For Whom the Barn Tolls

Buckeye Farm Beat

Need a project? Get a barn..

Published on: April 25, 2011

With the heavy wind and the volumes of rain this weekend, the downspout on the barn gutter came crashing right down. Yep, tore the duct tape and everything. So I put it back together. Doubled the duct tape. I’ll get back to you in a month.

The barn is an unending source of projects. Last summer it was new siding and paint. Now the other side needs power washing and re-painting. I think my brother-in-law is looking for some work. I did finally fix the wooden ramp that runs up into the barn. It’s only the second time in 25 years. Not bad. Last time I used several railroad ties I had acquired from a friend – the B&O. the job held up well for a couple of years and I managed to use the ramp for several years after with one of ties broken. But when they both cracked, taking the 150-year-old boards that covered the beams with them, it was time for repairs. Yes it did happen while I was backing the tractor down the ramp, but no-one was hurt. I had a seatbelt on.

Last September I had several walnut logs and a few red oaks taken over to the saw mill next door. I asked the sawyer Kenny Schwalbaugh to cut the oaks into 2 inch planks as long as possible. Lucky for me that was only 14 feet. In March I drove down to Kenny’s and loaded my boards on the truck. The boards are green. The boards are 6 to 8 inches wide and 2 inches thick and 14 feet long. Real inches not Lowe’s inches. What do you think they weighed 400 pounds? So I slid them off the pile and into the truck one at a time. I drove the load back to the barn and carried the planks off the truck onto the ramp. Looks great! And now I am beginning to feel like I can walk without tons of pain much of the time. The ramp is now square and solid. With new braces, it can easily accommodate the tractor – taking almost all the excitement out of backing out the door.

So the next plan is to lay a concrete floor in the downstairs stall area. Last used to feed 4-H lambs or hold the ewes before worming, I’m thinking it would make a nice workshop. It has a dirt floor and stone wall that we have begun to patch. I’ve hauled tons of rich ancient manure from generations unknown out of this room to my garden and I would haul some more but I can’t find the floor. For the last 4 or 5 years it has been a storage area for cardboard boxes and dog food bags – you know things that can be used to start bonfires. No not dynamite and kerosene. Those are stored separately.

As I said we’ve had a lot of rain lately, but Friday was a perfect break in the rain for burning a brush pile and getting rid of 5 years worth of dog food bags. By bagging the bags in bags, I was able to clean the room out in about 15 trips. Except for the huge sandstone blocks that sit in the middle. They weigh more than oak planks. We’ll have to think about those.

It will take about 4 inches of gravel and wire inlay for reinforcement. And that big puddle in the middle should be drained. Of course who knows when the ground will be dry enough to support a concrete truck? Just what I need a concrete truck up to its axles.

One more thing…

 From Gene DeBruin of Greenfield:

No there hasn’t been any corn planted around here. Maybe some oats and alfalfa. I haven’t heard of any corn planted in Ohio. But the farmers all have their planters hitched up to the tractor and ready to go. Meanwhile they’re in their pickups driving up and down the road and looking at mud puddles. Don’t worry this has happened before. They can put most of it in in 3 or 4 days when they get going. If there are nerves anywhere, it’s probably with the folks lending the money. At $500 to $600 an acre there is a huge amount of credit at risk.