Thursday, July 29, 2010

Old and New Tech in Old Saybrook

Our intrepid barn hunter Cherie is at it again - here she shares a fascinating find from her adventures in the field!

The three little pigs would be proud to live in a barn like this, framed in the old traditional New England style, but with walls made of straw.

The barn may not be historic in age - it was built in 2007 to replace a pole barn that burned - but its construction will likely stand the test of time.

While there are other houses made of hay, including a well-known one on this property, this is the only straw-bale barn we know of in Connecticut. It was built by Barn Raisers of East Haddam using traditional timber framing. The post and beam frame is joined in the English Square Rule style, mortise and tenon joints, pegged. No nails or bolts were used. In addition, very little power equipment was used in the joinery, relying instead on hand tools.

The walls are straw bales, stacked up, then covered with a mixture of clay, chopped hay, and lime plaster with a lime wash.

The owner, David Brown, organic farmer and artist, chose to color his 20 x 30-foot barn and 17 x 18-foot addition, in a light shade of southwestern brown.

The two-story barn serves as his cozy studio, above, and houses vegetables, flowers, eggs, farm equipment, and tools below. The barn was "raised" in the old way, relying on people of the community for its construction and becoming a social event that created new friendships and reinforced bonds between people who built something together, with the Barn as the "center of life."

photography by Brendan Matthews - the Barn Raisers

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