Farm for the Future

We always aim to keep our livestock outdoors year round. We do keep small bales of hay and straw indoors, and, on occasion we'll tend to a sick animal in one of our traditional stone buildings.

Every part of the buildings was built with a specific purpose in mind including stables for the working horses, the pig stys, the milking parlour, a cart store and even room for the summer harvest hands. Today, if we employed staff, I'm not sure they'd accept the accommodation!

The stone work is, for the most part, excellent. We're not exactly sure of the date they were built, but our outbuildings were raised by folk who cared enough to build for the future. It's a fair guess that they'll be 150 years old, or something like.

In the relatively short time we've had the farm we've done very little work on the fabric of the outbuildings. Although we knew one day we'd have to do something to one building in particular. The former owners had built a lean to shed against the back for cattle. Over time and many muck clearing jobs the foundation of the old building was undermined.

It's testament to the original builders (and the firm shale it was built on) that the wall hadn't collapsed. As an interim solution the rain guttering was improved and the lower courses of stone were boxed off with timber to prevent further erosion.

We're now on with the final fix. That involves underpinning the wall with concrete and pushing up rubble to protect the work before a concrete yard floor is laid at a later date.

About three quarters of the work is complete. The following pictures show why we're doing the work (it's not the worst of the damage) to keep this valuable building healthy.

Light soil below the bottom course (row) of stones. Not ideal and made worse by weeds drying out the soil. Not sure why the broken red pot drainage pipe is there.

Any rainwater flowing out of the down pipe will be working against us. That'll need to be altered to reach a drain on the opposite side of the building.

The join between two sections of the building. It's built on a slope and steps down, section by section. On the left the foundation is in good shape.

Clearly that big hole will need repair! In the picture above the pointing has been repaired with concrete, not the best way to maintain a local building.

The preferred repair uses a mix of sand and hydraulic lime. The lime allows the building to move without cracking the sandstone blocks. We do have a small amount left hopefully it'll be enough.

That section of the building.

I do like the slits in the walls. I'm not sure the builders had to shoot arrows through them...

Once the foundation and guttering is corrected the pointing will need attention.

Hopefully, by doing this work, and more besides, the building will be in use in another 150 years.

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© 2014 by Peter Mawson.