Sawmill. Oil sketch 18"x12", 2008

Sawmill. Oil sketch 18"x12", 2008

I’ve been building a mule barn here since last fall, and while it’s really starting to take shape, the recent heat has taken its toll on my progress. Plus, I’m naturally an incorrigibly lazy bastard, just the type of person Samuel Beckett was thinking about when he coined the phrase “indolent bourgeois poltroon”. Sometimes I’ll shift my ass if I know somewhere down the road there’s the prospect of intoxication or a groaning table of food, but otherwise I’m in a perpetual state of torpor. That said, periodically I get a kind of mania for building stuff. Several years ago, at our previous house, I built a hybrid timberframe/stick barn. I had built a couple of sheds at that point, but nothing I’d be willing to tell anyone about. This one I actually researched a little, and built a model before ordering the lumber. The guy who ran the sawmill where I purchased the oak frame members was glad to see someone finally using oak for something besides shipping palettes, and he gave me a deal. When I showed him the scale model, he was able to make a number of helpful suggestions. Shortly after he delivered the lumber, My wife let me quit my job, and I started the process of mortising and tenoning while we hired contractors to pour a slab and build a low foundation wall.

 Mortising a sill plate

Mortising a sill plate

Since my wife and I would be the only ones assembling the frame, we couldn’t build each frame section on the ground and raise it: Instead, we had to raise and brace the uprights, then maneuver the purlin plates onto them with the aid of a front end loader. Then I stick-framed in between the sections because I’m neither an engineer or licensed builder, and I took every measure to avoid having the whole damned thing fall, and take me away from this world. I put a gambrel roof on it, for sentimental reasons, and finished it off with a cupola.

 the idiot on top of this building is terrified of heights

the idiot on top of this building is terrified of heights

It took a little over two years to finish. When we decided to sell our old property, this sold it for us.

The only regret I had about moving.

The only regret I had about moving.

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