I never knew that a “place” or a structure could hold so much comfort in it. The comforts of going home is one thing. There is no place like home - as long as it is truly a home. But the peace and solace that I’ve found in going to the barn, is indescribable - although I’m going to try to describe it here.
Three years ago this past month (planning for it started before, but we actually started construction in July), we decided we’d build a barn. I had “visions” of what kind of barn I wanted, but I knew that my Dom Perignon dreams and my Pabst Blue Ribbon budget were two very different things. My husband knew the general shape of the barn that I wanted. And with little more than a couple sketches in the dirt with a stick and a quick drawing on the CAD system to check roof pitches, we started building a barn. He’d told me that the barn would be a different place and that he couldn’t describe it, but that I’d see once we got it finished and the horses living in it. It took us two years and four months to get it to where we could put the horses in it, but he was most definitely right. It did become a completely different place.
We can honestly say, that almost every nail driven in that barn and every board that was cut in that barn was done by us. We had help with two of the big poles and then we had help with sheeting the back and the lower side. Other than that, construction, including the grading, was all done by just the two of us. We learned to cut rafters using a construction square. We made stalls, we made a storage room, we did it all! My husband even built the sliding doors by himself and with the help of two of our grandkids, we managed to hang the big door and get it all working.
By the first winter, all we had up was the middle section, flooring in the loft, sides on the loft, rafters and tin on the roof of the loft (but no ridge cap), posts for the outside of the stalls in the ground, and like 5 rafters and their bands on the lower side. When we baled hay that fall, we stored all the hay in the bottom part of the barn, on pallets, and surrounded the stuff with thick plastic and covered in tarps. It served the purpose, but it looked like a portion of Noah’s Ark, not really a barn. Slowly that next spring, we got rafters cut and placed for the lower roof side, and then even more slowly, the upper roof side. That April, we had two young fellas from the Building Trades class at my school to come out and help us do some work. In two days, we had the back sheeted and the lower side sheeted. Over that summer, we made progress with the siding and the rafters on the upper side, and had some of the inside started. April of last year brought the big front doors. By May last year, it was really starting to come together more. You could see where the stalls were to be and we’d even started lining them and building the doors. We got the power and the water run down there and hooked up. Steadily, the power outlets got hooked up and the lights came on. Stall doors and windows were fixed and hung. We’d even gotten to enjoy the occasional evening of sitting in the barn and enjoying the quiet during the summer. Then feed buckets were bought and hung up and water tubs moved in. Pine flakes were put on the floors of the stalls. The fencing outside was rerouted so that we could move a horse in and out from the barn to the lot. Mid-November 2015 brought the move-in day for the three boys and the cat! It was so nice to have the three horses inside, where feeding was done in one foul swoop, watering was a 5 gallon bucket toted into their stall, and hay consisted of tossing a bat over into their stall. The goal we’d started two and a half years before had finally come to fruition.
Structurally, the barn, was and has always been sound, but physically, spiritually if you will, the barn was now alive! When I say “alive,” I don’t mean that the wood or metal was a breathing, living thing. It was still wood and metal after all. I mean “alive” because having those animals in there brought life to the structure and gave it a purpose and a true sense of being! Walking in the doors and smelling the smells that come with having horses in a barn, and hearing the noises that they make, those moments are priceless. The peace that comes from sitting down in the breezeway and just enjoying all of that and taking it all in, absolutely priceless. Throughout the workday, I look forward to going home to the barn. When I’m at home, most of my time is spent at the barn. I like to linger there. I like to just sit and soak in all of the feelings that come with being there. There is a solace that I don’t get anywhere else. There is a comfort that doesn’t come with anything else. I can have one of the worst days with work, or with other things, and it all melts away when I get to the barn. My refuge!!
More to come...stay tuned