Tuesday, September 09, 2014

My Summer Barn Project: Part 5

With the broken floor joist replaced, my attention turned to rebuilding the supporting wall that had previously rotted away and rebuilding or reinforcing the two end walls.  As the barn was originally built the joist beam's longest unsupported span was twelve feet, however when the supporting wall had rotted away the beams then spanned nineteen feet, much too far to safely support the floor load normally associated with a working barn.
 







Tuesday, September 02, 2014

My Summer Barn Project: Part 4

Frank and Elaine posted questions on Part 3 that I will answer here.  I do not know when the barn was originally built but from the stories related to me by my grandfather I would assume that it was somewhere around 1920.  My grandfather and grandmother purchased the farm in 1927 and the buildings were relatively new.  According to Granddad's stories there was an earlier house and barn sitting to the east of the current buildings.  The original buildings were razed with parts of them used in the construction of the current buildings.  Granddad noted on occasion that some of the log beams from the old barn had been reused in the current barn.  If that was the case some of the logs would be well over a century old.

I began the barn project the first week of June.  The photos in part one were taken at that time.  The photos for part two and three were taken over the next three weeks.  The photos in part four were all taken on June 28.  This was a day when some family and a friend gathered to give me a hand with building and hanging the replacement beams.  Thanks to Willard, Justin, Paul, and the occasional inspection by my lovely niece Amy, the day ended with all of the new beams built and secured in place.













Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Summer Barn Project: Part 3

With the broken beams under the floor of the west hay mow, the double layer floor needed to be removed to give access.  This photo was taken before I began removal.  Note the sway in the floor.  My wife shot the photos of me pulling up the floor.



 




With the flooring removed, the broken logs beams were exposed for removal.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My Summer Barn Project: Part 2

As with all renovation projects, this project began with demolition and clean-up.  My goal was to keep as much of the original barn as possible, doing only a limited renovation.  The photos below were taken over the course of a few evenings.  Keeping up with other chores about the farm and holding full time employment limited my work to evening and a few Saturdays. 
 
Demolition began with the removal of the mangers.

Barn with girder removed

View from opposite end
 

The last photo shows the temporary supporting structure used to hold the broken beams in place while the floor above was removed.
 
 


Saturday, August 23, 2014

My Summer Barn Project: Part 1

For those of you who have faithfully followed Country Captures over the years have noticed I have not updated the blog much over the past few months.  With the passing of my father many decisions needed to be made.  Some of those decisions had to do with the future of our farm, the cattle and the building.  Having decided to continue raising cattle my attention turned to the buildings.  As dad had grown old and infirm the farm buildings had been allowed to fall into disrepair as well.  Willard and I closely examined each building to determine what was worth saving and what needed raised while keeping in mind the building needs consistent with our vision of the farm's future.  The barn, the cornerstone of farm, was of major concern.
 
The following photos were taken following manure removal.






While it showed major signs of disrepair and some structure issues with seven floor beams being broken, all in all it was deemed structurally sound and worthy of repair.  In future post I will walk you through my summer project of whipping the old barn back into a usable piece of farm infrastructure.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Cedar Waxwings and a Lens Fail

While my wildlife photography time has been greatly limited this year I also experience the sickening feeling of aligning the 600mm rig on a Red-headed Woodpecker only to hear a rapid ratcheting sound as the lens attempted to find focus but could not.  After trying the lens on another camera and finding it to perform the same there was only one thing to do; return it to Canon for repair.  I expected the lens back within ten days but this time it took a full two weeks.  Unlike the time when I dropped and broke it two years ago and it took two trips back to Canon to get it right; this time when it came back it worked properly.  With the 600 back I was ready to exploit a flock of Cedar Waxwings that have taken to catching insects on the wing at a nearby creek crossing.  Setting up the camera rig it was only a short time before the colorful little masked bandit birds were perching nearby.

 
These little birds must be observed closely to see the beautiful earth colors of their plumage highlighted by the tiny but brilliant splashes of red and yellow.  So now with the big lens back in business and summer winding down I hope to eek out a little more time for wildlife photography before the autumn elk and whitetail ruts begin.  
 
 


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fuchsia & Yellow

While winter cloaks the countryside in earth tones and white, summer scenes are alive with vibrant colors.  With flowers blooming and birds displaying their breeding plumage brilliant splashes of color can be seen everywhere. 
 
While taking care of my daily chores I recently noticed that the ripening seed in a stand of thistle bordering my west pasture was attracting a large number of goldfinches.  Finding some free time this morning I setup near the thistle with a Canon 6D mounted on the 600 F4.  In a short time the brightly colored little birds returned to feed on the ripe seed heads.  The scene was a feast of color with the yellow and black birds surrounded by the beautiful fuchsia color of the newly opening blooms. 
 



Sunday, July 13, 2014

Summer Scenes

Each season adds its own special flavor to the landscape and to life itself.  Mid summer is a time of hot days and warm misty mornings.  The following images were taken while spending a little time quietly watching daybreak unfold on our family farm.
 
 
 
 





Monday, June 23, 2014

Changing Focus

 
As I noted in a post at the beginning of the month this year has been a year of dramatic change in my life.  The change began with my father's passing and every time I think that I am beginning to arrive at the new "normal" something else changes yet again.  This has been a year of loss and at the same time a year of gain.  It has been a time of renewing and repairing of old relationships and the building of new ones.  In the midst of all of the change my wildlife photography has had to take a backseat. 

 
While outdoor photography has taken on lesser roll in my life temporarily I still make time occasionally to enjoy to the peaceful solitude of daybreak on the water. 

 
An hour spent one Sunday afternoon watching a pair of red-headed woodpeckers carry insects to their young was a special treat.  I located this den tree last year and upon checking it this summer was elated to find that it housed not only the red-headed woodpeckers but a nest of yellow-shafted flickers as well.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Wildlife Babies Arriving

 
While it has been over about two months since I first encountered the fox pups back in April, wildlife babies continue to arrive.  The big event over the past week has been the arrival of the whitetail fawns.  I spotted my first one of the season Sunday morning.  While its not much of a fawn photo it is the best I was able to capture as the mother lead her new charge to safety.
 
A little later as I was driving along a dirt road I noticed a black object lying in the entrance to a pasture.  I was already past the lane by the time I was able to stop, having to back up for a second look.  At first I could not identify it but as I reached for the binoculars a head and long neck stretched up.  Identifying it as a wild turkey hen I immediately suspicioned that she was hiding her poults with her body.  While I waited a few minutes, other than to move her head the hen remained motionless.
 
As my time was running out and I needed to be on my way I hit the trucks ignition.  The sound of the engine starting was just enough to startle the hen into moving, revealing her brood of about a dozen poults.