When we were looking for our farm, I think our real estate agent started to think we were buying a barn rather than a house. I love the beams and the stones and the history, and we fell in love with pretty much every barn we saw.
Fortunately, our barn is in pretty good shape. In fact, previous owners had done quite a bit of work on it–more of an investment than we would ever make.
But we had one issue come up–or down. Some time in the spring, a section of the barn foundation caved in.
The stone foundation is double layered, and the outer layer under one of the windows fell down.
The inner layer stayed in place, but as I looked at the wall and thought about fixing it, I came up with a new plan. Take down the inner layer, remove the window and make a door.
The cave-in happened in the corner where I want to put our coop, so having a door would make accessing the birds a whole lot easier.
But first we had to access the barn. We’ve not done a good job of yard maintenance around the barn, and we had all kinds of trees and brush. Matt’s Dad brought his chainsaw and spent a day clearing the mess.
Then our mason was able to remove the stones and pour a new threshold for us.
Matt, Ellie and I all put our handprints in the cement (then Ralph and Baxter trampled all over them to add a few prints of their own. I retrowelled the cement and we smushed our hands in again). I love so much that our prints will be here, part of this farm and this beautiful old barn.
My brother and sister-in-law came for a visit, so I took advantage of the extra help and my brother and I removed the window and framed up the opening.
Then the mason returned and rebuilt the wall up to the new jamb. This is the same mason that built our fireplace, so he’s very skilled in working with stone and enjoyed the puzzle of fitting everything together. (These pictures give you an idea of the width of these fabulous walls. The jamb is a 2×10, and it’s just about half the wall.)
We haven’t figured out the door itself yet. The opening is blocked with plywood, which will likely stay up for the winter. Next year, we’ll build a door. I haven’t quite made up my mind whether it will be sliding or swinging. The opening is very large, so whatever door we have will be heavy.
I often feel that we are stewards of this property, and I feel the same about the barn. It existed long before we arrived at this farm. And hopefully, with a bit of care from us, it will exist long after.