It’s been a long process, but we’re seeing some great transformations in one of the coolest parts of our property — the barn!
Taking an old 1830s dairy barn from a semi-run down storage area to a horse-safe, somewhat modernized structure has proven quite the task. We started by re-supporting the old oak beams that have bowed under the weight of dozens of dairy cows…
We constantly marvel at the barn … how the huge slabs of granite could have been laid on the foundation without modern equipment. The granite support posts are easily over 1 foot wide and 12 feet tall — they must weigh several tons, at least.
Our contractor poured a few new concrete footings and added pressure treated posts to support a span of the barn that had been sagging. The cribbings above support the wood while he works to secure the beams in place, and will be taken down eventually. He also dug some trenches and added drainage out to the wetlands, so water wouldn’t stagnate under the barn. Also, where the old pump handle is (left, in the photo above), there is a hand-dug artesian well below tapping into a spring. With a simple well pump, we can bring the water up to the 2nd floor to fill our water buckets without having to drag a hose in the barn.
The basement of the barn was the predominant concern, but we quickly moved upstairs to address the flooring situation.
Since most of the old 2” thick oak flooring was warped, rotting– or both– we pulled it up and ordered new 2” Hemlock, in 16′ spans. We’re planning on laying the new hemlock flooring, then covering with tar paper and plywood, before adding stall mats for the horses. That way, if any moisture seeps through the gaps in the mats, the plywood can easily be discarded and replaced, rather than ripping up actual floorboards.
This section of the barn is about 30′ across, allowing us to fit 3, 10×14 stalls. We’ll be ordering the fonts and grills pre-fabbed from Arc Stalls and have already purchased the 2×6” hemlock boards for the sides.
We can attach cross-ties at the structural beams across the aisle, and have plenty of space for a tack room, grain room, etc.
We’re off to Cape Cod for the week, and work will still progress without us, but it’s so nice to see the flooring come together! The horses will be home before we know it!