Demolition At It's Finest

We've been working in the charred remains of the barn for days now, and clean-up is coming right along. Things are looking so much better, and dad is excitedly planning a new barn. That's a very good thing. He needs projects to keep him busy because when dad is busy he's happy.

The farm had 3 silos, but only 2 have been used for many years. The third is in such bad condition that it really needed tore down, but dad never wanted to deal with the mess of it. And of course there was the fact that it was wedged between two buildings and the chances of it damaging one or both when it came down were great. It was just too risky, so that old silo stood.

Today was the day we decided that we have a mess already, so making another mess is not a big deal. And there is no barn to damage when it falls. Bonus. There is an art to taking down a silo. Its kind of like cutting a tree. If you do it right, it'll fall exactly where you want it to.

You start with a sledge hammer (or two), and you knock a hole in the base of the silo facing the direction you want it to fall. You then keep sledging away, working your way around the base of the silo.

Silos have wee doors in them so that farmers can crawl inside and fork out the silage to feed cattle, or fix the silo unloader that should work but sometimes doesn't. Sam got the hole over to a wee door, about where he was standing in the photo above, and that was as far as he could go on that side because of the door frame. That's fine, though, because if he would have gone too far on that side the mess would have fallen right over the wall behind him.

So Sam moved to the other side and kept sledging away. You'll notice the gash growing along the base. What you don't notice is that Sam was getting incredibly tired and making what the teen boys were calling "weenie hits."

He was nearly halfway around at this point, and that stubborn old silo was still standing. You can see how bad the top of it was, and why it needed to just come down. And as an educational tidbit for the non-farmers, silos are made of special concrete block. (Except the REALLY old ones that are wooden.) Sledging through concrete is tiring. Sam was exhausted, but for good reason.

And then he saw the base shift slightly and knew to run. Or as he likes to say, "I just walked." Dude. That photo shows differently, but we'll call it speed walking to meet in the middle. And the entire crowd of onlookers felt the need to yell, "there it goes!" simultaneously. Why yes, everyone, everywhere on the farm, stopped what they were doing to watch this happen because you don't see a silo go down just any old day.

And then we just watched it happen, almost in slow motion.


Look at that thing go!

And great was the fall of it. Sadly, this is the last photo I have. One split second after this was taken, the thing shattered into a mess of concrete and wire rings. A picture of the demise would have been way too fun, but I lack that.

And yes, the silo fell exactly where we planned for it to fall.

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