Sunday, March 04, 2007

Knowing and learning

Both Shawn and I are blessed to be bright, curious people who see something that we are interested in - and jump right in and do it.

We research our fascinations, with books, web searches and hands-on trial-and-error. Some things we try and decide they aren't for us. Some things we loose interest in quickly. But many skills and bits of knowledge are added to our repertoires and day-to-day living. We rarely run into something that we cannot do...
And often we do things that amaze people - just because we didn't know we couldn't do them (like building a deck and Renaissance booth in Louisiana in 36 hours).

Sometimes though, we start on a project and a direction and discover that it really isn't going to work. Sometimes we are stubborn enough to beat ourselves against it until it either fails totally, or gives up and works in spite of reality. We started on this barn three days ago. Money is tight right now and I wanted to use all found lumber from the slab heap at our local lumber yard.

We spent all yesterday framing the roof with scrap. It seemed flimsy, but how strong does a roof have to be? My intuition told me that it need to be a lot stronger than this one was. I was worried, but...

Shawn woke up sore and out of sorts. I finally got him to tell me what was bothering him.
"I know you want to build this barn without spending money," he grudgingly began. "But we really need 2X4's."

"I know," I agreed. "That roof is way too weak."

It took longer for us to admit to each other that our plan wasn't working the way we had wanted it to than it did to go find the local saw mill owner at the general store, negotiate a price on 2X4's, go pick up another load of slab and the 2X4's and rip all of yesterday's work off the top of the poles.

That was the scary part. It didn't take 15 minutes to rip the flimsy roof frame down. It had taken us an entire day (almost) to nail it up and obviously, the first big wind would have ripped it right off. This is a picture of yesterday's roof frame, off the barn. And below, the new roof frame, going up.

We got to work quickly, putting up girts, rafters and purlins in short order, after felling all the dead trees that could reach the barn when they fell. None of them did, but we didn't want to chance that they would, after we had the barn built!

I say we, but Shawn did all the hammering. I felt somewhat useless, holding the cattle panel ladder, handing up nails and tools and fetching roofing, but he could not have worked so fast without the ground support I was providing.

Just at dark, we got the last sheet of tin that we had nailed in. I have to go to town tomorrow and I'll get 6 more sheets of tin.

The barn is really coming along, it looks good and strong and we are learning - about barn building and communicating!

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