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  • Donna

The Silos Are Finally Gone

Wendy and I worked on the barn this past week. There were two silos and related metal pipes on the second floor, which is only accessible via a ladder. Over the past two years, I often wondered how the heck we were going to remove that stuff. The ceiling is so high and I figured the metal pipes were probably very heavy. Wendy's dad noticed the silos were built from panels that had been bolted together, so I had a game plan for that part of things.

Wendy and I climbed the ladder and I heaved myself, rather ungracefully, over the 1.8m-high silo so I could work on the inside while Wendy worked on the outside. Armed with a ratchet and wrench, we spent the next few hours disassembling panels. Three panels, to be exact. At that pace, it was going to take us about three days to finish the job. Not okay. This was our last week before school vacation and it's not something we could do with the kids home.

Fortunately we got better at it. The trick, as we learned, was to clean the rusty bolts first so the rust wouldn't build up and make the nut ridiculously hard to remove. We also sprayed WD-40 on the worst ones and let it sit for a while before trying to remove them. When there wasn't any rust, we were able to use a drill attachment that fit over the nut and remove it a lot faster. So on the second day, we had the first silo disassembled by lunch. And as darkness fell (because there's no decent lighting in the barn) and five minutes remained before the bus arrived, Wendy and I disassembled the final panel of the second silo. Victory!

The next day I worked on removing the sheets of metal that had been screwed and bolted to the floor beneath the silos, then Wendy and I worked together to remove the system of metal pipes that had been used to move and store grain. In bad news, two big holes were cut in the barn floor. In good news, Wendy was willing to climb a ladder to cut the rope holding the tallest pipe, which was attached to a pulley, and we were able to safely lower it to the ground.

Add another day of sweeping and organizing and the second floor is now clean(ish) and tidy. Most importantly, the job of removing those silos and pipes is no longer hanging over my head.


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