Sunday, February 2nd
The Chastain Farms
It finally felt WARM when we woke up; 53 degrees! I was up earlier than usual and witnessed something only the early birds witness – Old Man Danny feeding the feral barn cats. There had to be at least 10 of them – with several free-ranging chickens intermingled among the roiling horde that followed Danny, Pied Piper style. It was a wonderful sight, and I was so delighted by it in the moment I failed to get a photo. But trust me, it was sweet.
A few days earlier, seeing how we’d fixed up the bathroom with junk from around the farm, Rachel had made a request – that we create some kind of boot rack, for rubber muck boots to be hung upside down on. (They were currently scattered around the ground outside of the kitchen / Milk Barn door.)
We’d been keeping out eyes peeled for days for something perfect. But nothing really seemed right, and the things that somewhat appealed were off limits for re-purposing.
But we were now in our final day at Chastain Farms (whoa! that snuck up on us both), and nothing had worked out yet. So, while Nathan & Kimm worked with the SoCal crew on finishing the gate project, we set out to build a boot rack, somehow or another.
There were some big weathered posts in a pile out on the edge of the woods, but we weren’t sure how to assemble them into a rack. There was a pile of bamboo poles that had some promise, but again, nothing came to mind for how to bring them together. I thought maybe a roll of wire fencing would work, with them sticking up and out at an angle, with one boot hung on each … but when I brought some of the stout poles over to see if anything clicked, it just seemed like a mess to build, that it would take up too much space, that it would tip over unless it was anchored deeply into the ground, etc.
And then we asked Kimm where the rack should be located – and realized it was on the concrete pad by the kitchen door, so whatever we built could not be sunk into the ground for stability at all.
So it was back to the drawing board – or really, back to the junk piles. But wait .. when we moved the underutilized shelving unit from the spot that the hypothetical boot rack would live, we found a metal gridded frame, once used to imprint a pattern into fresh concrete. And we discovered that at about a 30 degree angle, boots would hang nicely from the spaces – narrow, smaller boots in the vertical slots, and larger men’s boots in the horizontally-oriented ones.
All it would need is some kind of frame to hold it securely in place … we didn’t want to just use 2x4s or something boring and ugly like that. So we walked out to peruse the junk piles for the perfect something.
What we wound up using in the end is visible in the picture above, but we didn’t get it on the first pass through – we went through here, and back to the Tool Shed (not to be confused with the Tool Barn), finding nothing. Walking back, we found a heavy red steel rack that seemed perfect – until we got it back and leaned the grid against it, and found that although the angle was perfect, the metal red bars were slanted such that they blocked access to many of the potential boot holes.
So we decided to use the cool old cash register thing we’d admired in the steel junk pile – drawer frozen open, rusted all over, beautiful and shining with character, and likely originally used in the old Chastain Grocery store.
We chose a nice length of weathered old barn board for a shelf at the top and two salvaged white-painted 4×4 posts (matching the weathered paint of the door), and screwed it all together, with scavenged rusty washers, to avoid unseemly shiny new bits. The rack sat in the edge of the drawer and leaned back at the perfect angle – all it needed was to be secured at the top somehow.
An old horseshoe tacked down with a couple of corroded old nails did the job with style and grace.
After the others finished work on the gate, we walked the perimeter of the huge pasture, trying to determine where the fence was grounding out, resulting in no electric shock action surrounding the pigs and cows.
It took awhile, but eventually Jimmy and I found and fixed it up in the woods, where a sagging line was contacting a grounded line.
When that was fixed, we drug the aluminum rib pieces out of the weeds, and assembled the first of the arched ribs that would support the plastic of the greenhouse, and tested out the first of them.
It was Superbowl Sunday – we ate dinner over at Kimm’s while folks half watched the commercials and slightly watched the game.
After we got home, rather than going to bed, we decided we had to fix just one more thing in the bathroom – the shower curtain was held up with a couple of unsightly, if functional 2×4 chunks with white PVC cap pieces. Kimm had mentioned that she had wanted the curtain rod to be located up within the doorframe, rather than inside the room – and Kristin had realized that the rusty “cow kick stop” (which we’d found but not used for the pot rack project) would make a perfect curtain rod holder.
So we got a flashlight, and took a walk out through the slippery mud to find the drill, back by the greenhouse. (I know it was slippery, because I totally fell down in it and got my pair of just-washed jeans coated in mud.) Then it was quick work to take down a trim board, cut the curtain rod down to size with a hacksaw, mount the cow kick stop and the rusty old hook with some washers, and install the new rod in its rusty new home.