Like all the outbuildings on the original farm, the granary was in pretty sad shape when we first purchased the property. It was listing on its crumbling foundation of bricks, the original cedar shake roof was moss-covered and rotten, the stairs and the upper level flooring were rotting, and there were some broken window panes. The cedar siding was in pretty fair condition, however, and because it was such a neat structure we decided to attempt to save it.
The first problem was that the granary was in a bad location. It sat right next to the old house. The new house would be bigger and the granary would end up being far too close. We also wanted to change some of the landscaping towards the river. Easy enough solution, let’s just move it somewhere else.
My dad has lots of experience with these types of projects, and horsepower was always part of the answer. He located two telephone poles that we put underneath the granary to use as skids. We then used a large wheel loader to lift the granary slightly so that we could knock out the brick pillars that were holding it up.
Once we had the granary resting nicely on the skids we chained a dozer to the skids and my dad backed it slowly and gently across the yard to its new location, and there it sat for a year until a new foundation could be prepared.
The following summer Jesse prepared a floating slab for the new foundation. Our next challenge was to figure out how to get the granary moved on to the cement slab. My dad came up with a solution that sounded a little crazy at first. How about if we have a crane pick it up and set it down on the new foundation? So we hired a crane. Holes were cut in the roof and floor of the granary to put nylon straps through. The crane then picked up the granary and slowly swung it around.
The kids took seats in the grass to watch the spectacle as the crane slowly rotated. The changes you will see in our oldest demonstrates the length of time that this renovation has been ongoing. The kids are ages 9, 6 and 3 in this photo.
Once the granary was over the cement slab, the crane slowly set the building down.
Before setting it down, they removed the skids from underneath. Later that summer we put new sheeting and shingles on the roof and had it painted the same barn red as the chicken coop and barn. We then left this project and all the others on the farm to go on our two-year expatriate assignment in Sweden for Jesse’s job.
It wasn’t until 2008, that we turned our attention back to the granary. Focusing on the foundation, we jacked up the structure and started removing the rotted beams.
Jesse works on clearing out the old beams.
After removing all the rotted beams from the perimeter, we hired a subcontractor to come in and build a one course block foundation. While hoisted up, Jesse and our oldest son worked on replacing the stringers by placing new green-treat lumber along-side the existing stringers. Notice the age progression from the cute little guy sitting and watching the granary being lifted up and moved by crane…he is now 15 in this photo. And yes, he wishes his mother would just stop with taking all the photos.
Before setting the granary down on its new foundation, the sill plate needed replacing. With dad’s supervision, our oldest son did the measuring and cut the lumber to the proper lengths.
After installing the new sill plate, we set the granary down on to its new foundation.
Last summer (2009) we made small steps of progress by scabbing in new studs in the walls along-side the old ones. Jesse also put in place some bracing to straighten the structure from front-to-back and side-to-side. The granary is now sitting straight on a new foundation waiting for us to find more time and money to continue our renovation. Stay tuned.