Yesterday was the day of the frame raise for the new building, and what a day it was.
Everyone was up an about early, one of the first jobs for the day was to make a wreath, we wanted it to go up on the frames for good luck. I went out on to Black Down to find a pretty special tree I know. Its a Rowan, one of the largest on the hill, Rowans are thought by some to bring luck, which certainly couldn’t do any harm.
I took what we needed, said thank you, and left a small present in return.
We added in some hawthorn and wild rose flowers from the hedgerows here at Swan Barn Farm, and then it was hung on the first frame.
Ben led the raise, the Black Down Countryside team and Roundwood Timber Framing Company team gathered together for a safety breifing and a run through of the plan. Then something rather special happened. You may not believe me, but its true, and it set the theme for the day. Some time ago we decided to name the building Speckled Wood after the pretty little woodland butterfly. As we were waiting to start a Speckled Wood butterfly flew in and landed on a mallet, we could hardly believe it, in front of the whole frame raise team it then took off, flew into the site and landed on top of one of the frames before it took off once more and dissapeared. It was just that sort of day.
The ridge pole was brought in to the site and settled in the top of the first frame, and then the raise began.
There were four frames to raise, they were pulled up using a hand winch which was anchored to one of our tractors which we had parked at the end of the site.
The first frame reached up into the sky and dragged the ridge pole up with it.
We then used the telehandler to hold the ridge pole up and out of the way whilst the other frames were being winched into position.
We knew before we started that the first two frames were going to be pretty tricky, getting them in the right place before any of the rest of the structure is in place to brace things was really quite difficult. But the inevitable problems that came up were dealt with calmly and the raise proceeded as palnned. Quite a few people had shown up to watch from the field next door, which was really nice, if you came along I hope you enjoyed it.
As frame two came up there was a fair bit of manouvering of the ridge pole that had to be done to ensure it didnt push against the ridge and knock the first frame out of position. We had a cloudbirst of rain at this point as well, and everything was all rather tense. In the end though everything slotted in to place and it was on to frame three.
Things were gradually starting to get a bit easier, as the frames were braced together everything was becoming more stable, and the tension was starting to lift. Frame three was our target before stopping for lunch, which was sometime after 3 oclock !
Once this frame was in position we could finally remove the telhandler, which had been supporting the ridge pole all day. That meant the last frame came up without any noise from machinery, you could hear the birds singing in the woods as the frame was winched upright.
The last frame slotted into position and deep breaths were drawn all round. It looks pretty impressive now as you come down the lane to the farm, if you get chance to come and have a look its well worth it.
There is clearly a long way to go before it becomes a building, but yesterday was a very proud day. So many people have worked so hard to get us this far, I think the frame is a tribute to all of them.
By the time we were finished and tidied up it had been a long day. Fortunately we had a batch of Swan Barn Farm cider chilling in the fridge. We fired up the bbq in front of the basecamp and settled in to toast the successes of the day.
As you can imagine we fealt in a pretty celebratory mood, and the party went on well in to the early hours.