The Barn

Posted on: March 20, 2010

by Deborah in the UP

The Barn

That first summer, even though the house was not quite finished, we started taking things out of the storage lockers, just to make life easier. Chairs, tables, lamps, our bed. Then it quickly occurred to us that what was left in the lockers, we just might need and it would be better to have it here instead of 30 miles away. We called the same contractor that had cleared and excavated our building site, to clear another area for a barn and the garden.
The metal barn was huge, 48’x48‘, two stories tall, but it was to hold a great deal, including Pete’s boat and the truck during the winter, not to mention all the stuff from storage lockers. We had first wanted the barn to be 50’x50’, but the builder (another local) convinced us it was by far cheaper to construct in 8’ increments because of standardized building material. Made perfect sense. The barn went up within a week… all during OJ Week, with breaks for reports on the trial. When they were finished, Pete then built a twelve foot deep, 10” high raised platform against the back wall to keep all of our boxed stuff off the ground. A deep shelf overhead held extra building materials and light weight items. One of the suggestions of the builder who constructed the barn, was to put opaque light panels along the top on both sides. What a marvelous thing to have so much natural light in there at all times, especially since it would never have power for electric lights. There was a man-door, a regular garage door and a twelve foot high sliding door where the boat would be housed. Huge.

One year, there was an incredible amount of snow and very cold temperatures. As a rule, the metal roof on the barn would warm enough from sunlight so the snow would just slide off, but that wasn’t the case that year. The weight started buckling the sides…big problem.. We strapped on our snow shoes to survey the issue. We kept a wide berth of the barn and walked completely around it, viewing it from all angles. The snow was four feet deep ON the roof. Very dangerous. Having a dirt floor in the barn allowed us the decision to build a bonfire inside, right in the middle, hoping the heat would warm the metal above and let the snow slide off. Three days… I brought Pete hot coffee or hot cider while he tended the fire. Three days, the snow was still holding onto the barn roof, even though we could see some water dripping off the edges. Another decision. Hauling the long ladder out, Pete pushed the bottom into the snow and while I held fast, hoping to keep it stabilized, he climbed to the peak with a shovel. One poke with the shovel, to break the ridge and… WHUMP!!!… the snow slid.. It was like an avalanche!! Mere seconds and the four feet of snow that was once on the roof, was now in piles on either side of the barn…………….completely obliterating our earlier snow shoe tracks……….oops

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