Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Homemade Apple Butter Recipe

Our apple tree is raining apples.  Literally.  I go outside everyday with the kiddos to pick-up apples off the ground.  I have almost been brained a couple of times from kamikaze apples dropping from the tree.  Even though we had nothing to do with the planting and cultivating of said tree, I am driving myself crazy trying to use all the apples for something.  I hate seeing so many go to waste!  After a successful canning session making applesauce, I decided to try apple butter with the "fallen" apples (apples that are on the ground, not apples that went to the high school dance with the bad boy).

Apple butter must have been "invented", when the pioneers were making applesauce and forgot about it on the fire for a long time.  Applesauce cooks low and slow and eventually is cooked down into a silky, butter-like consistency.  Add in some sugar and spices, and it is a delicious condiment.  I found lots of recipes online, but mostly adapted mine from http://www.pickyourown.org/applebutter.htm.

Makes about 8 pint-sized jars of apple butter

Applesauce, divided (either jarred or homemade from about 20 lbs of apples)
2 cups brown sugar, divided (I used brown; the recipe above uses white; other recipes don't use any and some recipes use up to 4 cups of sugar)
2 T cinnamon
1 t cloves
1/2 t allspice

Step 1-  Make the applesauce.  I did homemade again and it took about 20 lbs of apples- 2 full large pots of cut-up apples.

Step 2- Put the applesauce into a large crockpot until it is 1" from full.  Since I made my applesauce, I didn't have time to do the crockpot in one day so I put the applesauce in the fridge overnight and started my crockpot at 8 pm the next day.  I had about 6 cups of applesauce leftover so this went back in the fridge for later.

Step 3-  Add 1 cup brown sugar and spices to applesauce and stir.  Cover, leaving a gap to let out steam.  Based on the advice from the website above, I used bamboo skewers to prop my lid up a bit.

Turn the crockpot on low and let cook until it is reduced by about half.  This took about 12 hours in my crockpot.  I did stir it a few times but didn't have any issues with it burning on the sides.  Remember all crockpots cook differently... mine seems to cook pretty evenly and heats up pretty slowly.

Step 4-  Add in the rest of the applesauce and 1 cup brown sugar and combine.  I had about 6 cups left and it filled the crockpot back to 3/4 full.  Continue to cook on low, partially covered for 2-3 more hours.

This is a good time to get your jars ready.  Wash them in hot, soapy water and then sanitize in the dishwasher on the "sanitize" cycle or on the stove in boiling water for 10 minutes.  Put the lids in a bath of almost boiling water for 5 minutes (do this right before you are ready to can).

Step 5-  I wanted my butter really smooth, so I used a hand-held blender to smooth it out.

Turn the heat on your crockpot to high and get it to boiling so it is ready to can.  (If your crockpot doesn't get hot enough to make it boil, move the apple butter to a pot on the stove over medium high heat).

Step 6-  Carefully poor the molten (lava-like), hot apple butter into the hot jars 1/4" from the top.  Put on the lid and lightly tighten the ring.

Step 7-  Process the jars by putting them in boiling water (1" over tops of jars) for 10 minutes (check this based on your altitude!).  Take them out carefully and put the processed jars in a draft-free place overnight.  After they have cooled, check to make sure the button is depressed.

Processed correctly, these should last 2-3 years jarred or 2-3 weeks in the fridge.  So far, we have had this on toast and on graham crackers (F's favorite).  I am excited to try some melted over roasted pecans and sprinkled with salt.  Sounds like the perfect fall treat to me!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

From Shims to Starburst

I have always loved starburst style clock and mirrors. Megan and I share a love for Art Deco design and this couldn't be more of an iconic fixture in Americana design. A few months back, Megan got really excited when her new "This Old House" magazine came in the mail, yes we are old. There was a starburst mirror design project which encompassed gluing a ton of standard cedar shims together in a set pattern to create the design.

Like most projects, I said, "This is great! I'll pick up the stuff on the way home tomorrow." Megan replied, "We already have too much going on"… blah blah blah. Someone has to be responsible and it ain't me, so I “appreciate” her input.  So, project put on hold.

Last week, Megan and the kids took a week long trip back to Chicago to visit family and friends. This is great for both of us; our families get to see the kids and I get to work unimpeded for a whole week! I get sooooo much done and have the time and space available to tear into large projects without interrupting the family. I thought this would be the perfect time to construct the mirror project as a surprise. I picked up 9 packs of 12” shims, a tube of Locktite PowerGrab, a tube of mirror adhesive and a 12” round mirrored candle holder. Which, by the way, who would need a mirrored candle holder? Take off the 3 sticky bumpers and put it upright and whoa… look, a regular mirror. This candle holder was ½ off at Hobby Lobby (don’t get me started with that place) but mirrors were full price. Who’s the dumb one here?

I got home and found out that the entire new season of Breaking Bad was just added to Nextflix which meant I wasn't going to be moving from the couch for a while. I grabbed a painting tarp and got to work on the floor gluing all the individual shims together to make 28 – 9 shim wedges. Because shims are all different thicknesses and depths, I prearranged a lot of them together so once face was always lined up and tried to make each wedge of similar size, but don’t get carried away on the latter. This is a fun project and smells great (cedar shims) but it is boring so the tv made all the difference. I let the wedges dry overnight and the next day I came back and glued them all together to make the large design.

When I glued the wedges together, I made sure that all the aligned faces laid flat on the floor so it would be fairly flush in order to get good adhesion from the shims to the mirror. Once the large design dried, roughly 2 days, I measured and cut a rough circle of ¼” plywood to glue to the back with heavy duty construction adhesive to add strength and a good mounting plane. Really go to town on that construction adhesive, and tack it down with to hold it while it dries.

After that was all glued up and dry, I flipped it over and glued on the mirror. I would suggest adding some flat weight to make sure the adhesive really bonds. Megan just so happened to buy a train set table for F for his birthday so I used that as my weight. However, you could avoid buying a train set and us a bucket with some water in it. Just remember to spread the weight evenly and that water weighs how much a gallon? 8, you guessed right I am sure.

 I spent about $40 in materials but I had a few others on hand. I would bet you could do it for $50-60 depending on what scraps you have lying around for a backer. Megan loves it, even more than I thought she would and it is going to be the new focal point in our 3 season porch… other than the built ins!
Mirror ready to be hung!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Slappin' on a Little Color

One of our standing home improvement deals is Andy builds, I paint.  I actually don't mind this deal so much... I enjoy the instant gratification of painting and seeing an immediate change.  I also love setting up a movie while I paint (and now as a result of having painted 30+ rooms, can spout off scenes from the BBC "Pride and Prejudice" verbatim... though I do have to take a painting break every time Mr. Darcy jumps into the pond.  He clearly needs my full attention).  Before kids, once I started painting, I wouldn't stop until the whole room/piece was finished.  Now, I work around nap times and bed times and eventually get it done.  This project took me 3 nap times and 2 bed times to finish.

Always, the hardest task when painting is color choice.  I made one wrong choice when we moved into our DeKalb house and that has made me a bit trigger-shy since (which will happen when you paint an entire kitchen then repaint it the next day).  Since I already painted the porch white (SO unusual for me!), I decided I wanted to use some subtle color on the benches.  Enter grey.  Grey is a tricky color.  It looks grey on the little color chip in the store, then once it comes home with you, suddenly morphs into beige, or blue, or lavender (check out the light walls in our bedroom, urf!).  So, I was a little nervous but after going through EVERY light grey color chip in the store, I was pretty confident in my choice:  "Time Worn Stone" by Better Homes and Gardens.  I am a self-admitted paint snob so I did a color match in Glidden brand- 1 quart of semi gloss (I always do semi gloss for furniture and eggshell for walls).  Had I been at Home Depot, I would have gotten Behr paint, which is my favorite, but alas... Decorah only has a Walmart, sigh.

My tools of choice:
I used a pretty small, angled brush for all the cutting in and corners.  I used the little roller for everything else.  The roller had a flat nap pad on it which is what is recommended for furniture.  The little baggies are sitting next to everything so when I have to stop (when nap time is over!) I put the roller in a bag and brush in a bag, close it as much as I can, and throw it in the fridge.  Brushes keep for days like this so you only have to clean-up once!  Everything got one coat of primer first (Zinsser 1, 2, 3).
Yeah, my sweet painting clothes- Old Navy pj pants and my high school "Pajama Game" t-shirt.  Of course, I have the iPad set up and and am catching up on episodes of "Burn Notice".  After the coat of primer, the benches needed two coats of paint.  I just squeaked by with one quart of paint.  We are thrilled with the results.
The light grey really looks sharp on the white walls but is neutral enough to go with the outside color of the house and kitchen cabinet color (which you can see through the window joining the porch to the house).  I considered making bench cushions but decided the cost wasn't worth the product.  I may add covers to the bottom cubbies so you don't see all our "junk" and I am keeping my eyes out for some jazzy pillows and rug (the one in the pic was returned.  We decided it was too small for the area and just looked weird) to add some fun color and pattern to the space.  More on that to come.  For now, the kids love playing out here on rainy days and we love having an organized area to take off boots and relax for a bit.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Porch Built-In Bench

Porch when we bought the house
I think one of the best features of our old farm house is the attached 3 season porch. It is sweltering hot in the summer and like an icebox in the winter but I love having a buffer between the outdoors and the main house. It is great for stripping off dirty boots and storing all the odds and ends of family life. Unfortunately, it is such a useful space it quickly became cluttered with junk we never got around to finding a permanent home for in the house or surrounding outbuildings.

Megan and I decided after our 3rd attempt to clean up the area and give it purpose we would try something more drastic. The plan was to construct built-in benches with open front storage along 2 walls.  I worked up a quick plan and bill of materials and set to work clearing out the area. While moving our famous hoosier cabinet that I have moved more times than I can count, I stepped on a really soft spot in the far corner of the porch.

The bench design including building right over this area of the floor so I needed to first tear it out and shore it up. After peeling back the glued down carpet I realized this was going to be a bigger pain than I was hoping. It seems to me that the previous owners noticed that the floor was rotting and crumby so they just put another layer of T&G floor boards right over the failing ones, so now I had two layers of junk to rip out. Break out the trusty sawzall and get cutting!

After removing the floor back to sound material, I measured everything up, cut and installed some frame work to support the old and new floor I was about to put in. A chuck of ¾” CDX later and I had a solid floor to start my bench build over. Notice the use of the levels which was an exercise in futility as my new section might be level and square but the rest of it was, lets say… not.

Using my new clamping straightedge, I ripped down and cross cut two sheets of ½” birch plywood to size. Some glue, brad nails and clamps transformed my pieces into benches. For this project the plan was to trim them in place after they were level, squared and installed. Building the raw benches is the easy part, the hard part was just beginning.

As I stated before, this porch and most other rooms in an old (sometimes new) house are rarely square and level so I had to build a base for the bench casements to sit on. Most cabinets have a recessed space at the bottom which is called a “XXXXX”. It allows you to stand right up to the cabinet and have space for your toes to go, gives you space to level/trim and it also brings your pots and pans, etc off the floor height so you don’t have to bend down all the way. This space is usually 3- 3 ½” but since I knew how high I wanted the benches to be on average, I found a good center point on the floor and made that my level point to start measuring from. What that got me for this project was about 1 ½” on the lowest point and 3 ½” on the highest point. I set my bench casement in place, shimmed it to level and took readings every foot along the bottom so I know how to cut my frame. You end up with a 8’ long wedge that will level and support the casement.

I installed all the frame work, set my casements on top and screwed everything solid. The plan I started with in my head was to create a hinged trap door in the corner for my muck boots to hide out when not in use. I was going to use concealed hinges so when the door was closed you wouldn't even know it was there. When it came down to it, I no longer liked the idea and instead thought it would be more useful if I built a bookshelf into the benches to store Megan's cookbook collection. Megs was hesitant at first but I talked her into it and in the end it is her favorite detail about the new storage unit. I measured her cookbooks and found three common sizes. I usually make all shelves adjustable using pins but ½” plywood is too weak for that in my opinion so I secured them with glue and Kreg pocket hole screws. Once dry, I set the shelf casement in place I tightly shimmed it level and square (do you see a common theme emerging from my work?) and secured it with cabinet screws.
Corner "hole"
E "sleeping" in the bench
With all the casements roughed in, it was time to start trimming! I ripped down some 1x pine for all the exposed faces and set to work gluing and nailing in place. The really fun part came when I had to trim the newly installed units to the existing clapboard siding. Megs came out to me carefully scribing a board to match every nuance of the 60 year old wall and proclaimed… just put a strait board there it will be fine. WHAT? To quote one of my favorite movies, The Rock… “No scissors, you must be joking me no scissors, do you think they told Picasso no brush?” When she says these types of things to me it makes my heart hurt; like she was almost going to convince me. Ha!

After a few back and forths to the shop I had a pretty good match for my liking. Some caulking and hole patching then off to Megan for priming and paint.  Viola, storage unit/ bench to sit and enjoy the view.

Monday, August 19, 2013

My Accidental "Naturally Grown" Applesauce

One of our coolest inherited items on our farm is a huge, beautiful apple tree.  The tree sits on the south side of our house and gives great shade where the kids like to play.  Last summer, we had just moved in and were going through a drought so we totally ignored the tree.  We picked up fallen apples and threw them into the neighboring field but other that that, did nothing.  This summer, we enjoyed watching it bloom, than again forgot about it as we got busy with our other projects.  And then came the caterpillars... and caterpillars... and caterpillars.  They were literally falling from the tree.  And though E loved collecting them (calling them "Mr. Caterpillar") we had no idea how to get rid of them.
E with "Mr. Caterpillars"
I research online and found out we should have sprayed our tree in the spring to prevent the caterpillars from making bags all over the tree.  So, we made a note to do this next spring and again, ignored the tree.  Well, August has come and our tree is filled with apples ripening.  Lots of apples have fallen to the ground so I started researching (my favorite thing) things to do with "yucky" apples since it seemed wrong to just waste them.  I learned you could make applesauce out of these apples as long as they were sweet and not sour (like Granny Smith) apples.  We don't know what kind of tree we have (we are guessing Jonathon) but Andy taste-tested and declared them sweet so it's applesauce time!

Esther and I spent a few days picking up apples from the ground that still looked pretty good.
Several websites I read said you can often ask apple orchards for discarded apples as they keep bags of them in the back for cheap so if you don't have an inherited apple tree sitting in your yard, this is a good option.  A lot had worm holes (due to not spraying) but I was confident we could cut out the bad sections. We collected a lot in just a few days.  I washed the apples in cold water right before I was ready to use them.
Once the apples were washed, I used my apple corer to cut and core then checked the slices and discarded any that were too spoiled.  I didn't find any bugs (thankfully).
My discards went in a bucket for the compost heap (circle of life).
The good pieces went into a large pot with an inch of filtered water (you can also use apple juice).
I filled up the pot with apple slices, put the lid on, then put it on the stove over high heat.  Once it started to sputter, I turned the heat down to medium.  It took about 20 minutes for the apples to turn to mush.
Once they were REALLY soft, I put them through a hand-cracked food mill.  You can also use a strainer or KichenAid sieve/grinder attachment.  I thought the food mill worked fine for $30 and didn't take much time at all.
Once the applesauce was made, I put it back in the pot and kept it warm while I did another batch.  (It took me two full pots for all the apples I had collected). The only thing I added was cinnamon.
Meanwhile, I prepped my jars by washing them in warm, soapy water and then sanitizing them in boiling water for 10 minutes. (The instructions on the Bell jar box)
The lids were put in a pan with hot, but not boiling water for 5 minutes.
Once the applesauce was ready, I spooned it carefully into the jars, cleaning up any that got on the outside or rim, to a 1/4" from the top.  I set the lid on top and gently tightened the ring around them.  The filled jars were put in a large pot and covered with water 1" above the lid.  For my sea level, the jars needed to boil for 15 minutes.

 I lifted the jars out of the water with a jar lifter and let them cool overnight.

Once the jars cooled, I checked their seal by making sure the button in the middle was pressed down.  So, by completely forgetting about our apple tree then ignoring it once we realized it was infested with caterpillars, we ended up with 8 jars of FREE, naturally-grown applesauce!  I call that a yummy win.

Friday, August 16, 2013

ReStore-ing the Master Bath

Anyone who has tackled any sort of restoration project in their home knows budgets can get out of control really fast.  We save a lot of money by doing all the work ourselves and borrowing tools when we can but costs always seem to pile up fast.  One of our money saving tricks without compromising quality is purchasing items from a ReStore.  I learned about the Habitat Humanity ReStore a few years ago and am now obsessed!  Basically, ReStores are nonprofit home improvement and donation stores for building materials, furniture, appliances and odds and ends.  I have seen anything from lighting to tiles, french doors, toilets, trim, stoves, cabinetry, dressers and dining sets.  Most items are "gently" used but sometimes a retailer will donate new items that they have an overstock of.  All the proceeds of the ReStore go back to Habitat for Humanity who help build homes in the community.

Most people know that I HATE bargain bin shopping- even more now that I have kids- but I don't mind the ReStore too much because they are usually organized pretty well and I usually find something to take home for a great price.  Even so, I have to gear up before I go into one with the kids because 2 normal children turn into 2 octopuses with 8 arms each grabbing everything within reach.  F gets strapped to me in the Ergo carrier and E goes in the stroller.  Still, we usually manage to knock over a display of doors or rearrange the knob bins while we are there.

Now with any kind of resale shop, you never know what they have at any given time until you get there.  I always keep a list of things we are looking for at any given time with measurements.  Right now, my list includes several light fixtures, shutters, exterior doors and storm doors.  Whenever I am in a town with a ReStore, I try to pop in and see if I find anything on my list.  In the past year, we have found several great items that have found their way into our remodeling projects.  Top of my list for the past year has been a white vanity sink for the master bath.  Currently, the sink has this 70s-beige disco thing going:

Actually, disco is even too nice.  It has a 70's-beige old person feel to it.  We knew from day one the bathroom needed a quick, inexpensive update so I have been looking for a new sink to replace the beige. On a trip to the ReStore in La Crosse a few months ago, we found this gem:
I loved the square shape of it and simple lines of the sink.  We ended up getting it for free because there is a crack down the left side of it.  Since it was free, we decided to take it and see if we could repair the crack- it is long but not deep.  I think the crack could have been fixed but the sink was not as large as the current one so Andy would have had to build a new vanity for it to sit on.  Doable but more time we don't have, so back to the drawing board.  (You may see this sink later though in another project because I still love it).

Last week, I was visiting family in Chicago so I stopped by the ReStore in Aurora, Illinois.  I love this ReStore because it is HUGE and has a ton of stock.  I hit pay-gold, finding 2 white sinks both the right size!!  (Imagine nerdy mommy dance in the middle of the aisle with F hanging on in the Ergo and E getting hangry in the stroller **hangry is our term for irrational anger due to hunger).  One was a shiny white; the other matte white.  After a quick call to Andy at work, we choose the matte finish.  Best part- the sink was $25 (and the money then goes to Habitat)!
After squeezing my new sink in the back of my Subaru, I was re-invigorated and determined to find a faucet.  I took a quick peek at the big-box home improvement websites and saw their basic faucets started at $30 and were really generic looking.  So, adding a faucet to my ReStore list, I decided to move on.  Luckily, since we have so many projects going, we are not in any huge rush to get started on the bathroom update- we figure when we find the pieces we need, we will get started.  After an unsuccessful stop at the Addison, Illinois ReStore, I headed back home.  A week later, we found ourselves back in La Crosse for some hiking and came across this gem:
I LOVE the double white handles and square faucet shape.  Can you see the price tag?  $15!! Money much better spent than the generic $30 new ones.  A good scrub with CLR and....
...so shiny you can see my camera in it!
So, now that we have all our pieces, I have Andy pulling the old sink off so he can put the new one on (I am hearing grumblings of glue...).  Also, we are setting aside our old sink and faucet to donate next time we are at a ReStore to help Habitat for Humanity continue to build homes for those in need.  The only thing I haven't found for the bathroom yet is a vanity light so if anyone sees a good one, send it my way!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Our Land Henceforth

After signing the house papers and getting some lunch we headed out of town to survey our new land. We immediately stuck our normal deal; Megan gets the house, I get everything else. Now, that doesn't mean I have to sleep outside and she can't walk on my grass, although I would support the latter, it simply sets the focus for each of our hard work.

I did my best while trying to sell Megan on the property, of what these buildings could be and not what junk was currently stored in them. In a word they were frightening! All of the buildings we filled with 60 years of rusty, sharp, filthy, tools, implements, and other farm related items we had never seen and sometimes furry teeth bearing animals who felt as if we were encroaching on their home.

Because I like swimming against the grain, let's go counter-clockwise, shall we? The "garage" off the front side of the house is a relic from the ages where no one could build anything straight. I use quotes around the word garage because there is no way to fit any car from any era in it. Megan and I once owned a Mini Cooper and although you could probably drive it into this deathtrap of a building ,there would be no way to get out of the car unless you were Bo or Luke Duke. Its only redeeming quality is it has an automatic garage door attached to it, don't ask my why but it does. The plan for the future is salvage the overhead door for the barn and tear this thing down, but for now it does a good job at holding our weekly garbage and other odds and ends.

To the north are two machinery sheds. Most of the names I have chosen for these buildings are wildly incorrect as I have been told by my country friends, but most derive their names for their current purpose or general features. They were originally built as calf enclosures, which would shelter the young cows from the elements until they got big enough to be chucked in with the herd. Currently they are used as covered parking spaces for our amazingly friendly neighbor's large farm implements. The land used to belong to our neighbor's brother so they always used the outbuildings as storage. I struck up a deal with them early on that they could store their 3 horses there and use various outbuildings, I would never use anyways, if I could borrow their riding lawn mower or skid steer when needed. I love this community and them!

Barn first floor one side
The barn has to be the coolest building on the property. It is in fantastic shape which is very uncommon I came to quickly understand, and we have so many ideas for it. Cleaning out the loft was one of the first projects I took on before Megan and E moved in. I made it a priority because I wanted nothing more than to set up my drums right in the middle. I had lived in an apartment for a year before we bought the place and was dying to get back to practicing. The lower barn is divided into three sections, one of which I cleaned out to temporary store my tools before I get the shop completed. The floors are covered in hay, corn, and dirt from the years of animals tramping around in there but underneath are really nice concrete floors. Eventually, some of the space will be parking and the other space we are thinking of making it play friendly for roller skates, bikes and the like so the kids have a place to go on rainy days to play.

Up next is the "back bale shed". Most would call them lean to's or pole barns but its in the back of our property, and my neighbor stores the large round hay bales there... I'm no rocket surgeon people. It is a well built building that has a concrete floor under all the compacted dirt and someday I bet it would make a cool place for a family gathering, wedding, an enclosed basketball court, or outdoor concert venue! A small section in the back of the shed was enclosed for tractor storage but now is a shelter for the horses. When I took down some of the fence lines the horses were able to get at all the bales so I had to barb wire off the building. My neighbor said just wrap the whole building and he would take it down when he needed to get a bale but in a moment of weakness I drove few more poles so the horses could retain their shelter. My neighbor just laughed and told me I was a softy. Even though I don't trust those 1,200 lb shifty as a weasel animals, everyone needs some shelter, and they aren't staying in my barn!

The concrete stave silo is about 25ft across and about 50ft high. It has roughly 6 feet of dried silage left in the  bottom and came with a silo unloader. If you are not familiar with a silo unloader think giant chainsaw that slowly spins in a circle chewing up and spitting out whatever you have stored to feed your animals. I used to build unloaders at the factory just like this one so it was cool to see one "in the wild". It has since been taken apart and scrapped for money because it now longer worked. I do have dreams of making the silo into a visitors cottage but I have been told we have more pressing projects, blah, blah, blah.

Next up is the "paddock", which I can't recall the real name for. Ultimately it was used to separate and funnel cows into waiting trailers in order to deliver them to a place that turns them from stinky and skittish into delicious. It was carved into the ground because of the landscape slope and the walls were falling in. It was more of a deathtrap than anything else so I have since torn it down and will landscape it back to the surrounding nature. More on that project to come, and ohhh was it fun!

Inside with selected odds and ends we found and probably will keep
The little shed that sits on the south side of our property was filled with the most frightening array of dangerous chemicals, buckets, a homemade crapper, 200 lbs of rusty fasteners and various other bits of house and farm living. It took me a month to get the thing cleaned out and I had to wear a respirator to avoid the inevitable black lung. The plan is to turn it into the kids playhouse which should be only one or two projects away from getting attention.

Lastly, there are two building attached together which were originally a grainery and a lean to, but now we call it "the shop" and "the three way"... can you guess how many sides are enclosed on the latter building? Simplicity. Nothing fancy with the lean to, just good enclosed storage space. We plan to make it into the potting shed and storage place for all things gardening.

Graineries are known, or now I know, for their solid construction and weather tightness; after all you don't your gain to be spoiled! The grainery interior was split into 4 bunkers with a central drive in hallway down the middle. From what I gather, you would load in grain from hatches in the roof and when you wanted to get it out you backed in a wagon and shoveled it out... sounds boring. The grainery also contained an old scale, a rusty bed and a generation of mice and their ancient mummified ancestors. I knew this was going to be my shop from the first minute I opened the door. A LOT more to come on that.

Megan just popped her head around the stairwell and told me if this post was too long people would be bored... nah. I do feel the carpel tunnel setting in so I bid you adieu.