We’re gearing up for a busy year in 2013 and are catching up with repairs and upgrades before the busy season starts, with contractors doing the difficult parts.
The upper part of the barn roof has been redone. In the Seventies, corrugated roofing had been nailed over the original cedar shakes, which didn’t hold the roofing panels securely enough, and they were starting to blow off. So we had that all taken off and re-roofed with new steel roofing that Karen had acquired at bargain prices.
This was not a beginner’s project! We stayed on the ground and let the experts do the work, which they did safely, well, and faster than I expected, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the barn roof remained leak-free for another thirty or forty years.
Inside the barn, we started to suspect that the wiring might need to be upgraded when we went to turn on the lights and showers of sparks rained down from the fixtures! I like a little excitement, but not that much, so all the old wiring is gone. No more metal conduit, no more fuse boxes. Modern wiring and a circuit breaker panel, plus better placement of the lights and outlets than before, mean that we can flip a switch without flinching.
If you do your own wiring, which I do sometimes (but not this time), you’ll want a copy of Wiring Simplified, especially for farm wiring, which is a whole different world from the residential wiring you may be more familiar with.
I’m a little afraid to add up what all this costs, but we’ve built to last, so I don’t expect to do any of it again anytime soon.
How do you find good people for this kind of work? Asking around helps a lot, especially when you ask people who’ve had the same sort of work done. The secret is to ask, “Who’s the best?” rather than “Who do you use?” because when you ask about the best, the same names come up over and over, and the best hardly cost any more than the worst in a down economy, and they do much better work. If you’re going to cut corners, cut ’em on something that wasn’t going to last anyway. If you try a cheap brand of kitty litter and don’t like it, the experience runs its course and is soon over, no harm done, but it’s different with major repairs.