Saturday ... 6/23/07

As reported by Secretary Roger Austin .....

The first work day at the Madrid farm (apologies to those who have been working on the pull track) resulted in two achievements:

1. The granary is now up out of the dirt and sitting on temporary stacks of blocks, waiting for phase II. It took quite a bit of digging, jacking and cribbing to achieve that result. Work started at 8:00 and finally ended about 5:00. The structure is a nice timber frame structure. Though it now has board and batten siding, the outer wall of the building might cover an original 3-inch board wall. This needs further inspection. Now that it's up and nearly level, here's the work that remains, not necessarily in order:

Jack and stabilize the building another 8m-10 inches in elevation. Remove certain of the floor boards to access joist ends and some to eliminate rotted and rat-chewed ends. Saw off the bottom of the exterior boards in front to access front sill area and to eliminate rotted off ends. Remove certain of the interior wall boards to liberate the diagonal braces now nailed. Replace two (of 5) joists from below. Insert new front sill (the front and back sills support the joists) from below. Pour concrete pads at each corner to support new block corner supports. Use of stone is still a possibility. We'd need more flat stone. Set building, replace floor and wall boards previously removed, replace battens, reinstall door, paint.

Lee Goolden was first to arrive with paint, brushes, two screw jacks, and other equipment. Soon after were Robert Moulton, Gary Bush and Bill Pharoah (plus Alice and grandkids). A super crew that worked continuously. Lots of good ideas and very satisfactory results. If we'd had more hands, we might have gotten some painting done. As it was, there was plenty for the one job accomplished.

2. Max Fisher arrived about 9:00. He and I spent much of the morning investigating the condition of the Walker granary across from the Walker House and Museum. If any of you have looked at it, it does have problems. We decided that as a first phase of work, we needed to mow the approach and then clean up trash and debris. The corn next to it belongs to Jim Hargrave. We need to talk to him about taking a few stalks next to the granary to provide better access. And there are "treasures" in and around the building that can be salvaged for use at the farm.

The rear of the building has been water damaged. The upper beam has been patched with concrete, and the corner is cabled on one side to hold it to the front. The rear sill is composed of a stack of 2 x 6's. The front sill is shot. Conclusion: we need to either support the structure with a temporary cradle to move it, or the bottom sills need to be replaced where they are and tied together with some steel straps and braces. We also did a tour of roads from the site, through town, and along back roads via Bucks Bridge to the farm. Conclusion: the roof needs to be removed. Little will be lost in removing some roof boards to see if we can lift the roof in one or two pieces. The shingles have to go anyway and some of the edge boards underneath along with the fascia boards need to be replaced. So if it's necessary to take the entire roof apart, then so be it. We'll learn as we go. It sounds like an AWFUL lot of work, but Max summed it up best when he said, "There's not another one like it, so I guess we ought' a do it."

FINALLY, it might have seemed that too few showed up. But there was also a large group that were down at our display at the Bluegrass Festival that Chuck will report on. And there was talk of graduations, vacations, haying, etc. I would have liked more help to have been there, but you could not have asked for a better group to work with than the ones that showed up. Regards, Roger