A Place Where No Dreams Come True...

Current Topic: This farm has only one failing Hay-Shed, one failing Loafing-Shed and one 8 x 8 ft. Storage-Shed which is about ready to collapse.

Our First Shed Was A Traditional Pole-Shed We'll Use As Horse Shelter...

In this half of the property, covering two pastures, there is no shelter. Instead; A horse trailer has been left in one of the pastures which a maturing foal lives in.


So we decided to build a small pole shed (shelter) that would cover both pastures. Additionally it would anchor to the property line and the adjacent fencing servicing it and move a tree out of the pasture. The tree is rapidly being killed because of the horses and by simply moving a post and a few rails it can be saved.

We managed to round up some Ceder poles and Larch rails from the Family. The rest of the lumber we sawed with our sawmill.

We prepped our first pole (stripped the bark). Dug our first hole. By hand. And about four hours later had the first pole set. Uh oh! We're never going to finish at this pace. Oh yeah! Digging that first hole was brutal. The soil is mostly clay in this area and it's 'end of summer' dry (bone).

First shed pole First shed pole

After a quick trip to the rental center to acquire an auger we drilled the remaining holes in time to return the auger for only half-a-days rental. All that remains is to set the poles and tamp them in place. Don't let me mislead you. Setting and tamping hundred pound poles four feet in the ground is itself a huge task. The bonus is that the auger turned a weeks work into a days work. And that's brutal, heavy-labor, work. Worth every penny I'd say.

First Pole Shed First shed ground breaking pole

Now that we have the basic structure set it needed a roof. Using the Larch rails as roof joists we notched them with a saw a sledge-hammer and an ax. That may sound primitive but in operation it is a very quick and effective method. Once you get the hang of it. We needed to do this because all the poles are round. The flattening (hewing) ensures that perpendicular pieces will not want to 'roll' on each other. In other words it adds tremendous stability the structure would otherwise lack. Actually we utilized this approach everywhere a pole seated upon another. And it worked out quite well.

First Pole Shed First Pole Shed First Pole Shed

With the roof poles in place the full pole structure was complete. Except for a little trimming of the rafter poles it looks pretty good. The rest of the lumber we are using we sawed ourselves using a horizontal band-saw mill we own. The mill is still at Uncle Waynes so it is a bit of an extra effort to saw logs and then pack the lumber and scrap here to use but we're working on that problem also. Additionally we can only saw ten foot lengths. That restriction alone determined the layout for the shed which is only 16ft. by 16ft. with vertical poles on 8ft. centers. That leaves two 8ft. by 16ft. paddocks. Well at least they're out of the cold rain and snow.

You might have noticed that some of the poles are rather large. And that meant using big nails. I think the smallest nail we used so far was six inches. And that was small in comparison to the largest we used which was ten inches. Yup ten inch nails. Hammered in with a rather large mallet. Only because there wasn't good enough footing to wield the sledge hammer. None the less the main structure has less than a hundred nails mostly for the roof support. And those are the smaller ones anyway.

First Pole Shed First Pole Shed First Pole Shed

On the remainder of the shed we are using lumber we sawed. Aside from the rough dimensioned lumber there is also scrap made up of the sides (edges) sawed off a round log to make it square for cutting dimensional pieces. Even varying in width and sometimes thickness they are still very useful.

For the walls we sawed 6/4 x 6 (1-1/2in. by 6in.) Fir. For the outside walls we additionally ship-lapped the edges using a router-table on a large saw-horse we also made out of mill scrap. The extra bit of chicane in the wall edge will hopefully help reduce wind and rain penetration. And every one is set with five inch Ardox nails. Almost a 1/4in. thick, square and mildly twisted like screws they require a big (heavy) hammer to pound in and never come out. Although sometimes they rust away. Oh well!

First Pole Shed First Pole Shed First Pole Shed

After a while though it became clear that the shed needed a better floor. Aside from needing to be raised above grade it needed to be more solid so it could be maintained better (mucked, bedded). So we decided to put in a concrete floor. Maybe not the best choice but certainly appropriate for this situation. It was just a mucky swamp because of the topology (natural drainage) and this will allow us to maintain a dry sanitary shelter.

First Pole Shed First Pole Shed First Pole Shed

So we scraped out the muck (with the tractor), borrowed a cement mixer, purchased Gravel (concrete mix actually) and a ton (literally) of Portland Cement.

First Pole Shed

After about a week of gruesome work we have hopefully improved this shelter. But there is still the tree left to rescue.

We also save a tree

Blah Blah!

We Built A Tool-Shed And A Storage-Shed With Lumber We Milled From Logs...

We were determined to build a few small storage sheds with lumber we milled ourselves. At this point all our tools and most of our other belongings are in storage at the currently renovating (vacant) rental property we purchased. Remember, the house we are living in on the farm is only 384 square feet. There's not much room in there so we desperately need to increase our storage abilities.

First storage sheds

There is an old, rotten, framework that was long ago going to become a garage. We still use it (the area) and have hopes to repair (basically replace) it. When we can of course. Behind it there is a void (space) that is outside the fence line and it is just big enough to accommodate two 8ft. by 8ft. storage sheds.

First storage sheds First storage sheds First storage sheds

This type of structure is called a 'skid-shed'. They are complete buildings only the foundation they are placed on is actually a pair of flat-topped logs. The idea is that you can attach to the foundation logs (skids) and drag the building to where ever it might be needed. Or just out of the way. Even so. I think these two skid-sheds are probably rooted here for a very long time to come.

First storage sheds First storage sheds First storage sheds

All the lumber for this project was 'rough-cut' lumber we sawed on the mil. It was also the first time we used it to build a dimensional structure. I wasn't really sure what to expect. Wow! I was profoundly impressed. The lumber we sawed was just as easy to use as 'stoar' (hillbilly for store) bought lumber.

Originally we had no intentions for a second shed but the first one went together so quickly we couldn't resist building the second shed.

The Mill-Scraps, A.K.A. Side-Lumber, Were Useful For Auxiliary Sheds...

During the sawing process there is a lot of scrap. Sometimes called side lumber it usually has rough and uneven edges and can either be used as is or resawn into smaller dimensional sizes. We have used both methods to make best use of our side lumber.

First storage sheds First storage sheds

We decided, this time, to use it as it was and build a few small sheds to get some essentials out of the weather. All three sheds were built entirely from scrap. Even the tin roofs. And whatever was left went into the fire to keep us warm.

And Then There Was The Utility-Shed (Power,Cable,Phone) With Basement...

The utility services require a central distribution point. All utilities will come to this point and then be distributed, underground, from here. Expecting an above average electric load (houses, barns, shop, garage, etc...) we requested a 600 Amp service. In order to do this I had to buy the hardware however due to an easement issue the utility provider had to put in the pole at their expense. Having thought we had a sealed deal we went ahead and built our shed.

This shed, being a central junction point, requires an appropriate electrical ground. The technique we use is called a 'UFER' ground. Named after a scientist who developed it for Military munitions storage and communications antenna grounding in very dry environments it is a supreme method. But it has many requirements or it doesn't work correctly.

Utility shed Utility shed Utility shed

In order for this to ground to work a copper wire of proper size must be embedded in a concrete footing within the first inch above the soil-line and be under a concrete load bearing structure. Additionally it needs to be a certain length to be properly effective. In our case that's 4/0 (0000) wire. About an inch in diameter and made up of many many strands of 12ga. And about forty feet in length. Additionally the ground is tied into the rebar of the footing in order to provide as much coupling to earth as possible.

That's a big challenge for an 8ft. by 8ft. shed. None the less we built the only shed in town with full concrete basement. Really kind of embarrassing since nobody understands why. Except of course the electrical utility which was perfectly satisfied with the shed but refuses to give us the 600 Amp service we bargained for.

Utility shed Utility shed Utility shed

On the other hand the utility provider was insistent that the electrical mast had to have a 600 pound pull strength. Even though the pole is only ten feet from the shed and is a pure drop (elevation).

Ya know! We have a huge (HUGE) amount of water flowing through our property. I think we are going to have to seriously consider a hydro- electric project in the near future.

And maybe I'll share my overflow with my neighbors.

That'll show the utility.

Another Loafing Shed, Again, Using Lumber Entirely Sawn With Our Sawmill...

At the top of one of the large pastures there is a spring-fed water trough. We thought this would be a perfect location for a loafing shed. Providing shelter from the wind and rain with water near by it could become an ideal paddock area with access to (adjacent) a large pasture.

Using entirely surplus and scrap from around the property we figured we had just enough for a 16ft. by 16ft. shed. Except of course for the roof which had to buy tin and screws for. Even so the shed cost us less than $500. That's an economic success anywhere.

Second loafing shed Second loafing shed Second loafing shed

We had several 12ft. poles left over from another project and together with a few unused beams and joists we just barely managed to find enough materials for the structure. For the siding we rough sawed 5/4 (1-1/4in.) pine which we simply beveled by overlapping the planks.

Second loafing shed Second loafing shed Second loafing shed

It turned out to be a lovely, dry, shelter. The only thing is... Most of the horses we have turned out in this pasture don't seem to like the shed. Can't figure out why but most of them would rather stand out in the rain.


How Well Did We Do...

My previous structures were always built for earthquake ruggedness. Not the sky falling (snow). I knew the structures were strong so I made the roofs extra strong. I still do. Buy the way... These are the first roofs I've built and aside from heavy snow (not often) we get hurricane like winds. Ripping down the valley. I had no idea how these would hold up.

Sheds in winter Sheds in winter Sheds in winter

Well... Winter tells the tale. With average snow but still heavy winds all the sheds we built survived and managed the weather admirably. We couldn't have asked for better.

I think we're up for some bigger challenges now.

We still have a lot of work ahead of us.

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