As we look forward to upcoming projects, we are trying to wrap up a few projects that are in progress. Since Kowalski Mountain is built-in workcations, it seems like there is always a lingering project that needs completion. The two big projects we must wrap up are the barn and the bathhouse. While the barn has several unfinished aspects that need completion, the roof, the floor of the workshop, and the doors. On this trip, Eric and Jess Kowalski joined us for the week. Philip wanted to do some of the heavy lifting of the barn project.
Salt Box Style Roof
I did some research to try and best explain the roof style that our barn has. I’ve had a really difficult time putting it in a specific category. It’s very similar to what is referred to as a “saltbox” style. However, I also found the term ”run in” style that is used on a lot of sheds. Essentially our barn has a high pitch near the front of the barn. Extending out of the front will be a shorter roof that won’t have any supports that extend to the ground. This simple extended roof will allow for some shelter under the front of the barn to park a vehicle but won’t hinder the travel of vehicles in front of the barn.
Beams in Place
On this trip we put in place most of the beams needed to finish the roof. This involved installing one support beam on the inside of the barn. In the image above, I used a green line to represent the internal support beam not visible in this image. The image below shows the beam in place on the inside of the barn. This beam provides support for the beams that extend out of the front of the barn.
Once the beam was in place, we installed three support beams that will support the saltbox-style roof of the barn. We had previously installed two support beams already. There is a total of five beams that will provide support for the front of the roof. This style of roof will provide a lot of attic storage in the barn. We hope will greatly free up some of the other enclosed storage areas we have. Each trip to Kentucky, we take another load with us to ease the transition of when we finally make the jump to move to Kentucky full time.
Taper the Corner
You may notice that the last beam on the left is not near the end of the barn. It’s the last beam before the workshop of the barn. I asked Philip how we would put that last beam in since the workshop area is totally enclosed at the top. He is opting not to put a beam there and to taper the end of the roofline. The corner is quite sharp there and an extended roofline could cause trouble for vehicles trying to turn right. Sounds like a good plan to me.
The roofline still needs one support beam that will go across the front of the barn as well. I’ve included an image above to show the mockup of what we are trying to do.
Lifting the Logs with Pulleys
As you can imagine the most difficult aspect of placing these beams is the weight of the logs and the height in the rafters. Since Philip does tree work full time, he is used to working with heavy logs at insane heights. He also trained Eric in the tricks of the trade when he was young. Philip uses a combination of pulleys and roping techniques to manage the logs.
Pulleys are what scientists call simple machines. They help us by multiplying forces. If I try to lift something very heavy, I only have so much muscle power to supply, but if I use a pulley, it multiples the force my body provides. Using a combination of pulleys multiplies my force even greater, giving us the ability to lift very heavy objects. Pulleys will be very important in the building of the guest cabin and especially the house. I can’t help but think that some of Philip’s teachers would be extra proud of how he has applied his science lessons to his life’s work.
2-Ton Chain Hoist
The two-ton chain hoist is a device used for lifting heavy loads vertically. It uses a combination of pulleys that are held together by a closed chain. It took me a bit to figure out this machine. It’s a heavy thing, with two hooks. One hook holds the hoist in place, the other hook is on the end of the chain that is permanently fixed in the pulley system. To operate it, you have to pull the chain which forms a loop, as you pull the chain, the end raises or lowers depending on the direction of the turn. It has a limited range, limited by the length of the chain. Our 2-ton chain hoist is a 10-foot chain, so it’s limited to that range.
The downside to the chain hoist is the turning of the chain. While it allows a single person to lift far more weight than they could on their own, it does mean constant pulling of the chain. It takes a lot of pulling, which is easy, but cumbersome. The video shows us using the chain hoist, keep in mind I edit the amount of time that it actually took to raise the logs.
I am thankful that Philip is mindful of the safety aspects of the job. We placed one log that I found troublesome, it seemed to be taking a lot of time to rig it up and get it into place. Then it took two of us managing the ropes. I just didn’t understand why we needed this log at all because it wasn’t any of the support beams. Then we got the mammoth beam we are installing in the air, we’re trying to get it into place so we can secure it. That annoying log was put there to be temporary support of the large beam. Should we have any trouble getting the larger and heavier log into place, we had safety support that protected the family.
Another Piece of the Puzzle
While we didn’t finish the barn this trip, or even the extended roof on the front of the barn, we did complete another piece of the puzzle… we’re getting there! Look back at the progress we’ve made.
It’s been a few years since Eric and Jess have visited us on Kowalski Mountain, check it out.
Watch Us Get it Done
I got a new-to-me camera, so there was a learning curve that happened on this trip. I apologize that the camera was focusing on objects in the foreground rather than what we were doing. I’ll get better and unfortunately, this isn’t footage that is easily redone.
About the Author: Barbra-Sue Kowalski grew up on a small hobby farm. She was always drawn to farm life, however, she was stuck in an urban life far from her roots. Barbra-Sue was a single mom for 13 years, raising her 3 children on her own. She met Philip in 2018 and they married in 2021. Between the two of them, they have 5 grown children and 4 grandchildren. These empty nesters are following their dreams! As they both turn 50, they are building their off-grid homestead to live the life that they dream about. Learn more about Philip and Barbra-Sue here. Contact them here. To leave a comment on this post, please scroll down.