Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Repairing the old bus barn

We've been working on straightening the old barn, getting it ready for a new metal roof. We'll keep hay there, and shelter the five big fiber animals. The foundation has a cracked and leaning side (not too bad, though), the roof is sway-backed, and some rafters and roof boards need to be replaced. Some folks have mocked us for trying to save and use the building, but it's a cool old place with big bifold doors and we like it.

Below, Earl is helping me get the sides winched into plumbness (plumbitude?)  and the loft cleaned out.

You can see it's about due for a new roof, below. My friend Tom lent me two come-along winches and a bunch of chain to do the plumbifying. The front wall was tilted out about 2 inches, so we used the come-alongs to pull it back into shape. The plumb shape. Shaped like a plumb. You know, like a rectangle. I reinforced the corners with two-bys and L-brackets before cranking.

Inside, under the mess of fallen ceiling boards, was a pile of weird mud and sticks. I guessed it was old swallow nests, but we found labels from bags of clay. So it's art supplies. We're going to dig it out and make some tiles for the school, if it test-fires OK.

And this is cool: in trim on the northeast corner of the building, way in back, honeybees have a nest.  I was nervous about working there with bee traffic going in and out like a Yogi-and-Boo Boo cartoon and the huge rumbling buzz from the wall, but they were very mellow. And I kept low and avoided eye contact. Honey wasn't dripping out of the walls and I wouldn't pull off the siding and disturb them - but maybe next year I could put a hive box outside and try to lure a swarm into it.

Below, the two little goats enjoy their evening oats. C. hasn't named them yet, but I call them Mo and Pants. Mo, on the left, sports a bucket-handle necklace. They need meaningful work, some kind of job to keep them from making jewelry from found materials. And dancing on the non-running riding non-mower.

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