Butcher Shop Location

Speckled Blue Sky Clouds

humble.pie wrote:
A few days ago i returned to sugar mountain farm blog after several months & discovered you pouring concrete piers & foundations for what will be the slaughterhouse. That’s what gives me pause. It looks to be gigantic. It’s right next to tiny cottage. You are going to be living in the tiny-cottage-behind-the-slaughterhouse. Of course, it’s too late to change now, but was this always what you really wanted? somehow i don’t think so. I’m wondering why didn’t you locate the slaughterhouse far away from sightlines of tiny cottage. Like one mile down the road.

Actually, I like it just the way it is. We considered many locations, both right here in the central area of our farm, further up the road and at other sites even in other towns. Below are some details on some of the reasons that where our butcher shop is located is the best possible location for us:

  1. The butcher shop is only a little bigger than the tiny cottage at less than 40’x40′. It is just that small area at the north end of the old farm house with the new form work on it. The rest of the old farm house is still there and larger than the lairage, slaughterhouse and butcher shop all put together. It is smaller than most houses by far. Good chance your house, or even apartment, is bigger than our entire facility. Remember, this is a nano-scale on-farm slaughterhouse and butcher shop, not some gigantic facility.
  2. The butcher shop blends into the land and farm scape – it is actually built into the hillside making it even more hidden from our uphill vantage point. If you were driving by on the road the butcher shop will just look like another stone barn structure, about the same size of the shed that we tore down. In fact, it will look much better than the old run down building. From the outside you would have no idea that it is an ultra-modern, space age top secret laboratory.
  3. Part of the reason for placing the butcher shop where it is located is because we have an existing foundation there – our old hay shed that was working on falling down. Using the old foundation made permitting much easier. See the original butcher shop post for some discussion of this. Reusing an old foundation also fits in with my philosophy of recycle.
  4. If I locate the butcher shop a mile away from our house then which of our neighbors’s houses should I put it next to? Wouldn’t it be a far better world if Dow Chemical, Exxon, Monsanto and other corporate executives had to actually live right next to their factories and strip mines? Then they would care about the pollution they spew. Farmers normally live right where they work, especially small family farmers like us. This is our home. Living here makes us care more about what we do and how it impacts the world. We do things organically because that is how we want to live our lives. It’s not some marketing jargon.
  5. By putting it where it is, the butcher shop fits in with the functionality of the farm. The pigs are born in the farrowing fields, rotate through the various pastures until they end up at the lairage of the slaughterhouse about six months later. To locate the building elsewhere would mean trucking the animals to another location which rather defeats the whole purpose of on-farm slaughter. Even a mile down the road would be too far.
  6. You can not actually see the butcher shop from the tiny cottage and vis-a-versa. This is hard to know from photos but we’re on hilly terrain with several terraces between the two which are located about 500′ apart. There are places where I can stand looking down to the old farm house, where the butcher shop is, and over to the new tiny cottage. Yet from either you can not see the other. See this photo and this photo which show both give you some idea of why you can’t see one from the other. I sited things very carefully, not just for seeing each of these buildings but for how they are seen and see other things in the world. There are also many other factors like driving access, wind, light, etc.
  7. Besides, perhaps most of all, I like a short commute. :)

This is exactly how I wanted it and I’m very glad we’ve placed each in its proper place. By the way, I arrived at the locations using mathematics – there’s no chance involved.

Merry Christmas to all!


-Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep, Chickens, Ducks, Geese, Dogs and Kids

Outdoors: 31째F/13째F Partially Sunny North field sows farrowing
Tiny Cottage: 68째F/59째F Cut Christmas Tree

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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7 Responses to Butcher Shop Location

  1. Mary Ricksen says:

    To be honest all of that makes sense to me. What I can't figure out is where you all fit in that tiny one bedroom cottage. I live in a very small home. Me and my husband share a place with less than 900 square feet and sometimes I can't escape!
    So my question is. How do you mange?
    I saw the blueprints for your cottage and I just can't imagine. You must have the best wife in the world.

  2. In addition to what the floor plan of the tiny cottage there is also space above the front and back in the loft and attic. These areas are not full height but they're great kid spaces.

    As to escaping, we have ear protectors that we can put on if we want to block out the distractions of other people's activity, but we used those back when we lived in the farm house so that is no different. The thing is the tiny cottage is very carefully designed acoustically and spatially so that you can be out of sight and sound of other people while all being in a very small space. Holly has commented on how one can walk into the cottage and not even realize there are several other people indoors because of how quiet it is.

    Additionally, we spend a great deal of our time outdoors so there is always the wide world to 'escape' to if need be.

    Lastly, you are certainly right, I do have the best wife in the whole world – and most wonderful kids too! See here for a post by Holly about the tiny cottage from her view.

  3. Vera says:

    We are living in caravans at the moment, so me and my husband are always tripping over each other, but there is always the outside space and we have developed a love of living for so much of our time outside. For this we feel blessed. We used to live in a 'cosy' centrally heated house in the UK, and even though it has been freezing here in SW France recently not for anything would I swap residence. And since you are making a farm like we are (only a small one though), then you will know what works for you. We had a space by the house which in Plan A was going to be an indoor winter garden. Plan B has now been born, and it is to be a small barn for two milking cows! Enjoy reading your progression, and loved your daughter's hair ribbons. Wishing you all the best for 2010, and hope the abbattoir continues on apace.

  4. Leon says:

    Interesting :) What humble.pie said is certainly in line with traditional design recommendations. I spent last 6 months researching permaculture design rules and working on a master-plan for improving design of our farm that used to be a gentleman's ranch and was built according to the same traditional design guidelines, which doesn't make it very functional or easy to work on. So, after reading humble.pie's question my first thought was – "No, that's the place you'll be visiting a lot, it must be in Zone 2 or 3" but then there was another thought that I know why he said that and how it used to make sense to me in the past life :). Just interesting how mind can operate in these two very different systems :)

    And Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well reasoned and thank you for sharing the rationals behind your choices. I wish more businesses were sited like you figure it rather than this build everything in one environmental sore on the land, a blight they call industrial parks. Keep up the good work my man!

    Merry Xmas! And Happy New Year!

  6. Eve says:

    You are so right about this all. I wish I lived closer and could support you by buying your product. Keep up your great work and showing the way to others. We need leaders like you with vision to do and not just talk. I especially like the point about living where you work and how that makes you think about things.

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