Barb - The Brandegee Blog

Ramblings on Crafting Useable Art (and other things that I find interesting)

Posted on July 24, 2013

Someone recently told me that, when the chestnut blight threatened a century ago, many farmers cut their trees and stored chestnut boards and beams in their barns to recoup at least some value. I’ll be examining one such stash very soon.

My story began about Memorial Day, when the grass and weeds around our country log cabin explode. Particularly just after a rainstorm, it seems almost possible to watch their grow thin real time. And now that our place is on the market, mowing, weeding, and trimming have high priority. A friend recommended a man who has turned out to be able to do what we need at a cost that makes me gulp but is eminently fair.

He, in turn, recommended a friend named Barbara as someone both knowledgeable and hard working for the job of planting and weeding Ada’s fairly sizable flower garden. Barb has turned out to be a home run: she pulls weeds, not flowers, and does so in a blur.

She is tall and trim, has a direct smile, and a strong handshake that validates her self-description as a farm girl. She does indeed tend her family’s farm, giving much attention to raising sheep. She mentioned at our first meeting that she had spent time in both Scotland and New Zealand looking into sheep-raising practice and shearing.

But for me her punch line came after I had mentioned my passion for turning antique wood into furniture. She asked if I’d be interested in a stack of wormy chestnut and some 3" thick slabs of walnut that had long resided in her barn. I hugged her, and over the next couple of days, I designed some new pieces based on her descriptions. Here’s a console design that could use the old wormy chestnut as the darker panels framed by white barn board in the doors. In July I’ll be checking out the wood. Stay tuned.

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