Those that have been following for awhile will remember the story of my childhood farm.
It’s been awhile, so here’s a recap…
Funny how we have no control over some stories… except the choice to become involved in them. Life itself will dictate the next chapter.
Part 1 HERE – Crossing my fingers hard, my son and I rode bikes and ended up at my childhood farm not that far away from me.
Part 2 HERE – What we saw shocked us! But what was beyond this door blew me away…
Part 3 HERE – Spotting a small barn that just came down, I scrambled to see if I could salvage a few boards for memory’s sake…
And now we continue with Part 4 (but not the end!) which is super bittersweet…
My brother gave me a call with some news that didn’t exactly excite me. Quite the opposite in fact. However I was grateful all the same.
“The big barn came down.”
Ugh. Something no one in my family ever wanted to hear.
Other smaller barns had come down previous to this, however this was the big (and final) kahuna. The structure that signified where and how we lived.
Apparently the main big barn came down 2 days ago and after permission was granted from the owners, my brother and I could go back and salvage a bit of memory wood.
Sigh… AND oh my gosh YES! As in, dig in your heels but run fast…
So all my plans for the next day changed in 1 second and I drove there the next morning with tools, gloves, rain gear, lunch…
And Les was even more organized. It had been raining so he brought a tent, sawhorses, and even a fire pit if need be!
Goodness. Note to self: junk with this guy more often!
p.s. Les loves to collect as well. You can check out what I brought home from his past garage sale in this story.
One big barn wood pile of rubble.
The owners had plans to save and preserve the big barn into some kind of living quarters. However, it involved too much. So much rot over the years made it unstable and on and on it goes.
I suppose it’s easy for me to sit here and wish it could have stood forever. IF I don’t have to pay the bills in order to make it so of course.
So, plan B was implemented and it came down.
In some ways I guess I wish I knew. But in others, maybe it was better I didn’t.
As I paced the piles of barn wood and concrete, small memories emerged.
The aqua walls from the milk house peeked through…
Did I ever tell you about the time I opened the lid on top of the milk tank and helped myself to fresh milk scooped out with two hands cupped together? So yummy, frothy, warm, fresh!
I was busted when dad walked in and caught me shovelling it into my milk covered face. This apparently was NOT the thing to do.
A beam that had some of our hayloft rope swing still attached…
We had the longest rope swing in the history of ever in the upstairs hayloft. The bales were piled high around the sides of the barn, leaving the centre bare shiplap. So as you can imagine, climbing high with the rope, then lifting off gave us quite the thrill!
The hayloft shiplap floor where we use to play for daaayyyysss with the barn kittens…
Kittens and kittens and more kittens. Our barn was well moused. When my mom would spot one (or several) inside the farmhouse, she’d fetch the broom and gently sweep them outside again. She couldn’t figure out how they got in! Hmmm… dunno mom. (fingers crossed) I also use to dress them up in doll clothes on occasion. Their fav place to visit was the fish tank.
Yes, I love me some cats to this day.
As you can imagine, the memories compiled one after the other buried inside the piles like a scavenger hunt.
Taking a big breath, I decided to bravely accept the fate, be grateful to be there and followed my smart brother who had already implemented a pretty sweet plan.
We cleaned up a pathway from our vehicles and stacking piles to the barn so we wouldn’t walk on any nails, and set about scavenging, sorting out the good stuff from the junk to some that we took home ourselves.
I liked this plan. Rather than just take, we could help out too.
Which actually proved to be amazingly therapeutic.
(I have removed the house in the background for owner privacy purposes)
I have never been a part of a major demolition before so I was actually really grateful to follow Les’ lead. Everything was twisted into one big mass of a puzzle, and it was integral to either cut our way through it or pull and yank apart one piece at a time until something could be carried out.
I honestly just thought a big bulldozer came in at this point, but nope! This part is done by hand. Interesting.
I was not focusing on anything at first other than sorting, but once I gathered my bearings, I started to dream up a little something I’d like to make and what I’d require.
Kitchen shelves came to mind.
I have dreamed of open kitchen shelves for way too long now but not only was I uncertain on where to land the kind of wood I envisioned, I kept talking myself out of it.
It’s not right for the house…. it could hurt resale… blah blah blah.
During Kim Klassen’s writing course (I am still working on), I hit a segment about making decisions. And boy oh boy did I need that in my life right then!
Make a decision, trust yourself, implement, then support your decision, whether mistakes happen or not. Our ‘monkey brain’ is always nattering at us to pull back, stay safe! But listen to that brain fuss and moan and you won’t achieve your braver dreams.
Thank-you Kim and thank-you wood, because now the real gutsy work begins.
I brought home what I reasoned to be the right amount plus some other random pieces, and made my way home after a long, very wet day of sorting in the rain.
We actually went back the next day to help a little more. I ended up with a beat up old metal fan as well, however that day was mainly focused on reminiscing and helping sort piles for the owner, working side by side with someone that also knew all the fabulous memories the barn and our family held tightly onto.
It was a wonderful, wonderful two days of poking around, and chatting about memories.
We profusely thanked the owners for their hospitality towards us, and then it was time to let this chapter close…
… while starting a new one.
This was my barn wood haul. And while it may not look like much, when you don’t have room for one extra board in your storage, it’s lots! 🙂
These are the boards that will become shelves, doubled up side by side. They are perfect and exactly like I had envisioned! Beefy, rugged, and best of all, from my childhood farm.
I had to laugh. At first I told my brother there’s NO WAY I could ever move if I used this wood for this house!
But I’m happy to say, I have enough wood to make another set of shelves in a new place, so I’m going to go for it regardless.
Plus, as Les did pointed out, “You can always take it with you!”
How right you are.
I don’t have plans for all of it yet. I just grabbed what I felt would be worthy of my simple kind of projects.
This piece was a total win! Check out those old hooks!
And so was one long board with 2 very long hooks of sorts. This is the board that has rope attached to it we feel is part of our hayloft swing!
It’s 12 feet long and I just left it like that for now. Once I stage it somewhere, I can at that point cut it if desired.
But my heart of hearts says to be somewhat versatile with things I collect that mean something these days. I’m not in my forever home (I don’t think?) so one step at a time.
Les insisted I take a wired light my dad likely hacked together himself and I found a switch. Teamed up, they ought to make an interesting focal point!
I wish I could have brought home more shingles, however most were broken, so at least I have a small memory pile to either display or make something with.
All these barn boards may appear as dirty lumber to some, however to me, this wood raised our family on a 40 acre setting, housed my horses, and fed us to the point of never being hungry.
This is us.
So I silently said a thank-you to my dad for working so hard in this big beautiful barn that I now get to hold onto in a small way.
Above is a little video clip of the live process that went into our days there.
Music: Memories by www.Bensound.com
And if you know me well…
To be continued.
What would you do with the wood, knowing what it is?
Visit the entire Childhood Farm Series HERE