Small castles on the prairie

There is nothing like sitting on a deck, enjoying the view with a favorite food or drink; it can only be made better by location, or height. Wayne Peterson figured this equation out two years ago this fall.

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A view from the top of the silo before topping it with a grain bin.

Corn silos dotted the landscape back when dairy farms anchored area agriculture. Many of these silos still exist but live a quiet, lonely life. Wayne grew up on one of these farms which is still home to a concrete corn silo-sitting empty after it once stored corn silage and later grain. The silo lost its roof about fifteen years ago and just seemed like it needed a purpose. Wayne thought he should give that silo something productive to do in life; he would install a deck on top of the silo.

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Wayne Peterson-the builder

I noticed that Wayne had a very systematic approach to this project. He started by building a very solid system of stairs inside the concrete silo. He even made a template out of foam to figure out the stair risers which he then transferred to plywood which in turn was used throughout the whole project. The stairs reminded me of something inside a huge church steeple.  The stairs sit inside the silo, so they do not depend on the outside wall for support. As the steps progressed to the top of the silo, Wayne decided that he would not place the deck on the top of the silo as he didn’t like the idea of the approximate two second fall he would make should he accidentally step over the side.  Instead Wayne stopped short of the top which left a nice four- foot wall around the inset deck area. This was a great project until rain collected in the base which created a need for a roof.

Wayne could have built a roof, but this was a unique project which needed a unique crown. Wayne purchased three small grain bins, one for a silo/deck roof and two for future projects. Wayne and his crew built the sub-structure for the bin on the ground and then hired a crane to lift the whole thing on top of the silo. The top of the structure is 28 feet, so this was new territory for Wayne and the crane operator.

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Bin was raised by the crane using a spreader to prevent crushing the sides in.

Since construction ended, the deck/silo/grain bin has been a great gathering place for Wayne’s guests. The silo sits on top of a small ridge, so the rest of the world is very visible from the peak. Deer hunting and harvesting are easily viewed locally while fireworks from a distant Seven Clans Casino are clear from this perch.

Wayne also used the old silage room at the base of the silo for a greenhouse. He had plants growing the day I visited him. It seemed to me like everything had a purpose.

I like people like Wayne Peterson. They see an opportunity to fulfill a dream and are willing to do the work to make it reality. Where most people see piles of parts or scrap metal, Wayne sees the building blocks to small castles. Good job, Wayne.

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At night, lights on.

 

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