Feb 2, 2011

   Lincoln Logs...

Like so many other American children, when I was growing up I played with Lincoln Logs.
I loved every minute of it.
I was sure my creations were the finest with their wrap-around porches and overhanging roofs, doorways, and windows on every side.
As the building would take shape, there was no end to my eight year old imagination.
I wanted to live in the 1800's* when America was really starting to grow and ride over the snow in a horse drawn sleigh** and sit warmly by the fire "Abe Lincoln-style"***  in my cozy log hideaway.

Later in my life I tried several times to have a "cabin in the mountains" where I could look out at the stars and feel the night breezes blowing through the open window.**** 
But for all my trying... it just never seemed to happen. 

This past September on the farm, my "Lincoln Log fantasy" was finally fulfilled in a way that would never have entered my mind.

Two and a half years before we had purchased this old threshing barn in a village about an hour away.  Our intention was to move it ourselves in the coming weeks, but we were so pressed with other responsibilities that the project somehow got shuffled down the priority list and the weeks passed, and the months passed,
and the YEARS passed.

And then we got...
the Call.

The owners, Pelle and Ingmarie Fridh,  had had an unexpected opportunity to sell their farm.  Within a few days the deal was done and everything had to be moved.  
Pappa, Gustav and I hooked up the trailer and headed out.  When we arrived Ingmarie was already there emptying one of the other barns and we got right started on ours.

This was definitely not a job for wimps....

The barn was full of old machinery,  farm implements and a good measure of junk.

Fortunately, Pappa and Gustav came with their muscles.


 These things were SO heavy!

But it was only the beginning.  I had no idea how extensive it would be.

Here is the Reader's Digest pictorial version of this massive undertaking:

Empty everything from the main floor of the barn and haul it to different piles for sorting.

With the help of the missionaries, Elder Brownell and Elder Rice, empty the second floor. (See the old horse drawn sleigh in the left hand picture? Oh wait - I think I dreamed of this once..). Shove it all through the upper window into the front loader of the tractor, haul off and sort.
Rip off the metal roofing and start scraping off the shingle layer..
WAY TO GO Elders!
Look at those shingles fly!

Get the last of the shingles off (that's Pappa and Gustav) and then start with the removal of the roof boards (Pappa and the neighbor, Lars).

And as we were cleaning up the roof boards look what we found!

The original hand-made square nails,

and the builder's carved-in signature and date of construction - 1894.
So fun!  (Hey! The 1800's - does that ring a bell?)



The roof was completely off. It was time for the actual dismantling. The crane showed up right on schedule and they were ready to start,

but not before each supporting log on the roof was clearly marked.
(Are you feeling the Lincoln Log vibes yet?  It's going to happen....)

  Chain it - dislodge it - suspend it -  load it on the transport truck.
The operator standing on the truck in the grey hoody with his back to us is moving the crane by remote control.
With the roof off, they could start the walls.  Each log was marked by Pappa.
This means Log #6 on the North side.

By this stage things were really rolling.  Lars' 12 year old son, in the red shirt, came to help as well and loved working with  the men.
 As the logs came up and off they were guided by Gustav over to the bed of the transport truck.

 Pappa, who is a master of planning, had cordoned off an area in our front field at home with supports in position to receive the logs.

Each time the loaded truck arrived at our farm the logs were stacked on the grid according to north, south, east or west walls.

And yes, they worked well into the night- this was almost 2:00 A.M.

  Day in and day out, the men were at it.  We were up every morning early and Hans started off for the site where he would meet Lars.  During the week Gustav joined them after school, and on Saturdays it was an all-day affair.  As the walls came down the doorways and windows were dismantled as well.   

Lars' son tried his hand at driving a wedge with a sledge hammer,
and he did it! (He was so proud).
With the floorboards removed and stacked they began to lift the underlying beams.

Gustav had more than one opportunity to "ride on over" as the underlogs were lifted and loaded.

The building was down. There was only the back shed left and Pappa took the chain saw to that in a hot second!

And what was I doing during all this?
It's true that I helped to
empty the barn,
 sweep up the debris,
stack the boards,
pick Gustav up after school at the bus stop in Näsåker,
 the nearest village to the barnsite
and take all the pictures for the blog...

But perhaps my most IMPORTANT function during the project was:

bringing the

Each morning after the men were gone I made the sandwiches and the drinks, and
the CAKES.

Just one day after we started, exactly when all this was happening, the current edition of our weekly Land Magazine (a farm newspaper/magazine famed for it's great recipes) had arrived with a whole section of different kinds of cakes. 
There was chocolate nut, apricot almond, peach raspberry, apple cinnamon, lemon poppyseed, orange hazelnut, just to name a few.
I did the only sensible thing....
I made three of them every single day
 and carted them to the worksite with the rest of the lunch.

(do you think the men liked it?)
Yes they did.

In fact,
we finally had to make a rule that everyone had to eat their lunch, (including their fresh carrots from the garden)
 before they dug into the cakes!

It was so GREAT!

This barn was built in the 1800's**.
It housed a horse drawn sleigh* that we were able to bring home.
I now live in a farm in northern Sweden, made of logs inside much like this old barn, where I can gaze at the stars and feel the night  breezes blowing through the windows****.

But perhaps the greatest result of  this experience was something that even I in my eight year old mind and imagination could not have anticipated.
The last picture above is of Lars and his 12 year old son sharing a moment of love and affection together. 
When I glanced over and saw it, there was a depth of peace and
 warmth in my heart that would rival any that an "Abe Lincoln-style"  fire*** could produce.

It was in every sense, incredibly

No comments: