2010 - Volume #34, Issue #3, Page #17[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Dogs Stay Cozy In Hollowed-Out Bales
"I had a freezing dog and a neighbor that didn't pick up his hay," says Peter von Tiesenhausen, who came up with the idea for the hay doghouses about 10 years ago. Hollowing out bales proves to be a bit tricky. He's used everything from a chainsaw to an electric knife. His best excavator is a tool he made by flattening rebar on one end and making a hook to cut and pull the hay. He makes ribs out of willows inside to hold the circular shape, jabbed bigger willows in the ground on the outside and tied them taut at the top to hold the bale's exterior shape. Bale wire "sewn" around the edge of the hole keeps the opening round.
He puts the bales under a tree for summer shade. "The door faces south, and so it's nice and cozy in winter," von Tiesenhausen says. "In the summer the sun is higher so it doesn't shine in the door."
Over the years, the interior has grown larger - big enough to hold two dogs - and von Tiesenhausen added a couple of gunny sacks filled with shavings as a bed/windbreak at the opening. He made a second house for his newest dog, Homer, last year and made a smaller hole. Use hay, Von Tiesenhausen advises, rather than straw, which breaks down faster.
There's only been one major incident with the hay bale house. One morning Taxi was on the porch barking frantically - a moose was eating the back of his house. A piece of plywood stopped the problem.
"This is one of the best ideas IŠve had," says von Tiesenhausen. "It'll probably last another couple of years, and then I can throw the hay on the garden."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Peter von Tiesenhausen, Demmitt, Alta., Canada
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