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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Mid-year report from Stony Run Farm

The open three-sided shed that was here when we got here had been built with massive beams, 8X10s and the like.. The whole things is mounted on large stones that had been clawed out of the creek bed, and is settling over the years as the posts dry-rot on top of the stones. Our site is a north facing wetland, and wooden buildings here are even more ephemeral than usual. In 1994 I laid on a skin made up of salvage -- fence boards and old windows -- and we got by for two decades. We surely don't have another two decades in us, but we do feel we need a "barn" for awhile longer.

Enough leaks had sprung, and walls sagged, that it was time this year to tear down and start over, but the roof beams are just too heavy to move safely. So it was decided we would pull out what dry rot we could, shim the rest, and just put a new skin on. Also we wanted to tuck in a small "throne room" for the composting toilet we'd been given.

The first order of business was to fork bedding out of the indoor construction area, move some nesting boxes,  lay a ground cloth, then install a sill plate, floor joists, floor, walls, and door for the throne room. We need a new storm door for the front entrance to the house, so I unzipped the old one from the door frame and zipped it to the new doorway in the barn, using the same screws. 

This is a very low barn, so the throne room has rather a low ceiling for us tall people, but it will do. I built a wall right behind the toilet and will make a storeroom in the space created.

I then moved windows from the west exterior wall to the east wall and vice versa, so as to be able to add more glass to the west wall, which is part of a combination potting shed and "greenhouse." Then put new plywood and furring strips all around the exterior. The trim is the best of the old rotten fence boards, de-nailed and re-purposed.

I like a white barn, which is cooler for the animals, and Beloved likes to have a red barn to look at, so we have compromised. The east, north and west walls will be painted red with white trim, and the south wall will be white with red trim. Today it will be in the nineties, so I am blogging instead of painting.

On the roof, I will try white polycarbonate for a change, as roll roofing has proved unsatisfactory with the low pitch.

A disadvantage of being engrossed in reconstruction is the weeds get ahead of me. You can see a bad patch in the corn bed. To the left is the tomato bed, to the right is potatoes. In the background, sunchokes and apple trees. It doesn't look so bad in the photo, but these areas are filling up with grass and there are also (drum roll of eventual doom) morning glories. I'm too old to keep up with the morning glories. They will win.

Here are tomatoes on the right, squash on the left, and blueberries on the left. Grass perking up in the foreground. The big ragged thing in the tomatoes is a last year's Fordhook Giant chard going to seed. I want these seeds as it survived a -9F deep freeze in December. Seed savers have ragged gardens even if they do keep up with the weeds.

In the other direction we have the peas/beans and greens/roots bed, with grapes on the left. This area got fresh mulch recently, but the grass is gaining on the greens. Some things have bolted, but there is a lot of food in that bed, so, I'm not unhappy.

Green and runner beans are at last beginning to catch up with the peas and broadbeans. These do a decent job of suppressing their own weeds.

Mr. Sun presides over the entrance walkway, facing north, with Egyptian onions, elephant garlic, goumis, chard, and a fuchsia. He gets about half an hour of sun at the solstice; by August he's back to full time shade.

Update, 7/3:

Still not terrific, but better than it was. Should last us.


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