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.