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What’s in That Barn?

on September 9, 2014 with 4 Comments
in The Cabin

I’ll bet I’ve passed this barn a thousand times and never pondered the question “what’s in it?”  The barn is located just three tenths of a mile from our cabin and years ago was used as stables for Wolf Laurel.  As I have come to find out in recent weeks, since the stables closed the barn has been used for storage – everything from used toilets, a mountainous pile of 70′s era ski boots and old barn siding and beams.

During the winter the barn and the land it was on, along with 700 other odd acres, became the property of the Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land.   Transfer of the property was due to the financial failure of a developer and the new bank owner’s desire for tax advantages from the unwanted land that fell in their laps.

Susan and I went to a meeting this summer to learn about the land trust and it’s impact on property owners like us who live near the trust property.  I can’t remember much of what was said at the meeting because the executive director mentioned there was a lot of old barn wood stored in the stables that he was wanting to sell on behalf of the land trust. For the rest of the meeting my mind was on old barn wood.

I am little embarrassed about the two elderly ladies I had to knock over to be first in line to talk to the executive director about his weathered boards, but these kind of opportunities don’t come along every day.  And who knows, those ladies could have been interested in the barn wood too.




When Susan and I inspected the barn we found a huge pile of old wood packed into a large double horse stall.  Most of the wood in the stack looked pretty questionable, but I did pull out a couple of pieces of wormy chestnut lumber.  If you’ve been a reader of this blog you already know that wormy chestnut works something like cat-nip on me, so it wasn’t long before I had entered into negotiations with the land trust and reached an agreement to buy the chestnut and stack of hewn logs.




Unfortunately for Susan, all my wood recovery endeavors usually end up with her on the wrong end of a long, heavy board, breathing ancient dust and kicking aside rat nests.  At least I hired her an assistant, Skyler, to help.

For every ten or so boards we moved still retaining digestive remains of the farm animals who lived and walked on them, we might find one chestnut board.  Some of you might think this seems like a lot of work for a few chestnut boards, but for me it was hog heaven.




After three hot, dirty days and moving a mountain of worthless boards, the front porch of my shop is full of wormy chestnut lumber.

I am planing some of the chestnut now for wainscoting to go in the first working bathroom of the cabin remodel.




When I left you last I was working on the front door of our cabin.  During my blog silence I was able to finish the door along with several other projects.  A big thanks to neighbor Dick Moeler who dropped by to help me lift the heavy door.




Here is what the door looked like after I installed the door hardware but before installation of the door stops, weather stripping and threshold.  Pay close attention to the door hardware because I am about to point out another bone headed woodworking mistake I am all too prone to make.




A year ago, when I started building the first front door, I ordered two sets of identical Emtek Arts and Crafts style door handles.  You know, I wanted to be prepared for the second door so both doors had the same look.

The door handle was stored ten feet above my head in the shop attic while I designed and built the second door.  Did I bother to go up and get the hardware to see if it was going to be compatible with the door I was constructing?  I’m guessing you know the answer to my question.

With the door completely finished I retrieved the stored hardware and placed it on the door, only to realize that the neat little ledge I had placed under the window made the door knob unusable.  Ahhh, life is always interesting.




I am sorry for the long blog silence and really don’t have an explanation other than this has been a very busy summer.  Thanks for your patience.

Work on the cabin has progressed to the point that tomorrow we are expecting the power company to disconnect us from the temporary power pole and energize the circuits in the home.  Next week the HVAC contractor is coming to install our thermostats and do the final hooking up of our furnaces.  We are very close to having a house we can live in…well, at least live in part of it.


All I Do is Copy Other’s Work

on June 13, 2014 with 5 Comments
in The Cabin

If you’re a writer and copy other’s work you are called a plagiarist, lose your job and have all kinds of nasty things said about you.  However, if you are a woodworker replicating other’s work, you are called a craftsman.  Good thing I chose the path of woodworking and not journalism because I look for woodworking […]

Getting Back in Fighting Shape

on May 15, 2014 with No Comments
in The Cabin

After a sedentary winter, the first few weeks at the cabin are always physically challenging.  We arrived on April 25th and have been running hard since.  Susan and I have been the building project’s clean up crew, so when we left in late fall and the contractor continued to work through January, we found mountains […]

Reflections on Owen’s Life

on April 30, 2014 with 5 Comments
in Family Stories

  “Owen Thomas Parker went to be with Jesus on April 7, 2014.  Born to Brian and Allison Parker of Lawrenceville, GA on February 23, 2014, Owen lived his short life in Egleston Children’s Hospital, Atlanta where he was being treated for a congenital heart defect known as Shone’s Complex. While on this earth just […]


on March 12, 2014 with 8 Comments
in Family Stories

Grandson Owen was born on February 23rd around 6:00 PM to our son Brian and his wife Allison. Owen’s eight pound seven ounce birth weight, twenty-one inch length and beautiful face gave all the appearance of a healthy baby. However, within hours the parents were told by a doctor they could hear a heart murmur […]

Huatulco(wah-TOOL-co), Mexico

on February 11, 2014 with 6 Comments
in Traveling

After Hernan Cortes finished conquering central America in the early 16th century, the Spanish discovered a series of nine small bays on the Pacific coast of Mexico that made an excellent vantage point for Spanish galleons to resupply and rest.  What was not to like about the average year round 82 degree temperatures, sheltered bays, and […]

Couldn’t Stay Away

on January 12, 2014 with 6 Comments
in The Cabin

During the holidays Susan and I traveled to Calgary, AB to spend Christmas with my Canadian family. Then it was on to Atlanta to celebrate the new year with our children and grandchildren.  But the desire to see what Freddy our contractor had done to finish up the Cabin exterior was too great to not […]

Back In Florida

on December 20, 2013 with 2 Comments
in The Cabin

With fall temperatures staying below freezing many days on the mountain, and my completing most of the projects I had planned before leaving, I used our family gathering at Thanksgiving as the deadline to return to Florida.  Our contractor Freddie and crew have continued working on a few minor building tasks (like the roof and […]

You Can See It From Outer Space

on December 4, 2013 with 7 Comments
in The Cabin

You can’t really see our house project from space but you can see it from Big Bald Road. A few days ago a friend stopped by the shop to visit, and during the course of the visit mentioned he was driving down Big Bald Road recently and saw something he was not used to seeing […]

Fall Work

on November 16, 2013 with 4 Comments
in The Cabin

Wednesday morning I woke up with a dusting of snow on the ground and the mercury stuck at 15 degrees.  While the sun was shining, I was glad to have indoor shop work to take care of.  A door jamb needed to be built so I can get the front door, laying finished on my […]