Barnraising Part 1

After living here for eight years and hating my two rusty tin Sears sheds for all eight of those years, I am finally building a barn; it’s a small barn, but a barn all the same. The plan has been formulating for years in my head with regard to size and shape, and I decided on a 10×16 saltbox with a sliding barn door, tin roof and rough cut board & batten siding. Hopefully that should be enough room to house the detritus of our outdoor lifestyle; the riding mower, three kayaks, a snowblower, a rototiller, numerous garden tools and two bicycles. Since we are do-it-yourselfers, the professor and I have been collaborating on the project, and he came up with a lovely drawing of what it would look like. He even added a little extension on one end for a potting bench which is very exciting for the gardener in me.

With the building permit secured, last weekend was the pouring of the concrete footings; nine sonotubes buried 42″ in the ground. Surprisingly, that’s a fair amount of ready-mix… sixteen 80 lb. bags in all. Ken borrowed a cement mixer from a friend and I was quickly reminded of what a messy job pouring concrete is. Having done some of that kind of work in a previous life I knew what I was in for, but it’s been a while. I forgot that no matter how far you try to stand behind the wheelbarrow, you’re going to get splattered in a big way. And a wheelbarrow loaded with cement is a very heavy item; my dinky little homeowner wheelbarrow was visibly unhappy about this task and looked ready to collapse at any moment.

After about three hours the job was complete, and we were both sweaty, filthy and exhausted. There may be a little masochist hiding in me, but one of the best feelings in the world is being totally drained after a day of hard, physical work. The bonus in labor like that is almost always tangible; a completed garden, a freshly painted house or a forest of cement piers ready for a deck. It’s productivity at its very best, and always makes me feel as if I have earned my space on earth.

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