What hasn’t been apparent thus far is the “shed” part of the this project. We designed the building so that it would streamline our vegetable harvesting in addition to providing Heather with a place to bake bread. The new shed will be attached to the bakery building via a covered driveway.
This phase of the project also began Ben’s intimate acquaintance with the shovel. Each of those posts is set in a hole three feet deep–no small feat in ground that has in places more rocks and dirt, thanks to Hurricane Camille.
A light mid-March snow
Then Ben and Craig hoisted those beams into place by hand. The trusses on the other hand, got to ride on a crane.
In the above photos you can see the scissor trusses for the main floor of the bakery–these create a lofted ceiling.
Scissor trusses over the bakery floor
The shed already has a high ceiling, so that got standard trusses.
But our favorite part of the design is the loft created by the “attic” trusses over the cooler and office. This space is too beautiful and restful to be used for storage–it will be a retreat, a guest room, a practice room, a yoga room.
The loft takes shape
View from the loft
The next day, the OSB and tarpaper went on. Suddenly it didn’t rain in the building anymore.
Construction projects are notorious for going over budget and off schedule. Somehow this winter, it seems the stars have aligned over our project; apart from rest and rain days, there has been no down time. Credit for working that magic goes to our contractor Craig Swingle.
In the last half of February, Craig and Ben framed the walls, and Ben laid the drainpipe and moved a bunch of gravel around. He helped finish waterproofing the foundation, then he and I filled the area behind the retaining wall with rocks and gravel.
Then the sheathing went up. It looks like the oven is outside the building, but it will be tied in with a concrete floor, shed roof and wing walls.
At some point, we took a break to start farming again. We put the plastic on the greenhouse and started seeding for the 2016 season.
The last steps in this phase were placing the beam over the little “hallway” to the oven, and building some stairs up to the bakery.
The building has to sit high off the ground because of how we built the oven. Last year, if you recall, we were scrambling to get the oven built, and didn’t think through how it would tie in to the rest of the building. In building it on the high part of the pasture, we essentially fixed the finished floor height for the rest of the building. Early next week, we’ll show you the roof.
It was bound to happen. Any winter construction project has to build in time for snow. Ours arrived mid-January, and delayed the foundation by two weeks.
Snow delays construction for two weeks
But once things thawed, the project entered a phase where things start taking shape very fast. It is very exciting. We were delighted to hire our neighbor Scott Franklin to build the foundation. This is what he and his crew accomplished in three three short days. They did a wonderful job.
Our neighbor and mason, Scott Franklin
They incorporated charred block from our first oven into this foundation, which feels good and has a nice resonance.
Blackened cinder blocks from our first oven make it into the foundation
The next step was to frame the floor, and we both helped Craig, our awesome contractor, finish this stage in three days. On the first day, we built the beam and secured the rim board.
Main supporting beam
Ben nailing the rim board
On the second day, we added the joists, and on the third, we glued on and screwed on the subfloor. This floor is not going anywhere!
The view from the dirt pile
Heather gluing the subfloor
And now that we have a floor, our first thought is: let’s have a square-dance on it! And if we have our way, that is just what will happen at our annual old-time music party, Thorny-O, which is coming up this weekend.
Imagining the new space
We kicked off the new year with a little ground-breaking here at Little Hat Creek Farm! After months of planning our new bakery and packing shed, the yellow machines showed up to dig. We could not have anticipated how exciting it would be to see the realization of our dream!
JD Pippin, “artist of the yellow machines”
We’re ready for the footer
Last week JD Pippin carved out the site. There were rocks–from the 1969 Hurricane Camille landslide–but not nearly as many as we had feared. JD came back with a backhoe, dug the footer, and then the concrete truck showed up. Early next week, the foundation should appear, laid by one of our neighbors here in the Hollow.
preparing for the concrete guy
pouring the footer
Stay tuned for more updates!
Our wood-fired brick oven is big. It’s bigger than we are. That is, we don’t yet use it to its full capacity. Our kitchen, on the other hand, is too small for us. We are still using our home kitchen to make about 200 loaves of bread per week during the farmers market season, not to mention storing all our bakery equipment and ingredients: speed racks, hundreds of pounds of flour, and bins for mixing dough. This winter, we’re sending a memo to our business: we’d like our kitchen back, please.
Currently, the project that’s taking up the most space in our heads (and wallets) is a new building to be attached to the wood-fired oven. We’re going to take the bakery from semi-pro to all-the-way-pro here, making it bigger than we are right now, to match the size of the oven. The new bakery will have a 8′ x 12′ walk-in cooler, which could fit 8 speed racks, and an insulated flour room that will be cooler than the rest of the building to help keep the flour fresher.
A flag marking the bottom corner of what will be the packing shed.
Floor plan with oven at the top (East)
South face of the building, with (R to L) oven, bakery w/loading dock, covered drive and packing shed.
And so, as long as we are going to hire big yellow machines to excavate a foundation, we asked ourselves, could we imagine a building that would improve the efficiency of the farm, too? Of course! Also included in this new construction will be a packing shed where we will wash and store harvested veggies, and a covered driveway connecting it to the bakery. The covered drive is where we will store our farmer’s market setups for easy access when we load the bread and veggies for our three markets per week.
We are thankful to be working with the amazing builder and good friend Craig Swingle. He is not kidding when his business card proclaims “Projects taken on”. He has guided, rather than advised, so the resulting design is at once wholly ours and also simple and easy to build. We’re excited for this new construction to tie together many of the threads that we must pull every week in order to bring our bread and produce to market. The big challenge will making it all happen by the beginning of markets next April.
That’s it for our seven posts in seven days. Thank you for reading! We’ll see you in the New Year. Happy holidays!