Dear Friends

Author Photo
By Mary Conley

Dear readers,

In my last blog, I told you about a chicken house being built on the old brooder house foundation, and posted several photos of the process. I have been impatiently waiting to show you the transformation of the old barn and chicken house, but feel that I should first tell you the story of the building in the photo below since we later used part of it to repair the others. It sat at the end of the driveway and I evidently became attached to it, as I teared up as I started typing about it. I am surprised at how an old worn-out building could do that to me.

This building was a granary and is sectioned off with cement walls about waist high. The middle space allowed a small truck to drive in, unload, and proceed out the back. We renamed it the garage since we used it to store the chipper shredder, lawn mower, wheel barrows and garden tools in the front. Therefore, upon arriving each visit and beginning our work, the garage was the first place we entered, and the last when we put everything away to go home.

There wasn’t much to this building but the front, but that facade continued to be useful to hide junk for quite some time. It started on our very first weekend at the farm when Larry and Todd traipsed back and forth between it and the basement in a snow storm, filling it with heavy items such as the old furnace, a hot water heater, and a huge International Harvester freezer. It became so full, we eventually had to call a junk dealer to remove all of it.

The building continued the masquerade for us over the next couple years as we cleaned up the farm and tried to hide all the wire, metal, huge tires, and everything under the sun, in and behind it. The pile grew and grew until again the junk dealer was called.

In the meantime, Todd noticed the boards matched some of the other buildings and started carefully removing the inner ones and storing them for later use. Yes, this building would live on!

Our oldest son, Perry, visited for a long weekend and helped us. He loves to knock down buildings!

For the first time, we started cleaning out what had already been stored in the outer portions of the building. Under all the large items that someone left to decay, we found a few hundred pop cans. We are seldom surprised anymore.

Perry and Todd hauling off the debris.

Unfortunately, in the past, we piled wood next to the building from a nearby dead tree the men had cut down. Today was the day of reckoning, and Nancy and I worked hard at transporting it by wheel barrels to the nearby wood pile.

Under all that wood were heavy fireplace blocks to be picked up and saved. The work had seemed to never end, but Todd mowed around the place and finally we were finished with the cleanup. Er, I guess we weren’t.

There was still the roof. Careful there, Larry, the wind had caused it to lean!

The men collapsed the roof, and the cleanup began once again! As you may have guessed, razing this building and cleaning it up was done in several segments. We try to do a big job each summer, and this was a big one!

You are looking at the empty foundation from the back. The two parts seem strange without the rest of the building.

The old granary turned garage turned camouflage for the junk served us well until we tore it down, and even then we repurposed much of its wood. Whenever I see it, I remember how we used it until the very end, and a little nostalgia sets in. We would like to build a cottage on it someday, but reality is that we are getting older and not any wealthier. It is good to have a dream, though, don’t you think? After all, this place and all its richness was once just that.

My next blog will be about the rebuilding of the old chicken house. I think you’ll find it quite amazing, so let’s meet here again! Leave a comment to let me know what you are thinking or doing with your own old buildings.

Published on Mar 27, 2014