Barn Raising: Closing In


I’m writing this post three months after the photo above was taken. The work to close in the barn took place over a span of two and a half months, from August 19th through November 5th. Once the roof was in place, timelines relaxed a bit and we were able to catch up on some of the other chores around the homestead that had been put on hold.

The closing in of the barn began with a six-inch piece of pine shiplap siding nailed to the center of the forebay. On each of the gable ends, we started from the middle and moved outward.

After the first course of siding was nailed on, we fabricated the flashing that is installed between courses. The roofing bender that we’d purchased ten years ago when we put the roof on Gypsy was the perfect tool for adding the two bends to the aluminum flashing. We did the bending on the barn floor, then placed the finished flashing along the top of the siding and nailed it in place.

Next up were the wall girts (the horizontal pieces midway up the side bays in the photo above), followed by another course of shiplap pine siding.

The southern gable end required a lot of up and down. I cut each piece at the chop saw inside the barn, then handed it off to Marion to mark and start the nails while I went out and climbed the ladder. Marion would pass the piece to me from the upper floor of the barn. Once it was aligned, we’d clamp it in place, then nail it in. For those lengths of pine that were not perfectly straight, we developed a method to clamp and straighten them before nailing.

As we neared the end of the first gable end wall it really started to look and feel “barn-y”. Our hay baler parked in the forebay below helps with the effect.

In addition to the remaining siding needed, we took delivery of the hemlock planking that would soon become the subfloor for the hay loft and bunkhouse above.

With three walls sided we finally had protection from wind-blown rain.

We left the final wall on the main level open while we completed the siding on the monitor.

Marion takes a break from installing wall girts to trim the garlic and get it ready for winter storage.

The wall girts, added after the main frame is complete, are set into the posts with a housed half-lap joint.

Things continue to take on a “barn-y” appearance, especially with bunches of garlic hanging to dry on the post.

We were hesitant to close in the loft (monitor). The light and the views from that height were tough to give up, but we had to remind ourselves that windows will eventually brighten the space up again.

The view above looks out into the orchard. A set of stairs will eventually reach to the point near where the ladder stands. Doorways to the left and right will lead to the bunkhouse and storage/hay loft.

Before installing siding on the monitor we had more wall girts to fit and then a layer of flashing to seal the edge of the roof.

One last look out at the changing fall colors before siding goes on the monitor.

By the first of October, the siding was nearly complete.

Fall came late this year. Our foliage peaked at least a week later than in recent years. The photo above was taken on October 19th, a date by which most of our leaves would typically be on the ground.

We put the final section on hold until early November. The photo above was taken on November 5th after framing in the doorway and siding the north wall.

We’ll build the sliding barn doors over the winter months. For now, we framed in the doorway and installed a polyethylene plastic barrier to keep the weather out.

On November 20th we were coated with six inches of fresh, wet snow, the day after I’d been riding my bicycle under blue skies in 60-degree warmth.

Looking “barn-y!”

Soon, we’ll remove the tattered house wrap and put down the next layer of flooring in the area that will become our woodworking shop.