The first building on the site is an old outhouse which these gentlemen (and the TO20 tractor) dragged over from the other side of the creek. We’ll use it as a tool shed.

We flipped the building on it’s roof onto the travois you see being disassembled here.

It’s now Christmas day, 2011. We’ve had a very mild December here in central Missouri which has allowed me to get the barn under way.

This is a trench 18″ deep and 36″ wide. It contains the form for the barn footing. Notice the rebar sticking up in the corner. A hole in the corner post will fit over this once the footing is poured.


Early in the pour, the truck got a little too close to the edge of the trench and slipped in. Here you see the truck he called to pull him out using an enormous tow rope. A little damage to the form but we fixed it quick and got on with the pour.

If you look very closely, you can see that we have stripped the forms from the completed footer and backfilled to the top of it.

Tim and the first corner of the structure.

Two corners are in.  There is no electricity.  At this point I am still trying to find a way to stay off grid entirely so we are cutting by hand.

Jeff tightens a corner brace.

Ollie and Jeff finish out the triple top plate.

Installing the vertical segment of the shallow frost protected foundation insulation.

Jeff prepares to place a 2 foot wide sheet of the horizontal segment of the shallow frost protection. Notice we have backfilled a little as we went along to keep the sheets in place. The trench had to be leveled and tipped a little to the outside first so moisture would not run back toward the footing. The two by fours are held in place with 6″ wood screws. They will act as screed boards when the concrete floor is placed. 

Once the gravel was spread, it became obvious there was not enough to bring to concrete up to the top so we lowered the boards 4″ all the way around and cut out the styrofoam. Later, we’ll remove the boards and use them as girts for the metal siding. The screws will find another use, too, in fastening the rim joists in place. More on that later.

Closeup of the shallow frost protected system. The verticals are resting on the footing.


More backfilling. We backfilled the trench and spread 39 tons of gravel entirely by hand.

A radiant heat floor is installed. The PEX tubing is zip tied to the wire mesh which sits on the perimeter insulation and on a vapor barrier over gravel. Notice four inches has been trimmed from the verticle insulation.