Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Old Barn is Coming Down

Johnny's biggest project this summer and fall has been dismantling our old goat barn. The project is ongoing. His goal was to have the upper level down before the rains came. He mostly succeeded. Although western Oregon supposedly had the rainiest September on record, most of it missed us until the roof was down. Johnny can now work under the loft floor (covered with tarps) to dismantle the interior feeders and walls.

As usual, Johnny used ingenuity to bring the high roof down in sections, after the metal roofing was off, but it was still scary for me. Mostly I did not watch, although I was enlisted to help with the first section, which he thought would be the most difficult. As it turned out, the second section was the worst since it got stuck part way. Our octogenarian neighbor Irv was helping with that... and with the dismantling of the rest of the roof sections. Then he and Johnny tore apart the pieces which will become a chicken house for Irv and kindling for neighbor Joe and for us. Our old barn is being recycled.

Most of the photos were taken by Johnny, since I was too chicken to stay around during the dismantling. However, he prevailed upon me at the beginning to take lots of pictures so he could show his brother what he could still do at age 70.

As a metal roofing contractor for many years, Johnny had climbed on many steep roofs, but I think this was his first time to unroof one.

Taking the tin roofing off the first side where the attached lean-to made for a less daunting roof height...

And then the other side... That's Johnny, way up on top...


After the tin was off the roof, the real challenge began.  But Johnny had a plan. He separated the roof section by section, lowering them to the floor with a rope (and a prayer). It worked.

Johnny explains: Didn't exactly lower each section using the rope.  Rope was used to keep sections from leaning and falling the wrong direction.  As I cut the last two boards holding a section, Irv would pull it with a rope or push it in the desired direction with a long stick.  Gravity lowered them to the deck!  After Irv pulled the first one toward him and everything worked as I had planned, I gave him a longer rope for others so he wouldn't jump out of the loft when he saw them coming at him.    

 The new and the old...

 Johnny and Irv dismantled the roof sections as they came down, to make the footing less hazardous up there.

 Once the middle was off, only the front and back remained, looking like a false front of a movie set.

Johnny and Irv pulled the front and back walls down on top of the deck.

And then the ends of the loft were just piles of tin and lumber that needed to be dismantled, which Johnny and Irv did.

The big old dairy barn that housed our goats for thirty-five years and someone else's cows for who knows how long before that, looked like a broken down shack after it lost its loft... kind of sad.

But it will live on, in parts, in Irv's chicken house when he gets it built and, most likely, in projects for us with some of the bigger beams and wood.

I joined the workers one day during the barn dismantling for a watermelon break, with a watermelon from Irv's garden.

Irv and one of his loads of wood.


As he finds time, Johnny will tear down the rest of the main barn. The lean-to we put on for the bucks, pigs and calves will remain to house the beams and other lumber that Johnny is saving for some future unknown project. But for now, the barn dismantling is on hold while Johnny works on other projects. He always has lots of projects.

More about some of those another time.

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