A Place Where No Dreams Come True...

Current Topic: We added more shedage to our largest cluster of sheds known as the 'Metro Shed Area'. We are calling it the Tri-Shed Complex.

The Tri-Shed-Complex Satisfies Many Farm Necessities And Sacrifices Nothing...

This project was not on the the list for this year however it had so many benefits it was irresistible. Unfortunately it pushed the priority list down. And that's going to mean I'll, once again, have to sacrifice comfort for facility. Sigh!

One of the beauties of this project is that it utilizes wasteland. It turns out that this area of the property is already covered with concrete. Although you would never know it. It is so cluttered with farm scrap and muck that except for a small swath (path) you would miss how massive it is. And how convenient it could be. And we plan to make as much use of it as is possible.

Wasteland before the tri-sheds Wasteland before the tri-sheds Wasteland before the tri-sheds

One of the problems we have here is that the Hay Barn has no sides. Just a few poles and a roof (which is quickly deteriorating) and that has been spoiling some of our hay which wastes resources and our time. So the Dry Shed was placed to not only provide 'dry' storage for the farming equipment which is currently left out in the weather but additionally to close in one of the Gable ends of the hay shed. Because the shed footprint is less then the clutter consumed originally it also gives us a more comfortable buffer zone when moving materials from one side to the other. That may be confusing but believe me when we started this year it was difficult to move the fence materials to the far side because the path was so cramped.

Dry storage shed before Dry storage shed Dry storage shed

Ok! So this shed measures in at 24 feet long by 16 feet wide. This is as wide (shed length) as the gable end of the hay barn. The far side wall is 10 feet while the barn side wall is 14 feet. Plus the foundation and the double plates this leaves the roof-line only about a foot below the gable of the barn. when we complete the roof we will attach a stick-frame facade to completely cover this side of the barn from the weather. This shed alone increases facility maintenance access, helps reduce hay loss due to weather and will provide better storage management for the farm equipment.

Before the tri-sheds Barn and tack shed Barn and tack shed

The additional two sheds of the Tri-Shed Complex are isolated structurally but share a common roof. I'm sure my building inspector would say it is not a smart way to do it but it will provide better weather protection at the expense of maybe a bit extra maintenance work over time. We need these sheds desperately and this is the best we have time for right now.

Of the two sheds the large shed is 20ft. by 26ft. 12.5ft. high. The walls are framed using 2x6 studs and sided with 1x6 low-grade pine. It will be used as a barn. For now it will service only the pasture to it's North however we already have plans to divide it next year to allow access to another small pasture area to the west. Also while we partitioning it horizontally we will most likely partition it vertically as well adding a loft above it for hay storage making Winter much more manageable. This shed is very important because neither of the adjacent pastures has any shelter making them only useful for managed rotations.

The small shed measures in at 16ft. by 10ft. and is 8ft. tall at the front and 11ft. tall at the back. the walls on this shed however are nice Tongue and groove. This shed is going to be a tack/storage shed and needs to be weather-tight. Shauna and I have agreed that the lower half of the shed is for horsey stuff while the upper half (shelving maybe attic) will be for storage. This shed is also very important because the stuff we need to store in it is the stuff cluttering up our basement preventing us from completing it.

Tri-Shed concrete Tri-Shed concrete Tri-Shed concrete

The three sheds we built were on a very uneven group of old concrete blocks about four foot square. They appear to be placed so that there is functional drainage avoiding pooling. When we built our walls we found out how uneven the concrete blocks were. Over a twenty foot span they could be as bad as six inches out or half an inch out. So we had to shim the walls to level the structure up. Since you can't have such large heavy structures floating on shims we decided to pour a concrete foundation underneath the buildings. In some places the height of the foundation allowed us to use bagged concrete mix but where the gap was two inches or smaller we used various custom mixes of small aggregate and sand with Portland cement. We ended up pouring abut 3500 pounds of concrete a section at a time. We of course had to pour between the shims then remove them then pour in between the sections. The real challenge was being able to properly agitate the concrete in the small cavities we were filling to avoid 'honeycombing' which is where the cement paste does not properly encase the aggregate leaving week spots. Usually the result of air-pockets restricting flow but released by proper agitation.

Tri-Shed trusses Tri-Shed trusses Tri-Shed trusses

For the roof in the small horse barn which has to span twenty feet we wanted a peaked roof. And we wanted it open so we decided to build two massive trusses along with normal stick-frame gable walls to support a small ridge beam to carry normal roof joists (rafters).

We decided on three layers (laminated) of 2x6. This effectively means a 2x6 truss with full 2x6 gussets instead of plywood or those metal stamped joining plates. These trusses look like 6x6 beams. Let's hope they hold up. We've never built a truss before.

Looks easy? Well it wasn't. We were only able to assemble two of the three truss layers before it would be beyond our ability to lift them in place. Remember... Aside from being extremely heavy they have to set on walls that are thirteen feet tall. And the trusses are twenty feet long.

Anyway once we had the partial trusses in place we had to complete them. It was a little more effort gluing and screwing the final layer in place but it went fairly well and that allowed us to complete the roof structure (ridge-beam and joists) so we could strap it (sub-roof) with 1x6 in preparation for the final 'tin' roof.

I think in the whole project so far this was the single most difficult task. Even incomplete the trusses were monsters. For two old men anyways. However ingenuity and determination prevailed and even to our surprise when they were set and the gable ends completed the darn thing measured amazingly true and level.

We're not really used to that but we proceeded on in spite of it and completed the roof strapping. When we measured, to the best of our abilities, the diagonals (a2 + b2 = c2) we were within 3mm (~0.1 in.). Over a 33 ft. range. I'm calling this one a success. On our last pole-shed we were out on the diagonal by more then a foot. Out of only sixteen.

Tri-Shed roof Tri-Shed roof

It is important to note here... We are rarely able to go a single day without multiple minor injuries. You know those signs at industrial sites. Well ours would probably read 37 minutes since last injury. We usually don't even consider it a true workday until somebody bleeds. That's not our goal however it is constantly impossible sometimes to be even reasonably safe. A long time ago I worked by the philosophy 'High Risk for High Return' and I guess I'm still willing to take the risk.

Sadly I know very few people here that, like myself, are farm owners not professional contractors who can handle building projects of this scale. And that's really disappointing because every one of their Fathers and Grandfathers would have had the skills and financial necessity to built their own barns, shelters, sheds and fences. And that makes me extra satisfied with my results making all the scrapes, bruises, lacerations, minor sprains, constant bumping into stuff, chronic joint and muscle pain, bad weather, insect harassment and even vertigo worth it.

Tri-Shed progress Tri-Shed progress

A final and last benefit is that all of the lumber for this project came from local suppliers using local sawmill product plus three hundred pounds of nails which were hammered in by hand making the carbon footprint for this project impressively low.

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