How great was the barn-raising scene in the classic Harrison Ford flick, Witness? Aside from being a wonderful glimpse into this community, it was fun to watch that structure go up in a day — but then they tore it back down once filming was completed.
You likely aren’t going to be tearing your barn down anytime soon, so fall can be the perfect time to make some improvements to it. Before the weather gets too cold, here are some ways to improve your barn:
It is too easy for a barn to become another storage unit for your family. Even with animals, there always seems to be an empty stall or hay loft that becomes a drop-off zone for all the unwanted clutter from your home.
Before you make any significant improvements on the barn, you should get rid of all that clutter. Keep what you need, but trash the rest. Whatever is leftover should be neatly organized in storage bins and up on shelves. Not only will this look better, but it will also reduce fire risk.
A barn roof is the perfect place to install solar panels. The power you generate from this installation won't just be going to power the barn, either — it will go to your entire property.
You could even reach the point where you get to sell back power to the power company; they'll be writing you a check for a change!
A bathroom in a barn can be a huge asset, especially if that barn is already far from the home. Besides, do you really want to keep tracking mud through the house every time you need a bathroom break?
Keep in mind that you don't necessarily have to install a bathroom with a separate septic system or that ties into your sewer line. You could always set up a composting toilet. Don’t worry — this is not the outhouse of days gone by. Your toilet can be odor-free!
As for the hot water, you could put up a small heater that runs on inexpensive propane, or use all that great solar power!
Time to think about the circle of life as it applies to bugs, rats, mice, and gophers. Those are scourges to your barn. They're also dinner for owls and bats.
By setting up a place for bats and owls to go, you're providing those flyers with a buffet. That’s much better than hiring an exterminator.
An active barn invites a lot of traffic — workers you might hire, visitors who might be touring the facility, or someone renting out a stall for their horse. As such, you should be prepared for all types of emergencies. That starts with a well-stocked first aid kit that can help both humans and horses — or other animals you may have in your barn.
Posting an emergency contact sheet in a visible spot is also a good idea for all that traffic. Not only should the contact sheet have all the appropriate emergency numbers, but also the exact address for the property. You might not always be around when an accident occurs, but your barn should be ready just in case.
Speaking of emergencies, fall is the perfect time to replace your smoke alarm batteries. Those alarms should be wired to set off an alarm inside your home as well as in the barn. If not, then it's time for an upgrade. Plus, be sure you have your fire extinguishers serviced — you do have fire extinguishers in the barn, right?
If your barn is looking a bit shabby, then it is time for a fresh coat of paint. This is important, especially if you are opening up your property for visitors. The "distressed" look will only go so far.
To get this job accomplished in short order, you might want to rent an air compressor. It will be a breeze to paint your entire barn with this tool. You might even be able to get it done in a day — just like raising a barn!
You should think about how your barn is ventilated. Even without animals, a barn can become incredibly stuffy.
Ensuring you have proper ventilation will make your barn a more pleasant place to be, but it can also make the air a bit healthier.
Does your barn have a lightning rod? Are your circuit breakers up to code? Are all your wires protected with rodent-proof materials? A "no" answer to any one of those questions should make you ready to jump into action to get those things fixed.
Your barn is a great multi-purpose location. Try these tips to make some improvements, and your barn will be an ideal place to be as the seasons change.
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