Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Barn

We had the builder come out and use the bulldozer to move the stones from inside the barn to the pile out in the lot.  It would have taken me weeks to move them with a wheelbarrow, and they were infested with nettles.

The building is basically two, unconnected spaces built on the slope.  One about twice the size of the other.  The good news is that the stone looks very good and the walls quite straight.  There is a very ramshackle extension off the corner, with a window and two large stones that remind me of Stonehenge.  Who knows what it was for - pigs?  Chickens?  That won´t be included in the covered space, perhaps it would make a good potting area.

There is a large opening that has been bricked in.  We want to open that again.  We still have a bunch of windows we bought for the house that we can use.  The rest of the openings were filled in by slats to allow ventilation.  On the larger space, we may do the same for the time being.  Other options might be insulated panels clad in boards.  I don´t think we´ll have enough stone to fill in them all.

The builder has determined that the existing chestnut beams have rotten ends where they´re supported by the walls.  Of course, what else would he say.  On the other hand, no point spending the money for a new roof if the support is questionable, and our budget is, as always, minimal.

We saved a bunch of old beams and beam-ends that I intend for use on raised beds, arbors, etc., that will have to be moved somewhere out of the way.

We have to take measurements and make decisions about uses for the spaces.  I´m wondering about things like skylights, water lines, drains, insulation in general.  I actually think it´s an ideal candidate for a rocket mass heater, but doubt we´re capable of making that happen ourselves.  Plans are to put on a roof and cement slab in Phase I, probably maintaining the two different levels with separate entrances.

So let me ask, what are the most useful aspects of your barns or garages?


  1. When we came to the farm we thought that we might make the barn attached to the house into a music room. And then the cows arrived, so it was turned into a cow barn! Then a smaller barn, also attached to the house, we were going to turn into a winter garden (!!!) but it is now home to our freezers, grow lights, and other stuff! But I did get a music room eventually!

  2. Hi Vera,

    I´ve thought about turning that little adjunct area into a greenhouse. Lots of openings for glass.

    The guest bedroom was a potential sewing and crafting room, but now, not so much, so I really need a space for dyeing and soapmaking, but that implies water and power. So much to think about. No plans for cows, at least.

  3. Hi, Coco!

    That's an impressive structure. I am trying to imagine what it originally looked like. I guess it must be a vernacular architecture of your particular area? It could become so many things!

    I think that Breo might enjoy a cow . . . He looks like the kind of dog who goes in for BIG things.


  4. Hi Coco,

    Oooo barns! I love the old stonework as it yells history! Nice stuff and it is good to see Breo running about the place. Hi Breo! As to sheds. Well, I tend to separate sheds into different functions. Here goes: Chicken shed; two firewood sheds; machinery shed; and a cantina shed. I'm also planning a shed to store the various wines and root vegetables. I separate out the functions because chickens and machinery aren't friends. Machinery smells may get into root vegetables and ageing wines. And rats seem to like firewood sheds and the chickens would be uncomfortable with the rats plus the rats would eat tonnes and tonnes of grains. It is complex. I have some friends who have a huge shed which houses all of the functions and that seems to work for them. On older farms that is generally the way it goes with one huge shed. Dunno, it is a complex problem. However, I am looking forward to seeing the barn as it slowly gets restored to its former (and lets be honest, probably better) glory!


  5. Hi Pam,

    That pic in the middle is from the original advertisement of the property. It had seen better days. A neighbor has told us his great-grandfather kept cows in it at one point. Breo loves cows. More than cows love him, unfortunately.

    Hi Chris,

    The stonework is remarkable, especially when you consider the lack of machinery available for putting it together. Many told us to renovate the barn to live in, and forget about the house.

    Ew, rats! Hadn´t thought about them getting into the firewood. And then the feed. I´ve pretty much decided the chickens will have to go elsewhere, but am conflicted about where. Far enough away not to smell, not too far to get to and keep an eye on. Closer to the woods (predators), closer to the veg patch(escapes), mobile or large run, free range? Uf.