Amish House Builders Near Me – The words sound like a melody to our ears. A glowing review from our vet as he walked into our new barn for the first time and looked at the pastures is the biggest compliment we can get.
Once you have dedicated your family and land to raising alpacas, and have truly fallen for these beautiful animals, you want to provide them with the best home and shelter. We put it on the ground which is a blank canvas. There is no house, no barn, and no yard – just good grass.
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Setting up our barn from scratch is daunting but an opportunity to adapt it to the unique needs of the alpacas. Being new to both farming and raising alpacas means you need a great deal of research. The real research begins in our vacation. Before purchasing our livestock, we traveled to Western Ontario to visit many alpaca farms from large to small, with everything from new livestock barns to newly built alpaca barns. At each stop we learned something new that eventually made its way into the best design for our shelter and new grass base.
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As soon as we got back home the internet research started. We found many wonderful farms with established websites that share the wisdom learned in building their shelters. After many months, and many sketches by my husband, we have a design that seems to be perfect. Then we took this design to many friends who raised alpacas and who were happy to review the plans and make suggestions.
Now design and implementation are two different things… and finding an affordable way to make it a reality is another. The best way to find solutions is to work with your neighbors. After shopping our design around and getting quotes that exceeded our budget by a mile, we decided to take it to our neighbors…neighbors who know how to build a barn.
In recent years, our community has been able to welcome newcomers who have made the area even truer to its rural roots. Many Amish families have settled in and around Stirling, ON from Western Ontario. Experts in barn building, they are happy to talk about the work, but the concept of alpacas has left them mystified. They want to meet these strangers, these new creatures, and we want to experience a very unique culture.
The Amish community has established their own construction regime in this area, operating a lumber mill that involves eliminating contracts, meeting my basic goal to use sustainable, local building materials and techniques. From the beginning it was clear that the quality of this work would be its main difference. A 2×4 is actually just a 2×4. All the trees were rough and unplaned. Every joint is strong, every angle perfect. And the stable construction, all in white oak, was to a standard that would have a draft horse, not to mention an alpaca. The end product speaks for itself. This barn will last for generations.
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In addition to the quality of their work, our team of Amish builders bring a unique cultural experience to our farm for the several weeks they are on site. A house was built on the property two years ago. The anxiety of that experience is still in our hearts. So we are more than happy to experience something completely different on this build. There is something inexplicably peaceful and satisfying about construction meetings that take place in the winter, by the light of an oil lamp and the warmth of a wood stove, with the warm and welcoming family of your contractor around (several generations) . The business is sealed with a handshake, and the assurance that a deposit will not be taken – that he will be there when the warm weather comes.
Construction began in May 2009. Their confidence was unmatched, with the team showing up early in the morning until their work was complete. As we solve each bill as the work progresses, the truth and honesty are in their very interesting way. The work is certainly a business transaction, but also a way to help the neighbor, and it shows.
The result is 1, 320 sq. ft. “Run In” style barn. It includes four 10′ by 20′ stalls, allowing us to separate pregnant women with cria from yearlings, geldings and males. A 9′ by 8′ hot room provides a separate area for animal recovery and storage of medical supplies and feeding. Hay storage is provided at the rear of the barn in a 40′ by 6′, 240 square foot area, large enough to also store wheel barrows and other large equipment. The “multi-purpose” entrance is 6′ wide, allowing room to turn and work easily around the animals. And the rainwater harvesting and filtration system provides a year-round supply of water. The exterior construction is white pine board and batten with an iron roof, with interior beams, walls and stalls in white oak.
Our operation in the barn lends itself to proper grass management that also makes working and handling the herd a pleasure. It is sponsored by Alpaca Pastures of Virginia (www.alpacapasturesva.com) who provide an excellent website filled with interesting ideas for farm planning. We have a total of 5 acres of pasture on our 7 acre farm, giving plenty of room for expansion when the time is right.
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Therefore, our “barn raising” is a unique partnership of past and present – the best of ancient building techniques, combined with the best of research and design. Kind people are our little flock. Are there challenges? Of course. When working with an Amish title there are no cell phones or phones involved to communicate and resolve last minute details. We often had to find Robert (our builder) by driving out to his farm, consulting with his family, and even following the bike paths to a nearby farm to discuss. Our daughter loves to “follow Robert” with us and is rewarded with fresh cinnamon buns made by her sisters when we visit her farm.
As newcomers to farming, the experience of building a proper alpaca shelter is daunting but rewarding. The biggest reward came when the last fire was put out, the shop door closed, and our alpacas began to sing their first soulful song. We have not looked back.
Heather Candler, co-owner of Oak Hills Alpacas (OH Alpacas) with husband Michael and daughters Samantha and Ruby live in Stirling, Ontario, Canada. Their new sustainable farm is home to 8 alpacas, a livestock guardian dog and a family dog. Heather works as a general manager of a development company by day and Michael is a hybrid craftsman. Their alpaca farm is their commitment to sustainable living to balance their busy careers and full family life. All members of the Candler family played an active role in farm life. Visit www. or contact Candlers at farm@.
Originally published in the June 2010 issue of Camelid Quarterly. A special thanks to the editor for permission to reprint. There is a lot of confusion in the construction industry about building a house. Many consumers refer to prefabricated log homes and prefabricated modular homes interchangeably, although there are significant differences between the two. As an Amish company that builds log cabins, we at Zook Cabins, hope to explain the differences between these two styles.
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Manufactured homes, sometimes referred to as prefabricated homes, are not built to the same construction standards as modular homes. To summarize, there are two distinct differences between prefabricated and modular buildings, namely, construction standards and costs.
Because these units are built on a small metal frame, they require thin walls to maximize interior space. Unfortunately, the limited space and layout lead to compromised quality and overall design. For financial reasons, even when these manufactured homes are built on a foundation, and are not really “mobile”, these manufactured homes are still treated as mobile homes.
Important note: To further the confusion, many log cabin manufacturers offer both prefabricated cabins and modular cabins in their product lines. They often fail to differentiate between the two, except when talking about price.
Amish built log cabins, sometimes referred to as modular or prefab log cabins, meet or exceed all residential building standards in the same way as any traditional log home. The difference between our wooden houses and the wooden variety, is the way the final pieces are put together. Everything else about Amish-built log cabins is the same as any custom-built home, from the roof all the way to the floors.
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Although ourlog cabins are “manufactured” in the controlled area of our company, the assembled product has the same quality system and the same financial and investment potential as any log house. In fact, our company allows for more efficient and environmentally friendly construction and effective personalization.
As an Amish log cabin company, Zook Cabins understands that there are many
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