The barn guy (hereafter referred to as Floyd because that’s actually his name and because it’s a whole lot fewer keystrokes to type than ‘the barn guy’) called me Monday afternoon and asked if they could go ahead and start my barns this week. Yippee …a project schedule that gets moved up instead of moved back! I said sure!
I was home by 5:00pm and Floyd and his two helpers proceeded to stake out the stall barn where I told them I wanted it. One minor change that came up that day is that Floyd wrote down 24×30 and 20×24 or my dimensions (instead of 20×30 and 20×20) …so that was what he figured when he did the quote. I was happy with the final number so I was real happy to find out I was getting some extra elbow room for my money. Works for me! I was so excited to think I would have both barns in place by the end of the month instead of just starting to build them at the end of the month.
But by 8:00pm, they had staked and re-staked and re-staked again the one stall barn and couldn’t seem to get it square. Floyd knows what he’s doing but his helpers were new to him and weren’t really taking direction well. He told me when they left, he would re-stake it himself the next morning and not to worry, the barn would be square when it was finished. I told him it sure would or he’d have to start over. He laughed kind of nervous like but I wasn’t laughing. One of our barns at our last place was home-made by the previous owners and not square and it was a booger to work on.
When I got home Tuesday evening, the stall barn was staked AND square and it only took them one try and about 45 minutes to stake the hay barn. Progress. All of the materials were delivered today, but there’s been no other progress. They were packed up and gone when I got home at 4:45, so I called Floyd to see how it was going. He said they were bringing a bobcat with an auger Thursday morning and would punch all twenty-one holes for the uprights. He figured three holes per hour (heavy clay in places) so that will be an all day job. When they come back Friday, they’ll have traded the bobcat for a fork lift so they can move the materials and set the poles in the holes. Concrete will be poured Saturday and they should start on the roof on Monday.
As a side note and a favor to me, Floyd offered to use the forklift to move my new squeeze chute into place in one of the bays in the new stall barn. That’s a big relief to me. I was wondering just how I was going to accomplish that!
When Yeoldfurt and I moved up here nearly 8 years ago, we both agreed the only thing this place lacked for our needs was a barn. There were run-in sheds in the pasture, storage sheds in the yard and a three car garage …but no barn. So for nearly 8 years now, the horses and the tractor have lived outside in the elements …all day, everyday. The horses have handled it better than the tractor, I must say. They were fat and sassy when we moved here and are still fat and sassy today. But the tractor is rustier and harder to start than ever, definitely showing it’s age. So I decided it’s time to build a barn.
My first thoughts were grandiose. I envisioned a structure big enough to provide shelter for the livestock, covered storage space for equipment and extra hay, an enclosed feed room and some kind of covered work space for when the vet or farrier ..a veritable mega-barn. At first glance, having everything under one roof might sound convenient, even efficient. But the concept is problematic when the functions are that many and that different. I knew I needed to scale back my plans but everything seems necessary so what to cut?
Yeoldfurt never liked the idea of storing hay in a livestock barn because hay because of the risk of fire so that was the first thing crossed off the list. I almost resigned myself to NOT storing extra bales …just buying hay on an as-need basis, one or two bales at a time. That’s how I do it now but it’s more expensive and if we have another prolonged drought, it becomes nearly impossible to find hay exactly when you need it. Everyone’s heard the old saying ‘make hay while the sun shines.’ Well a good companion philosophy in my opinion is ‘BUY hay when it’s available.’ But then it dawned on me, I could build two separate structures. One will be a 20×20 hay barn which will store up to four round bales and the tractor. The other will be a 20×30 stall barn that will provide shade and shelter for the livestock and feed and space to work out of the weather. Both will be ‘open air’ for now, no walls …just a roof. I will add walls one at a time as I can pay for them and I’ll use tarps on the north and west walls in the meantime for shade and windbreak.
The hay barn will be in the turnaround at the bottom of the driveway which is where the hay is generally delivered anyway. From there I have easy access to any of the pasture areas where I would put out a round bale. It is also easy access to the shop where I have the tools necessary to work on the tractor if that becomes necessary. The stall barn will be in the front paddock which is close to the house and driveway …easy access in and out access to unload feed or load up livestock. It’s also close to the house so twice daily feeding chores are more efficient.
I already have a bid from a reliable contractor who has done work for me before. He will be back the last weekend this month to stake the two building sites and said he should be able to finish both in under two weeks. Pictures when they’re done.
My one and only previous post via WordPress was published over 18 months ago. I don’t know if I have anything worthwhile to say but I do know that I’ve missed blogging. It’s an outlet. It’s therapeutic in it’s own way …even the posts that you spill your guts to write but never actually publish. The spilling is what brings the relief. Have you ever gotten frustrated with trying to find something in a bag or toolbox that’s over full and the contents are tangled together? Dig, shuffle, dig some more and you still can’t put your hands on that one thing you need. It helps to just dump everything out, find what you need and then look at each of the other pieces and decide whether to put them back. Your heart is the same way. Sometimes you just need to dump it all out to see what’s there …what’s worth keeping, what’s not.
I miss Yeoldfurt. It’s seven months today since he passed and I think the mental fog has begun to lift. I’m past the stress and confusion of going through probate and past the panic of will I be able to make it on my own financially. I find myself making choices now that are actually choices and not just knee jerk reactions. Everything is the same as far as goals, needs, aspirations …and yet everything is different because one cannot do everything that two could do. I cannot do everything WE could do …at least not using the same methods. So I do what can, by whatever means I can and hope for the best.
I hope that blogging again will help me organize my thoughts, find a focus …stay focused. At the end of the day, the week, the year, I want to be able to look back see that something was accomplished. Even if it’s just a lesson learned on what NOT to do.