Working towards Weddings!
Work was progressing, in earnest, on the restoration of the 1906 farm house in the winter of 2000, when at Christmas time, our middle daughter Kirsten became engaged, followed shortly by the engagement of her older sister, Kimberly, early in January of 2001. Both of them informed us that they would like to marry during the Summer of 2001, utilizing the family farm in some way. More specifically, Kimberly & Peter wished to get married in the 1898 Bank Barn, while Kirsten & Josh desired to use the barn for their reception.
Well, we could have said “no”, but what are parents for! So the answer was “yes”. We needed to temporarily abandon work on the farmhouse and begin, with avengeance, on the barn. So, Maureen and the girls started working, planning…and praying. George, our son Ryan, future son-in-law Josh, two very dear friends, Louie and Randy, and a group of Randy’s buddies went to work at full speed. We began on the Bank Barn and surrounding corral, replacing fence in the field and re-roofing the old machine shed. Barn flooring, posts, beams and siding were removed and replaced (more work than words). Sliding barn doors & track were replaced, Poison Ivy removed (on the hottest day of Spring) and a twenty-five by forty-five foot deck was added in front of the barn. Finally, lighting, outlets and fans were added, of course, after electricity was installed, then the floor was sanded and sealed.
After a brief rain, late on June 15th, the dawn of June 16th., brought bright blue skies, puffy white clouds, and a Spring breeze to the picturesque farmstead. Guests arrived and a wonderful celebration followed while Kimberly became the first direct descendant of Conrad Botzum to marry at the old homestead. Then on August 11th, on an almost duplicate day, Kirsten was married at The Chapel, in Akron and welcomed friends and family to her reception hosted in the 1898 Bank Barn.
Much has been accomplished along with The Bank Barn. Beside the new roof on the Machine Shed and the new fencing, routine mowing and maintenance continues.
Since the weddings, work has continued on the house. All the new heating, air-conditioning, plumbing and electrical is in. The house is insulated, dry-walled and painted. All of the windows have been installed and George, who has been wearing a carpenters hat for many years, doing the trim work, has finally put back on his architects cap. The porch has been completely redone in rough sawn cedar and redwood, including custom (George) made screens. All of the kitchen cabinets and counter tops have been installed, along with bright, sparkling, white appliances. The floors have been sanded and sealed on all three floors. All four bathrooms are in and working, along with paint, wall paper borders and light fixtures. All floors of rooms are trimmed and stained and varnished. In fact, the last thing needed is to hang some ‘five panel ladder’ style doors to finish everything.
The Summer of 2005 saw us rebuilding the Sweitzer Barn foundation with old sandstone foundation blocks, demolishing the collapsing 1930’s cottage and mowing lots and lots of grass.
In the Spring and Summer of 2007 we constructed handicapped accessible toilets with hot and cold running water and flush toilets. This Spring we will be completing the exterior with cedar shingles and stone, along with some landscaping. These are a welcome addition to the farmstead and a great relief from the blue plastic boxes we utilized for 7 years. I’ll never understand why our brides hesitated a little about stuffing their poofy dresses into a 3 foot by 3 foot cubbie on a hot summer day. Oh well!
In the Spring of 2013, we constructed a new handicapped accessible ramp on the West side of the deck, to provide complete accessibility to the 1898 Bank Barn. It is a great addition to our facility, and has even been used as a gather place by reception attendees.
There are always projects to be accomplished. Fixing fences, installing new (old looking) gutters and downspouts, upgrading electric, cleaning-up, additional barn restoration, and the continual gravel driveway refinishing and grass mowing and grass mowing and grass mowing! More specifically, the Winter of 2013-2014, sees us doing some barn floor, and barn floor support, restoration and replacement, along with some deck maintenance. We’ll keep you posted.