Thursday, June 15, 2017

The really, really big barn project

When I purchased the property it came with some big barns; about 50,000 square feet of them.  The largest barn was set up to house 300 dairy cattle, but honestly I have never been impressed with it.

The big barn in 2013, Sean there for scale
The barn itself is 250'x100'x20' tall, and the tall sides mean that rain would blow in from every side, so much so that the outside 20' or so of the barn was basically never dry - I couldn't keep any animal there.  The previous owner of my farm froze 38 dairy cattle to death in this barn, which gives you an idea of how cold it could be, rain, snow or shine.

the other problems were that it had been built without any water supply - as in no water within 100 feet of any side of this barn, and the gates and setup were, well, odd.  To me, anyway.  Probably perfectly good for holding full-sized holsteins or jerseys, but certainly not very good for pigs, and not at all good for small pigs.

Over the next few years I did do some things that made the space work better for me but I kept having problems with wet, cold and generally not very welcoming conditions inside the barn.  For as much roof as this barn has it wasn't very dry anywhere.

So I finally bit the bullet and am putting sides and ends on this barn

The basic barn structure is there.  I had to add girts first, and then start putting up the siding.  To keep the barn useable without artificial light I designed in a 4' clear panel at the top of the walls, which I'm hoping will provide enough natural light inside that it can be used without artificial light if you choose.  I'll still put lights in there so that it can be fully lighted if need be, but prefer to have a natural light option.

This is honestly the largest building i've ever worked on.  I walked out a few hundred feet to get the picture above.  Notice the manlift and people a little to the left of center of that picture.
 My brother Bryan, my Nephew Dillan and his college roommate Alex are helping me with this project.  Extra money for the college guys.  No idea why Bryan is helping ;)

I grew up remodeling houses with my mother, and so my first jobs were all basically construction jobs, and I forget sometimes how foreign hand tools are to the xbox generation.  The first few days were teaching these kids how to use the tools and then watching them to make sure that they were being safe.  Harness and safety glasses.  I should probably get them helmets, too.  Making a list.

This is what the finished sidewall looks like.  the top 4' clear panels are attached; the building wasn't sided prior to this, and so I'm going to have to extend the roof a few inches to provide an overhang before I attach the gutters.  I'm waiting on the roof extension metal now; when it arrives we'll wrap up this side.

On the "you never know until you try" - the 4' clear panels do provide enough light inside the barn so that you don't need more light for most tasks.  that's nice to confirm.


Unknown said...


Bill Gauch said...

It looks great. It's interesting that the previous owner built it high with no sides and no overhang. I almost wonder if he was short on money and built it that way intending to eventually do what you are doing now. One thing I noticed is that the clear plastic looks a little flimsy. It may just be the distant shots, but I would be afraid to have it face the common 30-50 knot winds all winter out here.

Mountain Walker said...

ohmygoodness! What a project! Love the color :)

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...