A successful December barn raising...and looking forward to 2014

Posted by Marty Castriotta on Saturday, January 4, 2014 Under: News and Updates

Blessings to the community that came together to help raise our barn on December 14th. The day started at a balmy -2 degrees and inched its way up to 6 degrees by mid day. Fortunately the snow held off until after the sun set and it wasn’t until we started losing daylight and picking up tools that it really started to fall. A blanket of eight inches rested on every surface by the next morning.

Twenty helpers made lifting three 24-foot bents seem like light work. Thankfully, all of our joinery fit and I had managed to miss only one mortise! Thank you Ellen for feeding the masses and keeping them warm and comfortable. Food security relies on such community investment, fun and learning. There is nothing quite like a raising day.

Three days later we had decked the floor giving a roof to the animal housing below. Within two more days, walls were sheathed and stalls were built. Chez and Boss moved in the day before Christmas Eve, kicking and frolicking like little calves and tasting all the new wood with there huge bovine tongues. Still to move in this winter are the sheep and rabbits.

For now we will continue to overwinter laying ducks and breeder turkeys in separate coops, perhaps moving them in as well, once the main story of the barn is completed. For now we will focus farm energy on firewood, greenhouses, ox training and visioning for the growing season. There are many projects on the house as well that should be completed before further barn construction.

We imagine that the 2015 Permaculture Design Course may include a large timber framing component. Perhaps we will raise the main story that spring! Until then, we will be very thankful for the winter shelter we now have and the efficiency created by consolidating animal housing and equipment storage.

In gratitude,

Lulu observing the first wall going up.

Boss and Chez watching the construction of their new home.

The sheep were curious about the activity as well.

Old and new wood

Fastening boards together

Framing for scaffolding

This wood was not light!

Of course the dogs had to help

Ducks and chickens trying to keep their feet warm in the snow

Thanks to Ellen for serving a warm lunch on a very cold day

Homemade chili, hard boiled eggs, Orchard Hill Breadworks bread and butter

Second side going up

Adding cross beams

In : News and Updates 

Tags: "barn raising" "winter farming" "timber framing" "permaculture design" community "animal housing" 
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About Me

Marty Castriotta Marty grew his first potato when he was 12 year old on a worn out piece of ground behind his parents’ house. He’s been attracted to the idea of growing food ever since. He started growing seriously in 2001 with his wife Ellen’s guidance and has worked on several organic farms prior to moving to Orchard Hill. His passion is in integrating all aspects of the farm; the gardens, animals, buildings, water systems and so on. Marty has been raising heritage farm animals since 2003, and started training his young oxen Boss and Chez to do some of the farm work in the winter of 2012. Marty graduated from Antioch University New England with an MS in Environmental Studies and currently teaches Farmers & Foragers and summer camps at The Orchard School, as well as Permaculture Design Courses at Orchard Hill.