We finally got the barn painted and red it is! I got to thinking, when you think of barns, red is the first colour that comes to mind so why mess with tradition! It took about 2 and half days in total. The first half day was spent on the first third of the back, the next full day got the back done. This was just me with roller and paint brush which actually went pretty well. Then we found out that friends of ours (thanks James and Marc!) have a painting business and happen to have an industrial sprayer. Once we got going with the sprayer, Barry and I got the side and front done in about 5 hours.
It’s about a year later and we’ve just finished having the boards replaced and the doors rebuilt. Last year was the footings and levelling off so that the roof was somewhat square. We reused as much of the old hardware as we could and had the latch on the small door built to be similar to one in the house. The before photo would have been taken last Spring. Next will be painting, adding windows and down the road some electricity and water. Never thought I’d be so excited about a barn but who knew… click on the top photo to see a few more of the after.
We recently completed the first phase of the barn renovation and anyone who lives through renovations knows that it can be challenging. Finding a home for the goats for a month or so was one of ours. The first phase was to stabilize the structure with new footings and at the same time get the roof a little straighter. The old barns were usually built on a fieldstone foundation and after 150 or so years the stones move around a bit, the posts get into contact with the earth and the process of rotting starts. Over time the barn will slowly sink until it collapses. We see them all over the area which is sad. More than one person told us this barn wasn’t worth saving but if you consider all the work that went into building it, we felt an obligation to try to preserve it.
I took many photos during the renovation and this is a good ‘Before’ shot.
This a good ‘After’ shot which shows the improvement in the roof and the grading. Aside from this, it doesn’t look much different but it went through a lot of peeling away of layers to bring it back to the basic shell of the structure. We’re shortly onto phase two, which involves redoing the exterior boards, redoing the main door and adding windows. On the inside, we are adding pens for the goats and Pitou, rooms for the chickens and storage.
This old barn at Kricklewood Farm is like many other timber frame barns of the same period. They were built to last with hand-hewn timbers put together with wooden pegs, wide planks underfoot and on the walls, covered with a tin roof. We’re told that the barn predates the house, making it about 160 years old.
Unfortunately, the same thing that happens to most of them is happening to this one. They were typically built on a foundation of rubble and fieldstone. As time marches on, the stones move around and the bottom sills touch dirt. Wood rots from the years of wicking moisture and as the stills and posts rot, the structure slowly sinks, loses shape and eventually succumbing to gravity.
We’ve had a few visitors in the past couple of years and people are usually anxious to see the barn. It’s quite an impressive sight on the inside. The peak must be 30 feet and the workmanship is awe-inspiring, especially considering that everything was done with hand tools alone. Now that we’ve started to use the barn to house the goats and chickens, the time has come to make it functional for the expanding menagerie of animals at Kricklewood Farm. The goats are expecting in early April so the herd will double in size (at minimum) and we are thinking about turkeys and a few other additions.
Aside from the overall structure sinking into the ground, the walls don’t provide much in the way of protection from the wind and cold. We’ve resorted to using tarps for this season. The roof is in ok shape with only a few minor leaks. Power and water would be nice so we can avoid carrying buckets of water and finding our way around in the dark with flashlights. The list maybe long but the first step has been to invite a few of the local barn contractors to assess the situation.
In the meantime, I put together a layout so we can see what we have now and start to think about where we want to end up, hopefully before next winter sets in. We’ll keep the process well-documented with lots of photos as we progress. The plan is to start work as soon as the snow is gone and the ground is dry enough to work, knock wood! We welcome input from anyone who has gone through their own barn renovation project, so feel free to contact us.