Tag Archives: wood

Barn, Belgian beer and Brussel sprouts.


We were back in the barn this weekend and ran the new heat pump for the first time. It’s a big space so it took a while to warm up… but the building held the set temperature all day, which means all our stuff and seal each and every god damn gap insulation work…




But there were still a few more windows to trim and that’s when things went downhill.

There was sputtering, mumbling, cursing and okay…. small pieces of wood may or may not have been flung across the room.



When the wood started flying? I knew it was time for a distraction… so I trudged down to our crap filled underground nightmare basement and retrieved a treasure we purchased a few years ago.



A neon bar sign from the Ommegang brewery in New York. We stumbled on them when we visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and fell in love with their Belgians.





If you’re ever in the area, check out their tasting room in the old barn… and if you’re visiting this time of year? Try my favorite.



There’s a tavern in Brussels famous for it’s pigeon racing?

Sounds like my kind of place.

And speaking of Brussels…



When you live across the street from an organic vegetable farmer?

You never know what will show up on your doorstep in the morning.



The search for perfection.


So now the husband wants to add floor moulding in his big barn… and you know what that means.



An entire afternoon picking through more wood than I thought humanly possible.



Granted, even I would reject that baby.

But come on…..

If he would take half as much time installing it as he does picking it out I might not mind. But nothing is going to be perfectly cornered or angled or mitered so why bother!



Our afternoon trip ended here.



With the moon rising and me refusing to cook the pork roast dinner I had planned.

You want perfect wood? You have to pay the piper.

Or in this case, the pizza place.

Another round if you please.


Sadly I’m not talking about my kind of round… the one that involves limes and tequila.



The insulation, ceiling and lights were finished in the big barn project. And silly me…. I thought that meant we were done.



But upon further deliberation, the husband decided he want to put quarter round moulding all around the top of the walls for a more finished look.



And while I’m never one to argue with finish work…



With the husband, things don’t always go as planned.



Yes, he’s holding  a bottle of glue.

And no, you don’t want to know why.

He even put moulding on top of the steel beam.



And got me up on the ladder to hold it in place, which wasn’t exactly where it should have been.



The 327lb prized antique potato planter was moved a few hundred times, because, you know… they’re never where you want them.



Do we plant potatoes?   No. We never have, and never will.

Enough said.

And while we’re at the porch door…

Kindly look up.



There… see it?




A section of plywood ceiling that clearly has writing on it.


Because the husband says he didn’t notice it and refuses to undo everything to flip it over.

Finish work does not always look finished around here.


Because nothing ever goes smoothly.


Another day,  another section stuffed.



Plywood ceiling sections were fitted.



And the end was in sight.



As were those corner shelves I told you the husband built for his speakers.

Although from this angle, they’re a lot less shelf like than I thought.



Late in the afternoon things started to go downhill.



And pieces had to be gently persuaded to fit in their allotted space.



When all else fails, bang it with a hammer.

This works for almost anything, although I wouldn’t recommend it for dealing with recalcitrant family members. Bail bonds are expensive these days, and orange is not a flattering color.

Shortly after I took that picture someone hit a pole down the road from our house. Power was out for the whole road and they had to call it a day.

Which is probably a good thing. Remodeling by hammer strike rarely ends well.

*Cue the Pointer Sisters*


I’m so excited!

We had multiple contractors come over and give us estimates on our exterior barn project… (Staining, trimming, soffiting) and after I picked my jaw up off the ground and cursed the fact we didn’t have any children to sell… we chose a locally owned and operated company.

We’re on their schedule, but I don’t know when they’ll start.




I’m sorry, that was a cruel tease…. and a shameless attempt to lure aged disco fans to my blog.  Please feel free to play Neutron Dance and curse me at your leisure.

Not trusting anyone else to pick out the trim boards, the husband dragged me to a lumber yard…



Where he closely examined and rejected dozens of 16 footers in the premium grade.

* Note to lumberyard workers – if you see my husband coming? Run. *

He refused so many, I swear the kid who was helping us starting sprouting grey hair.

After the first hour he delicately suggested we upgrade to the finish grade.

Which we did.



But…. silly boy, did he really think that would make a difference?

It shouldn’t surprise you to learn we were there the entire afternoon. And just when we were ready to leave?

The husband met a fellow Marine.

Another hour later… we left.

It’s amazing how exhausting it is standing around doing nothing. So much so, after we unloaded the truck…



Does that look like $450 worth of wood to you?



We fired up the grill….



And poured the adult beverages.

Dinner that night?



Lamb chops.

Life is good!

Can someone please explain the logic?


Because I’m a mere woman and not able to comprehend the genius that is the male mind.



I understand the need to temporarily seal up the big barn doors for winter. If the husband is going to spend all that money for a heat pump, we don’t want all the lovely warm air escaping. So a few insulated foam boards, some tape and call it good… right?

(Please remember the key word is temporary. This will be important later on.)

In my previous post I shared pictures of the frame, the double layer of foam boards, the plywood, and the finishing border.



And yes, those are two antique safes that weigh the combined equivalent of a small elephant herd.




Do they open?

Well, they would if my husband had the combinations… which he doesn’t.

Good times.

But back to the doors. The temporary doors that he keeps assuring me will be easily removed.

When I went out there the other day?







There is now a shelf with an old stereo mounted on the temporary doors.



And quite high up on the temporary doors I might add.




High enough so yours truly can’t reach the power button… which may or may not have been intentional.

So please help me out with the male logic of this.

In the event we need to open the barn doors… because you know, they’re doors and that’s kind of their thing…. we will need to:


1. unscrew the shelf brackets

2. remove the shelf

3. unhook the speaker wires

4. take down the stereo

5. remove the border frame

6. remove the plywood

7. remove the double layers of foam boards

8. remove the inner frame


Does this sound temporary to you?

Because my female brain is having  a hard time reconciling this kind of temporary.


And then there was wood.

But you probably guessed that from the first picture.


More specifically it was 16 foot long boards that weighed a ton and had to be dragged out of the big barn and across the lawn with yours truly trying my best not to drop them on her toes.



Of course it would have been too easy if they’d fit in the 16 foot long spaces. Where’s the fun in that? No… each one had to be measured and cut around the wonky interior frame.



After tar paper was laid out.

Why tar paper? Because the husband wanted a moisture barrier… but more importantly, because he already had two ancient rolls buried in the garage.



What was holding down the tar paper as we attempted to fit the boards you ask?

Absolutely nothing.

Good times.



Was it hot?

A mere 92 degrees in the shade.



Vintage tools and make shift tables?




Did he have enough boards?

Not really.



Were they all the same width?

Of course not.



Did he care?

I seriously doubt it.


Slow and steady wins the race.


But it doesn’t get your deck railing project finished any sooner.

We were back at it and it was still hot.




Unfortunately the heat wave coincided with an extended dry spell and our lawn was starting to crunch.




But old railings were torn down.




And rusty nails exposed.




I stained the new wood we had to waste almost 2 hours going to get that morning because someone… I won’t mention who… cut the other pieces incorrectly.




And then that someone  (oops, my bad)  discovered a sander in the barn and wanted to play.




He was fine on the flat surfaces, but scared me to death when he started trying to sand in between. That thing would hit a beam, jump out of his hand and spin wildly across the deck. It happened a dozen times but I could never quite catch it on film.



In between his legs.

Close to the power cord.

I knew something was gonna give, and it did.




That thing jumped up and sliced his jeans right open. Thankfully he wasn’t hurt, but at that point I said no more sanding!




Which he completely ignored and kept sanding.




After sanding, and almost slicing his leg off?

He hammered nails.




And swept the same portion of deck I had just swept.

Apparently I didn’t do it right.

We did manage to get a few pieces of wood installed before dinner.

With some gentle persuasion.




So this was basically it.




For a whole days work.

Good thing no one is paying us by the hour……





And the deck project begins.


But not before another trip to the store to buy wood.



(Yes, I know the husband is wearing his mask incorrectly but his glasses kept fogging up)

Two perfect pieces for the top of the railing had to be found. And even though we were searching through the more expensive smoothed cedar boards?



They were rife with holes, chops, cracks and warty blemishes.

After 45 minutes…



We moved on to the 2×4’s.



Is it any wonder our small weekend projects turn into 3 month long slog fests?



So this is our deck, and those are the railings that will be replaced.

Hopefully by the end of summer.

Of 2020.



First step…. remove the old railings.

The first few were easy as they had been screwed.



Then it got harder with massive doubled rusty nails that didn’t want to let go.



Did I mention we picked the middle of a heat wave with record breaking temperatures to start this project.

How hot was it….?



Okay, not quite. Though it felt that way.

That thermometer was sitting on the table in direct sunlight.

It was actually this hot, in the shade.



And for Maine?

That is insanely frickin’ hot.



But progress was made.



And halted when rotting beam sections had to be cut out.



With 1950’s era tools.



Yes, I’m afraid so.

And you know what happens when you use power tools from the middle of the last century?



Nothing good.

It’s just wood.


No, not that kind of wood.

The kind that my husband wanted to replace this:



Our deck railings, which are rotting in a few places.

I’ve tried to talk him into ripping the whole deck out and putting in Trek composite…. yours truly is tired of staining every 2-3 years…. but no. He got half of the deck wood at a yard sale, for free.

It must be preserved.

Did it match the existing wider deck planks?



No. But you’re not supposed to notice that.

So…. we shopped for wood and different railings.



If you’ve never shopped for wood with my husband you don’t know what you’re missing.



He used to run a quality assurance shop for helicopters in the Marine Corps and he takes quality seriously.

Does it surprise you to learn that we spent more than an hour searching for 2 pieces….. and he didn’t find any he liked?



It shouldn’t.

But I did come home with new bronze deck balusters.



To be continued….