Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Black Kettle barn is an epic work in progress. It was built in 1947 after the original, along with the house, burned in the fire that took out most of Lyman, as well as other dry spots in Maine that summer. The "new" barn has many unique features; a huge hay loft complete with a really burly hay hook for moving round bales, an old school pencil sharpener with a manual crank (who's really seen one since their second grade classroom?), and a totally random and nonspecific pump that I choose not to touch or think about.

Back in the fun times forties when the barn was constructed there were way different codes and standards. Apparently the folks that built this beauty were in major "get 'er done" mode and decided to skip over the foundation portion of the program. Thus, these days we have a real, real wavy floor after years and years of frost heaves and shifts and rattles from our mama earth. The concept of "level" in the barn is majorly open to interpretation. Judge not.
So it has been out with the old and in with the new over the last few months. The first round of deconstruction involved the removal of a huge work bench, a sort of rickety set of make shift shelves and an animal stall that read "Flicka" "Baby Doll" and "JR" on the door (fear not, I kept it). After some spring cleaning and musing we pumped it up and got serious about making the barn a functioning space for a rocking veggie operation like BKF. In a corner that used to house yet another work bench, an 8 X 10 walk in cooler was built. After years of dealing with plastic coolers better suited for six packs and salsa then tender veggies, on top of the stress of hustling produce around to find a corner of shade, I am humbled by my love, admiration and general astonishment of refrigeration. I had no idea it would be this good.

The 2011 veggie season has welcomed many changes and evolutions. One major example of this is the incorporation of the on-farm pick up option for the CSA. For 2 weeks we cuted-up a section of the barn with the classic BKF look of tables clothes, baskets and produce piled high for the local picker-uppers to get their veggies and feel the love. This all changed for week 3 when my super handy Uncle Dan Higgins and trusty cousin Cameron rolled into town ready to rock any project I threw at them. With the dimming feature in my kitchen light installed (first things first) they tackled the new and improved and about to be uber fabulous CSA pick up area. The custom made design features a counter space for members to place their tote bags as they gather their produce, a place for newsletters in the beginning of the line and the trademark BKF tilt of baskets that make it appear as though the chard is actually leaping out at the consumer. It's all truly amazing. Dan kept the authentic feel of the barn and used a lot of old lumber, as well as a small door for a portion of the project. Tres groovy, no? Not only that, but with a remaining half an hour in the work day, Dan and Cam literally banged out a new work bench in a place that actually makes sense and will give me the opportunity to go to my happy place and organize and re-organize my screw drivers.
Now it is all about function and action in these parts.........if we could just figure out a way to get less sea sick from the ebbs and flows of the barn floor.

Move over Baby Doll! Saddle up and ride Flicka!

The barn is the veggie focused mother ship from now on!

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