Building Our Goat Pen From Local Materials, Screech - the Owl

Nov 3rd, 2011Anthony arranged for us to work with Charima, the local Paul Bunyan, to go get wood for our goat pen. We went down to the river and cut down a 40’ palm tree that was falling into the river next to the dam site.

Charima, our one man lumber jack and sawmill
Charima pulled out his tape measure and oil line, for making a straight line, and we went to cutting. We ended up with 10- 4x4s, 10- 2x4s, and a lot of miscellaneous pieces. 

The sawmill making 4' X4' 

They told me that the top eight feet of the tree were not good for lumber so I had them cut it down the middle and made two bench seats out of it. The wood was very heavy so we decided to wait for the tractor and wagon to come down with a load of rocks so we could put the wood in it for a back haul up to the KCC. While I was waiting for the tractor I had Shad take a picture of me on the bench with the wood in front of me. A couple of children were watching so I had them come over and sit by me for the picture. My pants were in the wash so I was in shorts.

Our new bench and the lumber from one tree
I was back at the KCC chugging down water when Malau came by with the tractor and trailer. I asked if he would help us and he said “You bet, do you want to drive the tractor?”
I quickly obliged and jumped into the driver’s seat. I started to push the throttle forward and he told me not to move it so I started easing out the clutch and the engine died. Then he pointed out the foot throttle and said use that. From then on it was pretty smooth (my driving not the road). We unloaded the rocks in record time then through the wood in and hauled it up to the KCC for the goat pen.

The KCC tractor and trailer hauled our wood back to the KCC
We started the goat pen after lunch and had the main structure up by dinner. Mark helped Patrick, Edison, and two others put it together. The coconut wood is easy to nail through but is extremely hard to saw and all we had was a couple of little hand saws and a machete. The machete actually worked pretty well. The pen is an eight foot by eight foot structure two feet above the ground. We are attaching a four foot area on the side for storing grass to feed during the dry season. We should come close to finishing it by tomorrow and then we will decide about getting goats.

Patrick, Mark and Eddison building the goat pen
It is hot and humid here so when you are working hard the sweat pours off you. I drink water all day long trying to stay hydrated. I really need some type of electrolytes to go with it. The Kenyans are more accustomed to the heat and do better working in it.
A local school boy tried to sell me a baby owl
While I was working on the pen a boy came up to me with a baby owl and asked if I wanted to buy it from him. I declined but took a picture of them. A little while later Bret came by with the owl which he had purchased from the boy for 60 shillings ($0.60).  We got some chicken from dinner and Bret fed it to it while I held it. We were able to get a couple of small pieces down it by breaking off very small pieces and placing them in its mouth. The Kenyans thought that we were crazy. We probably are.

Screech eating his dinner