Top o’ the morning to ya!
That’s right, today is that magical green holiday in which everyone celebrates their Irish heritage, no-matter authentic or fictional. My theory is that St. Patrick’s day is so popular because it is one the precious holidays with no obligations. No gifts to purchase or baked goods to prepare, the only requirements seem to be the adornment of various shades of green clothing, funny little hats, and participation in general celebration and merrymaking.
In the past we have attended parades, sampled home-made Irish fares (i.e. Corned Beef and Cabbage and various potato dishes), and had friends over to celebrate the first holiday of spring. Due primarily to our temporary housing situation and ill-timed sickness we were unable to indulge in the more festive of celebrations, but that does not mean we are without recognition.
I do have a fair bit of Irish heritage in my family, and as my primary extended family influence was delivered mainly from my mother’s side, the Henehans, it is unlikely I would forget this crucial holiday. So in my personal observance of this sacred green day I began reading “The Feckin’ Book of Irish History,” a gift both my brother and I received for Christmas from, (surprise surprise) our Mother.
I rediscovered this book at the perfect time as I had just completed my previous read “The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America’s Man-made Landscape” by James Howard Kunstler earlier this week. It is my intention to provide a brief discussion of that book shortly, as I intend to provide upon completion of “The Feckin’ Book of Irish History” as well.
How are you celebrating your Irish heritage, or masking your disappointment in your lack-there-of?
I found this website today. If you read my previous post about what I want to be when i grow up I mentioned Daniels Wood Land and a good model to work towards, albeit a bit large and diversified for my taste. I much prefer the work done at Heritage Antique Lumber, and in truth, I can see myself achieving a production model that more closely resembles these guys. They locate, acquire and deconstruct old barns in Michigan and reuse the lumber in creative construction projects such as kitchen cabinets, tables, flooring, and even pool tables.
All images from Heritage Antique Lumber.
Growing up and living in the finger lakes region of New York state, and with a farmer for a father, has taught me a lot about the importance of the old barns. My brother and I have spent a lot of time exploring old barns all over the region while my dad conducted business with the farm owners, and the most important thing I have learned from those experiences is that every barn is different, and every barn has a story. It is fascinating to walk through an old barn with my dad as he looks at every nail placement, every wear mark, every scrap of wood and retells the story of the purpose behind that piece. Just by looking at a few nails and some old beams he can work out the farmers typical day or how the barn was constructed, from where he hung his coat and hat and where he serviced his tractors to the process used to hewn the beams and maybe even where the wood came from. For all these reasons it pains me every time I see an old barn collapse onto itself after several years of disrepair. It would take weeks for a builder to even construct all the necessary members to begin building the structure, as every one had to be felled, (usually from the owner’s property) and hand formed to the right specifications, much different from having some laminated beams delivered from the big-box stores the next day. All those stories and unique character that has survived for hundreds of years simply gone, possible forever.
I have always had a passion for history, and an innate interest in lumber, salvaging old barn lumber to give them a second life after the barn has stopped being cared for seems like a fantastic way to combine those two interests. So next time you pass on old barn, thin of the first owner or builder and all the life and possibilities that lie within those old beams!
This past weekend I got to spend some time doing what I really LOVE…building stuff. In an attempt to conserve funds and expedite the increase in our potential to purchase a home, my wife and I have decided to move back in with my parents. However, we are not simply moving back into the room I grew up in, with the intention of sleeping across the hall from my parents, sharing a bathroom and every meal together. The space we will occupying within the house is, for all intensive purposes, a completely separate dwelling.
The house my family lives in is very old, and quite large. We have an old black and white photo of the house sometime in the early 1900′s with a horse-and-buggy tide out front and a sign hung over a secondary door to my childhood room that reads “General Store.” The home my parents own has housed a bed-and-breakfast, general store, grocery store, a few residential owners, and a number of other uses. As you can imagine, it is quite large.
Through the locust grove
Our family has never lived on the on the second floor. All the bedrooms and living spaces have always been on the ground level, reserving the entire second floor for storage and entertainment. Through the years my parents have owned the home there have been a number of wandering souls spend a few nights or weeks in one guest room or another on the second level, but there has been no functioning bathroom or kitchen, (since we have removed the 6 toilets from the previous use.)
Once we decided to move into this space we discussed the addition of a bathroom, attempting to utilize some existing plumbing and increase the market retail value for the future. My parents accepted this proposal and this past weekend we took the first steps in creating an apartment-like space upstairs. In fact, the available square footage on the second floor of the house is considerably larger than some of the apartments we have stayed in previously.
The Master Bedroom wing
I enjoy this work immensely and am quite please to be able to get back into it. Another huge bonus for making this move is the ability to use my Dad’s workspace and tools for further construction projects! I will try to document this process, but will have to be attentive, as we will be moving forward rapidly in order to try and complete the project by our move-in date.