Friday, July 20, 2012

A Big Red Barn

In all of her glory, with a brand new shiny green roof!

  I'd been kind of saving this post for the 4th of July.  Started writing it a while back, got side tracked and then thought it might be a nice Independance Day Post, but I wasn't able to publish anything for quite some time with Blogger.  Let's hope it works now, because I'd like to get this up before July is done and gone!

If you've read our blog for any time, you'll recognize the Burnham Barn.  The Burnham Farm is the property where the Round House is, on the other side of the woods from the house and farm where we live.  The property surrounding this is what we had to sell last fall.  But we kept the Round House, the Barn and about ten acres around it.  Our daughter's family bought the Burnham Farm House several years ago and so they live just down the hill from the barn (I'm was actually standing in their yard when I took this picture)  This majestic old barn is three stories high.  I'm not sure of the height on the high side here, but the length is 82 feet.  A few years ago, the roof on the southwest side started to give way.  At first it leaked a little bit.  Then, of course, left unchecked it got worse.  And worse, and worse.  Just like a house, when a barn roof starts to leak things below it start to rot away.  And the problem just spreads.  A dilema.  And an expensive fix, especially for folks living on a tightly budgeted fixed income!

We don't use this barn for livestock.  We don't store hay, straw or grain in it anymore.  It's mostly storage and mostly not our stuff that's stored in it, LOL!  Bill and I talked about it, prayed about it - talked to others about it, got estimates for a new roof.  The estimate was less than we expected (though still a LOT of money).  We got another estimate.  What it came down to is that it would cost as much (or more) to have it torn down and that wasn't something we wanted to do anyway.  We're just not the kind of people, retired or not, who could willingly let "the queen of the farm" rot away.  It was hard enough to sell the land, what kind of "caretakers" would we be to let this barn just rot and fall down?  Then something happened that I won't share the details of here but will just say that it seemed like a definate answer of what to do for us.  And so, a new barn roof she has!
This is before....
This is an "in progress" picture
And then the joyful day that the work was complete, as you see in the picture at the beginning of this post!  We were afraid that the siding would look really bad with the shiny new roof, but it really doesn't and we're glad because we sure can't afford to replace that.  And I don't really think I want new siding - not quite the character!
So we hope you don't think us foolish or frivilous or that we have money to throw away on a new barn roof.  Just know that we're grateful and happy that we were able to take care of this historic building in the proper way.  Who knows, she may house livestock again one day.  She'll certainly see more bikes and tractors and lawn furniture!
She and her companion, the Round House, look pretty great together don't they?

I want to add how pleased we were with the work our contractor did!  He is local and also did work on our house.  We would be happy to share his name if anyone in the mid-Michigan area needs a new roof on their barn!

Remember this post where I told you about a list of projects we hoped to accomplish and showed you the pictures of our little falling down shed next to the house here where we live?  Well, that one still hasn't been replaced/repaired but this barn roof was another project on that list and it can now be checked off as done.

Monday, July 09, 2012

First June, now July

And the summer marches on...roses have bloomed and gone by - they out-did themselves this year, as did the lavender.  What started out looking like a bumper garden season quickly turned to punishing heat and little rain.  Weeds grew, vegetables and pastures suffered.

How have you all been?  The farmer who puts up our hay now finally got that done, so we have our first cutting in the barn.  Second cutting (and pastures) are growing back slowly (way to slow for my comfort level, but I suppose there is a lesson in that!)  I didn't think I was going to need straw this year but I might, so will probably do a trade for some if it becomes available.

We have two new lambs in the barn, new bloodlines that were purchased and not born here.  I'd like to show you a picture but haven't been able to get a good one yet.  I can tell you that one is a ram lamb and the other an unrelated ewe lamb.  Both of them carry good, fine fleeced Corriedale breeding crossed with moorit (red) colored Australian Bond sheep!  You might have heard me say before that I really desired having some moorit in the barn.  I've used CVM in the past, but the wool is sometimes just to "fuzzy" for me - I like the nice distinct crimp the Corriedale gives.  This will be fun to try.  We also have one more ewe lamb arriving from yet another farm, another moorit Bond cross sheep girl.  But of course, our main flock will continue to be the full Corriedale with our young ram "Hank" leading the way, and possibly a youngster from this years crop to grow out and see what he turns into.  Its harder and harder to find good rams, the quality and predictability I'm used to in the stock from Mar-Rita Farms.

We're surviving the heat as most farmers do - the livestock comes first and we do our best at keeping them as comfortable as possible.  As with people, we have to watch the young ones and the old ones the closest.    We're so thankful to have gotten some good rain showers in the past week and things are greening up again in our area at least.  I've been doing a little sock knitting, a little mitten knitting and during those really hot days in between farm jobs and husbands doctors appointments I sat in the shade and did some spinning!

I'll try to get those lamb pictures up real soon!  Oh, and I sat down to write this post (and another) last week but couldn't publish either of them for some reason.  Things seem to be working fine now.   Finally, here's a picture I took on an early spring walk through the woods, an old fenceline that's hidden there.  I like how it looks