In the fall of 2006, we made the difficult decision to replace our beloved but tottering antique carriage barn with a solid and fitting structure. We had considered repairs — those had actually been ongoing for the last several decades — and renovations, but we came to the conclusion that the limitations of what we had to work with (size, height, ancient materials) were not going to become the barn of our dreams– with adequate storage, dry on the inside, and where Jim could stand up inside without hitting his head.
The old barn had to go. We would take it down ourselves and leave construction of the new barn to professionals.
Here’s a clip of us taking down the barn.
We saw ourselves as a destructive force at work, but little did we know that the real destruction would come with the actual building of the new barn. Our builders were a fantastic team and very sensitive to our needs; they protected the second year apple tree that had been unintentionally planted a bit too close to the construction site. Backhoes digging foundations and big trucks delivering building supplies, however, took a toll on our backyard garden.
The following spring, we launched our 20 minute garden website to document our efforts to reclaim our yard. Our plan was that we’d rebuild our backyard garden in small steps. As we wrote in our first post on annarbor.com back in August 2010, 20 minute gardening has worked well for us, and it’s a strategy that will guide us in the new gardening season too.