Barn Siding Adventures: I-saw-that-going-different-in-my-head Edition

This weekend I bought myself four new tools in the span of about 36 hours. This could indicate one of two things. 1.) I just won the lottery, or 2.) Things are not going as planned.


Considering that most of the tools are of the WMD variety (weapons of mass demolition… I’m so clever when I’m sleep deprived) you can assume this weekend falls into the latter category.


Every girl needs a three-foot pry bar, right?

So this weekend I thought I would still be working on the roof of the donkey barn, but because that went surprisingly well last weekend I decided to kick off Saturday by getting a jump on re-siding the middle-barn (which may technically be a garage, but currently houses more animals than vehicles, so I’m going with the barn theory.)


I made a last-minute call to the local lumber yard on Friday, and bless their hearts, first thing Saturday morning I had a pile of siding in the yard… and no idea what the hell to do with it.

I mean, in theory I know what to do — I’m not a licensed builder for nothing, right?– but the logistics of lifting ten-foot sheets of plywood into place using my five-foot-three frame was…well,  let’s call it perplexing.

So I settled for tearing off the amalgamation of old barn wood and random scraps of plywood on the back of the barn, which was a project I seriously underestimated.


I started with a hammer and standard prybar, and worked my way up to the sawsall.


And do not even get me started on the nails.


These nails are older than my grandparents and twice as stubborn.

Here’s where I got to start playing the game “what’s holding the walls up?”


Clearly the answer wasn’t “wall studs”. So that was awesome.

I spent the rest of Saturday pondering the laws of physics and adding in some studs, just in case gravity decides to pay me a visit one day.


(No, the stud spacing is not an optical illusion, for some reason it changes from 16″ OC to 24″ in the middle and I just went with it.)

Sometime Saturday my dad called me and may have suggested that if I tried to hang a piece of ten-foot siding by myself it would probably fall on me and kill me, which was the perfect opening for me to guilt him into coming up to the house Sunday morning to help me hang the first piece of siding. This, by the way, is not what my dad and I do together. There’s a lot of good-natured ribbing in our relationship, but we like to limit “working together” to meeting at Lowe’s on my birthday so I can pick out a new tool for him to give me as a present.

But, every three-ish years we’ll spend a couple of hours working on something together (literally the last time this happened was when I was hanging drywall in preparation for spending eighteen months of my life living in a garage… that was a whole lot of gray hairs ago) and in this three hours the following things may or may not have transpired:

  1. Someone got scolded with a “pick up your room right now young lady” tone of voice to pick up all the scrap wood laying around
  2. Someone refused to cut two sheets of plywood at a time to “save time”
  3. Someone got schooled on the many uses of the claw end of the hammer
  4. Someone almost keeled over trying to lift a ten-foot sheet of plywood into place

Okay, all but one of those was me.

We did not, in fact, manage to get a piece of siding in place. But we did replace one of the corner studs on the back (which was no small feat) and hung a couple pieces of sheathing. We didn’t hang them “right” by any means, but they’re up.


Then we called it a day before someone got hurt.


Okay, actually I took a nap, then I went and bought myself a four-pound hammer to make myself feel better about the lack of progress, then I put in more wall studs, and finally at 8:30 Sunday night my neighbor came over and was like, “enough working, I just tapped a keg of German beer and we’re grilling dinner” and I was like “god bless neighbors and german beer” and then I called it a day.

So, lessons for the weekend:

  1. It pains me to admit it, but ten-foot pieces of plywood require some professional help
  2. Franziskaner hefeweizen is best paired with sawdust and dejection

I’m trying to be realistic about how a lot of the projects I’ve tackled in the last two months have gone way better than I had any right to expect, but with just two weekends left to finish this project up before the bank-deadline, it’s hard not to wish this weekend had been a little more productive.

Luckily I’ve got a few days off over the next two weeks and a couple of strong backs to help me out. And neighbors who are generous with their beer, which can’t be discounted.


12 Responses

  1. Brave, brace soul. I can’t contemplate attacking half the projects you take on. You can and will do this. Keep it up! We’re rooting for you.

  2. Ha, I drank a couple of pints of that on Friday. That’s right – nothing else about this post prompted me to write a comment other than the beer. And you might find tomorrow’s post to be, once again, within the same life cycle. Sheesh.

  3. I know the feeling of not making much headway, but it is usually followed by very productive days! You’ll get there!

  4. Wow. I’m amazed you got all that done. Plus new tools ftw! I couldn’t crawl up there. Just looking at that one shot makes my palms itch. Good luck!

  5. Gotta say it ! ! “DON’T MAKE ME COME UP THERE AND PUT MY HANDS ON MY HIPS AND CUSS YOU OUT FOR BEING CARELESS ! ! ! YOU. KNOW. BETTER! ” You sit on that beam, look down, and say “There’s a mess I’m going to have to clean up ~ later rather than sooner” , or some such tripe!! I see that photo, and on the ground by the foundation I see all sorts of flotsam; flat tires, broken ankles, punctured boobs (Heaven forbid!), contusions, concussions, scrapes, and ALL THAT NASTY STUFF. And it’s all free – just fall down from that stupid too-short ladder! Promise us you’ll do two things before proceeding: 1) Get all the injury-producing crap away from the foundation; and 2) RENT. SOME. DAMN. SCAFFOLDS. ! Better yet – buy some used scaffolding, you’ll have plenty of use for it elsewhere around Liberty. Working from scaffolds gives you more freedom of movement (like for hanging big sheets of sheathing) and it’s one hell of a lot safer! This should have been covered in Chapter Two of “How to be a Contractor” ! ! Where were you that session? I give you this rant because I am concerned about your apparent carelessness, and the LAST THING ANY OF YOUR FANS WANT IS TO FIND OUT YOU”VE BEEN INJURED ! ! ! ! ! OK ~ I’m done and I’ll go away. Say Hi to your mom – (Ol’ Ma Hatchet).

    1. Ha. Okay, but here’s the thing about context… in these pictures I’m actively tearing said “flotsam” off the barn, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to tear a board off, walk back across the loft, down the stairs, out the barn, pick up the board and toss it, and then walk back upstairs to tear the next one off. In the 4 hours I was doing this I wasn’t walking around on the ground, driving anywhere, or doing bellyflops off the peak of the barn… I was standing in the loft taking pictures of the mess I was making twelve feet below me. (Note: I was using the perfectly good set of interior stairs to reach the loft, not the ladder, which was used to tear mid-level pieces of plywood off before I moved to the peak and was set at precisely the right height for the job I was doing… gotta love those adjustable ladders.)

      I love that it appears I’m way more of a daredevil than I actually am, but take heart, while I do some stupid shit with my tools occasionally, those incidents are few and far between (and never involve a roof or a ladder.)

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I'm not interested in a mediocre life. I'm here to kick ass or die.