Friday, August 01, 2008

Friday Farm Update

Well, if you have been following the blog during our building project you may notice not much as changed in this picture. On Sunday we had a serious storm roll throw with 60 mph winds and lots and lots of rain out at the farm. That tore off about half of the Tyvek from the building, but didn't really do any other damage. On Monday I was surprised to see the contractor and crew out there putting the Tyvek back up and then they put steel on the front of the house. I'm really liking the looks of the building!

That picture was taken on Monday ... well, nothing else has changed since that picture. I suppose this is the way contractors work, bouncing from job to job, but with only about two days left of work I was really beginning to get excited about having the building all closed in. Needless to say the lack of work this week has been a little disappoint, especially considering the dry weather we have had all week long.

Other than that not much has changed at the farm except for the weight of the pigs. We did make their pen twice as big tonight and moved them partially out onto pasture until I get my electric netting. Also, I built a new hut for the pigs so they can have some more shade during this little heat wave we are going to have this weekend (94ยบ).

Hopefully there will be more building updates next week.


Rich said...

I like the look of your house, it has a pleasing set of proportions (the relationship between the roof pitch, roof overhangs, wall height, etc).

What are the actual dimensions (roof pitch, wall height, porch width, porch post spacings, overall width and length) of your building?

Ethan Book said...

Rich - I'll tell you what I know off the top of my head, but I will have to check on the roof pitch.

The building is 45 feet long and 36 feet wide with an added 6 feet off the front for the porch. The porch posts are 15 feet on center (the side walls have posts every 7 1/2 feet). The walls are actually 10 feet high so we will have some high ceilings, but it will be good for storage and if we convert it back into a farm building sometime.

I will check on the roof pitch...

Bro. Williams said...


I was looking on your wife's site at the building.

I have two questions at the moment:

1. She stated something about a cellar idea from FEMA being put under your mudroom. I have considered this idea myself, but currently haven't found a good resource for this. Do you have any links or resources for this?

2. Your wife stated that you didn't want to put as much into this house, so that you can eventually do your stick-built house. I was just curious as to why you all don't plan to permanently use the pole barn as a house?

Thanks again.

Bro. Williams said...


It looks like you have been busy. I just wanted to bump this last question.

Ethan Book said...

Bro. Williams

1.) My wife had to call FEMA to get the plans and they are supposed to be mailing them ... but, we haven't received them yet. There is a link to a diagram of one of these shelters, but I don't know what it is off the top of my head ... I'll have to get back to you.

2.) I guess we should say right now we are planning on building a stick house, but that may change. We want to have a house with a walkout basement and such, but in reality that is quite a ways off (link when loans get whittled down). The other reason is that we designed this house so it could be converted back into a storage shed easily and also used as an on farm store in the future. That is just kind of our plan now. If we ended up living in it forever I think we would be just fine though.

Ethan Book said...

And just in case any one reads the "recent comments" thing I thought I would encourage you to check out my wife's blog (link in right column). She has tons of building pictures.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Bro. Williams-
Sorry Ethan hasn't been able to reply back. He has had a very full couple of weeks, and really hasn't had much computer time at all this week - I am actually taking over the chores at the farm even until the week calms down.

If you don't mind, I'll try to answer the questions, but you are welcome to re ask him if you want!

To get the detailed drawings of FEMA's storm shelters, call the FEMA Library at 1-800-480-2520
and you can request their booklet. (Publication 320) It takes about 3 weeks to get. If you just want info about them and not the drawings yet, you can go to:
to download the written material from the booklet.

Here is another site with a drawing I thought was helpful.

We also looked at putting a precast shelter under the mudroom, but due to our land not draining well and the cement contractor we hired (same last name as another we wanted in a small town, but this one didn't do basements - oops!), we decided to go above ground. It will be cheaper to go this route too.

As for as not planning to use the pole building as a permanent house, here's kind of our thought process:
We have always wanted to be in the country, and also have wanted a 2 story house or one with a walk out basement. Since we aren't able to afford both right now, we decided to start with the land rather than our dream house - easier to add a house to land then add land to a house!

We looked at our options of what we could do for living and decided a pole building house would be the best option. Although there were cheaper routes we could have gone, this looked like the best use of our money in the long run if we wanted to eventually build our dream stick house. (Keeping in mind that our dream house is probably just a normal smaller farm house to most people.)

So, we designed a pole building house that we could live in and raise a family in, and if we were never able to build our dream stick house, we would be fine retiring in it. We could also add on to it if necessary.

But, if our farm really takes off and we are able to build our dream stick house, we designed our pole building so that we could use it for something else and not loose that much money in the conversion process.

Here is a post on my blog (Wed. March 12th) about some ideas for future use if we were to build another house some day:

So time will tell. Maybe we will live in it as long as we are on the property, but we also left the door open to build our dream house down the road that would have more room for more children, grandchildren, or guests

. . . although I like to say that it isn't the number of people that outgrow a house, it's the amount of stuff those people think they need that outgrows a house - I think of the pioneers with all of their kids and the one room cabins, and my dad who grew up with 11 kids in the family in a 3 bedroom + 1 large closet house. :)

I hope that helps answer your questions a bit. Ethan should be freed up some after the weekend.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

I see my last link got cut off. Here it is with breaks but it will have to be pieced back together if you cut and paste.

Future plans link:

Bro. Williams said...

Hey Book family,

Thank you very much for the replies. I have been away from the net with a new job, so I will check back and read very closely in regards to the links, and do a bit of research. Thank you all very much for your time.

Lance Williams

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