Thursday, June 19, 2014

From Chicken Shed to Picnic Shelter

There it was, a gloomy chicken shed and us with no chickens. Not only that, it blocked our view to the valley behind it. Since there already was a barn, a stone garage, a root cellar, and a smokehouse, in addition to our house, R.H. said the chicken shed simply had to go.

I wanted a view to the valley too but couldn't bear to tear down any outbuilding on this old hillside farm and so begged for it to be a simple dining pavilion, nothing but posts, roof, floor.

The old white siding and nail-ridden poplar boards underneath came down not long after we bought Valley View in 1990. (I see Bertha, our last Keeshond there.)

And there it sat, once the walls were down, a project stalled. Ever had one of those? For 8 years it stayed like this:

We had a view to the valley then but framed through an eyesore. At last the only pretty thing about the building collapsed during an ice storm, the corral that the original farmer used to run cattle through, for inoculations I assume. Not sure if he ran the pigs through it, but the smokehouse had been used for years of curing hams and sausage.

Here is my favorite picture of the corral with Tex, the corgi, and Jake, who sometimes thought he was a corgi, posing prettily:

Another corgi came to live with us, beautiful Dallas. When she was 4 years old she died within two weeks of something being terribly wrong and many trips to the doctor who tried to figure out just why she had a badly swollen neck.

It hit us hard. We mourned that little dog deeply. The only thing that seemed to help R.H. was losing himself in the old neglected project. At last we were going to get the dining pavilion, or what came to be known as the family picnic shelter.

These pictures were taken when it was finished in time for Zack's 18th birthday party. The photos were the old panoramic ones that were so much fun back then so I couldn't get the best quality from them, but the picnic shelter was a beauty.

It has given us many years of pleasure.

It's been a focal point behind the house.

It's been the scene of many family parties, cookouts and chili suppers.

But over the years it began to be a little too shabby for my taste and a little too cluttered, like it was a bad imitation of a Cracker Barrel restaurant. Any old thing we came across found a home on those walls. 

And R.H. using his grill and smoker inside it added to the grime. I fussed and I fumed and I behaved in the way that wives figure finally gets something done.

I nagged and nagged and nagged.

I didn't see any reason why my smart contractor husband couldn't figure out how to move his cooking equipment out of the picnic shelter so that it could finally become the dining pavilion I wanted. 

It had been nice….

but it was time for a few changes. This spring I got what I wanted. Guess who likes it the best? Yep, R.H. does. He is so proud of the new addition to the picnic shelter and I am so proud of him for doing it.

I'll show you the pictures of his hard work in my next post.

[To be continued!]

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