Monday, January 30, 2012

Busy Brains

No matter the situation, it is difficult for me to slow my mind down. I often lose myself in thought and can work on two projects in my mind while I work on one with my hands. This last summer one of the things I wanted to do was to force myself to work on one thing... only one thing, to completion. Then work on another task. I had limited success with that. Sometimes I can only work on something for so long and I run out of materials or good weather, or run up against some other obstacle that brings me to a halt. I can stick to my plan and continue to try to hammer away at whatever is giving me trouble or turn my mind to something else. I never know which is the right course of action and I always feel that I ended up doing the wrong thing.

It's in my nature to think too much... whether it is worms, manure, seeds or barns, or even, what to make for supper. I believe the little farm has made it worse. There are now so many directions to think. I think about sheep, about bees and mushrooms. Trees. Chickens and shelters for them. Shelters for everything, from horses to hay. And there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about money. I think about making it, spending it and hopefully, someday being at the place where I don't need it so much.

I've been trying to absorb information on how things used to be done. Pre-mechanized methods... common sense approaches. With that in mind, I have been collecting facsimile editions of turn of the century (last century, that is) farming books. My daughter found another one for me. She gave it to me this weekend and it has put my mind into overdrive. Finally I have answers. The book is "Barns and Outbuildings and How to Build Them" edited by Byron Halsted. Every other barn book that I have is this complex morass of foundations, metal sheathing, wiring and plumbing. I can't afford those buildings and considering that I don't have any giant tractors or combines that need to be housed, those buildings are of little use to me. My neighbor keeps telling me the virtues of building an inexpensive sheet metal building. He tells me that it will only cost a thousand dollars or so. It is a thousand dollars wasted in my opinion. The sound inside of those buildings during storms is so extreme that animals are spooked out of them. Add some lights and the condensation can be so bad, that hay stored in them can rot and mold away. They are colder then the outside temperature in the winter, and hotter then the outside temperature in the summer. They end up being little more then very expensive wind breaks. I do not have a thousand to spend anyway..... though the idea does make me giddy!

I have already plowed through much of this book and my brains are aching a bit. But it's a good ache. I feel empowered. I'm not so frantic about how can I do this, where will I get the money, how can I pay someone to help me.... Now I have found some answers and my big question is... when can I start? The plan is reinvigorated. My tired brains are getting pretty excited about this. It's no longer a matter of "can this work?"... this WILL work. The little farm has just taken a huge leap forward.




  1. Very interesting! FYI, the original book is available for free in Google e-books. All you need is a web browser. I've skimmed it and got a few ideas. At first I was looking at the size of the barns and thinking WOW, those are huge but around page 50 or so they start to be 4 stall barns and such. Now to have the place to build it, eh? If it isn't one thing(money), it is the other(location)....

    Something I keep being told is that I should be in the moment, but somehow all that gets me is frustrated.

    Good luck on your barn!

  2. Peter, I have been thinking about this for awhile. Being in the moment has it's place but some things take planning. My "moments" are my times of inspiration but it certainly takes more to build a barn. There is a cob building book by Michael Smith and Ianto Evans and there is a little side bar item about building. they say you need money, labor and desire. You can accomplish what you need if you have two of the ingredients, when you are just down to desire, it becomes a really tough row to hoe. My first barn will just be 10 ft. by 20 ft. It will have hedge posts and probably just a five foot sidewall and the walls will just be cordwood. I will still need help cutting the logs to length. I still need to figure out the roof.

    Some of my greatest inspiration comes from ancient builders. they have a much more practical reliance on natural materials. an understanding on what a small group can accomplish and it is to a useable scale. No point in re-inventing the wheel. Just take their good idea and adapt it to your circumstances.

    Hope your frustration gets better... I feel your pain.