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The AikiHomestead

Our Lifestyle Blog as We Create a Homestead in Northern Ontario


The Ending Of An Era - The Hacienda Is No More

Clearing in a forest with some firewood and a small trailer.Weathered planks piled against a treetrunk.Clearing with sawdust on the ground.Pile of cardboard and sawdust in the forest.Wall of cardboard in the forest.So one of the chores I've had on my list for some time was to finally dismantle the hacienda. Hard to believe it's been over a year since I first retired it in favour of my triangle "poo-pens".

Before I could tackle this chore though, I had to clean up all the bark and branches from this past year's cutting and splitting of the last of the birch pile between the cabin and the sauna. I'm rather proud of what I accomplished. I've cleaned out loads of scrubby undergrowth - hopefully this will help the area where I process the wood to dry out and have more cross breezes. The mosquitoes this year have been worse than any I can remember. They are still out there now!

While I had the power saw handy, I cut down the two sides of the existing hacienda, leaving behind the centre, covered section as a storage place for large pieces of unbleached corrugated cardboard. In the poopens, I used these to line the pens and prevent the dreaded "splashback" when emptying buckets.

I removed and dismantled the sides, and piled up the boards from them back over by my wood processing area in front of the woodshed. I'll use the metal stand to hold them in a convenient position when I get time to cut them up with the power saw.

I returned with the ATV and used the winch to drag the centre section of the hacienda off to one side and this greatly opened up the area where it once stood. It's actually a nice, open area now, thanks to the piles that have kept the brush in the area down. The well processed material at the bottom of the piles has made for a nice clearing in the same spot.

At Donna's amazing suggestion though, I have decided to already deprecate the poopens in favour of a sturdy, but removable "wall" of angle iron posts and cardboard. There is a definite slope on that side of the clearing that heads down into a gully that can handle centuries of my mix of humanure and sawdust. I'm planning on spending the year emptying buckets over the fence and down the slope, and in spring, taking down the wall long enough to use the blade on the ATV to push the pile back enough for the upcoming year's material.

Now with this wide open area, I have a dream... A dream that I can also plough the snow up to this area using the ATV and pushing the excess snow into the bush at the back of the clearing. You can see in the pictures that there is the remnants of the original poopen, but I'm hoping that as the season goes on, it will get flattened out and more easily pushed over by the plough blade in fall.

I emptied the first bucket there this morning, and aside from puzzling out how best to hang it from one of the upright poles, it went fantastic! I'm very excited by this system and hopeful that it will continue to make things more streamline here on the homestead.


Just wanted to say that this is working nicer than I even expected. It's so easy to just dump over this wall and not have to be traipsing around the triangular/hexagular poopens. So far, highly recommend. I have ordered some high quality, super-strong clamps to hold the cardboard sheets on the upper rail though, my
Dollarama ones sometimes fail and go flying off into the bush.
  • Stephen Garstin (2023-08-17)
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