The Barn Gets a Whole New Front

Reader Contribution by Mary Conley
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Dear readers,

The men were determined to save the barn the fall of 2011, so soon after finishing the north side, Larry made three more trips out to the farm to work on the front.

Oh, how those “Nebraska Through The Lens” people would have loved the above photo! The other three sides of the barn were in fair shape, so it was hard to believe the deterioration of the front. A few months after we purchased the property, the scene was even worse. Coming down the slope on the left and all around the front and past was a large swatch of blooming thistles higher than our heads. A refrigerator was laying there on its side, right in front, and we used it to sit on while taking our breaks from chopping out the thistles. You can read about those “fun” times in my previous blogs called The “Weed Commissioner” and “The Farmyard and More Junk.”

On this side of the barn, not only did the roof need replacing, but also the rafters and the whole front wall. While Larry did the dismantling, Nancy and granddaughters Allison and Erin tried to haul the shingles, boards, and siding to the burn tank as fast as he tore it down. Notice the color of the sky!

2×6 rafters have replaced the rotted 2x4s, and the front wall is newly framed. Be careful where you step!

The first sheet of heavy plywood is down. I was just told it is actually called OSB board. When trying to correct the mistake and call it that, my spellcheck changed the lettering around! Giggle! I’m sticking to plywood!

Here is the finished project after the men rebuilt the front of the barn. The whole barn has a new, white, steel roof for protection. A corral has been built, and it is quite a different scene than the first photo I showed you.

Now there was time to patch and caulk two of the other sides.

And prime and paint them. In the above photo, the end is still needing another coat.

This past summer, after we finished painting the shop, Larry and I set out to patch, caulk, prime and paint the front end of the barn that we see from the house yard. This coming summer, we plan to repair the huge sliding doors to the loft and add the metal under the roofing. I can’t wait to show you the before and after photos when we finish.

There are still two photos and a short story that I want to include to end our account of the barn renovation, because writing this blog reminds us of how much we realize and appreciate all the work that our son, Todd, did on this building. In the beginning, Larry and I had no plans, and I’m quite certain we would have just let it finish deteriorating. That would have been sad because it is so unique.

Todd still needed to construct beams for the barn, but in order to do this he first had to erect scaffolding, which was a project in itself. He used lumber left over from previous shipments, and screwed it together so it could be taken apart and saved when the job was finished.

Each of the support beams you see in the photo above contains 50 pieces, and everything about it was a challenge for him. The rafters were uneven, the rear wall was sagging, and there were the heights to deal with and having to handle 2x10s. He said that it was one of the hardest jobs he had ever done. Just looking at it, one cannot realize what it took to figure out how to do this and then implement it. Todd thought the hardest part, though, was just seeing it through to completion. It was quite an accomplishment.

Notice the hay trolley/carrier still in place.

Even though the restoring of the barn is coming to an end, there is still plywood waiting for a new loft floor, and steps to be built up to it. Oh, and split doors, sometimes called dutch or saloon doors, on the front. I guess we don’t need to worry about sitting around without anything to do when we really get old. Ha! Want to come out and help?!

  • Updated on Aug 19, 2021
  • Originally Published on Apr 29, 2014
Tagged with: Barn Beams, Hay Carrier, Mary Conley, Nebraska, Rafters, Reader Contributions, Steel Roof, Thistles