Wednesday, September 29, 2010

what a difference a day makes...

Yesterday, I started to take down 'my' barn.

And I lived to tell about it.

Here is a little background for those of you that are just joining in. This is a long post, so get comfortable.

I did a post about a month ago, telling you about this crazy idea that came over me. My sister lives on a farm in rural...very rural...Iowa. Every once in a while when I am crusing through the middle-of-nowhere on my way to see her, I feel the need to stop and ask if I can peek through a barn or two at a farm that strikes my fancy. Usually I come out with a few pieces of industrial goodness to use in my home or sell. But this time, one of those farmers called my bluff and offered me the whole barn!

Crazy, you might say...that I would want such a thing, much less participate in the tearing down of it. I cannot deny it, you would be right. Crazy it is, and crazy I am. But my husband and I love to build furniture, that is actually where my little business began way back in the day, and I am a little sad sometimes that is has been overshadowed by the painting of furniture instead. So, its back to our roots for a little while. We have a few tricks up our sleeves as to what we are going to use the barnwood for, and I can't wait to get started!

Ok, anyway...back to the barn.

 Here is where I started yesterday...

By the middle of the day, it looked like this.

I know there are quite a few of you out there that are like me. You find beauty in these sort of things, as crazy as it may be. You should have seen the look on the farmer's face when I told him some the boards from the inside were going to be made into a dining table for my patio.

It was priceless. He just shook his head and walked away.

But serioulsly, that is some gorgeous wood! Perfect vintage patina if you ask me!

I am going back next week...and this gate is going home with me for sure! Isn't is just awesome?? I am going to have to cut it in sections because it is so long.

~ sigh ~

I heart chippy white paint.

Oh, and the boards with a little white paint?? It will soon be a cabinet for my office with lots of little drawers.

I have been dreaming about this roof since I first saw it. I have a serious addiction to galvanized metal...and I would LOVE to use this on the walls in my garage. The color is fantastic, perfectly aged and weathered. Now...I just have to convince my sweet husband when we go back to salvage more wood to spend his day 2 stories up in the sky, taking it down for me.

I have a feeling some deals are going to have to be made for this one.

Of course I could never have done all this work by myself. I had sisters, brothers-in-law and even a few unexpected helpers yesterday. I have a great benefit plan for those that help me., and we do allow time out of your day to play with Thomas the Tank every few minutes when the real work gets to be too much.

He did a fair amount of supervising, as any 3 year old nephew should, but most of the time he was too busy looking cute. He did try to show me the ropes of farm living, thinking maybe I had forgotten since I had gone "urban" in my new life.

(Oh, and don't tell his mom about the giant pieces of gum I was giving him. Our little secret, ok?)

And for those of you that are worried...the kiddo didn't stick around once we started working. He was there to see the project get underway then it was home for a snack and a nap. Hmmm..sounds like a couple of other suervisors I have had in my lifetime.

A couple of the site supervisors were of the 4-legged variety. It was so funny how they felt the need to "inspect" everything we did! At the beginning of the day they just could not understand what we were doing...but by the end of the day they were stuck to me like glue.

The cows were fascinated by all the action. I was watching them from the top of the barn, and one by one they would come over to the water tank to take a drink...or shall I say...pretend to take a drink...but would really be watching us out of the corner of their eye.

This big guy did not seem amused by any of it.

Then there were the chickens. What is it about chickens, anyway?? They look suspicious of everything that goes on around them. This one watched me with an Eagle eye like I was stealing from him home. Unlike the horses, he could not get me out of there fast enough!

I ended up taking a couple dozen eggs from his house, so I guess I did steal from him a little.

My little burro buddy made the whole day worth it. He was my side-kick all day. He would watch me as I tore boards off...and follow me as I carried them over to the "nail removing station". Isn't he just the cutest little thing?? My nephew named him Burrito. Love it.

But then there were those that insisted on pitching in...even though I would never ask. My beautiful 74-year old Mom even got in on the action. We would take the boards down, and she (and my Dad, too) would take the nails out. Can you believe that?? What a woman! Raised 8 children, took care of our little farmette, spoils 20 grandchildren and still has the time and energy to knock rusty old nails out of barn boards. I would say you no longer need to wonder where I get my "sure, I can take your barn down" attitude.

~ smile ~

I just love her.

This is about a third of the nails her and my Dad had removed by the end of our day. I saved them...I felt it was right to give them a home in a beautiful antique jar in my office. There was just too much history there to throw away. First, the years they held up this beautiful structure, then all the sweat that went into taking them back out.

Go ahead. Call me crazy again. I totally deserve it.

By late afternoon I decided to try to get the doors and shutters off the top of the barn, so I scaled this tiny little thing they called a "ladder" (have I mentioned I hate heights) and was so taken in by the scenery. I was tough, I scaled back down that little, old ladder to retrieve my camera.

I wish you could have been there. It was about 67 degrees, and the air smelled so good. I just sat there with my legs dangling out the hole where a hay door once was taking in what was before me. The sun was setting and everything had a golden cast to it.

It was truly a beautiful sight.

The timing could not have been better if I planned it. I didn't see a single car (or tractor) all day...and right as I was taking a few photos, this one came rolling down the road. I guess it was just meant to be!

And I can't forget my all-time favorite find in the barn so far. By the door there were some boards with numbers written on them. I asked the farmer what they were from, and he said he remembers when he was a little kid,  his Dad figuring out the price of corn on those boards. How cool is that??

So there you have it. One girl decided to take on a project that seemed waaaay over her head, and she conquered. We were all tired and dirty by the end of the day, and we LOVED every minute of it.

Memories like this are rare and I will keep them forever.

Oh, and did I mention I stepped on a rusty nail?

Yep. Straight through my shoe and over an inch into my foot. I better wrap up this post, because I have a doctor appointment in a few minutes and I have a feeling this one is going to hurt. If you don't hear from me for a couple of days that is because I am still crying like a baby over it.

Just a day in the life of a girl that lives in the city and misses her farm roots.

Happy Wednesday, girls!