Barn Raising - Part 1
I was unable to contain my anxiety on the morning (September 26) that we prepared to finally raise the bents for the equipment shed. I’d slept poorly the night before. There were too many unknowns leading into this event – all new territory in my building experience.
On the previous afternoon, Marion and I had been playing horseshoes above the barn site. Looking down at the bents lying on the ground, Marion had commented about it being the last day for perhaps hundreds of years that the spot would be without a building. It struck me that we were about to alter the landscape for generations to come. Given that responsibility, I want to make certain that we get it right.
We’d invited Marion’s brother and his wife to help us lift. I’d been hesitant to invite more friends and family because of my reluctance to ask them to drive 80 miles just to help stand 4 timber bents up. More than likely, I was also struggling with my nagging fear of failure. I didn’t want a large audience witnessing some previously hidden fatal flaw in my work. The demons inside hadn’t slept the night before, either.
Prior to Toad and Cat’s noontime arrival I enlisted the help of my buddy John (Deere) to do the initial lift. Machines, however, are not always the best tool for such delicate work. While they may have the muscle, there is no substitute for the subtle touch of human hands. For the final heave ho, the four of us provided the effort.
One . . . Two . . . Three . . . PUSH!
The heavy bents went up with relatively little strain.
We had blocked the tops of the foundation piers in a way that allowed the posts to stand above the steel anchor pins. The posts had been drilled to accept the pins. The most challenging part of the procedure was the removal of the blocks and lowering the posts to their final elevation. I found that the steel cage on the tractor’s fork lift fit perfectly between the braces and I was able to lift with the machine while Marion, Toad, and Cat positioned the posts above the pins. Once in place, I braced each bent with 2x4’s and we moved on to the next.
Three hours later we broke out the food and cold beer to celebrate a successful part one of raising the equipment shed. Finally (and suddenly), the building began to take form.
We lingered past sunset on that late September day, admiring how precisely everything had come into alignment. I moved from vantage point to vantage point, eying down the posts and beams. All were level and true. The care we’d taken in the work of the previous year had begun showing its reward. I allowed my demons some time off. I slept well that night.