Reset, Repurpose, Revival

With every new year, most people like to make resolutions, set goals, and plan out their upcoming year. Some like to choose a word that will represent their goals for the year or encompass who they want to become. The new year is a jumping off point to get back in the rhythm of healthy habits. In the instance of 2021, I have heard a lot of folks using the word reset. Not necessarily a reset as in starting over again, but after 2020 and all the pivoting, resetting on the fears and anxieties from the past year and choosing to be positive and and move forward. As we move into the new year with a reset on our perspective, proceeding with positivity and pursuit of dreams, we are eager to continue escaping the grind, exploring the artisan, and establishing our traditions. One of our big projects for this upcoming spring is tied to a project that we completed back in the spring of 2019 before anyone would have imagined a global pandemic.

Prior to us living here and calling this property our own, my parents purchased this land from my father’s dad. They built the house, and over time built outbuildings to accompany the various hobbies and practices on the farm. A tack shed and barn for the horses, a coop for the chickens, and a garden shed to store tools and equipment. Overtime it became its own little 1990’s colonial village. Building these sheds was a hobby of my father’s, and he must have done a decent job considering the wood sided structures held up for almost three decades. While some of these outbuildings we have selected to keep, the garden shed was one unfortunately that we decided needed to go. To be honest we couldn’t keep critters from taking up residence under the shed, inside the shed, and within the shed; from groundhogs to skunks burrowing under the building, to snakes and mice inside the shed, to carpenter bees within the walls of the shed. You could literally hear the sound of the carpenter bees gnawing away at the structure. So in the words of Chip Gains, it was demo day!

Now for our restoration fans out there, don’t think we didn’t think about restoring this shed or even repurposing the building; especially since my dad had built this building. Unfortunately though, the garden shed is not the part of the story that will tie back to the “repurposing” in the title of this post. As we started the demo and taking down siding, I even started to consider if we should keep the frame of the building and turn it into a greenhouse. But I kid you not, the stench of skunk that loomed kept us on track with removing the structure completely and pressing reset on this small part of our farmette. Even with the entire structure gone, the soil below reeked of skunk and rodent feces. So much so, that we shoveled the soil away like some kind of contamination site.

With the shed down, we could begin our project. This project would set the foundation for our future larger project, literally. We would be setting a brick patio in a double basket weave pattern. And this patio would be the future location of a greenhouse, but one step at a time. First, I want to talk about a pile of bricks.

The front of our home had a brick walkway that lead from the driveway and garage out to the front porch. The brick path ended in front of the house in a circular pattern with a cross in the center made of slightly darker colored bricks. Once again, it was a project my dad had completed when he lived here. Over the years, this too became a pretty big maintenance issue. The weeds had seemed to master the art of growing between the bricks, thriving to the point that we decided it was time to replace this with a concrete walkway. This was in 2016. When the contractor came to pour the concrete walkway, we were able to save the bricks that my dad had set decades ago.

Little did I know, three years later I would reset these bricks to repurpose them for revival of an area on our farmette that we had big plans for.

Reset – set again or differently.

The plan was to create a brick patio where the old garden shed was located to eventually construct a greenhouse on. We choose to keep the location of the garden shed for the brick patio as there was electric that ran to the shed previously. We loved the idea of resetting the bricks that we had kept from the sidewalk project. The nuance of reusing these bricks felt right, and of course with reusing these bricks, we also knew we would want to try to incorporate the cross symbol as well.

The construction of the brick patio area would include building a wood frame, back filling some soil in lower within and around the frame, laying down gardening fabric, leveling and compacting a layer of crush and run, and then leveling and compacting a layer of paver sand.

Repurpose – adapt for use in another purpose.

This created a solid foundation for me to reset the bricks as we repurposed them for this future greenhouse floor.

I decided I would use a double weave basket pattern in placing the bricks, and then make sure to arrange a cross symbol in the center by setting aside darker colored bricks for this later use. There was something gratifying about laying the bricks after preparing the foundation.

To reset the bricks with the intention of repurposing them was a true revival.

Revival – an improvement in the condition or strength of something.

We are excited to take on the next steps of constructing our greenhouse this spring. With every step we continue to explore, discover, learn and grow.

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