The title, as some of you might recognize, is a misquote from the famous 1989 Movie Field of Dreams where the lead charater, played by Kevin Costner, hears a voice say, as he stares off into his cornfield, “If you build it, he will come.” In our case, we are gazing into our meadows and referring to our future flock of sheep, not any ghosts from the past!
Barn building, as you see, is proceeding rapidly, despite sub-zero temperatures, snow, and now, as the ground warms up, a bountious and incredibly tacky layer of mud and boot-clinging clay. Much kudos is due to our tireless builders who persevere despite all of the above that Old Man Winter has been hurling at them. I am NOT a cold weather person, having been brought up in the tropics of Australia, and am in awe of those who shrug off frozen extremities and potential frostbite without complaining!
Below you can see our intrepid building team installing the metal roof. We hope to harvest rainwater from this in the future to supply the barn with water. According to data from the internet, we can collect many tens of thousands of gallons from a roof of this size should we have sufficient storage capacity.
As well as three large doors for vehicle and stock use, we also have a smaller “people door” installed so that we can access or egress easily. Behind this door we will build a heatable office/sleeping quarters/storage room/sheep NICU!
Well, roof installed, large doors in and now they are making a platform for the cupola that the builder has fabricated, that will transform this large shed into a bona fide barn! Apart from aesthetics, a cupola actually has a function, working as a large roof vent, keeping the barn well ventilated. This will be important when we have a lot of animals inside, such as during lambing season, though this may require supplemental fans at some point. Note also the tranlucent sheets spaced evenly across the roof to allow natural light into the barn and decrease the need for electric illumination.
Something that we did not have in our previous barn was electric power. We dealt with this in a variety of ways, using gas generators and bringing power by heavy extension cords from almost 200 yards away. But this time we promised ourselves that we would have power installed, as you see below.
And although we will have the power company and local electrician install the major facets of the system in the barn, we are intending to have a very good friend and retired electrician (also a Deacon, ex-submarine commander, builder, and overall nice guy!) help us to plan the majority of lighting and electrical outlet placement within the structure.
This inside view gives a nice impression of how well the roof and window lighting works. There is lots of space now, but I imagine this will fill up rapidly!
Here is a time-lapse of the installation of the cupola today!
Cupola installed! As you can see, it gives a nice agrarian feel to the structure. Zooming in, the second picture shows the weathervane adorned with a ewe and her lamb!
And until our flock of sheep arrives, our adopted herd of deer (viewed indistinctly below from our front door) continue to enjoy the pastures, even under quite a few inches of snow. In fact this model of ruminants grazing pastures in the snow will be a model to emulate as we attempt to continue to pasture sheep on the fields for as much of the winter as we can.
And finally, I leave you with a distant view of the house at the top of our hill in the midst of our pastures, taken from an adjacent property on an even higher hill! We thought that we had a good view of the adjacent Laurel Ridge and Ligonier Valley, but this view really “takes the cake”!