Last month, we wrapped up our first maple season in the new Maple Barn at Clarkridge Farm. It was a great first season and we are already looking forward to next year!
The construction of the Maple Barn is a journey I don’t want to forget. I was planning on writing blog updates as the building progressed, but we were so busy trying to finish the barn before the winter, that there wasn’t time for blogging!
As you look at these pictures and read the story below, please know that Dan and I would never have been able to complete all of this without the help and support of both of our families, many friends, and my dad. Without my dad, Russell Gocht, there would be no Maple Barn. So thank you, Dad, and all of the people that helped. We appreciate everyone who supports us at Clarkridge Farm as we work to figure out how to be a sustainable, small scale, organic farm in New Hampshire.
So, below is an over due post on the construction of the Maple Barn. It’s a long post, so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!
The construction began last June, 2015. Dan went out to the woods with his chain saw and cut down some trees. He dragged pine and hemlock trees out of the woods to be milled up and turned into timbers for the barn.
We hired a sawyer with a portable sawmill to come over and cut the logs up into 2×4’s, 4×4’s, 2×8’s, 1×12’s and so on. My dad (the true mastermind behind the entire project) designed the barn and had a cut list with all the dimensions of the timbers we would need.
Once all the wood was cut to the right dimensions, the tedious work of notching each board began. None of the timbers were cut to length, so my dad took every timber cut it to length and notched it to create the joints. With lots of precise measuring and angle calculations, he cut each timber so that all the timbers fit together, almost like a jig-saw puzzle, to frame the building.
Laying on the concrete is the first wall assembled. Our yard looked like a construction zone all summer long!
Once the wall was assembled, we were ready to raise the barn! Over labor day weekend, a lot of family and friends (shout out the Paul Revere Road crew!) came out to help. With all of the help we had, the walls were almost easy to lift! (Or so I heard, I actually didn’t help lift the wall…)
I’m not sure if we were raising a barn or a jungle gym!
No barn raising is complete with out your official oversee-ers. My grandparents gladly took on this role!
Nor is it complete without a big potluck! Picnic lunch complete with Clarkridge Farm burgers (not pictured).
After the walls were raised, the next challenge was putting on the roof rafters. My dad, being the engineer he is, decided that using a “gin pole” would be our best approach. Dan found a tall, straight, fresh oak tree in the woods and cut it down. We used pulley’s to raise it up next to the barn and attached a block and tackle pulley system to the top of the pole. Then, we attached the roof rafters and pulled them right up! Well, sort of. Sometimes it took a little finagling….
Once the framing was complete, we began putting on the roofing and the siding. At this point, we were starting to feel the chill of winter coming.
Since we had rough cut wood, in order to side the barn, we had to run all of the siding through a planer. Although this took a little bit of time, I didn’t mind doing it. I loved watching the wood go in the machine and come out the other side so smooth. I also loved the smell of the wood shavings. I am excited about doing other projects with the planer this summer!
Right around before Christmas (notice the wreath making supplies on the table) we finished the roofing and the siding. There was still work to be done inside, maple lines to be hung, and more but we were excited to boil inside the maple barn in the spring!
We were so excited when we made our first batch of syrup! There is nothing better than than spending the last days of winter huddled next to the evaporator (the large pan that boils the syrup), smelling the syrup, and feeling the steam on your face, and sampling nature’s sweetest treat.
There is more to be done but for now we are happy to have a functional Maple Barn. The inaugural season was an adventure and are as excited as ever for next year!
Farewell from the farm,