Piney River Brewing Company

Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

Professional help

In Start up on October 27, 2010 at 9:07 pm

There have been some aspects of this project that Brian and I have not been able to do on our own.  It’s not that we couldn’t buy a book on the subject or Google the topic to find helpful tips.  It’s just that the tools required were too big.

Intercounty Electric came out today and installed a double throw box that will allow us to shut off all power to our house and barn for easily and safely hooking up a generator.  We also had an ancient electric pole that was in the way of our view out the West end of the BARn and was going to be too close for comfort to the party porch we plan to build off the back of the BARn.

The ancient pole

When the old pole was removed, two new poles were added.  The first pole was further up the line.

The remainder of the old pole is in the foreground.

The second pole was moved further down the line (even though we are the end of the line).

We will be moving the corral and making some fencing changes.

The shiny new double throw box.

If you happen to notice the rather large truck in the background of the above picture, that’s the other professional group we have on site this week.  We are putting spray foam insulation in the walls and ceiling of the BARn.

The spray on insulation was the only truly feasible way to insulate the ceiling of the loft while still keeping the rafters exposed.  Plus, this style of insulation will keep anything from coming inside the barn through any cracks in the wood, etc.

After the insulation is done, electrical work will begin.  As well as things likes stairs to the upstairs and bathrooms.

The other professional work was done by the big guy in the sky.  What a glorious sunset on this October evening!  Soon we’ll be enjoying them with a pint in hand from the West end view from the BARn.  And the best part of all…there’s no charge for the all natural view.


Windows to the soul

In Start up on October 25, 2010 at 9:14 pm

They say that our eyes are the window to our soul.  The BARn windows are part of the soul of this project.

We found our big windows online, a fitting tribute to the large holes in the upper ends of the barn where hay was ferried from end to end by horses according to old time tradition.  When I found those windows online, we felt truly inspired.

Originally, at ground level the barn had four windows on the North side and two windows on the South side, tiny panes framed by wood.  The glass from those windows and even the wood interiors to all but one of those windows was gone long before we ever moved to the Little Farm on the Piney.

Keeping true to the original look of the barn was important to us, but we weren’t inspired for those six first floor windows until Sam took some of the old barn wood home.

One day he came to our site toting a red oak window that he crafted from the old barn wood.  He wondered if we would consider his version of these windows for the BARn.

Sam saw into our soul, and we didn’t even know it.  With that handcrafted window, it was love at first sight.

Interior view of a window

Exterior view of a window

Last Friday Sam got all six of the side windows installed.  (He’s working on the upstairs sidelights now at his home shop.)

North side, exterior

North side, interior

South side, exterior

South side, interior

The old red oak of the original barn boards is exposed, and the window wood had some interesting and unique characteristics found only in reclaimed wood…like nail holes.  Beautiful.  Soulful.  Thanks Sam.

A little window soul

Indian summer days

In Start up on October 17, 2010 at 2:05 pm

We really couldn’t have asked for better weather this October.  When it comes to a building project, we’ve had dry, mild days.  And despite the August heat wave, the fall color isn’t too bad either.


Hillside over the Little Piney River



Spring blooming clematis that decided to show off for fall, too.



A trellis full of late-blooming morning glories.



Asters, grasses, red twig dogwood in the perennial bed.


We have some grass growing where the trenches were dug to run water and furnace lines.

The bottles have been restored to the hackberry stump by the greenhouse.

And the BARn is almost completely enclosed.


North side.



The South side.



The West end.


The two holes next to the upstairs doors here will be large windows.  A giant deck is in the plans for this end of the BARn.  The sunsets over the hillside from this view are fabulous.

And finally…


The East end.


Sam built custom doors for both sides of the front entrance of the BARn.  They won’t get used much, but when we need to move large things in and out of the brewery, they will open wide.  Or, if it’s just a beautiful Indian summer day and we want to open up the brewery to a little fall sunshine, we can do that, too.


In Start up on October 17, 2010 at 1:29 pm

This is McCall.  She’s one of the girlfirends that lives at Piney River Brewing Company.  McCall is a locavore.

Actually, all of the cows, calves and Papi, the bull, at PRBC are locavores.  We manage our pastures so that they have native grasses, clover and fescue to eat for most of the year.  And when they eat hay, it comes from just a few fields over.

We take pride in the food our girls eat, and if we eat one of their calves, we are proud of the locally grown, grass-raised beef that graces our table.  And since we started brewing, the girlfriends have partaken of another locally produced product–spent grains.


A tub of grains left over from our Oktoberfest home brewing.



Four girlfriends check out this mid-morning snack.


I take pride in drinking microbrews because most of them are locally produced and distributed products.  And when you drink something made at PRBC, you should know that the grain goes on to sustain another locally produced product.

Which makes you a locavore, too.


In Start up on October 13, 2010 at 9:17 pm

In October, we celebrate the 200 year tradition that was born in Munich on October 12, 1810 with the marriage of Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese.  The five-day public celebration became what we celebrate today as Oktoberfest.

Around the Durham household, October means several things.  If you’re a 14-year old Dalmatian, you spend those Indian summer days running around outside and crashing on your pallet indoors.

If you’re a 5-year old, you spend part of October playing your heart out in soccer.


Andy does a goalie kick.


And 200 years after the first Oktoberfest, the future home of Oktoberfest in Bucyrus, MO received its complete covering in treated pine.  First, the bare bones of the barn were uncovered on each side.

It didn’t take long to slap the 14′ boards up on the sides.

We also took delivery and began hook up of our new central boiler heating unit.  This wood furnace heats water and the heated water also is used to blow heat into our house.  These units are very safe, efficient and the latest thing in heating units.  We are using this unit to heat our house and the BARn.


We cut down a couple of old trees that were near the furnace. It was installed on a pad we poured behind the shed.


In September, a hackberry tree in the backyard lost another big limb–the first big limb was lost in the derecho that hit in May 2008.  With the loss of the second limb, the hackberry had a huge split down its middle.  Time for that tree to go.  Brian started cutting on the tree, and Reuben came running over.  To save Brian from himself?  We’ll never know.  Brian pushed against the tree with the skid steer bucket, and Reuben cut through the tree.

The tree fell, and guess what I’ve got in my backyard perennial bed now?  Another hackberry bottle tree stump!

We had a little family celebration with friends on 10-10-10 to celebrate Oktoberfest, and as the leaves are changing on the hillsides around the farm, this is our new barn view.

I’m thinkin’ this barn is going to be around for Oktoberfest in 211o….

A smoking pigeon

In Start up on October 3, 2010 at 9:12 pm

There will not be any pigeons harmed in making the BARn, but they will be relocated.  I believe that the pigeon colony that roosts nightly in the barn senses they will lose their habitat soon.  When we walk around the barn in the evening, they circle overhead crying their displeasure at our intrusion.

All the pigeon poop has been scraped out of the barn loft.  These days the pigeons only perch in the rafters at night; there’s way too much action going on in the barn during the day.

This week, the concrete was completed.  After Brian did a little more excavating–this time in front of the barn–we poured a concrete pad at the front and a small retaining wall on the South side.

Andy poses with his rice cake by the wall.

One night of concrete pouring went into the after dark hours, but, for now, we’re done.  Although we forgot to pour a couple of steps off the back of the barn, we did remember to pour a small pad in front of the door that will serve as our main entrance in the beginning of the operation.

After having a tough time getting the boards for the BARn, we finally got a load of wood last week.  The bottom row of 12′ boards has almost been completed on the West end.  You can see the doors and very large sidelights are framed up to go into the West end.  We also have a large window to go into the top.  Our plans include building a huge deck off the West end of the BARn, too.

Although the BARn pigeons are quickly losing loft space in Bucyrus, there’s one baby pigeon that Reuben found last week (at a different construction site) that has gained a new Texas County home.  Reuben adopted the pigeon, and he’s been toting it back and forth between home and our barn so it doesn’t miss meals.

This pigeon has been eating Sonic fries, garden bugs and whatever else Reuben can coax it into trying.  On Friday we discovered that the pigeon also seems to prefer unfiltered camels after Reuben offered him one of his cigarettes.  A barn with a smoking pigeon…you can say you saw it first here.