A Fine Old Sheepherder Wagon

I love these the old sheepherder camps.  I’ve seen quite a few parked on ranches from Colorado to Idaho and even a few in Arizona.  I know they aren’t highway capable but it seems they could provide a real housing alternative for low-income minimalists who have access to land.  Far better than a housing complex or apartment for sure if you can deal with a small footprint.

Originally designed on a narrow wagon box, the builders took advantage of every square inch of space.  Since weight wasn’t really an issue, many have large stoves like the one above for heating and cooking.  As most of these wagons were homes for ranch workers in the western U.S., they needed to be prepared for extreme cold and windy environments.  When I was building my vardo, I took a fair amount of design inspiration from these wagons, adding their vibe to the more European designs I was ingesting.  My stove is small and I envy this one above; at least the cook top.

Off-the-shelf or build it yourself?  It’s the details of hand-built structures that make them stand out and this chimney cap is no exception.  This looks far more interesting to me than the local hardware store option.

The photos are from Ken Griswold’s Tiny House Blog.  If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’ve been a fan of his site for a long time now and recommend it for anyone with an interest in Tiny Homes.  Here’s a link to the full article about Lorna’s wagon.

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Yet Another Sheepherder…

(from the Paleotool vault)

I love these things.  I saw quite a few parked on ranches from Colorado to Idaho last week.  I know they aren’t highway capable but it seems they could provide a real housing alternative for low-income minimalists.  Way better than a housing complex or apartment for sure.  The photos link to Ken Griswold’s Tiny House Blog.  If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a fan of his site.

I took a fair amount of design inspiration from these wagons but added a bit of class along the way.  I wouldn’t mind having a cook stove like this one though.

Off-the-shelf or build it yourself?  I love these details in hand-built structures.  This looks way better to me than the local hardware store option.

Have a look at Lorna’s old wagon here.

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More from Deek

Derek Diedricksen at Relaxshacks.com is always good for some inspirational offbeat home ideas.  Here’s a shot of the interior of a sheep wagon with a promise of more to come.

Click the photo for the original post.

English Shepherd’s Huts

Old time shepherd’s huts aren’t really in the same class as vardos or showmen’s wagons as they aren’t really for long distance travel.  These great little portable homes are dragged around to new pastures and are ideal for guest houses, studios, and weekend homes.  These are generally simple affairs consisting of a room and a few built-ins.  The old models often included a lamb cage under the bed platform and little else.  As they don’t travel far they are often furnished with regular home furniture.

Several makers are still professionally building these.  Have a look at…

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to see some contemporary work.

There is a lot of good history of the design at Historic Shepherd Huts.

One appealing part of the design is the practicality.  Many classic huts are covered in corrugated iron and painted making for easy upkeep against the changing weather.  A far cry from high maintenance varnished wood.

A good feature I have noticed is the nearly ubiquitous transom vent in the peak.  I have considered this myself as a matter of security on warm nights and am not surprised it was thought up long before me.

Above is a classic hut with lamb cage intact.  Apparently these were used for all sorts of storage when lambs weren’t penned inside.  The top of the rack held a mattress for the shepherd and the hut was generally fitted with a wood stove.

By far, the best examples I have found on the web are at Plankbridge Hutmakers.  Above is a typical exterior and below, an exquisite modern interior.

Have a gander at their site for a load of great images and information.