Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Festival!

What a busy little camper I have been. Yesterday we held out 7th Music festival at my flat farm. Jerry Garcia was smiling down from the heavens and sent perfect weather!

The last three weeks were spent getting the place ready for the fun. The new pole barn got all of its skin finished up and windows installed. The stage was repaired and the video screen was hung. With a small army of helpers, pushing and riding mowers, swinging weed whackers, and myself on the John Deere pulling the brush hog the grounds looked beautiful. The place is a natural for music. Pole barn is the back drop and the land gently drops away towards the property. When a band is playing you can not hear it at the street.

My youngest son Jon started this festival in 2000 and called it "Pig Jam." Back then we roasted a pig as part of the party. We have evolved and no longer do that, but serve a more sophisticated menu. This year included Corn, hot dogs, hamburgers, clams, corn bread, baked beans, salt potatoes, stuffed hot peppers, sausage, squash steaks, many desserts, snack trays including cheeses, crackers, grapes, mango slices, apples, and bean dip, plus desserts, and stuff I have forgotten. Dick and Manny did a chicken bar-b-b-q.All beverages are B.Y.O.B to reduce liability even though this has not been a problem as of yet. Also put on breakfast Saturday and Sunday morning, no one went hungry!

We encourage those attending to car pool, allow no street parking at all. and invite everyone to spend the week-end at the farm. This year we had motor homes, pop-ups, and tent villages sprawled in all corners of the 27 acres we use. Only rules are no fires and no dogs! Campers started setting up their homes away from home on Wednesday and some are still there as I type. Some set-ups looked quite comfy, some even had solar walkway lights, we do allow torch lanterns and grilles. Common sense being the guiding light. I visited every site several times and met some very nice people!

So you do not think I am some dirty filthy Hippie let me assure you this event is family friendly. We had folks from 9 months to 84 years old. The kids are the best thing and all had a great time. I do not judge anyones lifestyle nor care how they handle stress, but I do demand respect for all my guests so all those doing their thing did it discretely.

Friday was the kick off party and we served kettle cooked walleye and got the stage dressed up for the big show on Saturday. Music was everywhere from drum circles , to the full blown production on Saturday. 11 bands played until 6:30 am Sunday morning. No mishaps, fights, or complaints from neighbors. This is truly about the music!

The only thing I feel bad about is the cost. We have not totaled everything this year, but close to even is good. The first two we did not charge to get in and it got too costly. We decided not to have anymore. Our guests changed our minds and even set up presale tickets. So since year three we have charged $25.00 prepaid and $30.00 the day of the show. We also do a very long V.I.P list for those that dig in and help. Those that join the clean-up crew on Sunday get a free ride the following year!

Friday, August 08, 2008

More photos to go with the post below

Here are some more shots of some of my building.

Going Straight

I hardly believe it has been over a month since I have posted.

What a glorious summer it has been so far! Very, very, busy working on the building I started on my flat farm over 3 years ago. The original intent for the building was for storage. Tractors and fresh lumber downstairs, hay upstairs. When I first started it went great guns for most of the first summer, but life can sure be distracting. When designed I planned on siding it with hemlock board and bats.

Met this guy who needed stumps ground around his home. He is a fellow barterer and had several piles of steel siding that he brought home. His plan was to build a shed with it, wife nixed it. So we made the deal. His stumps are gone, yard graded, grass replanted, his wife happy as a clam. I loaded and took over to the flat farm over 20,000 square feet of 39 inch steel sheeting in lengths of 24, 16, 12, and 10 feet. I also got several hundreds of trim pieces, drip cap, J channel, F channel, corner bead, building corners, etc.......oh and about 50 pounds of self drilling , self sealing, screws!

After summer number 1 I had the poles in the ground, all the pearling on, the red metal roof with 8 translucent light panels installed. It looked like a 39 foot tall picnic shelter. I had a great reason for building this thing 39 feet tall, that was the tallest measurement I could get from the massive telephone poles I used to frame with.

The poles are buried over 6 feet and sit in pockets dug into the slate bedrock. Makes for a stable build. The dasher boards are done in 2x10 larch lumber, all full length cut from trees I paid to bring home! In fact every board on this monster is from trees I was paid to bring home! The pearling is full length black pine or mast pine all nailed with ringed barn spikes.

My children are musical! WTF does that have to do with anything? They took over my building and it became an open air jam shack. By summer #2 I had three sides sided and it started to look like a very tall silver barn with a red roof. Under the eaves I left a 2 foot opening where I planned on putting more light panels. It stayed like that for quite some time.

As luck would have it that plan changed too. Mark called. He says, " You got any use for thermo paned, argon gas filled windows, that are photo gray on the inside, and silver reflective on the outside?" I says, "Hell yes!" Mother have I got windows, 4 different sizes, the largest 5x5 feet, and the ones closet to my 2 foot opening 26"x59." Somewhere around 200 total windows and I have already used 25 or so. After ripping my opening another couple of inches I framed the opening in continuous glass, over 25 feet! It looks sharp as hell and now the building looks like a studio instead of a barn. Also I hung the fourth side.

Did I mention it is raining? That in why I am not up on my scaffold doing the trim on my overhangs that I did on the break yesterday. The soffets, facia, and gable overhang metal and no more wood showing. I am getting close.

Doors, I have four. Drive through north to south or east to west. North and south openings are 13 feet tall, east and west are 10 feet. Many years ago I picked up some massive wrought iron hinges, 6 pairs of them. To get them out of the way I used the block and tackle to lift them up into my workshop loft here at the homestead, they have been there ever since. Not anymore they are going to swing stylized wooden doors on the east and west side. The tall doors on the north and south are going to slide on antique hardware I got from a tear down, again quite some years ago. Those will match the barn and each end will have a man door built in.