Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I'll pop on that...

Ok, so if you watch American Pickers...I KNOW you have heard Mike say that about a billion times.

Does it bug you as much as it does me?? He really needs to find a new phrase. It is like nails on a chalkboard to me now.

Ugh. I can't belive I found it coming out of my mouth earlier this week.

Here is a little background that leads up to the story I am about to tell.

I have so many facets to my crazy life. Some day soon...when my shows are over for the summer and I actually have more than 10 minutes to compose a blog post one measly time a week, you will see I am a girl of constant contradictions. I love to get my hands dirty, but I get a mani-pedi every other Wednesday. I am happy digging around in a barn of old junk...but I may have designer jeans on when I am doing it. You will find I have a serious case of wanderlust and actually spend oodles of time cruising backroads looking at cool old farmhouses and barns. I love them. They remind me of home.

Once in a while....I fancy myself to be a "picker"...but I didn't know that was even a term until I saw the show. You know the show on the History Channel...with these two guys...

Anyway, I am quite at home in the 'small farm scenario' so I rather like stopping when I see someone outside. More times than not, they are more than happy to let you poke around their outbuildings and I love...I mean TOTALLY LOVE when a cute old farmer shakes his head at me when I ask to buy a crusty old table I found buried under stacks of old feed sacks in his barn. The head shake is usually followed by a "Sweetie you can just have it...if a cute young thing like you is willing to crawl around in the dirt the way you do, you deserve to have it".

Well, that is when I know that poor man has spent waaay too many years working in the hot sun, because I am neither cute or young. So I have no choice to force cash on him, because the guilt would kill me slowly if I just took things I knew to be treasures.

During these little adventures, I climb over 100 year old machinery...through tiny spots to get into a hayloft that hasn't seen footprints in 50 years...I have even met an angry mama racoon or two that set up camp a little too close to crates of gorgeous vintage milk bottles I just had to have!

Very rarely do I come across a barn that is set up as nicely as I found this one. Primed and ready for the pickin'! The dirty part was already done. But it was no nearly as fun, I have to admit.

I have met some of the sweetest people on the Earth during my adventures. Truly good people. The salt of the Earth, as they say. There is nothing I love more than a farmer that has worked his life with his hands so we can have food on our table and his wife that daily wears an apron faded from 40 years of baking bread and making meals. I take away good memories of each and every one of them.

But the other day...one of those farmers from rural Iowa called my bluff.

I had already "picked" their barn, you see. I found doors with old pink peely paint...two gorgeous old farm tables...a green glass bottle pile that made my head spin...you get it. Good stuff.

But today...he didn't want me to pick the barn.


He wanted me to take the WHOLE barn.
 (ok, actually it is a corn crib, but for this post I am going to call it a barn.)


Ummm...yeah..That is exactly what I was thinking when he asked me.

But, before I knew it...the words just flew out of my mouth.

"I'll pop on that!"

Again...Whaaaaat did I just say?

What the heck am I going to do with a barn?

Well, take it apart piece by piece, apparently. You see, it is coming down...either in flames...or by my hands.

 It kills me to see a barn come down. They seem to be dropping like flies. Replaced by the new metal versions that I know are so much more functional and efficent, but I just don't love them like I do an old wood one. It won't have the smells...or the creaking floors...or the rafters you can see bits of sunlight peeking through. So, I guess it is up to me to let this barn live on...even if it is piece by piece.

So, this girl is going to have to get an extra manicure...because I have a feeling my french tips are going to be chipped. I have rounded up friends and family, bought enough hammers and pry-bars to go around and we are going to grill out, make some margaritas and have a barn-tearing-down party!

So here is the question I have for all of you.

What in the world am I going to do with old barn wood that has white paint on it...gates...barn doors...everything in the photos is soon going to be owned by me.

And I have no idea what I am going to do with it.

Do I build furniture?

Make signs?

Use the doors and gates around my house?

Sell it?

I am here to pick your brain.

And I hope to grow one of my own...because this idea was just plain crazy! 


  1. Oooh...give it to me!! :) Just kidding, but I would die to be in your position. You could make signs, build furniture (I'm seeing really awesome tabletops in my imagination), make picture frames or coat racks...my list goes on and on.

    I'm with you, I hate to see those old wooden barns come down. I've told my hubby ours is never coming down. It's been patched with some metal, but I can't get rid of my big red barns!

  2. O my goodness you are the luckiest girl in the world!!
    At the Endless yard sale this year i met this guy who made bookshelves out of old houses that he tore down. The back of the bookshelf were white and wood planks and the shelves were not straight across, well it's hard to explain but if you were to lay the bookshelf down on it's back it would look like a maze...I can send you a picture, it looked awesome. And imagine if you you could make a whole wall of bookshelves out of it!

  3. Wow. Pretty crazy, but sounds like something I would do, too. I used to have a little retail business and we sold furniture for a company that uses reclaimed pine wood from England to make furniture. (http://www.oldpinefurnishings.com/) Perhaps someone in your area (or these people) would work with you? Or you could get some ideas at their site to narrow down your choices... you're going to have a lot of wood!
    Have fun!

  4. I'll admit it!!...I was a little jealous when I read this post. The possibilities are endless, but I say just take it one board, door, or shutter at a time. If you are like me, most of my ideas come in the middle of the night and evolve, so by the time I get up the next morning I have a some-what clear plan. Have FUN, I know you will be busy for a while!

  5. ~*~Mary you are one lucky gal!!!*Definitely worth the chipped manicure!!lol..congrats and best wishes..you will have to post the pics of the farm tables and green glass finds!~*~Rachel :)

  6. I am so jealous of everything in this post. I think you should do a little of everything with it or you could try to make a profit by selling all the barn lumber together. It is popular around where I live to buy salvage lumber and recreate the barn. Also, I was thinking American Pickers is a History Channel show. I love all the pictures and old barn promises.

  7. I am SOOOO JEALOUS!!! I would so make more furniture with that. I also, like you, hate that phrase and to be honest, I would hate the show because of the hosts if it were not for the JUNK...lucky girl and if ya need to unload some of that....look me up!

  8. For years I've secretly been dreaming of finding an old barn to tear down and rebuild on my property so I could hold sales in it a couple times a year. Of course, hubby would have to be on board with this since I'm hopeless when it comes to anything with a hammer, or any tool for that matter. And he is NOT on board with it. So call me jealous, envious, covetous, whatever.

    But I am happy for you, and can't wait to see what happens to this lovely barn. Thank you for saving it fromt the ashes!

    Oh, and I used to like watching American Pickers, but got tired of it quickly.

  9. This is no easy question.... I'm gonna have to think about it... and get back with ya! LOL

  10. OK first I'm jealous! You can do anything & everything with this barn! I can't imagine where you are going to store all this in the meantime! The men in my family have tore down many a barns & rebuilt them on my father's farm for equipment storage and such. They always have a huge pile to work on, but I know you'll make that work! I want some to build a playhouse for my sweet kids - how fun would that be?!?

    Back in the day my Mom used to have a picker - I want to be a picker when I grow up :)

  11. This stuff never happens to me and I travel around to barns all the time!

    I love American Pickers and that phrase kills me too!

    Oh, I'll take some of that off your hands, I've got 1500 square feet of floor space that I'd like to cover in barn wood!

    And I just saw this tree house that this wood would be perfect for!

    Have so much fun with it!

  12. This post totally cracks me up. I'm sure it's daunting, but you'll figure something out! Thanks for the lunchtime giggles.

  13. I say keep it and have shows in it!!! I mean what else are you going to do with it, have vendors come to your barn, as you are the urban farmgirl with a barn now!! :) And if you decide to take it apart, can you send me a door, seriously, grey hound, momma needs one!! :) yeah for your new purchase, oh and I hate when they say that too...by the way why dont' you see if you can join them on their show, they sooo need a girls influence, they pass up some of the best stuff!! :)

  14. What are you gonna DO with it???
    Who are you and what have you done with Mary????

    LOL, girl, you KNOW that the possibilities are endless. The mind absolutely reels.

    Lucky. (said in my *best* Napoleon Dynamite voice)

  15. Yes, ditto to Tara's idea :) How cool would that be?! I would give my left arm (ok, just my left pinkie toe - its weird lookin anyways...) to have a barn to call my own!

    Orrr.....you can take it all apart and wrap your entire house with the wood - haha!
    Make a chic chicken coop (ala Miss Heather Bullard)
    Furniture idea sounds fab. Who wouldnt want a barnwood hutch in their kitchen?! Hello...me!

    Good luck with it. Lotsa jealous gals here in Blogland!

  16. I love American Pickers and so do a lot of guys I know - finally a show we can watch together! Girl - from your comments - you have a lot of followers that want to be in your shoes lol! Jennifer

  17. okay this is crazy! Fun crazy! I can't wait to see... but I think you should cover a room in that... sorry if someone has already said it... didn't read the other comments.
    Oh and make soem tables!

  18. I would DIE for that white chippy barn wood...LUCKY!!! If you ever happen to sell any of it, let me know...please! GREAT FIND ;)

  19. IF I had the space I would re-build it board by board and open up either...a museum or an antiques/junking emporium! As I would love to own either of these things :o)
    OR you could have it as a 'me' place like a giant summer house filled with your favourite things....

  20. What a lucky find! My problem would be finding someplace to store it while I'm selling it. Just sold 2 barn doors like yours to be used as a headboard. Good luck with the labor. Jan

  21. Holy cow....how exciting...I thank a barn party sounds so much fun...whether you keep it to have sales in or tear it down to make all of the above you mentioned...you won't loose....amazing!!!!! it is...oh my!!!

  22. Oh my goodness. You are such a lucky girl! All that wood. So perfectly aged. So many projects to be had. Has anyone laid barn wood floors lately? Keep us posted on what you decide to do!!

  23. WOW I am so jealous! I haven't been pickin' long but love it so much! I always tell my husband "husband. there is TOO much wonderful OLD stuff to buy anything new for quite a while!!"

    I wish you were close because I would love to buy some of that barn wood off of you for a reclaimed barn wood table!! Are you close to Baltimore? =)

  24. Ooh you lucky thing - you can do a million things with all the wood and will never have to buy another piece again. You can make so many signs and perhaps table tops etc.
    You could always just reconstruct it in your garden and have an amazing workshop and showroom/
    Another good idea would be to pack it all up and post it to me in Wales! That's probably the best idea!
    I'm so jealous!

  25. How fun! You'll definitely have to post about your barn party! And it looks like you'll have enough wood to do a little of everything :) Have to say I am also a huge fan of American Pickers too!

  26. gorgeous! I am sure you can probably sell many of the pieces as architectural finds. I would keep some of it, definitely those shutters and the door! Make a nice farm table out of the door or something.

    make old stools and benches out of the wood, and signs... lots of signs.

    build a little outdoor house with it, like a little getaway or a beautiful and huge garden arch trellis and grow vine roses and wisteria on it.

  27. You know we're all making that sucking in air sound when we scroll down and see the barn!!! Those doors and shutters definitely...save them and all that wood...build stuff, save some, and sell some!! Oh my, it's so good!

  28. Beautiful Barn! I've been quietly stalking your blog for a while (sorry) but had to finally comment. I have a little barn demolition experience myself. The first my husband and I did alone and it was probably the hardest thing I've done and it probably did not help that we did it during the hottest Texas summer month. The barns to follow we've had my parents help and what a difference it makes. Glad to hear you have some helpers! You'll have a blast. We are building a house so have been using the wood for wall coverings, ceilings, trim, to build medicine cabinets etc. After we move in (hopefully by the end of this year as we've been builing for just over 2 years), I hope to use the leftovers for frames, furniture, and other projects. I know you'll do something brillant to allow that beautiful barn to live on. Enjoy the experience and I can't wait to hear about it.

  29. Wow, you are so lucky! That is an amazing score!!!! So many different options; tables, walls, signs, doors, gates...etc! It is sad to see a barn go, but it will take on new life with your projects. Amazing post, would love to know how you did that in 10 minutes! : )

  30. OH MY GOODNESS. What an amazing gift!!! My neighbor uses old barn wood to make clocks. I've always wanted him to make frames for my paintings. That would be such an amazing touch. There's an artist at the General Store who uses barn wood to frame her button artwork. The options are limitless. I wish we were neighbors. WE could figure it all out together!!!! So exciting.

  31. i'd rebuild it in my yard my friend! i dream about owning an old barn and may beg my husband to buy me one is my old age :) hugs, susan

  32. I am so showing this to my husband...and he thinks I bring home lots of stuff!!!! What a great big find...the possibilites are endless..I know you will come up with the perfect thing to do with all of that!

  33. Mary,

    First off I LOVE American Pickers, and "I'll POP on that" is SO irritating, I totally agree with you. Secondly, what an AMAZING find!!! I would be covering my ceilings and walls with barn board. I can't wait to see what you do. Where ever will you store it?!

    Best wishes & HAPPY PICKING!

  34. It's a corn crib - bet the interior structure and lumber is beautiful! You probably have some great wood to recycle|reuse.

  35. PS: for drying corn while still on the cob. :)

  36. Oh I cringe everytime they say that too! But I still love that show...
    Good luck with the barn. I'm sure you'll do something amazing with it!

  37. How cool! And Crazy, but I love that you're taking it. It would be cool to have monthly sales out of that barn, you could gather all the local bloggers to sell their goods.
    Did you get the set?

  38. I love that show!!!

    And wow! A barn! I know you'll think of lots of creative things to do with it.

  39. OMG.

    I'm freaking out for you!

    You remember what I said about us moving into a barn together, right?


  40. Wow, what an awesome find! You will love having all that wonderful wood to work with. I can't see lots of projects coming now. Love & blessings from NC!

  41. Wood Floors ! :) Apply them as is or apply and sand them and stain/finish !

  42. What gorgeousness....the wood is just beautiful. Can't wait to see what you do with it..

  43. there was a barn given to us once, we had it appraised to mark and take it down (professionally) and that alone was going to cost over $15,000 to just move 1/2 mile to our foundation - not even build it -
    my husband is a carpenter and has slowly taken down a corn crib, but it is a lot of work - slow - and then there's the storage -

    I would say look to see if you can keep it on site, and take down what you can when you want - with no obligation - write something up, have him sign it...

    but HOW EXCITING!! I can't wait to see what you come up with to make with it all - and yes, put that door in your home!

    Anne Marie

  44. I would love to have some. If you are selling it, how much would you charge? I'd kill for hardwood floors made from this stuff!!

  45. Take pictures of the barn before you dismantle it and use it on the tags when you sell your creations. That little bit of history is what makes it so "yummy". You could make benches, tables,frames, bookshelves, signs, signs, signs, headboards, line a pantry, sofa table . . .So fun!!

  46. Lady Luck was with you this day. I can think of lots of things to be bult out of that deamy white, chippy wood.

    First make me a bench to use at my kitchen table. Then a coffee table. a wonderful old head board would be yummy. I could go on and on. Be sure and post pictures of what you do.

  47. wow
    ....how utterly FABULOUS....my husband once tore down an old white picket fence with 2 gates..i was in hog heaven over that...but THIS...oh my...one board, one window, one shutter, one door at a time..THEY will "tell" you what TO DO with them...really...they will! ;-)..the MOST fab thing is that they are already worn, weathered, WHITE...this will go down as one of the top ten greatest "finds" i am sure!..i would POP on it too! ;-)

  48. How fun!!!! I think a couple of those barn doors could make an amazing headboard.

  49. how big is that hayloft door? i'd be totally interested in taking that off your hands if the size is right ...

  50. I live in Iowa - let me know if you need help:)

  51. That is so fabulous!!! I am totally jealous!! Totally!!
    Wish I lived near..I would be there with hammer in hand...margarita in the other of course!!
    And I would beg you for some of the lumber for myself!!

  52. So jealous!!! We have an old barn like this but my husband's grandfather built it and there's no tearing it down or apart. I'd love to have those doors for a headboard project! You are one lucky gal..... Can't wait to see what you do!

  53. I can't even begin to wrap my chippy ole brain around all the possibilities! I would want to LIVE in the thing!!!
    Have a blast what ever you do!!

  54. My husband would be so jealous. That barn is great!

    I too like American Pickers... I gotta say Mike's laugh is a tad bit grating though. I can't believe some of the stuff they find. I need to move to an "older" part of the US.

    Good luck with the project!

  55. Oh wow, Mary, how fun is that?! All the boards are perfectly weathered... it's gorgeous! We watch American Pickers, too. Those guys crack me up! You got the biggest pick of all, though! Enjoy it!
    Hugs ~ Jo :)

  56. Very pretty! This Midwest girl loves barns too! My uncle-in-law (?) makes furniture from reclaimed wood. He has is in New Mexico, and has a Spanish/American Indian style that's very unique. You could come up with about anything with that wood! Good luck!

  57. You've gotta be kiddin' me...that gorgeous buildings yours...man your good. Oh...the possibilites.

  58. SCORE!!!!
    my barn friend in a nearby small town had me photograph his barn and collection for american pickers. and then they came!! he was quite happy about it. :)

    i wish we lived close by....because i would do some damage in your shop! every time i am near the flea market i don't have space for all your goodies! but a sign??? i could fit that in. a barn? not so much.

  59. Hello Urban Farmgirl!

    I totally enjoyed your delightful post! I love American Pickers and would enjoy a show like that but from a girls point of view looking for shabby chippy chic stuff! I would SO pop for that ;-)
    Regarding the barn wood how about a cute little garden shed on your property?
    As I scrolled down reading I couldn't believe when I saw the photo of the great pickers place with the Kohlers Trading Post sign out front. It was in Lombard, IL and I went there with my grandfather as a kid ( I"m 57 now) and when I started collecting as an adult, almost every week til they closed a couple years ago. Huge old 2 story building literally filled to the rafters with STUFF and 2 big out buildings not to mention everything outside. You, Mike and Frankie would have LOVED it! I live a mile from where it was and miss it terribly! The land is covered in those self storage units now :-(
    I'm your newest follower and thank you for the memories!!
    Happy Pickin'!!

  60. Girl, You are so lucky I wanna cry! :) Can my {construction-worker-of-a husband, if I must give convincing details about him!} and I come help you... :) How fun. I wish I had confidence to do things like stop by fams! :) I live in Darke County OH and it's filled with farmers that have no idea how much their shabby chic "junk" would sell for with crazy girls like us! :)

  61. I too am from Iowa! Finally I am seeing some Iowa bloggers that love to decorate too!

    I have used an old barn door as a twin headboard.


  62. Oh Man!!! I love this post. What a jackpot! First you'd have to pick me up off the floor. Then I would call every Posh Home Salvage Company (we have at least 4 in CT) and make arrangements so they could sell it for "authentic barn wood floors". Then I would keep all the really choices pieces for myself to make my art and pay homage to this dying American icon. Then retire on my private Caribbean Island that I bought with the profits:)

  63. Dog houses! Garden sheds! Cold frames! Window boxes! Planters! Garden gates! Bird houses!
    Mirrors! Any termites or carptenter ants in it? I always wonder about that with reclaimed wood.