You’d never know

My daughter took care of feeding the outside cats early this morning, so I headed out a few hours later to do the rest of my rounds, including checking to see if any fallen branches needed to be cleaned up, etc.

You would never know that, just a few days ago, we looked like this.

The day after the snow stopped, not only was all this new snow gone, but so was a lot of the remaining older snow! Right now, the only snow left on the ground is either from the deepest piles, or in the deepest shade. Which actually goes a long way to helping me identify where to prioritize new growing zones and high raised beds.

With so little snow and not a whole lot of accumulated water, either, I checked out a few areas in the outer yard I now have access to.

Removing the maple that was allow to grow at the back of this old cabin means there are no longer branches causing damage to the roof, but we have lost a few more pieces of that corrugated tin. There are pieces from a shed that collapsed long before we moved here that can be salvaged to replace the missing and damaged ones, but we have no way to safely get up there to put them on. I really want to cover these patches of roof. This is the last of the log buildings that hasn’t collapsed, and I want to salvage it, if at all possible, but that’s not going to happen if we don’t at least patch up the roof. Ideally, of course, we’d replace it entirely, but that’s not going to happen until we are in a position to repair the building, and that’s not going to happen for a few years, yet. We’ll need to continue cleaning up around it, and cutting away the trees that have been allowed to grow against the walls.

I find myself wondering if the best way to save this building would be to literally take it apart, log by log, and rebuild it on a better foundation (it’s sitting on giant logs that are rotting away and sinking into the ground), and put on a new roof in the process. We’d have to keep track of the individual logs so that they get put back together in the same order, since they are cut to fit just as they are.

When my parents bought this property, this building was used as a summer kitchen. My parents used it as a chicken coop, which never got cleaned up inside after they stopped having chickens, so there’s a lot of work that needs to be done inside. It is actually wired for electricity, though, with a couple of lights, light switches and outlets, so that heat lamps could be used for the chicks. I believe it was powered via the old pump shack, much like the current warehouse is now, except that my late brother buried the electrical cable between those two buildings. The pump shack and the old chicken coop are much closer together. I have no memory of it, but there was most likely a power line running from just under the eaves of each roof. I’ll have to take a closer look to see if there is any sign of where the line went into the cabin at some point.

Then there’s this old cabin.

I was able to get around to the far side of it, and it has collapsed even more. What a shame.

When I was a kid, this building used to be closer to the house, where we now have a parking area. It used to be a house. My parents bought this place from my dad’s uncle, but the family that owned it before had built the cabins. This one, and another before it, had been houses. When the family needed a bigger house, they just built another cabin. The original part of the house we live in now was the last cabin they built. I don’t know if they originally built it on a basement or if that was dug out later, but a second floor was included and what we now call the old kitchen was tacked on later, and is not built of logs. At some point, my dad had this old cabin moved here, and it was used as “storage”. Basically, filled with all the junk no one was willing to throw away, or that friends in the city gave to the farm, because there’s always room on the farm, right? I remember playing inside it as a child, before it was too filled up, then again after it was moved, and more filled with stuff. I even found the remains of the cradle I slept in as a child. I was quite startled by how small it was – way smaller than what is now considered safe for a baby crib – but I distinctly remember the little teddy bear design on the inside of what might be considered the footboard. Of course, in my memory, it was much, much bigger.

I have some very, very early memories.

I also remember playing and exploring in the other log building that had been a house. There had been a foot powered sharpening wheel in there, and I wonder if the one I found when cleaning up my dad’s old forge was from there. I doubt it, but I like to think that at least that one thing was saved. During the years I was away, I’m guessing it collapsed, too. All I know is that it was burned, and there is now no sign of it. Sadly, no one considered these buildings worth maintaining.

I’ve had it recommended that we just light a match to this, but I want to dismantle it to clean it up, and salvage what we can. There are bound to be sections of logs that aren’t rotted out, and they can be reused for things like the cordwood buildings we are wanting to build. Much of this wood is so rotted that yes, it will get burned, but there is so much stuff in there, we need to dig it out and see how they should be disposed of properly.

That oil drum in the foreground would make a good replacement burn barrel, if we had a way to cut the top off.

Because this is so close to the septic outlet, we might have to get rid of those trees that should never have been allowed to grow against the building in the first place.

What a shame.

Thankfully, the winds have died down, but to have an idea of just how windy it got…

The winds have been slowly destroying the tarp – or what was probably the roof of some kind of shelter – and I’d put the rocks and old tires to keep it from blowing around as much. The winds were high enough to actually blow that tire on the ground off the roof of the car! I pulled as much of the tarp back as I could – it needs to be replaced, of course, but a little bit of coverage is better than no coverage – and put the old tire back on top.

What’s really amazing is on the left of the photo. Do you see what looks like three sticks poking through the tarp?

Those look like maple. There’s a tree growing under there! It wasn’t there when I put the tarp on, several years ago. Somehow, it has managed to get enough light under there to grow and actually break through the tarp. Once things warm up a bit more (the tarp is still frozen to the ground on this side), I’ll have to uncover it and remove the tree.

Talk about resilient!

Usually, when extending my rounds this time of year, I’m making note of all the things that we’ll need to work on and hopefully complete over the summer months. What’s frustrating is looking at things like this, knowing what work needs to be done, but also knowing we can’t do it for various reasons. Like not being able to safely get up to patch the roof on the one cabin, so it doesn’t end up like the other one.

Well, we shall see what we manage to get done over the next few years.

The Re-Farmer


4 thoughts on “You’d never know

  1. I watched a wooden bridge being taken apart and put back together. Before they started the “take apart”, they painted each a number on each piece of wood and took a bunch of pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a cool old structure, hope you are able to save it! My sense is to move it would be even more difficult. Hubby is salvaging an old tractor barn right now, not b/c it’s particular old or cute, but for practical purposes, and it’s a real challenge. Having to match up pieces, including lining up the screw holes on warped boards, repair/replace rotten boards, he’s having a heck of a time with it.

    That said, I think maintenance is a real art and a crucial craft! I was on a forum where a lady was trying to argue for these horrid Smart cities and rebuilding everything in maintenance-free materials, windows that self-wash, buildings that send signals out for robots to repair, the whole shit show. I can’t even argue with such folks. Preservation means nothing to them. Carrying on the dying arts of our ancestors is a waste of time and money for them. I’ll never understand that. It’s not just a matter of honor and respect for those of the past who were diligently forging our paths, it’s irresponsible to the future generations to pretend we’ll all be able to live without any life skills indefinitely thanks to magical technology. They are signing their progeny up to be robot-maintainers, pretending that somehow that’s going to be more fulfilling work than building ones own home. Mini-rant over. 😖

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a tough call to make. If we *don’t* move the building, we’ll still have to raise it, because it’s “foundation” is rotting, and it’s sinking. I have a cousin-in-law who took many years to fix up an old log house on the land he and his wife inherited. They were able to raise the whole thing and build a concrete foundation under it. It looks awesome. Sadly, my cousin passed away before it was finished, but he’s retired now and lives in it full time. I don’t know that this building could handle being raised. Plus, if we take it apart, we can move it to a better – less wet! – location.

    Also, good rant. The attitude of that lady in the forum saddens me. I love modern conveniences and technology, but the more there are of them, the more dependent, and helpless, they make us. I will happily use technology – but I also want to know how to build my own home!


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