Hi. Welcome. We are going to try posting a bit about the farm through the seasons this year. Suddenly, it’s spring. Spring in Ontario goes from mud to drought in four weeks flat. Barely enough time to plant peas. Living on a farm means we are intensely aware of the weather. Mornings are 5 am coffee, coffee, Wordle and check the weather. Cold is hard on the animals and it’s a rare winter that goes by that sees all the animals make it through. Spring means full days outside, finding our rubber boots and planning and dreaming before everything bursts into bloom on its own.
Planning. Mother Nature is great for not checking my schedule before she plans things her own way. This week I was going to get some alpaca fibre shipped to the mill – an essential task on an alpaca farm. This week, the high southwest winds battered the south wall of our barn causing it to wave around. Walls should not wave. We have a gorgeous 1870s bank barn full of majestic timbers. However, not many barns live to be 150 years old. Wind, fire, rain, rot, renovations all take their toll. We added eavestroughing in 2018 and re-roofed the entire barn in 2019 which was a major undertaking and a statement of our commitment to keeping the barn alive. We use our barn. As a barn. As in, fill it with farm stuff. It ain’t always pretty. Sometimes it drives me mad the junk it collects. That would be a great post all by itself. It’s tempting to tourism it up and make it an event hall, but the barn is meant to be a barn. We only learnt this after living with the barn empty for a while. Animals in the stables provide moisture that maintains the proper humidity for the beams to breathe. Hay in the mow gives the barn weight to sustain high winds like sandbags in the back of your car. Us being in the barn and watching for needed repairs means that small problems get fixed quickly and don’t become big problems. We watch how weather interacts with the barn and try to dance along with mother nature. Even the barn boards, which appear to be too far apart to be weather tight, are carefully spaced to let just enough wind through the sides that the barn doesn’t get knocked down and amazingly, don’t let much weather through.
So back to this week’s windstorm. The south wall has been missing a beam (beam = horizontal, post = upright) for as long as we have owned the barn. It looks like it rotted out years ago. When the winds blow it wiggles like a loose tooth. And like a loose tooth, if you wiggle it enough, eventually it will fall out. So little ol’ 21st century non-farmer, non-carpenter me is going to try to fix this with a newly hewn beam. One thing farming does is make you very protective of your animals. Right below that broken wall are my momma’s and their babies all warm and cosy in the manger. So….. the wall MUST be fixed! That’s MY chisel, ladies! The ancient arts are powerful and simple. Uh… and there’s youtube to help. We got this. Follow along to see if I can really get this 14 foot beam hoisted up and mended to the broken wall…..