As we move into the homestead and start working through projects for the spring – a windy day brought a welcome surprise as the local affiliate of Cleary Building Corp – the team at Shamrock Buildings in Fort Collins, Colorado – was able to fit in the wall project – finishing the barn!
An Unexpected Opportunity
When we first started looking at the property, the barn was one of the big plusses of this homestead location back when we asked the question is this the one? At the same time, it was originally built as a horse barn for some reason, and as a result the largest segment of the barn was built three sided. And a separate portion was enclosed and minimally insulated.
Shortly after moving in, we reached out to the Shamrock team – who originally built the barn back in 2012 – and asked “can you find the plans for this thing?” Subsequently when they dug the plans out of storage, they asked if they could be of service. Lauren and I were really focused on moving in, but almost off hand I asked, “Would you be able to put a fourth wall on the barn?”
I had already done some rough planning and realized that doing it myself was feasible but would require a couple weeks of work and a few thousand dollars.
To my surprise, they came back and said “for just a bit we could have it done in 2 days…. but we are probably months out for materials and crew assignment….” We worked together to figure out what the right configuration of doors would be for our long term needs, and put the plans in place.
The team reached out just a week or so ago and said “the material all got here quickly, we will soon call once we figure out what our schedule looks like”. At that point I thought it would still be weeks….
A Windy Day in Cheyenne
Recently, however, a storm front went through well north of where we are and as a result the team at Shamrock Buildings gave me a call and said “we could have a team there today if you are ready to go, but we need to know now.” I said, of course, “let’s go!” Turns out – its too windy for a project they had in progress but already had a crew committed – why not knock out my little side project while its too windy for them to go do the scheduled build?
Works for me!
Quickly the team got to work, with a couple trucks, a single six foot ladder, and a lot of experience. I kicked off the day with the crew doing a quick review walk. It turned out one of the people leading the team was a junior worker back when the barn was built! It’s pretty amazing to bring the team back and someone with that experience to the improvement project.
As the day went on, the wind picked up here. Ultimately, the team had to make the choice to call it finished for the day. After preparing the framing to tie into the top of the wall, we would need to wait to add the steel fascia until the following day.
Steel Face to Finish the Barn
Day two, the same team came back and had very little extra to do in the calm morning. For the combined team, it really came down to less than a half day’s work to add the steel face. To me, it was like magic, these guys had so much experience for how to get the sheets up there, and speed through the process of bolting them on.
With a pretty good crew, just a few hours over two days resulted in a finished barn. This is a project that would have taken me weeks to finish and a couple thousand dollars in raw materials. I wont say that it was cheap – it wasn’t. Yet, in the face of the long list of other things we need to get done this spring, spending the money was totally worth it.
The final product was really something that looked sharp – from the outside I had no real way to tell that these two projects were done nearly a decade apart! The team did fantastic, and now I need to think about the next few projects finishing the barn.
Lauren and I are really happy with the result. While we have to wait to tackle other projects on the property right now, we definitely plan to come back, clean up and upgrade some of the electrical installation, add animal doors, create stalls, establish the drive through foundation between the rolling doors, and create a dairy room. These are all probably things for the winter, or even early spring next year. We need to think about the right timing for the family to add dairy animals. Right now – one step at a time! Let’s get the garden and the chickens going, first.
(Incidentally, if you need a farm building on your property – a shed, a horse barn, a dairy barn – give the network of builders at Cleary a call. The building construction and peace of mind is worth it.)