The dairy barn

Here we are, a new year started. It seems like I better understand the phrase “time flies” each year. We have a big year ahead, adding to the vineyard, planning some great events, improving some existing structures on the farm, increasing our production, and just generally trying to improve ourselves. We have an exciting trip planned, the day jobs are keeping us busy, and so is the vineyard and winery.

Last weekend, the day after Christmas, Eddie and I started working on the old dairy barn. Way back when, my grandparents had a couple of dairy cows. They produced about two cans (10ish gallons) of milk daily.

Forty years ago, my dad converted that barn to store hay. He created a wider opening and reinforced the collapsing roof. That barn has served us well for that task, but now we need it to evolve to its next function. And the “temporary” repair Dad made 40 years ago needs some new reinforcement. Dad says that Addison was a great man, a great farmer, devoted husband, and doting (grand)father, but he was a lousy carpenter!

The Post on The Jack

In the technology world, we use the phrase “break-fix” to indicate IT work done on an as-needed basis. I have decided to give it another meaning, one we can use in farming. Eddie and I were using a 20 ton jack and a t-post to raise a sagging beam in the old dairy barn. We had gotten 4.5″ of lift and shims under the existing post; we needed about 6″ total and we were nearly there. The jack kicked out, and the post on the jack fell and hit Dad. It knocked him down, and landed across his chest. I knew he was injured, but as soon as I moved the [did I mention it weighs about 50#] post off of him, he popped up, dusted himself off.

There was a little blood where his elbow scraped something sharp enough to break skin, a bit of dirt on his pants. Overall, he had all OEM pieces in about the right place. He was a bit concerned about the titanium replacement parts in his right shoulder though. Surprisingly enough, after that incident, we called it a day. He went for an X-ray later that evening. He has a broken clavicle. Not what I would call a good Christmas gift. And guess what? On Monday, he was back in the barn, working to reinforce the roof trusses! And not wearing his sling like he should. Are you listening, Papaw?