Sunday, August 6, 2017

Free Fencing

We inherited a stack of relatively new chain link fencing parts with this old farm; some 15' in length and most without the chain links. I listed it for free on craigslist and our neighbor called in fifteen minutes to say he would be right over! Christian and he carried it next door in twenty minutes and now I have cleaned up the backside of his garage barn finally.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Engraving A Stepping Stone

This year Old Farm turns 300 years old and we have had the original date of the house carved into the front stepping stone. We choose "Old Caslon" typeface which was used in the Declaration of Independence and popular at the time. Ironically, William Caslon developed this font for King George III of England who reigned during the American revolution. It is an organic serif font resembling handwriting which looks good in a long body of text (fashioned after earlier Dutch typefaces).

We have been told the date was painted on the original brick chimney of Old Farm before it was rebuilt.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Barn Projects

Since the weather this summer has been full of rain storms, we have moved into the big barn with some peripheral projects. Bill inherited an early kick/electric potter's wheel from his mentor's studio, which he is refurbishing here while Christian is restoring another vintage Weber grill (a "cult" model with flavorizing bars). We have also been given a clay slab roller which will help create a studio in the farmhouse basement.

Below is the first vintage Weber Grill Christian and Alex restored for Old Farm.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Repairing An Old Quilt

The top five sailboats of this old quilt were worn and frayed in spots, so I found a matching blue cotton fabric to cut, fold and top-stitch over them. The very small slip stitches made it tedious work, but lovely again. I found this quilt top long ago and quilted it for my oldest son who lives in Charlestown, MA; home of the Navy Yard and their oldest sailing ship "The Constitution".

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Affordable Farm Benches

I found these old 8' farm benches for $35.00 each which will provide more seating in many situations here, like in the barn, on the lawn or back porch. I prepped them with a disc sander, Christian made reinforcing repairs and Bill painted them with Benjamin Moore gloss white paint.

Beautiful Bluestone

Bill and Christian installed more beautiful Bluestones which makeup the opposite side entrance to this farmhouse. They run along a thick; beautifully built stone wall and are filled in with barn gravel. The stones are 2' X 3', nearly 2" thick, cost about $60 each and are very solid to walk on!

The ground was dug up pitched, leveled and filled with sand while bordering bricks were reset and more added to this walkway.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Redirecting Gutters

Bill, Christian and Leif dug a pitched trench leading downward and away from a central back gutter here which used to run along the trellis edge and empty onto the back lawn. They used 3" PVC Structural pipe and fittings which will carry the rain water under the back deck and away from the house foundation.

They also dug around the buried water pipe here leading to the back barn, which had developed a leak. Luckily the leak is in the foundation wall and the area will be jack-hammered to fix it from inside the basement. Fixing both these water issues will cost less than $100, which is wonderful.

Fun Farm Games


One of the older origins of the outdoor game"Cornhole", is a 14th century German farmer who devised it to replace children throwing rocks in a hole for sport (not always so safe). Bags of corn thrown into a hole in a wooden box was the result and the game came to this country with farmers. Any design can be painted on the box, and we chose the Norwegian flag to honor our sheep farming relatives there as well as Christian being born on Norway's Independence Day.

Christian used 2" X 4" boards for a frame and faced it with finished plywood with a 6" hole cut out. The paint is 2 coats of Rustoleum and bean bags are best ordered on-line. The back of the box is elevated off the lawn and 3 points are scored for a bag thrown through the hole, or 1 point for landing on the box. Christian is planning for a summer party.

Kubb (Viking Chess)

This lawn game originates from the Viking Era and is played on a rectangular field where opponents try to knock over wooden blocks across it and then the king in the middle; using wooden batons. Christian built this set quite quickly.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Power Washing The Deck

The back deck of this farmhouse was wonderfully designed and built with 2" pressure treated deck boards, rails and vintage colonial spindles as well as posts. The front steps adjust to the sloping lawn and angle to allow for rain runoff. It was neglected for many years and covered with moss and molds. I used a "ZEP" deck cleaning solution from Home Depot before power washing all surfaces twice with the strongest nozzle attachment. The cracks between the floor boards were cleaned first with a putty knife and then cut wider with a skillsaw where they had warped closed, so this deck will drain properly again.

The views from this deck are beautiful and it feels great to be giving it new life. After a full week of sun on it, we will sand the deck with an orbital 6" sander I got for $15 at our borough yard sale. Christian has picked "Cliffside Gray" Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Solid Stain for this deck which will have white railings.

Laying A Flagstone Path

The path to this old farmhouse had several large cast stones that had settled and cracked, collecting dirt and water. Bill and Christian removed the first five to replace with lovely blue flagstones. The bordering bricks were also taken out, the soil dug out and leveled with dirt and six bags of sand before leveling the new stones into place. The surrounding bricks were power washed afterward.

I have planted Otto Luyken English Laurels and Franklin's Gem Boxwoods next to existing William Penn Barberry bushes, around this path and Bill's sculpture. All attract birds or bees and not deer.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Ceramic Garden Tables

Bill has now made quite a few ceramic garden tables which everyone loves as much as his garden seats. Each one is very different than the next and the glazing is wonderful on all of them. Gallery price is $2,500 each and nearly half that price bought directly from Bill. Two are now being custom crated and shipped to Florida. It is exciting to have his work so far from home. He sold two garden seats in Kansas for the same price and a museum there.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Restoring A Vintage Patio Table

This vintage glass topped outdoor dining table is a wonderfully simple design and a very sturdy structure. The glass top is 5/8" thick and edged with a dramatic; wide bevel. It was $40 "as is", and after sanding the metal base with 120 grit paper and triple zero steel wool, it was spray prime painted and finished with Rustoleum white paints we had.

This table will be used on the back deck which overlooks a cutting garden and meadows, so having it white and glass will allow pretty; open views from the sun porch behind it. Storing it is easy since the top simply rests centered on the base. Luckily the porch is always partially shaded and does not need an umbrella.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

An Outdoor Ceramic Seat

This garden seat had broken while being bisque fired, so Bill has glued it back together, filled it with urethane foam and painted it in a"graffiti style" with two layers and types of paint.

It is now a seat for us next to the stream at Christian's farm, where our dog likes to play with the fish and frogs.

We have been redirecting this stream some to keep the far side from eroding away too much. This is a very peaceful place to sit and listen to the stream and woodland noises.

Bill is now making ceramic garden tables...