Archive for September, 2012

Over this past Labor Day holiday weekend the goal was to finish the pier footings in the barn. They will support the additional columns that I will be using to support the roof. I needed to dig down 4 or 5 feet next to the other columns support/footings, put in the form that allows the top of the pier to be 24″ wide and 18″ front to back, mix the concrete (we estimated 3 or 4  60# bags – adding 1/2 gallon of water per bag), pouring the mix into each hole, and then finishing the cement so that it looks nice and tidy next to the original slab of concrete.

There were five of these pier footings needed. Not a large number it seemed at the beginning of the weekend. It was supposed to be hot all weekend, but I figured I could arise early in the day and work in the mornings. No problems.

DIgging the first hole allowed me to recall the original holes I dug by hand (all 72 of them) for the barn when I started building it in 1982. What an adventure that was. We had the dirt work done in the late sumer and we were ready to build. As they say: a solid foundation is all important. It’s even mentioned in the scriptures. That whole “built on a bed of sand…”

I used a laminated column system. Three treated 2×8’s glued and nailed together in the ground set in concrete. On top of those base columns we inserted columns of regular lumber, glued and nailed to height. Ad the purlins. Screw the steel siding and roof on… Instant barn.

I got the last of the column bases in around the first of November… Then it snowed. Then it ice stormed. Then it snowed again. Then bring back another 3/4″ of ice. Lumber and siding lay under tarps some where in the footprint of the 44″ x 60′ barn. All I could do is drive over to my in-law’s farm and tend my horses that lived in a small set of corrals and a simple barn. Not a long drive, but not like walking out to your own barn behind the house.

Mother nature does not like new barns to be built quickly or comfortably. It was the following summer before we got the steel on the roof. I take pride in the fact that I had built the barn. Sure I had help from my wife Walley along with an occasional neighbor, brother-in-law and his friends, and Jayna’s Mom (helping get the steel up on the joists). Mostly… me.

As I mixed the instant (key word here – “instant” – simply ad water and stir) in our wheel barrel I found that three bags at a time was a bit over zealous. Two bags (60 lbs. each) was a much better idea. If two was good, one bag was ideal. It’s not easy scooping through the mix to get it to a 5 consistency (ask a cement finisher what the 5 is).

The first pier took 10 bags. 650 pounds after the water is added. 96 degrees. Where is the big barn fan. Wooooh.

Pier two went better because I didn’t have to remove the rotted column (don’t water horses next to wood columns for 26 years. Tends to make the wood gooey). Five bags of cement. A true test of my deodorant’s strength. What was it my Mother used to say… Horses sweat. Men perspire. Ladies glow. It was a glowing kind of weekend.

After bashing my head into a sharp piece of lumber allowing large amounts of blood to escape my cranium… as well as several other nasty issues that arose, I was done for the weekend.

This is not to say I was finished with the five pier footings. No, there is still work to do. Luckily I ran out of energy but kept my mental faculties. It’s better to fall back, regroup, and ponder…

It was a much younger man that built this barn. 58 year olds much conserve energy (and hemoglobin) so I made the decision to go to the house. Take a shower. Sit in front of a fan in my air conditioned house, and watch some football on TV.

The celery and peanut butter? That’s what I had for dinner tonight. A semi-healthy meal. I need to get in better shape before finishing the other two and a half pier footings. A similar combination as with Diet Coke and a Snickers bar. Sounds healthier than it is.

Rationalization abilities are acquired with age.