Isn’t it amazing what a little male competition can lead to when it comes to DIY and the construction of farm out buildings? The competition in question started when I hired a local guy to build my wonderful new chicken house. “Cluckingham Palace” or “Poultry Towers” as it is affectionately known around here. Hiring of labour was apparently required as the unpaid farmhand was far too busy with such efforts and would require a whole new array of tools to build such a thing! But unbeknown to me he was secretly conspiring to better the Palace with his own construction-a Barn!
The barn was a definite requirement for our new farming venture of sheep (see previous blog) and heritage breed meat chickens. Oh and the dog-well that is certainly another blog for the future. Secret plans were being drawn up under the cover of darkness in cahoots with the neighbour. As it turned out-our lovely neighbour, or more specifically, our lovely neighbour’s Mum had sustainable plantation hardwood just up the road so we could build the majority of the structure from locally sourced materials.
First up came the positioning of the structure in the paddock in relation to the house and more importantly the view from the deck towards said structure. Legal representation was almost required after that exercise but compromises were reached and the fencing guys, while installing the sheep fence, also installed the timber posts for the main frame.
Then came the planning conferences between the unpaid farmhand and the neighbour who also expertly milled all the timber into appropriate sized boards for cladding the walls. I was hired as painting consultant to apply non-creosote based wood preserver to the ends that would be in contact with the ground (personally I think it still looked and smelled like creosote!). But at 5ft 2in I was apparently vertically challenged when it came to assist with the roofing iron.
The city folk that are our beloved friends always love to come visit up here with all the fresh air and fresh eggs so we can usually entice them here for a weekend and when they least expect it-hit them with a building project that requires their tallness!
It has been a very warm end to Spring in Queensland and battling roofing iron in 30 degree temps isn’t my idea of fun so I dutifully watched as designated first aider from the coolness of the deck. I did sprint out at half time with oranges and cold water and by the end of the weekend the roof was up! The roof itself is a magnificent work of precision given the unpaid farmhand loves spreadsheets and his trusty assistant is a senior finance manager (loves numbers)!
A determined effort to get the walls in place and a little help from me (I needed a ladder due to my vertical challenges) and the guttering and water tank were subsequently installed. The thing about water tanks is once you have put one in-you are obsessed with the rain radar! My little rain dances finally paid off when we received our first real drop of rain for November and the tank is almost full. We have a good supply of clean water now to the drinking trough for the sheep-unless #2 lamb succeeds in de-plumbing the whole affair!
So here it is in all of its splendour. I have a lovely new barn for my farming ventures and a very happy unpaid farmhand who may sign up for “The Block” if I am not careful!