Tuesday, January 6, 2015

It started with a dream

It all started with a dream here at The Briar Patch. My husband Bob and I built this little cabin in the back yard over 10 years ago. A perfect place to get away from the phones and just outside of the horse pasture where we can watch out horses romp, it became a favorite place to go after a long days work. There we talked about our plans and dreams as we just we starting our life together. That summer as we built our little cabin, we realized that we both had a passion for working with wood. Building and dreaming we talked about where we could go with our life. What would we do with our land? We have just about 15 acres out here and the possibilities are endless. We do raise our own hay and work about 5 acres for that, the rest is mostly pasture land. At the time we had only two horses to care for and didn't really need all that land in hay so my husband, being the dear sweet man he is, gave me about 5 acres of my own to do with whatever I wanted. All my life I had wanted to have a small business, something that would allow me to stay here on the farm. Working in the dirt is a passion of mine that I just can't seem to outgrow. So I decided to start my own business, selling perennials . I figured that I was going to be working in the garden anyway, so I might as well share the love.  So we spent a few years, building more buildings, making more gardens and growing our little business. The Briar Patch has been here for 8 years now, and many changes have gone on in our little part of the world since those early summers on that little cabin porch. Along with our 2 horses, we now have a rescued cow named Baby. Not much of a baby now, she went from a tiny 3 day old calf, to a gentle, playful cow that gives the horses a run for their money in the weight catagory.  The cabin from so long ago, is now a playhouse for our many grandchildren, 11 at last count. From the oldest at 18 to the youngest at 8 months, it has seen a lot of use. Together we have built 3 buildings on the grounds now. The latest, The Old Homeplace will be finished in early spring and open for business in May. This will be our 8th year for our annual Folk Art Gathering here on the grounds. Every year in June, we invite folks to spend a whole day here to walk through the gardens and visit with our many vendors. We have vendors from the surrounding states and counties showing and selling their wares. Garden items, birdhouses, and so much more. There are so many great things to see. So be sure and save the date, June 27th.  I hope you will stop by and visit us. We are planning  a Grand Opening in May of 2015 for the opening of The Old Homeplace. Filled with primitives and farmhouse furnishings there is always something to see here. Purposeful clutter we like to call it. You just never know what you are going to find here. Walk through our perennial gardens and just make a whole day of it. Can't wait to meet you!

Winter at The Briar Patch

Hello friends, It's winter here at The Briar Patch, but that doesn't mean it isn't pretty. Out for a walk with Gus our farm dog this morning , this caught my eye and I headed right back to the house for my camera. This was a shot I just couldn't pass up. The snow softly settled on the garden and made such a pretty show this morning. It makes even the plainest things pretty. Don't you just love this old wagon? It seems right at home in our garden..don't you think? I just love old stuff, it seems like the older it is with all it's scratches and patches, the more I love it. I guess I always have had a soft spot for the underdog, the thing that seems to be everyone else's castoffs. So the worn and worn out have a special place in my heart. This old wagon has been around here for a lot of years, moved from place to place and has finally found a comfortable spot in the garden. Guess it's here to stay, which is just fine with me. Enjoy your tour around The Briar Patch in the next few blogs, I hope you will come out and visit us in May when we open for the summer. You won't want to miss the Grand Opening of The Old Homeplace!

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Briar Patch update

Another update on my newest project. I told you girls can do things too! I am always looking for something to do, I think I mentioned my adult ADD in a previous post. Anyway, here is my latest project, a sweet little rope bed. I love nothing more than finding something to do with pieces of wood I find in my "stash". I must say, I horde wood like squirrels horde nuts. I just can't seem to burn a perfectly primitive piece of wood.  The posts are made from some old 2 X 4's we had in the barn, they are just the perfect faded gray color. The foot and headboards are wonderful old barn wood, pieces just a little too small to use for anything else. The headboard has gnawed places I teasingly told my husband looked like some child teethed on it. Actually I think I said.."hey Pa, the chilren been chewin on the bed again". (Tee Hee). Anyhow, I love the way they look. After an afternoon of routing out all the joints and measuring and re-measuring, sanding, and measuring some more, we were almost done. We stood there, admiring our work when my sweet, wonderful, always helpful husband turns to me and says"do you think we should put a couple of screws in it to help stabilize it?" WHAT???? My head swiveled around so fast it almost knocked me over and I know for a fact that my eyebrows shot straight up! No, I didn't spend all this time making this thing look as old as all this to put SCREWS in it. Silence filled the shop and I tried not to glare....Deep breath....Don't glare....ok, as I gathered myself and  tried to figure out what to do next, I thought, ok there has to be something  we can do. So we went to plan B. I always have a  plan B somewhere in the back of my mind. So straight to the basement I went to my second "stash". Now I just have to tell you, if you can't find something any place else, it's probably in my basement. As it happened I had a jar full of masonary nails that I found at Habitat. In case you don't know what those look like,  they have these great wide flat heads that look like old square headed nails. So we drilled a pilot hole (to keep the wood from splitting ) and pounded them in. They look positively primitive. I have to say, I just love the way it turned out. I'm almost sorry we're finished, but then...I can't wait to find another project! I hope you will come out for our Folk Art Gathering that we are planning for June 27th this year. I can't wait to show off my new shop and all the fun stuff we are making. Keep checking back for more updates.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Girls can do things too!

 Just an update to let you know how the new shop is coming along. Might I just say...I is really beginning to look like a home. I am so excited that I get up everyday looking forward to what I can do today! I have to say that I think I might suffer from some form of Adult A.D.D.. It seems that my mind works at warp speed most of the time. One project barely gets done that I start thinking of what I can do next. Now my wonderful husband tolerates my crazy ideas and is always willing to do whatever I ask him to do. I know that he would be willing to do all of these projects for me if I asked him to, but that just isn't in my DNA. I am not one to sit back and watch someone work without lending a helping hand. So instead of doing all of these things for me, he teaches me. Together we have built this whole building (except pouring the concrete floor, we left that to the pros), from the top to the bottom. I learned to cut tin and use a table saw as well as he does. Most days I would have the walls done by the time he came home from work, waiting to see what my next move should be.  Now trim and fancy angles, well, Mr. B. is in charge of those. It has been so much fun to learn all of these new skills. Since the shop is almost finished I have been thinking of what else I can do with my new found skill. Searching the primitive sites on the internet I stumbled across a picture of an old antique rope bed. Oh, did that get my creative juices flowing! So first thing this morning we headed for the shop and by the end of the hour I was up to my elbows in sawdust! My first time using a table router and this is what I did. You are looking at the very first leg for my rope bed, complete with mortise and tendon joints. Whoo Hoo! What can I say....GIRLS RULE! Can't wait to show you my completed project. Be sure and check back later in the week! See you then.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cozy by the fire

Well, The Old Homeplace is truly beginning to feel like home.  I just finished building my first piece of furniture for the shop. After all, what makes a home more cozy than a fireplace? I seem to spend most of my free time searching the county for old barn wood. I have a passion for barn wood that I can't explain. Well, I guess that isn't really true. I find as I get older that memories from my childhood are the foremost in my thoughts, and some of my fondest memories are of my parents and our home in Tennessee. I didn't live there for very many years, but I am inclined to believe that those few years were my happiest. I fondly remember our old house, the land and barns. To look back at pictures of our homeplace now you would have thought we were poor. I think that poor must be a matter of perception, for I never felt that way. At any rate, in those memories someplace came my love for old wood. Tobacco barns are one of my favorites. I still remember my father and brother hanging tobacco at the top of what seemed like a huge barn. I was too young to help at the time so I sat in the back of my dad's old pick up truck and watched on many a hot summer day. Ah, the memories are sweet. So as I work around my "new" Old Homeplace, I enjoy every day the warmth of the old wood that surrounds me. Making me feel like I may have just come home again.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Looking through the windows of time

   Morning friends, as I was walking around the new shop today, I took the time to reflect for a few minutes on what went into building our new place. I just love the looks of The Old Homeplace, it is so cozy and welcoming. Old barn wood and rusty tin cover the walls and even the ceiling of our new place. The majority of our building materials were salvaged wood from barns and buildings in our area. I had so much fun scrounging around in barnyards and old building sites for this wonderful primitive wood. Most of this has been collected over the last few years, but many years before that this whole project had a start before I was even aware of it. I truly believe that God puts opportunities in your path and sits back and just watches to see what you do with them. He has a funny sense of humor that way. I honestly believe this was one of those challenges. One summer day a friend of our contacted us and told us that the old Bourbon Pharmacy was scheduled to be torn down soon and would we be interested in salvaging from it. What an exciting opportunity we thought, what would it be like? What will we find there in that wonderful old building  we wondered.  According to a friend of ours, her mother remembers going to the pharmacy when she was just a child growing up in Bourbon over 84 years ago. As far as we can figure, this wonderful old building  has been standing here for over 100 years. We were excited to see what this old building was like,  so off we went to check it out. Wandering around the old pharmacy was quite an experience and we had fun thinking of all the possibilities. We didn't have any plans for them in mind at the time, but when we were offered the windows from the front of the pharmacy we jumped at the chance. We collected 3 large windows, each with 20 panes in them, so each window measured 5 feet by 8 feet. Now that is a window!
              We carefully packed them away in the barn and they kind of went to the back of our mind. But as the years went by the Lord put more and more opportunities in front of us until we finally came to the conclusion that it was time to build our next building. As we started collecting materials we remembered these wonderful windows. There they were, safely tucked away in the barn just waiting to be put to use. As we started designing the new shop we found that we would  actually have to build the shop to fit around  that old wavy glass from so long ago. As we set the windows into their new home, we couldn't help but notice that the view in all directions is almost breathtaking . In the summertime the sunflower and dappled willows swaying in the breeze catch your eye. As I stand in the warmth of the sun and gaze out across the fields I can't help but wonder what sites these windows have seen. 100 years ago, the sidewalks were still made of wood and the streets were mostly unpaved. Horse and buggy was still the way many folks got to town on Saturday afternoon . Did the pharmacy have a place where the old men gathered and talked or played checkers on a warm summer day? Did children stand and peek over the counter at jars of penny candy and tiny wind up toys? I can only imagine what these windows have seen.
                As the sun warms me through these wonderful old pieces of glass from so long ago, I thank God for putting them in our path so long ago. I hope that if you stop by The Old Homeplace, you will take the time to stand and enjoy the view, feel the warmth of the sun and appreciate the many things these windows have seen.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Place to Linger

Well Friends,
              Things are going along well for the new shop, The Old Homeplace. I just can't wait. My goal has always been to make my shops a place where folks will want to linger, wander and just sit for a  visit. We have finished up all the walls in old barn wood that has been begged, bartered and scrounged from every corner of Marshall County for almost a year now. Two walls are done in barn wood and two are done in wonderful old tin. I just love this tin, it is a soft gun metal blue with just the right amount of rust to it. It really makes the place cozy and warm looking. We are working now on putting tin on the ceiling and I have to say, this is the hardest part yet. Holding 9' pieces of tin above your head long enough to get it screwed on is to say the least....challenging. But I have to give most of the credit to my wonderful husband Bob. He has been behind me on this project and beside me everyday. We have so much to do here on the farm that every couple of days we put down our hammers and nails and have to finish up on other chores. Last weekend I really put him to the test I think. Every fall we walk the fields surrounding our home and pick up all the corn left on the ground after the farmer has finished in it. So we set off for the field  last Saturday morning, one of those mild fall morning with just a misting of rain. Now rain and fog are two of my favorite things, so this was like the perfect day. We spent about 5 hours in the field and picked up what we figure is about 10 bushels of corn. Now that is a lot of corn! The horses will thank us every day. So after a short afternoon nap to warm us up a little after walking in the rain all morning we headed back out to the shop. Working on insulating the ceiling and starting to add the tin we worked until dark. I must say we were feeling very satisfied with how much we got done. But as I am sure I suffer from some form of adult ...ADD I, of course I  wasn't finished yet. Did I say "suffer"? I'm not sure that would be the right word to use, I must say, I do get a lot done during the day. But poor Mr. Bob was looking forward to sitting down and putting his feet up for a while. It was already dark by then and the rain was still coming down, I swear it was calling to me. So being the wonderful man he is, he got up off his warm chair and took me for a walk in the rain that evening, something we have done since we first met almost 14 years ago. See what I mean....he's a great guy!
               So to say that I am truly blessed to do what I love to do and share it with my favorite guy, well it doesn't get any better than that. Check back for further updates on The Old Homeplace, opening in May 2015.