Sunday, March 30, 2008

Is it really Spring?

We had our first big day at the land after a long, cold winter. We had expected it to be sunny and nearly 60 degrees. We got cold, gray, over-cast and windy. Yikes! We had fun anyway. We walked off the building site for a shed, barn-studio and a house (again). We changed things and we remarked them with orange tape. We used the four-wheeler to haul large dead trees from the winter forest and built two huge bonfires, which burned until 3 am under the watchful eye of Robert, our three oldest children and six of their friends - who played guitar and sang silly songs around the fire and then played "Capture the Flag" with glow sticks in the very dark woods. A very blessed time! Thank you Jesus.

Marshmallow or snowball? A very cold Spring day.
A new camp site and a warm barrel fire.
Isaac stuck in the mud - never failing to amuse us all.
Uncle Bobby pulling Isaac out of the mud - no kidding - he was really stuck!
Sophia digging a hole. What could be more fun?

Searching for Salvageable Barn Wood

Isn't she beautiful? "Emmett's Barn"
If you've been following our Art Barn blog, you will notice that we've changed our "Building the Art Barn" plans a bit. At this point we are no longer planning on using the barn-like house kit out of New Hampshire, rather, we will build a small barn (20' x 30') on our own. With some help from experienced friends, we're confident we can learn how to do this. The barn will not be attached to the main house, as we had originally designed, and later when we build the main house, the barn will become Robbie's wood shop. We are designing the barn with one large open/main room, one small bedroom (later an office), one bath and finally a loft on either end - temporarily bedroom lofts for our three youngest children. Later these will be storage lofts.

After looking for several old barns from which we can salvage reusable beams, siding, flooring and perhaps even metal roofing - we decided that trying to take down an old barn is too dangerous for us. We've been looking at some old barns that were recently blown down in a storm that have good barn wood already down. We'll have to purchase plenty of building materials, but we want to collect as much authentic old barn wood as we can.

(Note - after deciding we would not be taking down the barn mentioned below - because it simply seemed too dangerous for us to try - the owners offered to pull it over so that we could salvage the wood from the ground. A much better idea!)

We needed to find a relatively small barn. One that is not too tall and is reasonably accessible. We may still find that this job is too big for us, but in the mean time we think we may have found the right barn - just seven miles from our land in Henry County.

The kind owners of this old barn have said we can have whatever is salvageable for free and what remains will be burned on the spot. That means we will not have an over-whelming clean up job and will not have to haul off unusable materials. Although a lot of the wood will end up in the burn pile, we believe that much of it, including the majority of the frame, beams and a great deal of interior wood and a small amount exterior siding, will be usable.

We're calling the old barn "Emmett's Barn" due to some crazy old canceled checks that Isaac discovered deep inside an old trough, on the upper level of the barn. At this point we don't know how old this barn is or who built it, but we are going to do a little home-school, (history class), investigating to see what we can find out about the old checks and the old barn. Maybe the current land owners will have some information for us.

Checks (found in the barn) written in 1952 - a check written for $1.00
A check to Clover Farms Store - sounds charming, and Stewart Motors for $3.00 - a car payment in 1953?