The other day, while out lollygagging around the farm, I took a break from an idle snowball fight with the 5yr-old to visit the shop where the guys were working. The little green building with smoke curling lazily out of its rusty chimney doesn't account to much upon first glance. Perhaps a closer inspection would raise a small amount of curiosity due to the odd and varying sounds coming from within. The snow packed path leading up to the door is littered with small trees, freshly cut out of the forest. A black farm cat is sunbathing in a pile of sawdust outside the door, his tail twitching idly in your direction. A step has been carved out of the hard-packed snow to prevent one from sliding down headlong into the door (as I have done).
The sounds become louder as soon as the door is opened. Under your foot the cool cement floor is blanketed with wood shavings. The air is warm with a combined smell of fresh baked bread and newly turned wood. Delicious. Mom had sent the bread out earlier to be baked in the wood cook stove that also provides heat for the shop. The building is packed to its limit with odd looking tools of every kind. I know they each serve their own purpose, but I have, on occasion, wondered why a huge tool that can do everything has yet to be invented. I will be the first to admit that the workshop is pretty foreign territory to me.
Andrew occupies the first section of the shop where the work benches are. There, stools and end tables as well as other sets of small furniture are daily being created. The next section of the garage is Michael's. As he is just learning some woodworking, he gets advice and help from Dad and Andrew who are overseeing his first creations (which have been pleasantly impressive, in my opinion). The next section of floor space in front of the stove is Stephen's, where the rails for another rocking chair are being pounded into place. After making several small things, plaques, signs, bird houses, etc., Stephen surprised us with a big, beautiful rustic rocking chair. It turned out encouragingly well for his first attempt. The few imperfections in it are being pounded out in the next one that he immediately started constructing. The last available space in the shop appears to belong to Dad, where the whirring of the lathe fills the room with a dull noise. The lathe has to be one of the most fascinating tools to watch in action. The wood spinning, chips flying, tool moving back and forth, and suddenly something is taking shape. After a few more moments, you can usually tell what it is. And a few moments after that, you realize you too have been mesmerized by the machine and have been standing there idly for longer than you anticipated. The finished products are also addictive to the hands. I find myself still palming the darning egg he made me long after the socks are repaired.
My unproductiveness becomes obvious in the productive surroundings and I find myself feeling bad for taking time out of the day to take an idle walk around the farm. However, coming back out, the beauty of the day more than chases away any regretful feelings I may have had. Forgetting the laundry, mending, sewing, and slightly (blush) dirty house, I invite my younger siblings to take a walk out to visit the animals with me. Like Mary in the Bible, there are some days when I feel like choosing the better part. Glancing at the sun, I knew the boys recreation hour was approaching, as they seem to be addicted to tearing up the snow covered field with their wild evening football games.
Anyway, this post wouldn't be complete without sharing tons of pictures!
End table with drawer. Cedar slab front and spruce top... No cheap partical board or veneer in that drawer!
Simple end table with shelf.
Coffee table.. You can see a little shine on the top. Andrew's been using Shellac to finish his work, a natural, hypoallergenic coating that won't off-gas toxic fumes!
We've got a nice stool collection going.. He's made several taller bar stools as well.
I just love the detail in this cute piece!
A humorous birdhouse.. Good thing birds can't identify a cat without movement!
Steve's especially proud of his rocking chair.. I can testify that it's as comfortable as it looks!
A rustic end table.. It's just dying to hold a pot of my flowers!
Pretty self-explanatory.. A handy addition to any hallway!
This is the kind of work that we hope to sell, both locally and online (through our country store) to support our homestead, and decision to break away from the world and live simply on the land as God intended. The boys' creations that you see here are made of all-natural materials mostly gleaned off our land (with, of course, the exception of some finishes or glues, etc.). I just love the way our living room looks and feels decorated with these pieces (now to get some cushions and curtains made up!!). They look great and hold up really well under our heavy abuse. If you or anyone you know would be interested in purchasing the boys' furniture, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us!