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Raising the Barn

This articles was last updated on 01/06/2021.

I grew up watching Little House and the Prairie – a lot. I loved their family and I was attracted to their country life, the barn, the chicken coop, and the big furry dog that roamed free.

Shortly after we closed on our new property, my husband started to plan and prepare for a barn. He was adamant about the need for a barn before we even had a house. In hindsight, I now know he was totally right.

In my mind, we were building the little barn from Little House on the Prairie. It would be big enough to house a few horses, a cow or two, and some sheep. Oh, how I was mistaken.

When you live in Northern Michigan the measure of a man is based on the size of his barn and tractors. We needed a big barn and one that could hold a man cave, tractor (John Deere of course), hay, and animals.

My husband kept telling me he was going to build the barn himself and when he needed help, he’d just ask his family. This was foreign to me because I didn’t grow up with farmers who could build things. I was around religious folk who grew congregations. But my husband pushed on and convinced me he knew what he was doing. And of course, he did.

So, on he went with the build.  Many times all on his own, while I was home many hours away. I wrote checks, scheduled deliveries of materials, and stood by watching as magically it seemed things just started coming together.

Looking back that magic was a bit of family magic. Nothing of this magnitude can happen on its own. It was the family that helped prep land, raise beams, and build roofs. It was the cousins and uncles who crawled high, hammered nails, and provided physical and moral support.

And then winter started to loom, and it grew apparent that time was running out. Our new home was by Lake Michigan and in the snow belt. Snow was coming along with below zero temperatures and winds. We needed help and more help than a busy family could provide. So, we broke down and hired a local contractor to finish it for us. It felt like a defeat, but it was a necessary acceptance of reality.

Soon we had the barn finished and ready for animals – no wait – furniture. Animals would need to wait. We had sold our large cottage and there was a lot of furniture and boxes that needed to be stored. We couldn’t move everything into our main house downstate because that was going up for sale.

So many logistics and so much moving.

But we did it. The barn was finally finished, we moved in tons of boxes and furniture so we can plow forward with our plan of Life 2.0 and relocation.

My takeaway from this adventure was you can raise a barn, but it is much easier to do it with helpful family around and before the snow starts flying.

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