Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Barn Boardwalk {Salvaged Wood & Weddings}

 "Do you ever just get overwhelmed with it all?" people often ask me.  Man, are you kidding me?  Just look at the back of this barn! Yup, sure do!  But when we first bought this place, Aunt Dee told me something that struck me.  "You eat an elephant one bite at a time."  And we've been eating lots of elephant bites over the last five years.  But when suddenly you have a deadline - like a big classy wedding in our hillbilly world - scheduled at your place,  you gotta start inhaling elephant like you're in an eating contest with your life on the line!

In April, my friend Laura asked me if she could use our place as her wedding venue.  August 31st was to be the big day.  Four months to get ready.  Easy peasy.

Okay, so I'm cheating a little when I show you some of these before pictures, because these are circa 2014.  This is when we starting eating some of the "barn elephant".  So to keep it real, some of this was done before this summer, like getting all the vines down, getting the door to work again, and the paint job.

Let yours eyes drift over to the left of that big red silo.  That's what this blog post is going to focus on today.  Because the bride and the caterer decided it would be perfect to have the food line out back of the barn right there.... and so begins the Salvaged Wood Board Walk!

Just clearing this area out, with all the buried boulders and vines was quite a task!
The rake on the back of the tractor helped a lot!

I actually took the picture of this barn beam in my tractor bucket to post it for sale on Facebook, but it never made it that far!

Who just has two spare barn beams laying around with no home?  We do! 
Turns out they were the perfect base or edge for the South side of our walkway.

We used lots of old asphalt (that had previously been the floor in the barn) to fill this area in, as well as dirt and ashes from our perpetual debris fire in the backyard.  

Rather than buying new wood, we went through my hoards of wood stashes to find what we needed.  Believe me when I say I'm a wood hoarder!  Just look at my hubby and I fighting over whether to save or burn wood from the old corn crib:

Good thing I usually win that fight, because we didn't spend a dime on this walkway! 

There's also no shortage of boulders around here.  I know people who pay money for those things!  Treasure trove in my own yard, I tell ya!

After leveling the barn beams, securing plywood on top, and adding some beautiful rocks, I started the job of rounding up every piece of 3/4" thick wood I had.  Mind you, it had to be at least six feet long!  That nixed a lot of what I had.  I had  saved boards from the windmill renovations, the corn crib, barn, house, you name it , which meant a variety of finishes and color. 

When I thought I had every board I could possible find out of every building and stash, we were still five feet shy of finishing. I started digging in the rafters of the garage, piles I had long ago buried under old barn doors, and pulled out stuff with rotten edges.  We started splicing and cutting and low and behold had just enough right down to the last inch. This hot day and hard work and cutting it so close called for a little "sit" and a little "sigh of relief".

Okay now the boardwalk is complete but what the doozies is this?  We needed some sort of transition... but the old boulders from years gone by made digging this area and smoothing it out impossible so we decided mulch would save the day.  After spending a small fortune on black plastic for other landscaping projects (to be seen in future blog posts) I had had it with black plastic.  Not to mention how slippery that stuff is and well, slippery and mulch and traffic areas just don't go well together.  We had this large roll of carpet padding in one of our buildings leftover from when we got carpet installed in the Airbnb.  Or maybe the tenant house.  It all blurs together after awhile.  Anyway, I also found some old rugs, some plywood, some air mattresses with holes in them that I cut apart..... and covered the ground for weed control and then spread the cedar mulch on top.  When you look at landscaping around our place, you just never know what might be hiding underneath those stones or mulch!  And that's a fact.

So before you ask if this wood is treated and if it's going to last very long, the answer is no, and probably another no.  (Okay so some of the boards might be, but not all).  It was solely done for the wedding and we are hoping we at least get a couple good years from it.  But now that I look at it, and use it, and love on it, I don't want it to ever go the way of the Sears Catalog.  A friend suggested marine urethane.  Maybe I'll have to check into that before winter hits!

Isn't that thing just crazy full of character and rustic charm??

So here's how it worked for the food line at the wedding:

People came out of the big double sliding doors, walked down the board walk, and into the smaller door where the buffet of delicious Mediterranean food awaited.  I put that old vintage couch outside too for a little photo op, or if people couldn't stand in line.
Check out the groom in the doorway... and that pretty chandelier hanging over his head in the background!  Oooo lala.

The signs and hanging terracotta pots lined the aisle during the ceremony in our front yard and then were moved to line the boardwalk during the reception.

Just for fun, here's the wedding decorating and setting up crew breaking for some lunch.... on the boardwalk! :)

We've already had two get togethers since the wedding because I'm just so excited to have a "party barn"!  Below is from last weekend.  The cousins are having a blast with a good old fashioned kickball game while some of us who ate too many tacos sit on the boardwalk (barn deck in this case!) to observe and cheer! It's perfect when our Airbnb's are filled because this is like a separate "private" backyard and I don't feel like we're in our guest's space.  Win win!

Update: A few years later with newer wood and the mulch swapped out for stones. 

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  1. Kammy, Try some boiled linseed oil on your walkway before winter. It may help to preserve it. Kudos to you all. Wonderful job. What helps eating that elephant? Hot sauce? Mayonnaise?

  2. Wow! You guys did a fantastic job!

  3. Kammy, you are a wonder!! Cannot wait to see more!!


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