Friday, July 17, 2009

Smart chickens.

Not only have they managed to survive outside for two months (shattering the previous record by...two months), but our chickens suddenly learned to fly... ...and they've invited, albeit cautiously, some new friends over to play in their sandbox.Now if they would just make us some eggs!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The new barn gets an old floor.

I had intended to mill the wood flooring from our salvaged barn timbers, but that was before I found the deal-of-the-century at a local estate sale. I lucked into some wide plank paneling that had been drying in an old-timer's shed for 30 years. These were all 'character' boards, complete with the knots, staining and wormholes that tell a much more interesting story than flawless premium lumber. They look right at home in the rustic barn. By installing them upside down, the square edges were up, and it looks just like regular flooring. I was able to get enough to do the whole loft of the barn for about 25 cents per square foot! After two days of planing and shimming to get the timber floor joists leveled, I put down 3/4" plywood subfloor using screws and Mean Green Adhesive, followed by a soundbarrier layer of Homasote 440, then finally the plank flooring. The board widths varied from 6" to 11", so I alternated each row between narrow and wide boards. I toenailed them with a finishing nailer just to hold them in place for now. Here is the rough product:After the whole floor was down, I went back and face-screwed through all the boards and into the joists. Then, plugged the counterbored screwholes with 1/2" mahogany plugs. Finally, rented a floor sander to clean and smooth out the surface, then applied 3 coats of shellac (diluted 2:1 with denatured alcohol). Here is the finished product: And a close-up of the plugged holes. The darker mahogany is a nice contrast to the lighter pine boards:

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Goodbye greenhouse.

We had a greenhouse along the edge of our field. Built a half-century ago, it started out as an impressive structure with glass walls and a nice barrel stove inside. At some point the glass was replaced with fiberglass panels, which eventually weakened and started caving in. Had I intervened 7 years ago when I bought the farm, it might've been salvageable. But I was more interested in working on the house back then (heat, running water and a dry roof all seemed like higher priorities at the time). ...So we emptied it out and tore it down, saving whatever lumber was still solid. All that remains is the foundation and the old barrel stove, still ready for business. I put the lumber scraps to work immediately, framing in a shelter for our rainwater tanks. Here's a closeup of the plumbing. The garden hose at the bottom is the where the water feeds into the containers from the rain barrels around the barn. The rest of the system is plumbed with 2" plastic pipe, and attached to the tanks with Fernco flexible couplings. I covered it with leftover siding from the barn, and some salvaged metal roofing (the entire roof is actually a separate, removable framework so I can access the tanks from the top if necessary). The wood was all treated with Lifetime Wood Treatment, a new product we are trying around the farm.