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Monday, August 29, 2016

My Best Gift Ever: A Vintage Midwest Corn Crib

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I have to admit that when it comes to gift giving, I've got some of the most generous, creative,thoughtful friends and relatives there are.  Over the years, I've been blessed with some amazingly cool gifts but none quite as incredible as the one that I received two weeks ago: a vintage Midwest corn crib. 
Well, not the entire corn crib; let me explain.  As you have probably guessed by now, the renovation of the farmhouse will include reclaimed wood beams in some of the rooms.  I've spent the last nine months looking for salvaged barn beams to be repurposed in our home.
My most recent foray was an entire day spent looking at three different salvage companies and still coming away empty handed. As fate (and the angels watching over me on this project) would have it, that evening, after a long and disappointing day, Mr. Refined and I ran into some friends at a restaurant that we had wanted to try.

We explained our frustration at spending yet another day looking in vain for beams for our home and our friend said,  
     "I have a corn crib that needs to come down. 
                                                       If you can find someone to take it down, you can HAVE it."
No... really... He said that and when I realized that he was actually serious, we arranged a trip to the farm that has been in his family for five generations to see the crib.  Of course, it's amazing. About 40 feet long, 30 feet wide and 45 feet tall. It's complete with barn swallows, old corn chutes and chain grain elevators.
                                                                                                  I love it...all of it.  Every. Single. Board.

I spent about an hour crawling around inside of the crib. I climbed the wood ladder up to the top where the huge metal chute that used to direct the corn through floor into the bins below still place. I checked the post and beam construction and considered all of the things that I could use it for. I saw fir wood and oak and pine. I looked at the barn doors, still on their tracks and heard stories of my friend growing up and working on the farm when his parents still owned it.
There are rafters, beams, and flooring. There is gorgeous old weathered siding with bits of red and white paint still on it that tells the story of generations of farmers who worked the land and raised the cattle who fed on the corn stored in this crib.  The surrounding acreage has been sold and the farm is no longer a working  farm.  
The crib is leaning and needs to come down before it falls down. On Saturday, I met with my friend Patrick who salvages old timber and he's interested in reclaiming the wood and deconstructing the crib. He'll be driving out to the farm to look at it this week. 

I've also spoken to Merle, our Amish cabinet maker about the possibility of milling some of the planks into our interior trim and doors. Of course, this would mean that we wouldn't have trim or interior doors until sometime this winter and I'm not sure that we can have occupancy without some of those things so stay tuned.
I don't know what will happen or how this will all play out, but I'm hopeful and excited to be a part of the reclamation and repurposing of this piece of history. They will see their dream of having the crib reclaimed and be able to build a new storage structure. Patrick's deconstruction company will get the majority of the wood to resell and repurpose. And of course, I'll get beams and trim for the farmhouse.
That's the story of my coolest gift ever. Who knew that I'd need a "crib" at my age?! The reclaimed wood from this rustic, hundred year old corn crib which belongs to my friends will become a part of the story of my own farmhouse. I love a farmhouse with stories.

Speaking of farmhouses, this is their farmhouse. It, too, is over 100 years old. They've been restoring it.  It has heart pine floors. Don't even get me started.

Thanks so much for reading,
Kimberly