Barn and Outbuilding Restoration Update
Occasionally on Tuesdays I like to update the blog with our barn and outbuilding restoration projects at our mountain property. While Mike worked on the barn this past week, I was able to do some clean up in the old chicken house. I guess some folks would simply tear this building down, as it does have some structural damage that we need to address, but I love it and want to try to salvage it. Perhaps with time, the building will succumb to the shifting of the mountainous terrain, the pouring rains and the shifting soil, but I believe there is a lot of life left in this abandoned house. The folks who flipped the farm house didn't do a lot to this building other than to pain the outside and put a brace in the bottom where the wall was shifting. We plan to put a new metal roof on it, replace the windows, replace some bad flooring around the vents in the second story, move some dirt from the back that is causing pressure on the building, put in some fencing around the house for the birds, and perhaps eventually put board and batting on the top section so that it matches the barn.
When we arrived in Laurel Fork on Wednesday evening, there was about six inches of snow and ice and the temps were still not conducive to outdoor work. By the weekend the weather had changed for the better, even though it was still quite wet in our "holler". (I just love the vintage thermometer and original, vintage glass window panes on our back porch at the Cape Cod, cottage style farm house.)
The following is the "after three hours of cleaning out trash" picture. For the second level, one walks through the door at one end of the building. At the far end are some nesting boxes. To the far right is what I assume was used as a brooder at one time, so I kept it. With a little repair and a heat lamp above, it will make a great place for baby birds. Our whole farm uses spring water on a gravity feed system. I have never had running water in a chicken house but the cinder blocks are a trough with access to water from the spring. There is a flu coming up through the floor with a place to set up a wood stove downstairs. I love the simplicity but functionality of it all. At one time, I suppose this was a "commercial" set up. Just the second floor will provide far more space than I need for my flock of birds.
Before we bought the property from the couple who restored and "flipped" the house, the property had set empty for a number of years. I am still trying to piece together the history of the place, but it appears that other than an occasional get away a couple times of year by the Jackson Family and the pasture being rented out to neighbors for their cattle, the property had sat empty for many, many years. I gathered up the metal and other salvageable items in one pile. (Note the built in wooden feed box behind all the junk. I just love details like this.)
I gathered a huge pile of old wire, inflations and hoses from the milking parlor, and just general garbage. Underneath are rolls of used carpet that was taken up out of the house and stored in the chicken house. Evidently sometime in the 50's or 60's from the style of carpet, I would say they covered the original hardwood floors.
The floor is all good except for this section around the vent that I uncovered when I moved a pile of shingles, old carpet, old tile and tongue and grove flooring removed from the house at some point. This section will have to be replaced and the roof repaired.
While I was working in the chicken house, Mike was working in the barn. Actually, this is a shed attached to the back of the barn. We decided to leave it so that the cattle would have shelter during bad weather. There was a feeder that went the entire length of the shelter. We decided to take the back part out so that we can easily drive a loader through that area, making clean up a lot easier as we get older. Mike has been working to replace the broken pieces to the feeder and make a trough in the bottom.
And, while we had temperatures over 50 degrees, Mike was able to stain the side of the barn that had not been stained yet. He still has the back of the shed to stain when we get another nice day.