.


Katrina had another idea.  She wanted to have several stalls so the sows could choose one to farrow in.  So we put together a second group of pallets with the scrap wood from the local mill dividing it down the middle, and pallets on each side, we had 4 stalls.  With the other $15 garage door on top, we had it made.  Because of the two parts, this outbuilding we call the “Suite”.  Total cost…..about $36 for the garage doors and T-posts.  The funny part about this is that the sows never used them to farrow in.  They chose to go into the open woods and have their babies there.


Then we decided to fence off a small part of our pasture to put the sows and bucks in for the winter.  This was to help keep them out of the muddiest part of the pasture and so we could reseed.  But the “Suite” was not where we wanted the winter pasture to be……so we built another shelter.  This one was built out of the outside of logs that had been peeled off to start making lumber.  These we got free from the local mill.  We had 4”X 6” lumber that we had salvaged from some unremembered place that we used for the corners and started nailing stuff together.  We cross braced it with other salvaged lumber then put another set of garage doors on the top for the roof.  Katrina said that these didn’t cost us because I bought the doors for the siding and that had been removed before we used the frames.  Then we roofed it with tin roofing that I had gotten free from someone’s shed that had fallen over.  Total cost…..about $30 only because we needed really long nails, screws and roofing screws.


But wait…..we still had the boar hog that needed a place for part of the winter.  We did not want him with the girls because we don’t want winter babies.  With no electricity to keep them warm, we lost all of them last year. The boar is in the pen with the chickens but with electric wire to keep him out of the barn.  As we were thinking about how to house him our neighbor asked if we wanted a truck canopy that she had buried in the ivy.  So we went and picked it up, free.  Then we put together pallets, 2 down each side and one in the back, and screwed the canopy on top of that.  With T-posts on the front two sides at the opening, we have a very adequate house for the boar.  Total cost…….$2 for T-posts.


So with a little ingenuity and some of someone else’s scraps, we have shelters that work very well and cost us almost nothing. (I am going to have to replace my camera……sorry about the broken lens.)

About Janolyn

I am a mother of 5 wonderful children, 4 boys and 1 girl. During the years that my children were growing up, we grew most of our own food with a vegetable garden, many fruit trees and berry patches. I grew flowers for joy. We milked goats and raised our own meats and eggs. I learned to make my own cheeses, butter, canned foods, sourdough, and fermented foods. I made our own health products like soap, hand creams, lip balm, and herbal tinctures. We live off the power grid and have learned to do without conveniences that most Americans consider essential. The land clearing and building has been mostly accomplished with hand tools; some of them even the right tool for the job. After a couple of miscarriages between #2 and #3 due to “standard medical procedures”, I consulted a midwife and my last 3 children were born safely at home. That was when I was first alerted to the fact that doctors did not know everything nor would they have the time to share it with their patients if they did. As I learned the basic principles of heath-through-nutrition from my midwife, I learned alternative gardening practices from her husband. That introduction started a lifelong love of learning the practical life of our ancestors. I want to share what I have been learning with you and learn from those who are also living a sustainable life.


Building with a Nonexistent Budget — 1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *