Monday, April 30, 2012

Barn Leveling started.

Digging completed.  Pretty obvious it needs leveling.
I am dog tired.  It has been a long weekend of manual labor.  I worked on leveling the barn yesterday.  I figured it would take me a couple of weeks to finish.  I had planned on going out today and finishing up the last five blocks.  It is raining and I am very sore, who knows, I may still make it outside.  Not feeling particularly motivated.  The whole barn needs to be dug out.  If I can get that done, eventually, then I will expect it to last for another 100 years with a bare minimum of maintenance.  The plan whenever I do a project is for it to last at least 40 years.  I don't want to redo it when I am 70 years old.  I figure I will be dead before I am 85 so that covers the lifespan.  In reality that means I am 50% of the way into my life.  Odd when you think of it that way.  So much to learn.  I am continually learning about the farm and animals.  Never knew that learning to be self sufficient and getting the farm whipped back into shape would become my joys.  I do truly enjoy it, even when it is back braking manual labor. 

This is the before leveling shot.  Yes for all you naysayers, I am going to fix this barn up to 100% useable.  The low front left corner is pretty obvious.

The barn does look a little worn when you look at the two worst sides.  I am going to add some windows for light.  Natural lighting is one of the things that the barn was seriously lacking.  I have several windows saved and ready for installation.  Not sure if I can keep all the window openings the same size.  I am going to try on this side with the six matching openings.  Free is the size of my current window selection, this leads to a wide variety and no matching even with 20 choices. 

I learned something I did not know yesterday.  Bottle jacks have a safety feature to prevent you from breaking them.  On the main body of every bottle jack is a little rubber plug.  The plug pops out when the jack is overloaded, therefore not injuring anything by a mechanical failure.  I bought a 6 ton and 12 ton bottle jack for leveling the barn, but I needed a third one and all I had around the house was a 4 ton bottle jack.  I popped the safety valve when down on the left corner.  I truly don't believe there was 8000 pounds of wood (no roof) but trying to move a large beam that is bent requires a lot of force.  The six ton and 12 ton did the job.  I used the 12 ton to get the most leverage and the 6 ton helped out and held it in place. 

I found some 12 inch concrete cubes buried in the ground at the front of the barn.  They were spread out in front of the grain elevator.  Something must have been there, not sure what.  A couple of the blocks used to have bolts in them (rusted out now) so a piece of equipment could have been secured to the ground.  I dug up 12 of them totaling 1.33 cubic yards of concrete, saving me about $60 in concrete pads.  This has been a great find. 

The main beam still has a slight bow in it after leveling the barn.  I have the whole outside wall completed.  Sarah can even attest to the fact that stating "it doesn't look level" is not the same as taking a level and reading said level.  It is in fact very close to level (bubble is between the lines), not perfect, but I never expected perfection, it is the barn after all.  The rest of the pillars to be placed are for the floor under the barn where the sheep will be.  One of the beams sank and twisted so I need to shore it up. 

I worked hard on leveling the ground after all the digging was completed.