Monday, August 29, 2011

Barn Wall

            A section of the horsebarn wall collapsed in the deluge of this spring.

            We had already poured a new footing under the adjoining section of wall, and had just finished roofing the barn a year ago, so it was pretty discouraging to find such a daunting task ahead of us.
            This barn had been built in 1918 by Kathi’s grandfather William Elges, who had filed the original homestead in 1896.  Over the years it had fallen into disrepair.  Kathi’s father had rebuilt the corner on the far right in the early 1970s.   

My son and I had been able to salvage the next section of wall by using a line of screw-jacks, then pouring concrete for permanent support.

But this new cave-in would require re-laying all the rocks.  The task overwhelmed me, and I called in my cousin with his team of experts.  They poured a new footer, then laid up the stone to form a new wall.

The result was a beautiful piece of masonry that I appreciate as artwork suitable for a mansion.  That section of barn is now far stronger than any other part.

While the masonry crew was working on the barn, Ted and I were busy with a myriad of other tasks on the ranch: replacing a sprocket and the skid plates on the swather; replacing the clutch in the balewagon; spraying knapweed plants that had been missed on the last pass; discing and leveling the hayfield below the house; rebuilding an air valve on the dump truck; gathering up electric fence from summer grazing; loading out several old combines for sale as scrap metal.

No matter how long and hard we work, there is no end to the tasks that continue to line up before us to be accomplished.  But with the electrical line reconnected, a new roof, and a foundation along the front completed, several years of preoccupation with the barn can come to an end.  We can at last turn our attention to other projects.  Which one will move to the top of our priority list now?

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