Since last weekend we’ve been insanely busy trying to get the goat shed built for our impending doeling arrivals this spring.
It’s interesting how in one’s mind’s eye these projects always seem to go faster than they do in reality, but I think we’ve made some good progress, and the shed is now really starting to take shape.
As with everything on the farm, our terrain confounds any new project.
Everything is ten times more challenging when working on a slope. Even the design on of the shed was complicated by the grade, and moving tools, and lumber, from point A to point B requires more physical effort than if our ground was perfectly level.
On the upside though, we save a fortune on gym memberships here!
Once the foundation was cured enough, the shed building began in earnest last weekend, when two good friends offered to give up their entire Saturday to help us with the initial framing. Each framing stud doesn’t weigh that much, but an entire wall once it’s framed out can get very heavy, so the extra hands were very much appreciated.
The first morning we began by cutting the pressure-treated sill plates, and measuring and drilling out the plates for attachment to the J-bolts on the foundation.
Anywhere the framing came in direct contact with the concrete, we used pressure treated lumber. We minimize our use of any PT on the property, but for this part of the project it was necessary to ensure the long-life of the building. If the sills rot out, the entire building’s structure will be compromised, and trust me, we only intend to build this shed once!
Getting the sill plates in place took time, as each plate is bolted to the foundation. As you can see, the rear wall was a bit tricky, with the multiple changes in elevation.
By the end of the day we had the first three walls framed out.
We left the front wall framing for the next day, as framing for the door on that wall was a little more complicated, and we were running out of daylight.
Over the course of the week, into this past weekend, we’ve spent every spare hour we could find during daylight hours finishing up the wall framing and blocking.
Unfortunately, we do have other commitments as well, so we’ve had to squeeze in working on the shed anywhere we can.
Once the four walls were framed and in place, it was time to start framing out the roof. Our local codes not only limit the square footage of the shed, but also restrict the height of the shed at the peak, so the roof pitch is relatively shallow.
The roof framing is fairly standard, with a center ridge beam, and bird’s beaks along the rear top plate, and notches cut for the lookout rafters.
The tail rafters appear longer in the back of the shed at the moment, as the front roof rafters will be joined to the rafters on the front deck roof, so things look a little lopsided at the moment.
If the rain stops today, we hope to get the footings for the deck in place by mid-week so we can finish the roof, and get it sheathed.
The deck roof height has to be set before the fencing crew can begin, as the enclosure will be covered, and needs to meet the edge of the deck roof.
Taking advantage of our dry weather last week, I spent most of a day preparing the siding for installation. This required staining a LOT of sheets of T1-11.
When we inquired about hiring a shed-building company to install a shed for us, the sheds would have been constructed using cheaper grade, pre-primed, T1-11 panels, which necessitates using paint as the final finish. Not really the look we were striving for. As we opted to build our own custom shed from scratch though, we decided to use raw T1-11 so we could stain it, rather than paint it. This will not only integrate the shed better into the woodland surroundings, but also ties the shed better to the other structures we’ve already installed on the property, from the greenhouse, to the raised beds, chicken arks, and barrel planters.
With the siding stained, and dry, this weekend we focused on getting it installed. Of course, very little of the siding installation was straightforward, as almost every sheet required some degree of creative cutting, either to accommodate the foundation elevation changes, or the cutouts for windows and doors.
I’d forgotten just how heavy a single sheet of T1-11 is, so wrangling that into place with just the two of us didn’t go quite as fast as we hoped, but we’re almost there.
During the week this week I’ll start construction of the ‘windows’.
We’re not using traditional windows in this barn, but instead constructing vented openings with shutters that can be opened and closed to control airflow within the barn.
Predators have been known to defeat conventional windows, and they’re often considered to be a weak point in construction when designing a predator-proof barn. There will be a total of three 2-foot x 2-foot windows.
These ‘windows’, however, will only be on the two walls that will ultimately be inside the covered enclosure. We’ll be using rustic-looking expanded metal panels in the window openings, as it’s much more durable than hardware cloth.
The shuttered windows, in addition to the roof’s ridge vent, the wall vents, and the dutch door, will help to maintain good air quality, and decrease humidity within the barn.
Although things aren’t going quite as fast as we hoped, in two weeks we have gone from a patch of weeds and dirt, to a structure that’s starting to look like a real shed.
It’s quite a balancing act between the garden and goats this week, but hopefully by the end of this next weekend the shed project will be mostly wrapped up so we can get back to transplanting for spring before the goats arrive.
So, as shed building is temporarily halted due to rain, I’m off to the greenhouse to get some seed starting done. I need get our tomato seeds sown so we can get our spring tomato-grafting project underway!