Notes from Three of Earth Farm: The Shed

Cleaning out the shed at the back of the carport wasn’t on my agenda today. But when something big that’s been on the list for a couple of years suddenly announces, “THIS IS THE DAY!” you listen to the call.

Maybe it’s because while I was hiking on Tuesday, I had an idea for a new thing at Three of Earth Farm, kind of an interim idea to the other ideas I have. The other ideas require the workshop above the carport be cleaned out and dressed up (and it would be good for this idea too), and my sister gifted me with a start on that while I was off getting inspiration in the Redwoods. And now it’s back in my court. Stay tuned.

Maybe it’s because I want this to be more than idea. Suddenly it feels important to me to make it happen. And the first step is to clean out the shed, so some of what’s in the upstairs can be moved downstairs.

And so, I donned my old clothes, put on gloves and a mask, and got to work. Well, I should have put on a mask. It isn’t the first time I’ve made a stab at cleaning out the sixty years’ accumulation of stuff, but this time I was going for the win. The pictures speak.

Before. The turquoise fiber-glassed canoe is the one my father (and his visiting friend) restored when I was born instead of helping my mother with the new baby during his week off work. An oft told story. My mother was still a wee bitter 65 years later. Many family adventures in it, but it’s heavy as crap.
More before
Mt. St. Helens’ ash shoveled from the roof of the house in 1980.
No words.
Anything that might possibly be used as a garden stake. Or a stake to hold Irish Spring soap, gloves, aluminum pie plates, netting, a maze of string, any trick to keep deer from eating the garden. And invisible are the ones shorter than the container. And the bundle I removed earlier that are still in the carport.
My sisters and I come honestly to theory that a thing saved might have a reincarnated use…someday. Or not. Perhaps from the renovation of the Presbyterian Church manse my father led. Rebecca says she’ll take them. The saving goes on.
Light fixtures from the Presbyterian Church sanctuary renovation, I think.
I’m keepin’ these. (Oh, Rebecca says they’re hers.) The metal pieces are two of eight legs for two camp cots I took down from the rafters in my first clean out, throwing out the rotted canvas. Hmm.
I’ve always loved that tiny oil can, and the gas can. And what about that duster thing for aphids and such?
Just a can o’ tiny beach rocks.
Hours of beach entertainment.
Well, they are the BEST ones! In retirement, my dad took up a craft, turning driftwood bits into little animals. I guess he didn’t take it too far; lots of leftover bits.
And more beach treasures.
Wouldn’t know how to use these if I had to. Bye bye.
I don’t even remember an electric fence. Around the horse’s barnyard maybe. (The neighbor’s orchard, I am told.)
Family tradition of three scrawny noble firs for Christmas trees. Beautiful. Don’t need the stand.
Leftover TV cable, strung from the antennae tower at the highest point on the property and into the house.
Whole lotta old tools, including some mysteries.
I need my dad. I have questions.
My father’s legacy.
With shelf and floor space for stuff from upstairs.

Well, that was a good day’s work! Metal recycling run: check. Still to come: runs to the thrift shop, Habitat for Humanity Restore, give-aways, “the dump,” and a full trash barrel for the Hazo Hut. Oh, and those creative endeavors. And see if those canoes are water worthy.





9 thoughts on “Notes from Three of Earth Farm: The Shed

  1. The canoe covered with aqua fiberglass is an early Old Town, made in Maine, I think. They didn’t realize how old and special it was when they covered it. Daddy regretted the covering when he learned the canoe’s value many years later. I have another possible ID for the first tool: could it be for toasting bread over a campfire, or is the business end too heavy-duty for that?


  2. Hello Gretchen.

    I’ve just read the shed cleaning article. ah, youth, ah, energy!

    Give the old canoes some close attention, particularly the one on top. If it’s the one I remember, it has a classic status in the wooden canoe world. I can’t remember the builder’s name but the shop was in a kind of backwater site in Tacoma. Look carefully around the bow and stern structures for some sort of ID plate. The cedar strips are nailed with clinched copper nails and there are all kinds of construction details that got full attention. I can’t think of any place or person locally where you can get informed advice. There is a magazine called Wooden Boat that might still be at the library. A letter of inquiry might get some help there.

    The two long handled tools: one looks like a modern-day peavey, used mainly to roll logs, and the other looks like an older thing that was used to lift and pour small crucibles of molten metal, tin or lead or somesuch. Roofers used them and machine maintainers occasionally poured machine bearings in place. Big and dangerous blowtorches were used to do the melting.

    Aha! a Google search on a Tacoma wooden canoe led to several sites. This is a nice one:

    Good luck.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Robert! Why in the world would he have had such tools? The odd thing about the top one, it doesn’t seem to have a way to control the clutching of said small crucible. I cannot imagine why I would need to keep such, or several other old and duplicate better known tools. But I just stuck them all in the back.

      Yes, the top canoe is a Willits. The sister to the one my mother and I put a hole in on the Chehalis. This one, I believe, was purchased from the Girl Scout camp in Olympia (Kenneydell), the other from the Campbells up the hill. My dad, you will remember no doubt, was going to repair it, but never did. My mother gifted it back to the Campbell children. The other canoe is an Oldtown, I think.

      Thank you for the story!



  3. My father from MA, actually had snow chains for his pickup in 1960 when the ten year snow of 5” closed the school. My principal had to call the school board to check (no phone system fir closing). And he mad a sled out if a plywood board and Two by Four wood. If you ever find out what the shovel/hook was for please post it. Sturbridge Farm has all sorts of obscure tools. We had to drag my father away, it was his candy. The volunteer guide was also having a good time because my father knew several of the tools that hadn’t figured out their reason for being made.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My neighbor says the bottom one is a peavey, used to roll logs. The other was used to grasp and pour small crucibles holding molten metal or tin or “somesuch.” See his comment above for more info.


      1. My father was a roofer. And we melted lead to make toy lead soldiers for my brother and bullets for his 44. So the long skinny rod looks like one of his tools. We had all sorts of now banned substances around the house. Including liquid mercury.

        Liked by 1 person

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