Today we had our final inspection and we are so pleased with how everything turned out and so grateful for a competent team of builders who were here everyday weather-permitting, paying attention to every smallest detail.
My father-in-law gave us the best compliment when he said, “it looks like it’s always been here.” It’s big, but sits on the edge of our woods, framed by much bigger oak trees.
A neighbor came by and asked Ivar what his favorite part was and he answered, “the big sliding doors” then proceeded to give a demonstration.
The most common question we get is “what are you going to put in there?” The traditional layout of a barn has space for animals, machines, and a workshop. And that’s pretty much what we’re planning to house. Before we can take the next steps with our farm, we need a place to put bigger animals and equipment.
The second most common question is about the upstairs loft and what we plan to put up there. I don’t have a good answer for this. It could be storage. It could be for gatherings. It could be a play area for the kids in the dead of winter (Becca refers to this as the “playloft”). The truth is, we built this space and much of the barn for that matter on faith that it one day will make perfect sense.
As much fun as it was to watch this barn go up, we’re even more excited to see all the ways it will be used.
It has been an exciting few weeks here at the Grovestead. We broke ground on our new barn project in mid-May and, weather-permitting, the activity hasn’t stopped since. In a swift two days the ground was leveled and made ready for construction using 80 cubic yards of clay from our own hillside.
The site was built up as much as 5 feet in some places. But the excavators did such a fine job of smoothing out the hillside where they scooped up the dirt, you’d never know they were here.
Atop the clay pad was dumped 5 truckloads of fill sand.
One boy in particular was happy watching all the real-life “toys” moving about the property.
After hours Ivar and Elsie played in the dirt berms and clay pits. This became a smooth hillside 12 hours later.
The workers arrived a few days later and began squaring the site for construction.
Most of the materials arrived the same day on two flatbed trucks. The posts were so long the forklift driver had to raise the skids 7 feet off the ground to avoid hitting the apple trees 30′ apart.
Holes were dug and posts dropped into place at breakneck speed, considering there were only two workers and 40 posts.
Overall the construction has been going very smoothly. Only a few minor delays, mostly weather-related. We’ve been holding our breath a lot around here, watching to see how our simple plans-on-paper take shape in real life (“…those are really tall poles!”). But mostly we have been thrilled with the progress.
When we moved to this property three years ago it came with few outbuildings in varying degrees of disrepair. The previous owners had already torn down a traditional barn that had literally collapsed a few years prior. Next to it stood a giant red shed that, by the time we came, was also collapsing. Too dangerous to use, too dilapidated to restore, it served its purpose as a quaint backdrop to family pictures. But a farm needs a barn, and the time has come to bring it back.
Part of building a new barn meant preparing the ground for new construction. So the red shed had to come down.
Of course, we saved all that beautiful weathered barn wood. We’re looking forward to using in future projects.
Several friends from our church and Becca’s parents joined us, making for a quick demolition. After removing all the siding and cutting a few supports it came down pretty easily.
After the shed came down we had to clear a large swath of saplings that had overgrown the site where we want to situate the new barn. I figured out a pretty effective disposal method that involved cutting, dragging, and burning.
I also got to use a chainsaw and tractor. As I told Becca, a man will take any excuse to use a chainsaw and tractor. Excavation finished last week and construction begins tomorrow. Lots more pictures to come!