Barn Project Part 3

 Posted by at 12:55 am  Nick's Blog
Jan 292024

In two posts last summer I wrote about some changes I wanted to do in the barn to make it more user friendly for my needs. Our son Travis helped me with the first two parts of that project, including removing the old horse stalls on one end of the barn so I would have more room for my Kubota tractor’s implements.

Bad weather, the holidays, and other activities got in the way of doing much more for a while, but we are back at it. The barn has one large open bay, and then two smaller rooms on one side. One of those rooms was only accessed by the other and was useless for my needs, so I wanted to remove the wall separating it from the main bay and put that space to use.

Travis came over yesterday and we started that stage of the project. There is a ceiling above those two rooms, but none of them are connected to the main frame of the barn, so we knew that we wouldn’t have any problems taking them out as far as structural integrity. But before we did that, we wanted to know what was above that ceiling. I didn’t want anything falling down on us that might be stored up there that could cause an injury.

Neither Travis nor I are fans of climbing up and down on ladders, and a while back I bought a safety cage that fits onto the tractor’s pallet forks. It’s roomy and gives a solid base to work from.

So the first step was to lift it and Travis up so he could check out what was on top the ceiling. As it turns out, it was mostly some old plastic chicken feeders (the barn used to be part of a chicken farm), a few pieces of trash, and more dust than you could ever imagine. Here’s Travis saying ‘Dad don’t hit the wrong lever and dump me off this darn thing and kill me.’ Well he didn’t say it, but I know he was thinking it. And I would be, too, if I was in his place.

Back down on floor level, Travis used a reciprocating saw to start cutting away the plywood covering the wall.

That turned out to be quite a project, because we wanted to salvage the 2×4 studs if possible, for some projects he wants to do at his place. With the price of wood these days, it doesn’t make sense to throw something away that can be recycled. This required cutting away the plywood in pieces between the studs, which was a long process. But by the time we wrapped up for the day we had the plywood off on both sides of the wall, leaving just the studs.

Before we put everything away, I wanted to do one more thing. At one time the barn had electricity to it, but it was disconnected long ago. So a while back I had Alabama Power come out and hang a new meter, and Scott Banks installed a new breaker box. There are a lot of things I don’t know much about, but I do know enough about electricity to wire circuits when necessary. In fact, I did all of the 12 and 120 volt circuits when we built our MCI bus conversion years ago.

Travis has never messed with electricity, but he always wants to learn new things. So I installed a single 20 amp circuit, using weatherproof Romex wire, explaining the process to him from turning off the main breaker, to connecting wires to a breaker inside the box, running the wire through an existing access hole into the barn, and connecting an outlet. Then I told Travis we needed to turn the main circuit breaker back on to make sure the magic smoke didn’t come out. We didn’t see any smoke, so I guess we were good to go. It was a quick and dirty job and is only temporary, but it will give us power while we’re working in the barn. Later on I will be installing several permanent circuits.

We will be back at it again today, and hopefully get the ceiling down and the studs out of the way. I enjoy working with my son on projects. It’s a good chance for us to bond, I learn a lot from him, and hopefully he learns a thing or two from my limited store of knowledge.

Congratulations Karen Gillespie, winner of our drawing for an autographed copy of The Search for Grandma Sparkle by Darlene Miller. This cozy mystery begins when Sarah Spoolstra learns that her grandmother Opal and niece Jessica are missing, and she decides to search for them. When their car is found with two flat tires, Sarah and her boyfriend travel up and down the rural roads and creeks of southern Iowa looking for her missing relatives. Because of a recent storm, would they have sought shelter in an abandoned barn, house, or maybe even a coal mine? Were they abducted? Who would have a grudge against the gentle woman who only tried to help people through her church’s SPARKLE Club?

We had 89 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 90 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. Digital clocks have helped lead to the dumbing down of the human species.

Thought For The Day – If you have an issue, get a tissue.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

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