Monday, December 20, 2010

The Barn, Bread, and the Long Wait.

I can't believe it has been so long since I've posted. There. I did the customary self-deprecating comment on my own creation presented on my own creation. The dreaded Blog post about posting on blogs. The proverbial snake eating its own tail. The elusive Non-post blog post. It won't happen again.

First of all, lets get the formalities out of the way.... HAPPY HOLIDAYS! It has been a little strange of a holiday season without all my friends around, but in the meantime, I'm getting a good reminder of what its like to enjoy your family at the holidays. Yes enjoy, and I don't mean that sarcastically. Sorry, Stereotypical American attitude at the holidays, you simply don't hold sway over my holiday outlook this year (Or really, ever).

This is the lady who wrote the lyrics to "in the bleak midwinter". You can see why. /cry

My only wish would be to sing more carols, and not just the dumb "frosty the snowman" and "Rudolph the RNR". Give me some classics - "In the bleak Midwinter" (Probably the most depressing and beautiful carol I can think of, also with a wonderful history, and the music is written by Gustav Holst, the same guy who did "The planets", Mars, the bringer of war, probably most famous for being ripped off by Bowser as his house-music for his castles, stupid...dinosaur? What is Bowser?) and "The Holly and the Ivy", which I would have a video up of the Muppet Family Christmas version of this song, but alas, the youtubes have failed me. However, this clip is probably my favorite:

Fozzie: Hey, that's pretty good harmony for a snowman!
Snowman: Actually, I'm a SNEWman!
Fozzie: Whats a-Snewman?
Snewman: Nothin's a-Snewman, Whats a-Snew with you?

So, any caroling with harmonies I really enjoy. I enjoy it more when I can actually read the music to try the harmonies, like at church when I read out of the Hymnal. However, most of the caroling i've found around here only give you the lyrics and don't challenge the caroler musically. Which I GUESS is the point, so that just anybody can sing and experience the joys of caroling, but I demand a challenge! I remember me and Walker did a 4 part harmony carol that was wonderful a few years back with his dad Clint and Dana Plagmann, and I remember really liking it, I just can't, for the life of me, remember what song it was. If you guys are reading this and remember, please remind me.

This brings me to the topic of what I've been up to. Well, the answer to that question is a little elusive. I feel like I'm not really doing anything, though I have to say, making slow improvements and projects everyday, I actually have ended up with quite a bit of progress on my hands. I'll start with the stuff that won't gross anybody out: Yeast.

Yes, those wonderful Micro-organisms! Those Fabulous Fungi! Those Enjoyable Eukaryote! Those Astoundingly Asexual Alcohol Assemblers! The Zany Zymurgical Zealots. Okay I'm done.

Pocatello Pumpkin Porter
This beer is good. That's all I'm going to say. Not a hit-you-over-the-head type of brew, but more subtle, which, when you notice the pumpkin-pie flavors slowly coming out about a minute after you take a sip, is magical. The carbonation is perfect, the Subtleties of flavor, remarkable. My mom even tried it. You know what she said? "It still tastes like Beer". That's the point!

My friend Michael Wallenfels, a freelance graphic designer at Mokusai Design has been drawing the label for me. Check it out below, hire him for any projects you can! He's wonderfully talented. He drew the picture of me that is my profile thing (This one). Here's the label he's drawn up:

Awesome, right!?
So, the beer is great, the Label is great, now all I have to do is decide what to do with it all, right? My first thought: send it along to friends I would otherwise have seen during the holidays as a wonderful alcoholic Christmas card. Man, that would be great, however, I've run into a few problems:

First of all, the Legality of sending alcohol from Joe-Schmoe to Shmoe-Joe via mail is legally fuzzy at best. The likes of bigger companies such as Woot ( and have to procure a license to be able to send alcohol through the snail tubes. This is something that is unavailable to me as a non-corporation, and I'm sure if it was available, it would be exorbitantly expensive. So sending beer through the mail, I could TECHNICALLY do, through UPS, just send it Drug-Dealer style, all wrapped up pretty before I bring it to the Brown store.

Secondly, assuming I'm willing to send beer dealer-style through UPS (Which I'm not), there is still the issue of funding. Through my experience in my previous job of sending things through UPS and FedEx, I know approximate prices, and sending packages to residential housing costs more than just to businesses. That brings the price of one bottle being shipped to Washington up to at least $6-8 each box. Being that I have so many wonderful friends, and not only in Seattle, but Oregon, California, and yes, even Virgina and WA DC (You know who you are) who I would love to share this with, the costs just becomes too much when I have to think about saving money from my non-existent current income for planting and farm supplies in the spring.

This brings me to the point: If any of my friends want to come to Idaho to visit, you will be given beer brewed by me. You can even set up a supply chain of taking it back with you if you'd like for other friends. However, I will not be shipping it. I know most of you don't care, but I do feel really bad about this, I want people to try it. The people that matter to me. Enough Schmaltz.

tl;dr: come to Idaho, get my beer. Don't come to Idaho, get your own beer.

The other Yeasty endeavor I've been embarking on is bread. I made a spiral rye bread loaf last week, and just wanted to share a picture of it. It is very pretty, I just need some pastrami and sauerkraut:

the skin of a Reuben

Switching gears; About 3 weeks ago or so, my entire family was under the same roof for the first time in 7 years. My sister, Jenni, was back from her gallivanting around the Baltic Sea and the Caribbean, working for the Holland America Cruise Line as a Stage manager (Hooray! at least one of us Essingers has got to make money!), and I was back from my month-long vacation down the west coast. It was a great time having everybody home, though the house is a little small for the 4 of us (how my mom grew up here with 5 sisters I'll never understand, though to be honest, I don't know how many actually lived here), and we have all really gotten into our own rhythms of life apart from each other, so there were a few toes stepped on. We managed as best as we could, but it was great to have family around. About a week after Thanksgiving, while Jenni has been waiting without word on when she was going to be going back out to sea with Holland America, she received a phone call with another contract offer: LEAVING THE NEXT DAY. We scrambled and got her off to the airport in time, not without going to see the first half of the next Harry Potter movie, mind you. Now things are more-or-less quiet around the house, though I do miss having another cook in the house and my brewing assistant, who was more than eager to help out with the last beer, and I'm sure would be even better help this time with one beer under her belt. (Don't worry Jenni, I'm saving at LEAST 1 bottle of the PPP for you!)

As some of you know, I have now become an official resident of Idaho. I got a new driver's license, and they took my WA license away with a charming picture that nobody believed was me. I am now a legal resident of Idaho, with all the honors and privileges that brings me, of which I was mostly interested in getting a library card. To my surprise, the Portneuf District Library's website looks exactly like Seattle's when you search for a book. To my Chagrin, that's where the similarities stop. They might LOOK the same, but the functions are all different. I could get into a diatribe on to whats different between the two and what I hate about it, but I'll sum it up in one sentence: If I have to still go into the library to do anything involving reserving a book or transferring a book from one library that has the book checked in to my home library, what good does the website do? Don't get me wrong, the library system here is better than I was expecting, but having to actually talk to the librarian to put my books on hold negates the reason to have the website.

The last thing I saved for last for good reason: I was trying to save the gross stuff for after the food and beer talk. See that image above? That is the mixture of substances that I had been dealing with for a good week in the barn. I described it to Walker a few weeks ago thusly:

"There has been consistently about 3-5 inches of hay, seed, birdcrap, cowcrap, and very fine silty dust all over the barn, all with old bits of metal, fasteners, lumber, and wire hidden as prizes. Its like the worlds largest, grossest box of Cracker Jacks."
I forgot, when talking to Walker, the mouse droppings and nesting material that is hidden in every nook and cranny. Thank god I was able to swipe my sister's bandanna before she left so that I could have a face mask. No Lyme Disease for this fellow! It took probably a week and a half to clear out the areas with this century-old carpet of disease and filth. That's because not only did I have to scoop it out with a shovel, but, stacked on top of it all, were treasures untold. My theme song for the week was the Little Mermaid's Part of your World ("Look at this stuff, isn't it neat? Wouldn't you think my collection's Complete!?"). And Gadgets and Gizmos I did have aplenty, let me assure you. Whoose-its and whats-its galore, at least 20 Thingamabobs. The problem being, where to put it all? That's actually what I'm working on now, no really good answers yet, but at least I'm sorting things into piles. Piles of Junk into smaller piles of Alike-Junk. Once those piles of alike-junk are all that remain, I can then figure out what to do with alike things, whether sell them, scrap them, use them again. This is the process I have been doing with lumber and the old single pane windows from the Farm I've been finding around. Checkit:

Before sorting and piling and junking

After sorting mostly, without the crap-carpet removed
Take a tour of the shop/barn

As for the pre-pictures, here are a few, and since I don't have any good "post" pictures of the whole barn, I'll put those up later.

Left side of barn - All the tools and fasteners

Center of barn. this area, before last year when my Dad and I cleared it out LAST thanksgiving , would not have barely fit the tractor. It now fits the tractor, lawnmower, and gives me ample workspace to sort JUNK.

right side of the barn: Used to be covered in filth, like the picture above. I have improved upon this space immensely and I'll show it as soon as I can feel good about it again (There is currently a pile of scrap metal I have to sort through where all this used to be.
As a byproduct of going through all this stuff, I've been finding little treasures that are not worth much but for scrap. The Cash Cows I've found are insulated copper wire ($1.15-$1.25 per pound), Rainbirds (Which count as brass, $0.75 per pound), and old car radiators ($1 per pound). We walked away from Pacific Recycling with almost $300 for just bringing in scrap. Not bad for a byproduct.


The whole haul
In the title of this blog, I mention "The long wait". What that refers to is: I'm sick of sitting around and milling about in the shop. I want to go work out in the field. I want to plant stuff. Enough with the snow and cold! If I had my way, and not nature's way, I'd be planting RIGHT NOW. This is probably good for me to have to wait though. As it stands, when I'm writing this, its not even technically winter yet (Dec. 21st, tomorrow, signals the first day of official winter). When I look back on it, it is probably a good thing for me to have to wait around. I'll gain knowledge, and if I learned anything from Schoolhouse Rock, Knowledge is Power!

For one thing, I've been getting a lot of reading done. I just finished a whirlwind 3-day read of Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, It has been killing me to write about this book the entire post, but I don't wanna be preachy. If you don't know where your food comes from, read this book. It'll set a few things straight, including an eloquently stated argument in favor of, taking count of morality, eating meat raised on REAL farms. If you want to know what the hell I'm talking about, read the book, then we can talk about it. After this book, I have countless other books I need to read to prepare for the growing season. It is probably good I have the time.

The long winter months seem to be good for me physically. Given that I'm cooped up on a 5 acre plot of land all day, I've taken to exercising, as I've said before. Without anybody to hang out with out here, it will be next week that I have been exercising every day for 2 months, I only took 1 day off when I fell asleep at 8PM, obviously needed the sleep, but as Ebeneezer Scrooge says, "be here all the Earlier the following day!", and I was. We also have a Bowflex. I know. I'm going to have a, as much as I hate to say it, BOWFLEX BODY, thank you infomercials. I'm going to look GREAT in my suit for all those weddings I'm in this spring!

Alright, for those of you that stuck around for the end here, thanks. This is what happens when I don't update for 3 weeks, it all gets packed into one, which I will remember, and probably do some more.

One last thing: I need to figure out what beer I'm making next, any suggestions or requests from friends that are maybe possibly coming to visit sometime??

Happy Christmas and Merry the Other Ones,

-Jon E

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cabin Fever

So, since the last post, Southeast Idaho has had quite a bit of snow... and it has been actually more snow than they have had in a while, from what I hear from everybody around here. And by everybody, that typically means my parents, and just the few other people I have contact with anymore. I haven't done much outside, and how can I? I don't dare go outside to even take pictures, as these pictures are taken from within the comfort of my own home, through windows. Its been as low as 2 Degrees Fahrenheit. Take a look:



West, with snow fence!

Brrrr! So much Snow! And the Drifts! Oi veh! Don't worry, the Goats are doing just fine, they stay so warm by themselves! We just need to make sure they well fed over the winter.

Since I've been kind of stuck indoors for the last week or so, I've been trying to prepare things for the winter (as if it wasn't already upon us). The Friday after Thanksgiving gave me good enough weather to get out in the garden and pick up the remaining beets and carrots. And by "good enough weather", I mean it was sub-20 degrees and the only time it wasn't snowing. There was plenty of snow covering everything, but I saved a good number of the veggies from freezing and getting gross. Check out these beautiful carrots:

Over the last few months we've been having our tomatoes we brought in at the beginning of November slowly ripen, My sister and I have been blanching them and freezing them, making them into sauces, salsa, putting them in salads, using them ANY way we can before they go bad. This is the remainders that we're STILL waiting on getting ripe:

As you can see, we had both large tomatoes and cherry varieties. They are wonderful to have, and I've never realized how much I love tomato products before. I haven't gotten tired of them yet, though we've been having tomato products probably every day in the month of November.

Also, as previously mentioned, I've been developing my skills as a bread baker.

Home Made Butterflake Rolls for Thanksgiving!

Sandwich Breads
I'm okay at it, but I'm definitely getting better. Every loaf I bake, I come up with a better idea of what the dough should feel like, and what it looks like when its done.

So, with all these things, I'm becoming more and more prepared for the winter, and cooking, and the long deep cold. Speaking of deep cold, here's the freezer with lots of beets, pumpkin, zucchini, tomatoes, vegetable broth, turkey broth, and some leftover food from Schwan's my parents have bought:

You really can't be too upset about there being Toffee Ice cream bars.

I won't be starting plants until march sometime in the greenhouse, that I have yet to build, but I have recently been pouring over seed catalogs trying to determine what I am going to plant in the spring. I would like to stay with buying seeds locally, but for some things I want to grow, there is another resource I'd like to use, since I've read their mission and I like them a lot. Anti-GMO and they have a ton of very interesting vegetables that you don't see every day. Its a company called Seed Saver's Exchange. It is a non-profit organization, and you can become a member, which opens you up to a whole world of people across the country and the world that have been growing and documenting heirloom seeds and plants for a very long time. Membership would be a great Christmas gift HINT. I am especially interested in growing Romanesco Broccoli .

Other than all that, I'm still exercising every day, and I'm trying to read more. I'm currently halfway though the first book of the Lord of the Rings. The only thing I gotta say, Tom Bombadil would have been sweet to see in the movies.

Bottling of the pumpkin porter is happening tomorrow, anybody have any ideas for a name?


-Jon E

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Brew Prime

Quick Post here: This last Monday (Nov 15th, 2010), I concocted my first Rural Brew, the Blog's Namesake!!!

It is a Pumpkin Porter Style, here's my recipe list I made up while getting grain and brewing:

The Recipe and Method
 Here's what it says:

8 Lbs Munich Malt
1 Lb Chocolate Malt
1 Lb Caramel Crystal Malt 60L
.5 Lb Crystal MAlt 10L

After Lautering (taking the sugars out of the grains with hot water, basically) Specific Gravity (how much sugar is in the water compared to the density of water) comes out to 1.020 @ 141 degrees Fahrenheit (the higher the Specific Gravity, the more potential for alcohol by volume (ABV). This liquid (or Wort, as it is called) extracted is basically is what I'll use to boil down into actual beer (with hops and stuff, including Pumpkin and spices, for this particular recipe). With a specific gravity of 1.020 @ 141 Degrees F, my extraction efficiency was about 70%. This is good considering my last beer I got something like 40% extraction efficiency. The extraction efficiency measures potential sugars taken from the grains after the mashing is completed.

Ugh, sorry for the technical stuff, I'm mostly writing this stuff to document it for me rather than you.

As a  general key, you boil the Wort for about 1 hour to boil it down to the final liquid you ferment. Therefore, I am indicating the ingredients of this recipe in order of when they go into the boil. When you add ingredients at different times in the boil, it brings out different characteristics in the ingredients, depending on how long they are boiled. This is especially true for Hops. THe longer they are in the boil, the more bitterness you'll get out of the hops. The less time they are in the boil (i.e. 5 minutes from the end, etc) the more of the aroma or flowery taste you'll get from them. Thus, as an indication of when the ingredients were added to the boil, I've added an "@ ___ Minutes" after each ingredient to indicate how far before the END of the boil ingredients were added.

Onto the rest of the recipe!

1 Stick Cinnamon @ 60 Minutes
1 Oz Dried Willamette Dried Leaf Hops @ 60 Minutes
6 Lbs Roasted Pumpkin guts n' stuff @ 45 Minutes
1/2 Oz Cascade Hops @ 30 Minutes
1 additional stick Cinnamon @ 5 Minutes
Just shy of 1 tsp Nutmeg @ 5 minutes
1/2 tsp Coriander @ 5 minutes
1 tsp dried powdered ginger @ 5 Minutes
1/4 tsp Clove @ 5 minutes

Irish Ale Yeast from Wyeast

During the Lautering Process
The 1 Lb Chocolate Malt I used gives it a really dark color, which is great, as seen above.

So I'll Rack it (transfer from the Primary fermenter to another 5 Gallon container) to sift out any little yeast waste and pumpkin goo and guts. let it sit for about another week, then its time for bottling, and ready for consumption in time for Christmas!

If you're interested, heres some other pictures from brewday, my sister helped a lot! A little brewer's assistant! And I have to say, the barn is a great place for brewing beer. I'm currently in the process of clearing out a space for me to have a more permanent setup. The funny thing is that I have no running water out in the barn, so I'm carting water out for brewing in buckets. This last brew I was able to do it with slightly less than 15 Gallons of water. 3 buckets full.

As an added bonus, I dried out about 3 sheet pans full of the spent brew grains and I am now trying to use them in bread I'm making. I used my Burr grinder I won as a prize from Zoka Coffee in Seattle to grind down a bit into some nice looking flour. It looks like its going to work very well for adding some subtle notes of flavor and dark color to my breads.

I'll report on how the beer and bread turn out.


-Jon E

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What a difference a month makes

Whoo boy, where to start? My last post mentioned that I was on my way to Alaska, and I am happy to say that after over 1 month on the road, from Juneau to San Francisco, I am back in Idaho safe, resting up, and getting to work on some of my projects for winter. If you wanna see photos from my trip (I didn't take many) then you can see them from Alaska (these are mostly of either Michael or the Mendenhall Glacier) and Oregon. Sorry friends from Washington and the Bay Area, I didn't take any photos while visiting you, and therefore you are left out... but we'll always have the memories right!?!?

By the way, I think my pictures of the Mendenhall are wayyyy better than those on wikipedia, just saying.

Also, I want to express my deep and loving appreciation for any and all friends that I stayed with, saw, met up with, and generally had a good time with. This trip down the coast was incredible, and I have my wonderful friends to thank for that. So again, Thank you so much, everyone I saw, and everybody that was willing to put up with me for the time I was with them. Thank you for putting me up and putting up with me.

I arrived in Salt Lake City at 3:45 AM and was graciously fetched by my sister and father. They made the 6-hour round-trip trek that meant I didn't have to bum around downtown SLC for 4 hours until the next shuttle came back to Pocatello, for which I am eternally grateful. If I didn't make it clear enough then, thanks you guys, that was a pro move.

By the end of my trip I started to feel lugubrious about the fact that I wasn't back on the farm getting things done. I took that as a sign to skip town, not because I needed to get out of there because it was unpleasant, but because, for some reason, though I've only lived in Idaho on the far for a month, I felt kind of drawn back here. There was so much work to be done before winter really set in.

Well, in that respect, I was incredibly lucky. I got back, and was really only worth anything in regard to work on the farm, a few days after the beginning of November. I had one main goal in mind: Plow and till my garden plot before the winter freeze set in. The weather stayed pleasant for a good week after I came back and I'm happy to say that I got my field plowed (Ifyaknowhaddimean...).

Field Pre-Plow
Field Post-Plow
Believe it or not, those two pictures were taken less than a week apart from each other. Notice the Leaves on the trees above the house. Those fell in probably about 2 days. The field you are looking at there used to be a horse pasture. It is about 60'x100' in the area that I plowed and tilled. It was full of grass and weeds, and was a pain in the ass to plow and till, mostly because all of the old grass, roots, and rocks that were in the ground. The good news is, when you till up the earth where theres lots of rocks, you find a lot of them! Then you can throw them out of your field. Theres a little Farming 101 for you. Professor Farmer Jon's farming basics class!.

Anyway, I'm glad I got all that done with the field, but it wasn't all my work. we got some NEW GOATS!!! Don't worry,  they're nowhere near as cute as the first goat we got, but They're way bigger, which means we can put them to work. we staked them out in the middle of the pasture to graze on the weeds and grass that was out there before I plowed it. They were mildly helpful, I think it would have been better if they could have been out there for a week or so, but I had a time crunch before the weather turned for the worse, and I decided to plow in the rest of everything. I'll be good for the soil consistency anyway, and allow all the roots and grasses to break down and supply nutrients to the soil over winter. Anyway, Pictures of goats!

Rosie the riveter

Connie, or "con-tron" as I call her
The new goats are pretty cool, if not a little bullish at times. They push around Crabby, our little goat, mostly because they're about 3 times bigger. However, bigger means I can put them to work. Crabby is more like a "hobby goat", whatever that means. I just made that up. She's just so little and cute, I don't know what actual use she'll be except as a mascot or something. I'll make t-shirts.

We bought the 2 new goats from a family down the street who didn't want to raise goats any more. I think Rosie is a great name for a goat, but when I heard the other's name was Connie, I thought to myself: "Myself, that's a terrible name for a goat!". Luckily, I have a good friend named Conner Jefferies whom we call Con-tron, or on occasion, Con-Job. I decided, in honor of Conner, I will be calling Connie Con-Tron. You're welcome Conner.

The New Goat Pen!
In other news of stuff I didn't directly contribute to, while on my travels, my dad leveled and fenced in the area behind the garage that was just roofed. This is how we are able to get more goats! Lets hear it for progress! Also, theres the little cute goat in this picture. Also my dad, everybody say "hey dad"!

For a little perspective, I'll show you what this used to look like a mere 2 months ago:

Its almost as if we've made progress!
Wow, Thats a big change, and the area is so much more usable. Especially since Mummycat has now stopped haunting that area and taken up residency elsewhere (Read: Dad threw it in the potato cellar).

I also have started a bitchin' compost pile. Within the first week it was nice and stinky, with lots of visible decay and steam when I stirred it. That'll be good nutriments come springtime for some lucky garden of mine. All the leaves from those trees you saw in that picture of the field I plowed are going to be compost or mulch for some gardens.

Without getting into too much minutia about activities (Which i feel like I'm treading the line of already), I have various other projects, including, but not limited to:

  • Learning how to, without too much effort, bake my own bread. My friend Micah has become a fairly accomplished baker, and he suggested this book to me by Peter Reinhart called Artisan Breads Every Day. I won't get into details, but it helps me to, hopefully, make delicious home-baked bread without having to take all day or wake up way early to do it, leaving me free most of the other times to do my other numerous projects. Right now, I am in the process of making my first French bread b√Ętards, and also I am trying to catch a wild yeast using his method for making sourdough. 
  • Sprouting seeds and lentils for fresh vegetables and stuff during the long, cold winter.
  • Working on my plans and building a greenhouse/cold frame for extending the growing season in the spring. as it turns out, I'm trying to build it out of PVC and plastic sheeting we have lying around the farm. I'll keep you posted, it could turn into a huge hassle.
  • Starting to exercise. This is something I've long been avoiding, in fact, the entire time I lived in Seattle except for a very short period of time in college when I had a free gym membership. I've been doing 30 minutes on the elliptical every evening, and whatever manual labor I have to do during the day. My mom also bought a Wii fit board when I brought my Wii here. The Wii fit is very mean.
  • Video Games and Movies via Netflix. I can't believe I actually get anything done based on the pure volume of content that I have available to me for only $9 a month. Seriously, how is this not the best invention ever? I just discovered that Strange Brew is now streaming. Hallalujah.

Take off ya Hosers,

-Jon E

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Raising a Roof

My first task is done! And just in time too, Since I'm going to Alaska here in a few days! There were a few delays, mainly weather related, but my Dad and I managed to completely strip off and then replace the roof on our garage that my grandfather built. I'll just give you a before-and-after shot here so that those of you not interested in reading through the process can appreciate the work without having to hear all the hoobajoob:


So! A long, arduous process was begun on the 13th of September. The roof was in shambles. The roof covered both the garage and a small 24'x12'  section behind the garage. It looks something like this:

 I imagine the shelter was there originally to park another car or something, but it had, through the years, just become another junk pile behind the garage, though this one had cover, so it had all the junk that somebody wanted to keep out of the rain. Which didn't work, as it turns out, because the stupid thing leaked like a sieve. The garage roof shelters a number of things; originally for someone's car and some tools, however it has now become a Cat hospice. Here is a video of my mom:


Anyway, the leaky roof needed to go. It was old and had holes in it. The Cats were getting wet :-( . It was made out of nothing but plywood, which had deteriorated, and asphalt roofing rolls. The cheap stuff. There was something like 3 or 4 layers of the stuff in some places, because when there started to be leaks, Grandpa would simply roll out another layer!

Also, if you take a look at the following picture, you'll notice that the slats supporting the roof in the garage are uneven:
Garage rafters AFTER a full day of cross-bracing with custom cuts for stability
The uneven rafters are a result of the fact that the plywood Grandpa used for the garage roof was a size that was inconvenient for the structure he built. Solution? PUT ANOTHER RAFTER WHERE THE EDGE OF THE PLYWOOD WOULD LAY! This is consistent with what we found with the rest of the structure: it was all SOLID, but nothing was built to any standard or code.

We had two options: adapt any new construction to the existing garage, or tear it all down and start anew. I'm not sure which would have been easier, but we decided to keep the existing garage and adapt new construction.

The biggest hurdle I personally had with this whole project, is that I kept expecting things to be square. Nothing was. The construction was basically based around 8 railroad ties placed in the ground in a L  pattern that outlined the garage and back shelter. It was frustratingly non-square. Which is fun when you're using, you know, rectangular materials that are made to be square (hip to be square?).

(On a tangent, does anybody else think that Huey Lewis' backup band should have been named the Dewies? Huey Lewis and the Dewies?)

As a result, the cross-bracing we decided was necessary to stabilize the structure, OSB decking, and the actual metal roof that topped it all off had to all be fit in custom proportions.

As you may remember from a previous post, this is also being done so that the shelter behind the garage can be used as a waterproof enclosure to put the goat(s) in during the winter. That is part of another, larger, project that involved moving the cars that were sunk into the dirt behind the garage, tilling the soil to get any farming artifacts from years past out of the ground so the goats don't eat them, and fencing in a 75' x 25' area to house more than the one goat we have. And just cause I know you like looking at the goat (I don't blame you, she IS cute!), here she is again, this time peeking out from her current shelter that will be replaced by what was just roofed:

Now, without further ado, Here is the progression in picture form of the entire process:
The Roof Prime

After the original Shelter was torn down

Re-Framing of the Shelter

Framed shelter, roof off Garage, One car gone!

After 2 days of the most boring thing on this job: cross bracing for stability.

OSB used as Decking, with many Thanks to our right-hand man, Cousin Josh Essinger, who helped us out with just going out and getting us supplies while Dad and I were on the roof all day.

With Roofing felt atop the OSB 
Roof 2.0!
The delays from weather were the two days that we didn't dare get on the roof with 12'x39" metal sheeting in 25-35 MPH winds. On the morning of Friday September 24th, the winds were manageable enough to dare climbing on the roof, so we got up, and the sheets screwed in rather easily. That is, after we realized we got screws that were too short, ran to home depot to exchange some and get longer screws. We were done with the top caps by 5:00 PM, just in time to let the evening wind down, and me to forget to take pictures until about sunset time, which is why the last picture is so blown out with the sun at the edge of the roof.

In the process, however (And Dad tells me this is how it is everywhere), we did excavate quite a few exciting things, what with pulling the 2 cars out from where the goat pen is going to be. Check it:

Yes, I believe that is a shoe. There was more by the time we were done.
And since I know you like it when I end with pictures of cute things, I offer this one:
And now the Portrait:

-Jon E