Our initial efforts to clean out this ancient shed entailed dropping an old electric light pole that used to have a barn yard light at the top; removing a heavy gate and post left from the corrals that once surrounded the shed; trenching around the foundation; removing old rotted floor boards and joists; and planting four corner posts in concrete on the east end. We were then out of ideas. The next phase of restoration was out of our range of capabilities. There was no going back. From the outset I knew my only options were to burn it down or rebuild. And that is what we are doing. We took the project as far as we could, and then had to turn it over to someone who knew what they were doing! With winter fast approaching we knew we were getting a late start, but what the heck.
Replacing the old roof was the pits. The carpenter had to cut it off piece by piece and it did not go without a struggle. The other hard part was replacing and shoring up the foundation. We barely got started before the ground was frozen but still had to deal with snow and freezing temperatures. We had to shovel snow out of the floor joists before laying the floor and some of the foundation stones will have to be dug in after spring thaw. But onward and upward, as Fitzgerald would say! (Who the h— was Fitzgerald?)
After ripping out the old floor boards, this is what I was faced with. The rake head wouldn’t fit between the joists, so the idiot stick was my solution. After shoveling out about six inches of dirt, the old floor joists could be pried out. Old foundation stones were scattered at random.
Getting to the bottom of things, some of the old timbers were in pretty good shape, others not so.
The new floor joists are going in. Before we got the floor boards down we had a major snowstorm and I had to dig several wheelbarrow loads of snow out from between all the joists so we could go forward. Winter construction hazards!
I found some old window frames that I am restoring with new glass to place in the openings here and on the south side. The newly restored tack room will have lots of light!
The section we had to tear off is being rebuilt and will become two horse stalls once again. Feed Lot has been doing daily inspections and I know he thinks this will be his new home. He invited Tilly over to see his new digs but she shied away, not certain what to think of all this excitement.
We are trying to preserve the old shed’s character and many oddities and oldies will remain. This old shelf continues to be useful and for the moment contains some rusty treasures I salvaged from the “big dig” under the floor.
We will match the lumber on the north wall with old boards we salvaged from the end we pulled down. Might have to do some replacements and will cut batten strips to replace those that have fallen away.
I have no recollection of what might have happened to this window–in the century that has passed since this structure was built anything could have occurred. I have located old replacement frames and will rebuild these windows for light in what will once again become the tack room. Waiting on the steel and better weather to get the roof finished and detail work finalized. December and January have been colder and snowier than any recent winter we have experienced. Murphy’s Law–if it can happen it will! So far the carpenter hasn’t suffered frostbite, chilblains or any serious condition from exposure to beastly weather–or at least he has not complained.
We used 6 x 6 treated timbers and old foundation stones to shore up the west end. It had to be jacked up to get everything in place. Should be good for another 100 years or so.
The old doors will go back across the front of the west end and middle section once they have been rebuilt and reinforced. The east end section will have to have new doors or gates–decision still up in the air. We are making this up as we go along! Stay tuned.