Creamery Construction Update
The creamery construction is coming along nicely.
The top concrete block rows are finished up to the floor heights . . . finally. To be clear, I mean the floor level for both floor heights. There is a 28″ difference. The barn floor is higher (green lines) while the parlor (yellow lines) & main floor is lower.
I would like to explain what you see here. I’ll fill you in on our milking dairy design.
The dairy working space (the parlor) can be flat, or have a ‘pit’ or be entirely raised off the floor. The more common, least expensive and easiest to work is a ‘pit’ design; the pit is simply a long trench or hole below floor level to make the cow’s udder available at a good working height. That milking pit can be up to 3’ deep. You walk down steps into it, the cows are standing at an angle on the common floor level with udders towards you and the work with the cows begins at a good height for the farmer.
Our milking parlor will be a one sided ‘milking pit’ (yellow lines). The shape of the land slopes and was the deciding factor in our parlor plan.
Let’s look at the one-sided pit idea: The picture shows from left to right – Barn, Parlor, and Main floor areas. The tops of each block wall are the floor heights (look for the thick green and yellow lines in the picture). The milking parlor space is in the middle: It has a left-hand, taller wall or the high side of the pit a right-hand lower wall. While the cows will stay up on the higher barn floor level (to the visual left, green lines), we will walk on and work from the lower parlor floor (to the visual right, yellow lines). There will be lots of cow traffic on and along the taller floor edge — that left-hand barn-parlor wall. This is my version of a one sided ‘milking pit’ or parlor
The long left-hand barn-parlor wall will be poured solid & have a formed concrete lip extending 6″ past the wall to support the cow milking stalls metal support system.
The retaining wall is closest to the driveway. It is designed to hold back mud, water and vehicles.
Let’s talk structural building strength: For the barn floor (higher), the top row of blocks will have the inside pieces knocked out. These top blocks reinforced with steel rebar will become part of the poured floor, locking the floor edge to the wall and down to the footer. The retaining wall is setup the same way for the same purpose.
As it is today, I still have two footer lengths to dig out; look closely to see where dirt and steel bars are showing between those lower floor corners. These footers and walls define the shorter building ends. This is where the cheese make room, the aging coolers and the commercial kitchen all reside.
I temporarily filled in the footers with dirt. There was a need to be able to drive heavy equipment across the floor areas carrying in all those blocks. I will rough grade the dirt with my tractor before I dig out those footers and complete the lay up of those shorter walls.
The dirt rough grading will include making the floor area of the walk-in coolers lower by 4″. That’s extra depth is needed for the cooler floor insulation.
Animal Movement Logistics
The animals get to the creamery building by walking the natural ground path along a fenced highway or travel lane. The animal travel lane is nearest that higher barn end of the building. They will find the entry and exit to be comfortable as it will fit the shape of the land. The cows will stay up on that left-hand ‘barn’ floor; they will come in the building corner on that floor then leave the building corner from that same floor level.
Dirt moved and graded, the last footer blocks in place, then layout with strings all the pipe trenches. It’s like a little 3D puzzle. It will be time for digging trenches for the pipes! That will take a good effort in the cold hard ground. All of those floor drains, bathroom and kitchen drains, supply line conduits for water, electrical and gas need to cut across the floor at various angles and depths.
After setting all those pipes in place and back-filling those trenches it will be time for digging the footers for the internal block walls! All the inside room walls will be regular common blocks as you see here. Many of those walls are weight bearing, carrying the roof and attic storage.
My oldest brother is coming to the farm from Florida to help walk through all the plumbing details so his knowledge will give me great feedback.
Like I mentioned, I have a lot of trenches to dig so I’ll get back to sharing more after all the snow melts and when the next step is visible.