Friday, January 19, 2018

The Tale of Our Tobacco Photos

Well here are some photos, I think I have winnowed them down to a manageable amount. If you follow this blog you know we love the old tobacco barn. It was here when we bought the farm. It was built before people leveled the building site, this barn was built on a gentle slope and accommodates that in its character.

It needed work...should we tear it down and build new or should we rebuild and repair it? After the 'Barn Guy' came and spent time looking at it the verdict came in. With repair it would easily handle another 30 years, maybe more! So the date was set, the deal was made....we were redoing our beloved barn.

Facing the barn, this end is the North end. It has three bays, all three have double doors mounted  on hinges. The wood on this end was in the worst shape. The doors were awful to open but still solid.

The Northwest corner with the three sets of doors. The west side had a big double door to the breezeway. The doors were gone and there is a steel gate to close the ally-way.

The Southeast Corner. It had two sets of tobacco doors here, one set gone and the other falling or fallen off. We had a load of large gravel dumped here to bring the slope to level. We felt it would also help drainage. It should stop the entry becoming a mud hole in wet weather.

The south end, this was the worst wall of all. Bales were stacked against it when we got here and the build up of debris had torn and rotted the steel. The peak of the roof was in bad shape as well. In wet weather the drainage enters the barn here so we decided to build a lean to for two reasons. 1- For extra shelter and storage. 2- To stop the water coming into the barn.

The roof is gone, it was rather beautiful in a geometric sort of way, but its always disturbing to see a roofless barn.

The old sheet metal...they ran a roller magnet over the ground here after they hauled the metal to the recyclers. It was good to see it hauled away but we expect we will be finding nails yet. They were very careful but nails have a mind of their own.

This group of young chickens were mystified, they roosted and cooed and clucked and looked at the sky through their normally sheltered barn!

Fear of heights is not something you can have working on a barn roof.

One day we had to go to town, this is the front of the barn when we left.....

This what we came home to!

 The inside view of the south wall, the awful tin is gone and you can see the rafters of the lean to going up. We were very pleased to find less rain damage then we had expected.

Looking out of Bay 2...the poor chickens were traumatized and would come out to eat when ever there was a lull in hammering.

From the south side, the lean to rafters going up.

The roof and siding going on. I think I love brown and green for a barn. I had always thought of white and green before. We thought the brown would look more like a wooden barn and had chosen green for the roof.

Meanwhile the front of the barn was getting fixed as well. We decided to close of the third bay [the right side] from the front. It has good access from the breezeway so it is still easy to get into. The new lumber will weather to a gray patina in a year or so.

The work was steady despite miserable weather. Ralph set up our burning barrel out back so the men could get warm.

 Our Construction Boss....Kinky. He would sit on the deck rail and watch intently. There was just too much going on so the barn cats visited the house a LOT!

As you can tell he was not terribly impressed!

The second tier of wood going up. The young man doing the high work, stood on a 2x10 scaffold nailed on uprights. It made me cringe to watch but it was secure and is how the wood had been put up on these barns for ages.

The South west angle, the barn is finished on this side now. The lean to completed and the ends closed it. The new track door will shut in the breezeway in bad weather and we still have the gate for air flow in summer.

The South East corner. The collapsed double doors are gone and closed in by a new wall. The door is hung and it slides beautifully. This door opens to the corral and will be the most used by the sheep and cows.

The Bay 2 door has been hung and is almost finished.

The finished project....this photo was taken 25 minutes after the men left, a snow squall blew in and we were so glad it was finished and closed in. The East side or bay one has a big door but the wood above it was still sound so it has not been replaced. That is the area that looks like a big black hole. We still have some clean up to do and some salvage of wood but it will wait until better weather and the snow melting.

We are so pleased we decided to save the barn. It was not cheap but still cheaper then building  new building of the same space. This barn will more than fill our needs and it adds value to the farm. Thats exciting to me, this little place is becoming a farm again. The barn has a new life ahead of it, with all sorts of new adventures. The calf eating grain at night, adds to the nose of the chickens and the antics of the cats. The Milk cow arrives next week if all goes well.

The fence build is still ongoing but should be finished next week with this warmer weather.

And on one odd note....after all the fighting we went through to get the turkeys to move to the barn, the doors plus the bitter weather did the trick. We locked them in for two nights and they have figured it out. They have moved off the deck. I miss them sort of! They are enjoying the loft which they discovered and they go back to the barn at dusk after their shortened walk abouts because of the snow.

I just hope this helps you see what an old barn can become. Its the best way to recycle. 

God Bless everyone and keep safe.


  1. I'm glad you kept the barn, too, but of course it's easy for me to say that. Good job!

    1. We see too many of them falling into disrepair. There are a lot that get salvaged for their lumber but its sad so many are not farm barns.

  2. lovely. very satisfying to look out in the morning and feel accomplished.

    1. The poultry is happy to have their barn back! Tonight Ralph and I spent time tidying up in the barn, we are so very blessed.

  3. That's amazing! The barn is the next, and hopefully last, big project here. How does one search for "barn guys?"

  4. The search for farm contractors in an Amish community is really easy. We asked Dan Miller, our "Feed Guy". He gave us names of reputable Amish contractors. Jacob Byler is the barn contractor, He has a crew that does all sorts of barn work from simple Pole construction to timber frame and reconstrucution. His Father-in-law has the Recycle Business.
    We also found the fence contractor this way. If you ever drive through this area you are going to see fence put up by Larry Byler Fence Contracting. He does tremendous work in quality and design consulting. The man knows fence and how it should work. For anyone looking to buy a small farm and become more self sufficient We would advise [if possible] to look for an area with an Amish community.

    1. Thanks, Fiona. I realized too late that we were not as close to an Amish community as I'd have liked.
      _Speaking of like, your kitty is really gorgeous_

    2. Kinky made up for loosing 'Bat Ears'. He had a Prolapse...I used my knowledge of uterine prolapse in cows and I saved him. He is a very special cat.Not that I am biased😊

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you...I just got in from cleaning out the calf "Mischief". The stalls are filling up.Barns are therapeutic ☺

  6. It looks wonderful! I, too, am so glad you restored it instead of replacing it. There are so many beautiful barns around me that have fallen into total disrepair. It's not cheap to maintain them, but so worth it. Good news about your turkeys!

    1. Well as to the turkeys.....warm weather,sun on their feathers, feet back on the deck rail.
      Actually its nice to have them back, I had missed seeing them when I look out my kitchen window. [Its raining hard today so they have gone back to the barn]😁

  7. What a great post! I too, am thrilled that you were able to save it. There's something uniquely satisfying about rescuing old buildings and making them useful again. Well done!

    1. We just got in from new chores...bay 3 is now the home of our Jersey😊😍