“We have to raise Weigand by the second cutting.” To a slicker like me, Arron was exhorting the crew to finish repairs on the enormous Brasen Hill Farm barn in time for some mysterious Pagan ritual. He was right. As soon as the roof was sheathed and papered, and before it wore metal roofing or sidewall sheathing, Eleanor Kane and Theo Weigand’s crew were loading the lofts with hay. Arron loves our collaborations with farmers and is wont to wax poetic about the symbioses between traditional buildings and sustainable farming. Partly, I think he’s in it for the work ethic farming requires.
The barn at Brasen Hill was built in the early 1800s. It’s a hewn frame, with English tying joint and gable entry. Curiously, the seven bents were referenced as if for an eave entry, although it doesn’t appear that an eave entrance was ever installed or used. The previous owner, Randy Warren, just published a memoir: 67 Years of Stewardship, The Warren Farm, A Unique Farming Story. In it, he writes of their efforts to stabilize the barn, which was sinking into the ground. Every so often, they would jack up the “interior vertical beams,” or drive posts, and pour concrete pads underneath. One year, after they released the jacks, one post just stayed up there, and the barn proceeded to twist and settle around it. We admire his efforts. It’s hard to locate the time or funds to repair a large barn, especially a working one. That hasn’t changed. See second cutting, above.
By the time PTF got to the project, the entire right eave was toast. Eight of fourteen rafters needed to be replaced, along with three of the seven tie beams, and more than half of the twenty-eight posts (interior and exterior vertical beams). We were grateful to the Weigands for their commitment to the barn, the craft embodied in its timbers and its centuries of service. The new barn already has garlic drying in its rafters. It houses a new insulated break room, with a poured concrete floor. It will house goats and sheep, chickens and turkeys. Maybe a cow. Brasen Hill Farm offers a sliding scale CSA from June to October and sells Christmas Trees in December. Their farm store is open now. The pictures don’t do it justice, go and visit!
We bid a fond farewell to Josh MacNally this week. He left us with beautiful parting photos of the Brasen Hill raising and finished barn. Thanks for all the hard work, Josh!
For more photos, peruse our Flickr album or click on the slideshow, below. Thanks, everybody! But especially David Ewing and Dan Boyle.