What is a farm without a barn? It is a place with a very cluttered basement and garage, with machinery rusting in fields. In addition to general storage, barns also provide for storage of fodder and temporary shelter for livestock in difficult conditions or when lambing/calving etc. So although farmers generally try to minimize capital outlay, the purse strings will usually be loosened somewhat in order to put up a barn. Since this property was not used as a farm in recent history, there is no barn (also no fences or other infrastructure either, but we’ve dealt with that in a previous blog or two), a situation that we are remedying.
Below is the eastward view from the bottom of the driveway, with the corner of the fence visible at the edge.
We engaged the services of Justin Matson, a very experienced contractor in the local area who is also a successful farmer and understands agricultural needs. He recently put up a similar sized shed/barn on his own property as part of his construction business, which we went to see, which convinced us that he should do the same for us! Justin doesn’t have a website, as he relies on word of mouth for his business. So if anyone needs something built in southwestern Pennsylvania, from houses to sheds and barns, let us put you in contact with him!
He brought a bulldozer and track-steer the day before starting work, and we were wondering how he was going to negotiate the tight driveway turns. But such considerations are never an issue for an experienced bulldozer operator. He simply drove straight through a barrier of dense trees and briars without any impediment!
Here again is the eastward view after the attention of that bulldozer for a couple of hours. Although the site for the barn is fairly flat, there is a substantial amount of earth that still needs to be moved to ensure it is all level, and appropriate drainage is in place, etc..
This is a view looking north from the top of the driveway near the house, a good 100 yards from the barn site. This will be a path well trodden by us during lambing season as we go to and from the barn day and night!
It is always surprising how much land needs to be cleared when building something like this!
And finally, after the ground is cleared of topsoil, a firm, flat covering of shale is used to help form the foundation of the “apron” of the barn leading into one of the three garage doors (and one standard door) which will be used for access and egress. A similar foundation is to be used for the barn flooring, and we understand that over 6 large dump trucks of the material will be needed in all.
As I type, a load of lumber is being delivered at the bottom of our driveway! Building will commence soon! God bless these guys for persevering today in 15 degree weather. I don’t even want to think what the wind chill is!
Stay tuned for further photographic updates as we proceed with erection of what will become a major feature of Morning Star Meadows Farm in the future!