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Barn Building Series: That's Something To Be Proud Of

Rabbit, rabbit. A year of the ranch, in review.


It's a new year, and while hate is a strong word, 2020, we really, really, really did not enjoy you. However, even though last year came with many struggles, it was an incredible year of growth for the ranch property.




No sooner did we move into our new home at the tail end of 2019, we began designing our barn and coordinating the approvals and purchase of the materials. The Ranch Team sourced an antique tractor, got it running after sitting through 15 Maine winters as a lawn ornament, and by April 3rd, 2020, we began clearing ground.



The woodlands were thick, rooted, covered in wet foliage, dense pines and hardwoods. It was difficult to walk through, nevermind clear-cut. The Ranch Team got a first hand lesson in being lumber-jacks, figuring out the best way to chainsaw a tree, and fell it correctly. They then turned the driveway into a lumber yard, splitting and processing wood for winter and bonfires.




The lot began to take shape, and the Ranch Team then put on their engineering caps, and constructed a road. It was formed with efficient flow from the pre-existing tote-road leading to the lot, and made level, derooted, and derocked, then packed solid enough for the tractors, trucks, and heavy equipment to be driven over it.





Part of ranching, we have discovered, is becoming a jack of all trades. We've learned things we didn't realize we'd ever need to know. We've used geometry, algebra, and the Pythagorean Theorem before breakfast some days, to figure out how to construct portions of our project. Experienced farmers and ranchers, and construction workers, are some of the smartest people on the planet - don't let anyone tell you otherwise (we have a totally new respect for them). Stay in school, kids.




Once the lot was completely cleared and the barn kit has been put on order (which also took months of planning and design for the utmost functionality and budgeting), the next step was figuring out how to properly operate forklifts and accept delivery of massive lumber trusses, and metal materials, windows, and doors that had to be carried from the road, almost a mile into the woods.





Of course, before anything could be built, the land needed to be level. We sourced the fill from the area where we opted to dig a pond - which was mutually beneficial. While it created an aesthetically pleasing view and opened up our front yard, it also provided a safety measure in the event of a fire, and made our wet property more useful, while saving us lots of money on soil, and allowing us to level the lot for the barn (and making a flock of geese and ducks spoiled beyond measure). This definitely took some creative thinking. At the time, the Ranch Team also learned how to engineer digging a hole - something that you didn't know was so multi-faceted! The grade for the sides had to be measured, the depth had to be right, test holes had to be dug, overflow pipes had to be installed, and oh right - more trees had to be cleared and processed. They then had to learn how to operate dump trucks and heavy machinery (with professional supervision) to get the job completed, and move the dirt.


Pond Area Before:


During...



Pond After:



And then of course, it was time to put it all together. The Ranch Team learned to use all kinds of new tools for metal work, wood work, they mixed 6,000 pounds of cement by hand (you heard that right - I don't think I have ever seen men so dirty and sweaty), poured footings, and then the structure began to form.










The sound of saws and self-tapping screws, drill bits and hammers, metal shears, caulking guns, insulation sheets, blue print pages, crushed beer cans and curse words mark the sounds of this summer, maybe with a few notes from a country guitar melody in the background. The sweat poured buckets while the building took shape, and the barn began to look like a barn.