Tag Archives: Barn

The Great Barn Adventure: Part 2

By Mary

The Great Barn Adventure has been an adventure set in slow motion. The pace of its progress has inched along for months through peaks of drama, disputes, and communal efforts. As the project inched along I was lucky enough to be able to get involved. Perhaps its my carpenter brothers that instilled an enjoyment for construction in me. Nail guns and paint make me happy so it’s a blessing that I was able to help with random tasks. In reality I was way more involved in helping my Uncle Dave…

Uncle Dave

and our mathematical genius and master carpenter friend Peter Krump,


by picking up supplies and rolling them cigarettes. But hey, I can still say that I got to get my hands sticky with plumbing glue and learned all about toggle bolts, drilling out homemade pegs and putting up walls.

My Uncle David and Peter put an immense amount of effort into the job and I am so proud of their work, They have been good company to keep with in the midst of the scream of a saw or the background of the radio. (Sidenote: Who doesn’t want to work to the tune of Johnny Cash and U2?)

Peter is more of an artist than a carpenter so he put thoughtful consideration into all of his work. This past fall he vanished for a period of time. It was only when he came back that I was informed as to why. While at home he got wrapped up in making risers for the stairs into which he hand carved a poem into each riser. These stairs are beyond sweet. I love them! He told me that if I didn’t like them, he would just flip them to the plain wood side of the boards. What a crazy alternative for such beautiful work.

All of the wood work is milled by Peter at his farm in Ettrick, WI. The boards have been created from local lumber which has been specially milled and grooved by Peter and my Uncle David on cold snowy days.

As previously stated, this project has been a maddeningly slow one, but worth the wait. As my Uncle likes to tell me “Mary Brigid, you don’t have a barn apartment, this place has the detail that they put into churches, you got yourself a chapel!”

Whatever the space may be refered to it’s one of beauty, love, and sunlight. I am looking forward to sharing more pictures in the near future. Keep checking in and I will keep you all updated!

In cased you missed it, here is a link to The Great Barn Adventure, Part 1

The Great Barn Adventure

By Mary

While summer slipped away I was engrossed in the personal process of choosing whether I was going to commit myself to a long-term stint as a missionary, or finding a dependable housing situation which wouldn’t drive me to the brink of despair. You’ll understand the despair better soon,  after Kate’s upcoming post on my prior living arrangements.

Thru the searching process I came to a discernment point in which I felt a calling to remain in the midwest. This then lead me to consider buying or building a place of my own. House hunting was a difficult process for me during which I was blessed with the constant support of my mother. Mom was extremely supportive and helpful. She helped me weigh the pros and cons of different options. She was there with me when I was looking a price quotes for Amish built log cabins, she assisted me in the maddening chore of figuring out viable financial options, and encouraged me to check into may different opportunities such as pursuing a loan from the USDA. All three houses I looked at I pessimistically shot down. My poor mother must have heard me say “uh, I don’t think so, and well, what do you think?” about a billion times.

One Sunday while working out in the midst of a patch of bright sunshine in the top of my parent’s barn, the inspiration to take on a totally new house hunting avenue hit.

As many of you readers may know, in 2010 two of our carpenter brothers spent many a fall day constructing the timber frame barn that proudly rises behind the old farmhouse on Sweet Ridge Farm.

Since its construction, the basement of the barn has been mainly utilized as a space to prepare a cornucopia of organic produce for market. Though much produce has been processed in the basement quarters of the barn, the top level has been used less regularly.

There are times in which the space is used to cure squash

or host mad ping-pong games

or barn dances.

Within a matter of time, the space will also host ME!

An arrangement has been worked out in which the left end of the barn is being partitioned off into a small apartment. This apartment includes the space for a small kitchen and common area, a bathroom, and a low sleeping space in the eaves of the loft. One of my favorite features of this space is that it opens onto a porch that Robert designed and built from trees that grew in the very same woods my brothers and I would play in as children.

This fall has brought along a flurry of barn raising activity (and chaos!). An upcoming post will feature the cast of characters of whom have made this endeavor possible. Before that is to be published, I would like to note a special tribute to my mom. Although there are a half a dozen people adding input, talent and opinions to this project, Mom’s adamant opinions and common sense really what fuels the end result of all considerations.

The 2 of us ladies have been digging thru piles of junk and treasure at the nearest ReSale store every week. We are such frequent customers that the manager greets us by name and often says “I love seeing you in here!” She intends on coming to see the project once it is completed. In the midst of supposed junk we have come away with brand new flooring, vintage doors (the bathroom door is a 7ft church door), windows, a granite island top, a sink, and best of all (to me at least!) a newly redone bathtub with silver claw feet. All of this has been purchased for a fraction of its retail value costs. Mom and I have also been aggressively pursuing Craigslist. I set a very low stubborn price point, and she weighs in with her imput and logic. I never would have thought that looking for water heaters, plumbing and electrical parts at Menards would be fun. However, doing it with my Mom is one heck of an adventure!

Alright, it’s time for me to bring this post to a close. As I write, I am at Starbucks, but I have got to go in order to meet Mom at the ReSale store to look for tiles. Like I said, we are a team, but don’t forget- soon I will be churning out a new post on this project dedicated to the rest of the crew involved. Keep reading, and I will keep you all updated on the craziness.

Must go…tiles are calling! I’ll keep you updated on the barn project. In the meantime, read more about the barn (and our adventures in it) here:

Before We Dance

Petticoat Junction