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Building a Barn, Before and After

June turns three next week and already Jake is eager to get her horseback riding.

He has big plans to enter her and one of our horses Yamaha in the local horse show this time next year. I’m not sure what an equestrian event for 3 and 4 year olds could possibly be called — “Sitting a Horse Without Crying?” — but that’s his plan and once he latches on to something, there’s no stopping him.

Making this Daddy dream a reality first necessitated building a new barn. You know, to give the horses a place to hang out and help June feel like a real cowgirl. Plus we needed space for a brooder and for processing chickens.

After almost 10 months of construction (and taking the winter off) he finally finished building the barn last week. It looks awesome!

Click through the slideshow to see its evolution from beginning to end.

  • First the Land Gets Leveled and Cleared 1 of 24
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    See that rickety blue building? That's the dilapidated old barn. The new barn will be built  right in front of it and the old barn will eventually come down. 

  • The Posts Are Set 2 of 24
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  • The Barn is Framed 3 of 24
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    Jake, his father, brother and a buddy did all the early construction themselves.

  • The Builder Says Cheese 4 of 24
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    Jake takes time out from measuring and hammering to show off for the camera.

  • The Roof Begins to Happen 5 of 24
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    Yep, it's looking like a barn to me.

  • Windows Are Installed 6 of 24
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    I'm pretty sure Jake salvaged these from the trash somewhere. One man's trash is another man's FREE WINDOWS!

  • The Main Structure is Complete 7 of 24
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    Wow, that didn't take long. Solha looks dandy too. 

  • The Interior Gets Wired and Framed 8 of 24
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    Now for the tedious, time consuming part. Jake stayed up until 11 p.m. most nights wiring the inside for electricity and building the brooder, stall and tack room. 

  • A New Barbed Wire Fence 9 of 24
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    You can't have a barn without a fence. They go together like Coca-Cola and Peanut M&Ms. 

  • Installing a Water Pump 10 of 24
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    This way, we don't have to schlepp for water for the chickens and horses.

  • The Fence is Wired for Electricity 11 of 24
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    The horses will get zapped if they try to clamor over the fence.

  • Grass Seed is Spread 12 of 24
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    Otherwise known as, Fun Family Times at Our Place on a Saturday. (Please note Mommy's classy glass of wine on the post.) (This shot was taken well before I was pregnant, FYI!)

  • Water for Horses 13 of 24
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    It may look like a toilet for the NFL, but it's actually an automatic waterer for horses. It never has to be manually filled. Water is pumped into the holding tank automatically from underground pipes, also installed by Jake. 

  • The Waterer is Installed in a Concrete Bed 14 of 24
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  • The Horses Finally Move Over to Our Place 15 of 24
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    Yamaha had been boarding at our neighbor's farm across the road since before Jake deployed to Afghanistan. Once the the fence was complete and the barn nearly so, Jake could finally bring her over to our place, joined by Yamaha's sister Penny so Yamaha wouldn't be lonely.  

  • June Checks Out the Horses’ New Digs 16 of 24
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    Fences are fun to climb!

  • Penny and Yamaha TRY to Settle In 17 of 24
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    Soon after Penny and Yamaha moved in, Penny tried to jump the fence and go back to her old home! She was okay if a little bruised. (The electricity wasn't turned on.) It took a few days before Penny felt comfortable in her new abode.

  • The Barn is Almost Finished! 18 of 24
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  • The Interior is Finished, Steps are Built Up to the Loft 19 of 24
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    Jake did all of the interior work himself. What a man!

  • Riding Gear is Moved into the Tack Room 20 of 24
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    Nice and neat.

  • Chicks are Moved Into the Brooder 21 of 24
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  • The Old Barn’s Gotta Go 22 of 24
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  • Down it Goes! 23 of 24
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    Bye, old barn, it's been real!

  • The New Barn Today 24 of 24
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    And here's where we are today. The site of the old barn has been cleared and leveled and new grass planted. I can't believe Jake did all of this more or less by himself in less than a year. The new riding area should help June be primed and ready for her first equine competition this time next year!

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