This was a great spring weekend to get things done. In two days we weeded the back lavender field, mowed between the rows and pulled up the remaining disintegrating weed cloth, did our first full spring inspection of the beehive and swapped the brood boxes, mowed the rest of the garden, planted potatoes and blueberries, cleaned and reorganized the potted plants on the back porch and OH YEAH….finished the metal building!
Not only did we finish it, but we also started moving items into it that need to be stored while we pull down the old barn and build the new one. Next weekend we plan to demolish the remainder of the old barn, but first, here’s how the metal building came together over the past five weekends:
We selected our location where the end of the old barn had once stood and leveled the area.
A weatherproof barrier and rebar are installed for reinforcement.
We ordered a concrete truck and called on friends and family with tools and experience.
And then….we waited for it to dry….
It took two weekends to put up the three levels of walls.
And then things got tricky. We had to figure out how to assemble the roof and hoist it 12 feet in the air. We decided to assemble a few sections outside and then lift it with a 2×4 with a crosswise piece of wood attached. We probably all should have been wearing hard hats at this point…
After that, we took nominations for the person who would work on the extension ladder, bungee corded to a step ladder, leaning against a piece of metal floating 12′ in the air. Dennis always wins the popular vote on these types of things.
Then it was like the erector set you had as a kid (at least, that’s what Dennis said it was like). One piece at a time – one person on the inside, one on the outside, burning through batteries on the impact gun as fast as you can say “get me another bolt”.
After all of the pieces were assembled, the roof vent needed to be added to the very top of the building. Again, there was much debate and nominations were accepted for who would shimmy to the top of the building to do the deed. I think you know who won our votes….again. There may or may not have been a long string of curse words that happened during this phase….but doesn’t he make it look easy in this photo?
And finally…..the finished project!! Doesn’t it look like it’s always been there?
When you see it next to the old barn, it REALLY looks like its always been here, right?
By the way, in case you’re interested in the history of the Butler grain bins (like I was), here’s the quick history: Butler (who is still in business today) was a livestock water tank manufacturer at the turn of the century when they diversified by building grain bins. They answered an RFP by the government in 1938 when there was a bumper crop of grain in the country that asked for 20,000 grain bins in 60 days. They refurbished an abandoned plant in Galesburg, IL, staffed it, and delivered all of the bins on time. The company continued making the bins throughout the war years, even though steel was scarce, and after the war, there was a huge demand for the buildings which they continued to manufacture for decades.
It’s hard to say exactly when our building was manufactured, but it’s fair to say that it probably dates to sometime in the 1950′s. Who knows where it was and what use it had until my grandfather got his hands on it in the late 60′s or early 70′s, but it’s clear that 60 years later, the building is just as sturdy as when it first rolled off the assembly line, ready for another generation of work on the The Lamm Farm.