Tag Archive | craftmanship

Creative Husband (Another catch up post)

My husband always asked me around Thanksgiving what I want for Christmas or he’ll ask our daughter to find out what I want for Christmas, my birthday, anniversary!  He won’t forget but he hates figure out what to give me on his own.  I think a lot of men are like this!  It’s just too hard to listen or use their imagination or worse than that, they’re afraid we won’t like it.  I love ALL gifts I receive, I promise, but especially if it’s handmade or took a little thought about what I’m about!!

I November 2014 I was asked the question once again.  I was ready!!!  I told him I wanted a new bookshelf beside my “spot” in the living room to replace the cheapy I bought from WalMart which was falling apart and I’d only had it about a year.  Pressed wood sucks!!!   Or, I would like for him to make me a new spice rack for my kitchen and I wanted them made from barnwood or any kind of lumber taken from the farm.

Well, I didn’t get them for Christmas but since then he has made them both and just in time for our anniversary which was in February!  Both are made from boards lumbered from the farm.  He did such a great job!!  Here they are:

Three spice racks made from oak, cedar and pine and now full and hanging in my country kitchen!

Three spice racks made from oak, cedar and pine and now full and hanging in my country kitchen!

Closer look.

Closer look.

My new bookcase and full of the things I love to work on at night while watching TV together.

My new bookcase and full of the things I love to work on at night while watching TV together.

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While he was working so hard on my wishes he also made our daughter a gift for her new house and made out of wormy chestnut sawed on the farm by her great uncle Holl.

Made from wormy chestnut from the farm.

Made from wormy chestnut from the farm.

Hangers on the top and two coats of polyurethane to make it easy to clean.

Hangers on the top and two coats of polyurethane to make it easy to clean.

She can use it for spices in her kitchen or in another room for anything she wants to display.

She can use it for spices in her kitchen or in another room for anything she wants to display.

From Dad to daughter.

From Dad to daughter.

He is so very clever and had no pattern to go by, just my explanation of what I wanted.

Now I have to decide what I want for 2015!!

Handmade Knives

My kitchen has every kind of knife you could possibly ever need or use and a lot of them are handmade by my husbands Uncle Holl.  The knives stay sharp but most of them are larger knives so I have to buy smaller paring knives.  I usually buy them online at LEM’s and they are a very good quality knife.  Here are some photos of the knives that Uncle Holl made:

Knives made by Uncle Holl

Knives made by Uncle Holl

The handles are made from wood he cut at the farm.  The blades were made from steel he had on the farm as well.

The handles are made from wood he cut at the farm. The blades were made from steel he had on the farm as well.

This is a handmade knife holder that was made at the farm as well.

This is a handmade knife holder that was made at the farm as well.

I have three of the cases hanging in my kitchen.

I have three of the cases hanging in my kitchen.

Close up of the knife I use the most.

Close up of the knife I use the most.

Bigger butcher knife

Bigger butcher knife

We have two knives that a friend of ours made and the handle is made from a deer antler and the jaw bone of a black bear.  The paring knife fits my hand perfectly and the one from the bear jar will be place in the living room on an easel for everyone to see.

Paring knife with a deer antler used for the handle.

Paring knife with a deer antler used for the handle and made by Mike Duncan.

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Knife with a bear jaw handle.

Knife with a bear jaw handle made by Mike Duncan.

Handmade case for the knife

Handmade case for the knife

The bear jaw had lost two teeth and the knife maker made teeth to complete the jaw.

The bear jaw had lost two teeth and the knife maker made teeth to complete the jaw.

Just goes to show you can re-purpose almost anything.

Sugar house repairs

When we moved to the farm almost 12 years ago we  were way too busy taking care of  my husbands uncle who had Alzheimer.  What a horrible disease but that’s another post!!  My husband inherited our farm from his uncle which has been in the family 200+ years.  It once was the farm of at least five different links of the Caldwell family.  Some parcels were sold off and some of what we know was in a journal of one of my husbands great uncle, OFWC.  There are at this time two apple houses, two cellars, two smoke houses, numerous  grain bins, storage building, barns, barns and more barns and currently four houses.  We live in one, our daughter is building another, the other two are family homes or build somewhere in between.  We have bull barns, cattle barns, hay barns, equipment barns, bee house, and did I mention a “sugar house”??

A sugar house was built for just making wonderful maple syrup.  Our farm is loaded with all sorts of fruit and nut trees, pines, and more than anything else, sugar maple trees.  One on the property we are sure was about thirty years old when a family picture was made on the farm and that was in the mid 1800’s.  It’s starting to look pretty bad and in need of pruning or taking down but it sure pours the maple sap in the spring.  I digress again and on with the story of the sugar house.  This is what it looked like when we moved here 12 years ago and hadn’t been used since our kids were small and they’re 36 and 39 years old at the moment.

2004  and the sugar house fire pit is full of trash.

2001 and the sugar house fire pit is full of trash.

The brick and mortar are falling out.

The brick and mortar are falling out.

Some bricks have fallen out of the chimney.

Some bricks have fallen out of the chimney.

Brick and mortar around the pan spout hole are completely gone.

Brick and mortar around the pan spout hole are completely gone.

 

Time to take some measurements and start over.

Time to take some measurements and start over.

My son-in-law is a brick mason and loves restoring old building and the fixtures within.  Even though he’s my kin, I have to say he used to do awesome work.  Economy and no work has changed that way of life in our neck of the woods.

Anyway, hubby, Joel and my brother broke it down, cleaned it out and started over as you will see from the following photos.

Brother, Junior , helps with recontruction.

Brother, Junior , helps with recontruction.

 

Backhoe is perfect tool for hauling off old brick to fill up ruts or wash outs.

Backhoe is perfect tool for hauling off old brick to fill up ruts or wash outs.

Syrup pan in good working order, just needs a good cleaning.

Syrup pan in good working order, just needs a good cleaning.

 

Now, I wasn’t around to take pictures when Joel was rebuilding but I think these beauties will show you what a beautiful job he did and I’m so proud of the beautiful “sugar house”!!

Bandit Ann checks for varmints Now to clean out around the pit and put down small gravel Nice pit, clean pan and tools time to make syrup Need to fix the chimney flashing Side view Sugar House Tools ready_pan full_fire heating upWe’ve used it several times since the renovations and everyone enjoys the time together!  We usually have friends and neighbors into for the day or two that it takes to cook the sap off and everyone enjoys the french toast and waffles when the first batch comes out of the pans.

The main reason I did this post is the time is upon us to tap the trees again if Mother Nature will cooperate and everyone is well.  I’ve posted in the past on the process but plan to do that again sometime next week with some new photos of last years event.  Until then, THINK SWEET THOUGHTS!!