There’s nothing like a short “vacation” from my day-job to remind me just how many bruises, scrapes, scratches, splinters, and puncture wounds that a person with five days of uninterrupted project time on a farm can inflict upon herself.
So, so many splinters.
I did take just a few days off from my job last week to tackle a few things on my pre-winter list. I expected most of my attention to be focused on the barn, but hoped to tackle a few other outdoor projects as well. That was before I realized I was going to have to go a round or eight with this thing…
Yeah. Looks simple, doesn’t it? I’m not even going to go there just yet, because there is, in fact, a short list of things I got done, including:
- Hiring an electrician to run actual electric out to the barn (hopefully in the next 4-5 weeks)
- Hiring a contractor to replace my upstairs bathroom tub (more on that, later)
- Cleaning the shit out of the chicken coop and donkey stall. Literally, there was a lot of shit.
This is the chicken-expression equivalent to WHAT. WHAT IS THAT. WHAT ARE YOU DOING. WHAT IS HAAAPPPENINGGGG.
Chickens are so dramatic.
It really should have been an easy project, right up until the point where EVERYTHING WENT WRONG. You think I’m exaggerating, but I actually managed to drive a screw into my pants at some point.
That’s how wrong shit went.
But I’m getting ahead of myself… here’s where things started:
I don’t have a good “before” picture for that side of the barn, but suffice it to say there was a huge gaping hole there. It’s a hole that lets a lot of light and air into what could otherwise be a dark and stuffy barn, so I thought through what I might be able to do with it: keep it as is, replace the metal siding, screen it it, or build a window.
I wanted to keep the light, but, given the winter we had last year, I thought a window to block out some of the winter draft would be the best bet. And I also thought–since I’d be installing the thing myself, ten feet off the ground–that it would be a better idea to use plexiglass than actual glass.
I believe I was using sound judgement at that point.
My sound judgement failed when I thought I would be able to build a window to-size and have it fit in the irregular opening created by 100 year old barn beams.
I took careful measurements, cut the wood to size, and then assembled everything with pocket screws.
Easy enough, right? But then there was a lot of this. Old barn beams do not make a happy frame for a prefab window.
I disassembled, cut down, and reassembled that damn frame at least 6 times. (In the process, shortening the holes for the pocket screws, which meant re-drilling, occasionally right into my leg. So that’s how that happened.)
Leg injuries aside, I worked on this thing on and off for two days until it finally fit properly in the opening.
Okay, go me. I thought I was in the homestretch. But then? Then there was plexiglass.
I bought these sheets and the scoring tool at Lowes. Having done some stained glass work in a previous life, I wasn’t too worried about scoring and snapping a few pieces of plexiglass.
Ha. Ha ha.
First I tried scoring (HALF WAY THROUGH THE SHEET, as per directions) and snapping six different times. No dice.
Then I did some reading online and people seemed to think a fine-toothed blade on a jigsaw might do the trick…
The internet is all lies.
I was so frustrated I actually got in my car on a Saturday night, drove back to lowes, and had them cut the damn things for me on their machine, which I obviously just should have done in the first place.
That. Shit. Sucked.
I finally got them attached with some screws and silicone…
And, then, you guys?
It’s insane that something that simple could have taken three days to finally finish. The good news is: I WON.
I also managed to fill up a few holes on the other side of the barn with considerably less trouble…
The donkeys decided they wanted a side entrance to the stall and knocked this rotted old door out. It needed to be replaced anyway (with siding, there’s no real reason for it to be a door) so I cut down some T1-11…
Did only some minor swearing trying to get it into place, before I got smart and made myself a little lever to hold it up while I put the screws in.
Compared to that effing window, I’ll wrestle a door-sized piece of plywood in to place any day.
Now we’re mostly sealed up for winter.
EVERYONE IS ALWAYS INSPECTING MY WORK. Jury is still out on if the guineas approve.
Good news is, I managed to check a number of things off the “pre-winter” list. Winter… I am so ready for you. (Well… just give me like, three more weekends. Okay, four. Four weekends, then I’m ready. Maybe. Is it Spring yet? Shit.)