Edge Hill has three out-buildings: a summer kitchen, a smoke house, and farm hand’s (slave’s?) quarters. Unfortunately, the smoke house is in the worst shape of the three. The roof has fallen in, which has, in large part, been the culprit causing the building’s deterioration.
(Farm hand’s quarters on the left, summer kitchen on the right)
The smokehouse was also the site of what some friends have dubbed the “Hurricane Katrina” wedding shoot (in a good, artsy way, I think!):
Evidently the gentleman who owned the property in the ’60s thought the smokehouse would make the perfect little garage for his new sports car. He gleefully straightened it up, pulled the convertible in, and watched from the main house as winter set in. When he flung the “garage” open a few months later to take his car out for its first spring spin, he was horrified to find that the salt in the walls, from decades of curing meat, had completely rusted out his toy. I think he wished so many bad things on the poor smoke house that the roof subsequently caved in.
There were quite a few bricks lying in piles around the smokehouse and the summer kitchen – a combination of bricks that have fallen off the corners of the buildings and the remnants of what was once an outdoor “bakery” directly behind the smoke house that collapsed years ago. At some point, the broke-down bakery and other bricks were bulldozed into a huge pile of dirt, rubble, and random trash:
If you can believe it, Chad had already worked on this pile for a few hours last weekend…
So, we went at it this morning. The goal was to pull out any in-tact bricks to save for re-use down the road, and find any bricks with at least one complete side to use in landscaping. The previous owner of the house also hinted that the pile might contain the bakery’s metal oven door. BURIED TREASURE!
With trowel in hand, I felt like a kindergartener saying, “I want to be a paleontologist when I grow up! Yeah, dinosaur bones!” There was some bizarre excitement about finding glass bottles, old hinges, and LOTS of spiders (before today, I was unfamiliar with the woodlouse hunter/roly-poly killer), ants (this pile was the Manhattan of the ant world), centipedes (as Gina would say, centipedes of prehistoric proportions), and roly-poly bugs (the roly-poly killer spiders now make more sense) .
The skid loader pictured above was CRUCIAL to our endeavor – the perks of living on a working farm! I even learned to drive it today (although Chad isn’t ready to let me maneuver the attachments quite yet…)!
Four hours later, the novelty of digging in a large pile of dirt in 90-degree heat had worn off, especially when it became clear the pile did not contain the door we had been hunting. Yet, we succeeded in setting aside an entire pallet of whole bricks, and another pallet and a half of partially useable bricks, in addition to the complete removal of the pile.
A little summer sun and manual labor was well worth having this eye sore transformed into original materials we can save for later (read: money saved)!
In other news, summer has officially come to Quicksburg: the corn (while not yet quite as high as an elephant’s eye) grows noticeably every day!
See the rows?