Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Barn... ain't nobody here, but us chickens!

Little Farm~Little Barn, is what I have been saying, for months. Since the earliest days of March, when we laid out the footprint, and discussed the details and hopes for our glorified shed. This little barn of ours would be a charming substitute for the shark cage where the chicas sleep and lay, a dignified answer to errant garden tools and straw bales, and a secure defense from predators and foul weather.

Most of the the job would be managed by Geoff and William. They logged in countless evening and weekend hours. Geoff designed it as they went, and William learned all about carpentry, power tools, framing, leveling... all of it! They are a good team. They were both focused and excited about how it was coming together.

Sometimes, they got a little extra help from the rest of the resident Birds, Natalie, Alex, Max, Maria, Suki, and Paul, and Eli pitched in, too. Nothing brings great storms and extra rainfall like an outdoor building project, and so a lot of weekends were lost, and sometimes progress was slow.

Still, it got the point when we had to choose paint, and put up a roof! By the time the siding was on, and the roof in place, we were anticipating at least one barn sleep-over, before the chickens moved in, and certainly a barn-warming party! We did have a party, and it was pure happiness, and backyard bliss... something I attribute to the friends who came, more than just our little barn.

Which came first, the barn or the goats? Well, we know the answer to that! And even before it was complete, the barn became a shelter for our wee goat kids, Ada and Tasha. Though, I have to say, they are far less "wee", and quite a bit bigger and boisterous, but still loads of fun.

The barn has been in the practically complete phase for almost a month, and has already inspired another family to build one, too. We would share the plans, but they are not written down. Geoff is happy to answer questions, and the measurements are fairly straightforward. We did not want to hassle with our city over permits, so it is built specifically as tall, wide and long as we could make it without permits... not too inspiring, but Geoff made it work.

Actually, he more than made it work. It is dear and charming. We know it from the ground up, and I love William and Geoff's hand in it, the parts that everyone had a hand in. We adore our barn. The jacaranda tree burst into bloom, like a benediction of blossoms on our little barn and farm. Alex and I painted the floor... and that same night we were struck with a whole new vision...

Outside, safe and happy, we have...

And, chickens.
Inside... inside is for us.

Alex and I could not imagine chicken blogs all over our freshly painted, chocolate brown floor! We could not imagine goats, wild and rambling, kicking the barn walls.

What we could, all of us, imagine was a cozy retreat, a summer house, a winter cabin. We had this spare bed, and other dear odds and ends, a small table, some hooks, our camping gear, the cot, the lantern...
Delighted with our musings and imaginings, we moved the boy's old high bed in... how nicely it fits, as though the space were made for it! I hung the same bed sheets-turned-curtains Geoff and I had when we lived in Minneapolis, twenty-one years ago. Marie, don't they look dear, still? William and Geoff helped me make 2X4 shelves from the leftover scraps.

More treasure came out of the house and into the barn... little things I've collected over the years. Thrifted trinkets, and second-hand finds... making our barn a cozy nest... not exactly for chickens... well, for some chickens.
Maria and I read Tasha Tudor, and Laura Ingalls Wilder books, and a biography of Beatrix Potter. Her brothers have often read The Hobbit aloud... these stories have inspired a notion in her mind... something she calls CandleLight. CandleLight will happen here, in our barn.
Out this door, the goats are napping in the shade of the Jacaranda tree. The chickens are foraging beneath the fig tree. Soon, we will be adding a fenced yard, just for them.

The amoire was my one splurge... a 100$ find from the second hand store. In it we are storing our tents, camp stove, blankets, and linens, odds and ends. The barn has become a place of pure escapist whimsy... a napping nook, and sleep-out cabin, but we like to think of it in practical terms as well. We will make it our emergency preparedness kit: it will be stocked and ready for whatever earth shaking, calamitous crisis may come.
We read by lantern light... everyone's taken turns camping out. June is still a cooler month, here, but it's quite comfortable inside.
When Maria and I try her idea, CandleLight, we will be living in the barn, wearing clothes we make, eating what we grow, bartering for what we need, showering outdoors. Indoor bathroom is one of our concessions, and Maria says, "We can make our rules what we want them to be." Thank goodness.

The second side door leads to Sanka's loft, the new nesting spot, and the part of the yard where we will be adding the sheltered fenced area for the chicas and goats.

The barn is ready to be wired... just have to choose a lamp. Maybe. Maybe we'll stick to our battery lantern for a bit longer. It's soothing to step away from most conveniences and modern devices, even if we are only a hundred feet away from civilization.
Does it seem a shame? No animals in the barn? Well, the cats come by, and a chica, now and then. I guess we are not cut-out to be real farmers? I don't know. I do know that I love our barn.
Still, a barn, after all, is a place where you expect to see something, besides children reading, and pretty shelves. I guess that's why I couldn't resist bringing home this Flopsy bunny...
Puff, this is a Flopsy Holland Lop bunny.

Bunny, this is Puff. Puff is a chicken, in case you cannot tell.

Oh, and there is a cow, too. She laughs, and laughs about living in our barn.
So. Yes. Our barn is nearly complete. And as it is, it is completely dear.
And inside, looking out.
Thank you.


Janece said...

It's all lovely! Pure joy!

Miriam said...

It`s magical! And it`s a good thing I don;t live in the neighbourhood, or you`d be coming home to find me snuggled up in the barn having a nap!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

That's a wonderful space you've created inside your little barn. Not at all what I was expecting to see! It's lovely.

Kim said...

That barn is a kid's dream! And I do love it a full grown adult too :)
Very neat. I would love to escape to your barn to spend a few hours relaxing with a good book and a cold drink.

ArtyZen said...

Hmmmm....was this the intention from the beginning? I thought it was looking too smart for all but the cutest of bunnies. It looks absolutely gorgeous and I would happily drop my house-hunting and move in, if it were just me - I think it would be a bit of a squish and a squeeze if all 5 of us came!

Jennifer said...

Oh, it's just too wonderful! Of course it had to become a people place, and the various creatures will surely love their own special places too. I sent something along for Maria that might be a good read in the barn....

life in red shoes said...

Oh my goodness! A barn for retreats, chickens, my dream, goats, nice lawn mowers! Still can't talk that man of mine into it.

Maria said...

When is candlelight? We should plan that. Well, it will be fun!:D