Bonafide Farm

Cleaning up The Pile

November 30th, 2009 § 2

Lately, the theme around the farm has been cleanup as we take advantage of the short window of time between tick-infested summer and cold, wet winter. Last weekend we strapped all the aluminum siding from the old house onto the trailer for transport to the scrap metal center. This weekend, we continued the salvage theme while cleaning out the woods behind the house. IMG_3997Web

The previous owners had used the beautiful forest as their own private dump, for many, many years. In the two days that three of us spent sifting through their trash with two tractors and shovels, pitchforks and buckets, we found many clues about their lifestyle. Like, their preferred beverages were Jim Beam and jug wine. They also had a penchant for Nikes and plaid shirts. Both Coke and Pepsi bottles turned up in the pile, so that’s a draw. One thing’s for sure, plastic definitely doesn’t decompose.Through it all I was dismayed that someone could just throw their stuff on the ground and think that that was an acceptable way to dispose of it

In addition to household trash and old car parts, we found what appeared to be all the materials from the last time the house was renovated: piles of asphalt shingles, block and mortared brick, old wiring, and even the original windows that matched the one in the attic of the old house. These had been propped against a tree and buried, so the frames had rotted away from the plate glass panes.


It took two tractors and many hours to get all this junk into a roll-off dumpster, which we filled. And there are still big pieces of metal left in the woods: old car frames and axles and gas pumps and rusted farm equipment. The plan is to get all that stuff loaded on the trailer and scrap it as well. But in the meantime I have a very authentic kountry lawn ornament of a rusted out car frame, in this case an old Willys Jeep, propped up on blocks in the woods. I may even leave it for character, or “art” or whatever!

But I doubt it.

I did find some interesting things, though, in what was mostly junk. I definitely added to my old bottle collection, kept what wasn’t broken of the old plate glass, salvaged a few old car parts with objet value, and even got acquainted with this chubby pink fellow:


The beams: Upcycled from obscurity

November 16th, 2009 § 0

When the old house came down, I asked my builders to salvage as much of the old lumber as possible. Among some of the material that wasn’t completely destroyed by termites (such as my main floor beam) were a few of the floor joists, shown below intersecting that decimated beam:IMG_2788Web

My idea was to reuse the joists as decorative beams in the vaulted kitchen space. I spent a rainy weekend outside, sick with a cold and soaked to my underwear, scrubbing 80 years of crawlspace dirt off of the joists. With the dirt removed, the wood revealed beautiful graining, cool knot holes, decorative (as opposed to destructive) insect damage, and beautiful radial patterns from the huge saw blade used to mill it.

Then with family assistance I temporarily hung the beams with clamps to determine their positioning and number. It was a complicated math problem, as each beam was a different length, courtesy of the inept framers who cut them out of the old house, and the length of the shortest beam determined how high up on the wall they all could hang. But all that fussing around was worth it. I have to say, I am thrilled with the result.


A lucky seven fit the space perfectly. And I like the idea of reusing some of the old house in the new home. And though you’ll never see this view once the upstairs drywall goes up, I just liked the way the beams looked from above in this shot that really shows the saw patterns and color variations in each piece of wood. I might oil them some day to make these details stand out even more.


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