A barn raising takes a village. From the first footers buried in the earth to the rafters criss-crossing the skies, there’s something momentous and profoundly fulfilling about a barn raising. People power. A new building taking shape. A landscape transformed.
It’s been fascinating to observe construction progress at Full and By Farm in recent months. Soon farmers will achieve an important goal permitting them to farm their CSA on Leaning Road more comfortably and efficiently. With this collaborative feat ongoing I was especially grateful to James Graves, co-owner (with Sara Kurak) of Full and By Farm, for taking the time to answer a few questions about Full and By Farm’s barn raising. (Note: Q&A follows the photo gallery.)
Barn Raising Photo Gallery
Tom Duca generously contributed many of the barn raising photographs in the gallery below. Thanks, Tom!
James Graves Q&A
Can you tell me a little about the first chapter of your barn raising? Our annual work party week for out-of-towners, “Full and By, Pull and Pry 2015,” drew family and friends from Indianapolis, Louisville, Austin, New Orleans, Philadelphia, among other places — about 17 folks altogether. We spent the bulk of the week sawing and chiseling mortises and tenons, prepping posts and shaping knee braces ahead of Thursday, when we were joined by additional local volunteers to assemble and erect the seven bents of the 36 X 72′ structure. The week finished with the completion and installation of the first of seven rafter trusses.
What prompted you to build a new barn? A need combined with a funding opportunity. I’ve long dreamed of a spacious barn for storing horse and tractor equipment and for pulling wagons full of hay or grain or whatever out of the elements.
How long has the new barn been in the planning phase? Dreaming phase, years. Planning phase began last December/January, with grant application due end of January (a 270 page document in the end!). We applied for — and were awarded — a New Farmer Grant through NYS Dept of Ag and Markets/Empire State Development to cover half ($18,576) the cost of the barn construction.
What function/needs will the new barn fulfill? We currently have some equipment inconveniently stored 1.5 miles up the road at Black Kettle, some is crammed in our existing, but ill-suited barns, and other items sit out year-round, accelerating their deterioration. So the new equipment barn will allow us to more efficiently access our equipment and keep it in better condition. The barn will also have a loft for additional hay, dry bean or allium storage.
Who designed the barn? I designed it, drawing much inspiration from a barn I helped Jeff Scott build a few years ago.
What sort of roof? Grey metal roof. Traditional, economical, fast to install, low maintenance.
Where did the lumber come from? So far all the lumber has been supplied by Chad Vogel, pine and hemlock he logged in Lewis last winter with his draft horses. He takes logs to a sawyer in Keeseville then brings us the lumber once milled.
Any ongoing challenges you still need to work out? Every phase brings new challenges, learning opportunities, and inspiration for innovation. The challenge at present is finding the time for construction with the rest of the farm needing so much of my attention.
What are the next phases of construction? I hope to install the remaining roof framing and metal in the next month!? Hay loft floor and big sliding doors will happen next year.
What is your target completion date? The barn must be complete complete by April 2017 for grant reimbursement.
What sort of assistance is needed going forward? I have some solo work to prep for it, but then another work party push would make the roof go up quickly.
Another work party will be another opportunity for our community to come together and help make dreams come try. After all, a barn raising takes a village. We’ll help Sara and James spread the news when they are ready to solicit help, and until then I encourage you to view the unsheathed, unroofed skeleton on a sunny afternoon. The newly milled timbers float golden against the bluebird skies. It’s a sight to behold!
- Full and By Farm: Barn Raising (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Barn Dances at Black Kettle Farm Bind Communities (Valley News) (denpubs.com)
- Full and By Farm: Grants, Greens, & Volunteers (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)