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Loafing Shed

 

We'd been on the homestead for nearly 5 years when we decided it was time to address the issue of the tractor implements sitting outside in the weather.  Since getting the tractor, various implements had been purchased which certainly made life easier.  I'd been using those cheap blue plastic tarps to help protect the hardware we'd invested in.  The tarps would last about a year before the sun and wind shredded them.  We decided it was time to construct a building to park the implements under.  Since my son was available on the weekends to help, we opted to do the building ourselves and save the labor cost.

I decided that a loafing shed would provide adequate cover for the tractor implements.  You see lots of them in this part of the country used for seasonal storage of farm hardware.  A loafing shed would also help the budget since it only needed 3 walls and no doors.  With a tape measure in hand, I walked out to where my collection of blue tarps flapped in the breeze and started measuring each implement.  I wanted to be able to park everything I had against the back wall.  Stacking them one in front of the other in the shed wasn't an option because we all know that whichever one you need, it will always be behind something else.  I had no intention of moving multiple implements so I could use one of them.

I came up with a good estimate of how long the loafing shed needed to be and then I added another ten feet to it.  I had initially decided to make it about 10 feet wide.  The more I thought about it, 12 feet wide plus maybe a couple extra feet of cantilever roof sounded good.  I did some research to see if my idea was feasible and started looking around for some plans that I could use/modify for my project.  Once I found some plans I could work with, I made a cut list and ordered the lumber and metal from the local Menard's.  With the COVID-19 thing going on, I took advantage of their 11% sale.  I had about two weeks till the supplies arrived.  That would give me time to pick a suitable spot and start getting holes in the ground.

 

digging post holes

The final numbers on the shed would be 12'x40'.  Remington (my son) and I decided to use pressure treated ground-contact rated wood for the entire project.  Having built two deer stands last year, I knew the pressure treated wood would still be very wet when it arrived.  However, the building was going up on stilts like the deer stands did so I wasn't worried about the excess weight factor during construction.  We used 6"X6" square posts for the front and back walls and that meant we needed 10 holes.  After we did some ground leveling using the front end loader on the tractor, I rented a gas-powered hydraulic auger for a half day and we put 10 holes in the ground. 

 

  installing the corner posts of the loafing shed

With the help of stakes and mason line, we started placing our posts.  The mason line, having been previously positioned for a square and true footprint, provided a good reference for the corner posts. 

Since we also needed to make sure we were keeping the posts at an even working height, we built a simple water level.  Made from 50' of half-inch clear tubing, a brass fitting, blue food coloring, and an ice cream bucket, it was arguably the best $20 spent during the project.  It was so simple to use and every bit as accurate as a laser level.  We used spare 2x4s to help position the posts in the hole.  Using 4" screws and a DeWalt drill driver made it really easy to put the 2x4s where we needed them. 

  

loafing shed posts all installed

Once the corner posts were tamped in place, the remaining posts were properly aligned and their height also carefully set using the water level.  We would get up early in the morning and set a post or two before it was time for Remington to get ready for work.  Sometimes we were rained out and didn't make any progress.  His regular work schedule gives him 3 day weekends which helped a lot as long as the weather cooperated.  I'm retired and rarely work all day around the homestead so my "work day" was usually done by noon anyway.  We ended up working on the loafing shed for about 5 to 6 weeks given our on and off construction schedule.  I had allowed several months to get the project done so working it at a comfortable pace worked fine.  And it goes without saying that mixed in with all of this was homestead time spent butchering chickens, working the summer garden, tending the deer foot plots, etc. 

 

girts and headers installed on the loafing shed

With all the posts firmly planted in the ground, next came the 2x6 girts and the 2x8 headers.  Finally, the loafing shed was starting to look like a construction project instead of 10 posts sticking out of the ground.  I oriented the loafing shed so that the open wall would face the southeast.  Our storms typically blow in from the northwest so this would keep most of the moisture, be it rain or snow, out of the shed.  

 

rafters installed on the loafing shed

With the posts trimmed to their proper height on the rear (short) wall, the 2x10 rafters were nailed in place.  Now it really was starting to look like a building. 


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