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The Lodge

The Lodge

November 15, 2015 – 8:13 pm |

When we bought Storybook Farm, its original farmhouse still stood–barely! We have heard from locals that it housed five to six generations of Smiths in days gone by. We believe that it was abandoned for the house we have renovated (and now live in) around 1915 or so. That would make this log structure at least 200 years old.
We really worked at the possibility of …

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The Lodge

November 15, 2015 – 8:13 pm |

When we bought Storybook Farm, its original farmhouse still stood–barely! We have heard from locals that it housed five to six generations of Smiths in days gone by. We believe that it was abandoned for the house we have renovated (and now live in) around 1915 or so. That would make this log structure at least 200 years old.

Smith house

Smith house

We really worked at the possibility of redoing it. (Those who are regular readers here know that “Repurpose” is practically my middle name), but it simply was beyond repair. So, after about two years of using it as a tool shed and sometimes garage, we decided to take it down and replace it with a multipurpose building that we call The Lodge.

The picture at the left shows the Smith House in the snow. You can see that Memory Lane runs in front of it, and that it snuggles into the hillside behind it. Holding up its back side is a cement retaining wall that has no foundation. There’s also a tree growing very close to the back left corner.

The hillside presented challenges to the new construction, and we thus spent about three weeks deciding on the location of the new Lodge. We could have sited it closer to the dancing lawn than the Smith House had been, and taken Memory Lane behind it. This had some advantages, but, in the end, we decided to only move it about seven feet over, and leave Memory Lane to run between The Lodge and the Dancing Lawn, and use the Smith House retaining wall to keep the bank behind in place, while taking down that tree.

Demolition began in April of 2015. It took about a week to take it down, scoop it up (by the truck load) and cart it away. We did salvage all the sound logs, and have used a few of them as we developed the farm compound, as you’ll see if you read through this post.


starting to peel siding


building pulled down


peeling off the metal roofing


tree down; Smith house almost gone


our messy compound




































After demolition was complete, all that was left of the Smith House was the retaining wall. A couple of weeks later, our contractors started to construct the new building.

The first step was leveling the site, and then the foundation walls were built of cement blocks. This only took about two days. It was great to feel that we were making progress!

Of course, after the foundation came framing, and then finishing. I’ve got lots of pictures to share below, if you’re interested. The building took our excellent builder about four months to complete, but that was because of factors beyond his control. We are beyond pleased with the results! After the construction shots, I’ll show some interior shots and tell you how we envision The Lodge being used.

Construction shots:


pouring footers


cement foundation walls


framing downstairs walls


trusses going in to cap first floor


beginning to frame the second story


building almost fully framed


the farmhouse from inside the Lodge

Shots of the Lodge all finished. We love the way it looks now, but plans are to paint it brown next year.

lodge done

finished exterior: garage function


Dancing Lawn side, and Memory Lane


The farm compound restored to order

Below are some shots of pouring the first level floor, and the finished interior downstairs. It doubles as a garage (winter, mostly) for our two cars and tools, and as a pavilion/party space in summers. It has a full kitchen courtesy of Craig’s List.


pouring the floor

Lodge kitchen

cabinets garnished from Craig’s List: $1000


door to the upstairs and beyond



Below are some interior shots upstairs. The Lodge hosts 12-14 in beds. There are four bedrooms: 2 bunk rooms (each sleeping 4 in bunks plus 1-3 more in couches that make into beds) and 2 “parent” rooms (each sleeping 2 in beds… either in single bed configurations, or king bed configuration. Here are a few shots:

bunks_2 green_room pocket_door lodge_view

Chez Poulez

November 15, 2015 – 5:11 pm |
Chez Poulez

You may have already read about the start of our great chicken-keeping adventure in March 2015. We lost two of our original six hens over the course of this year; one simply keeled over outside in April, and the other was egg bound for months and then finally disappeared last week. Sad.
But, on the good side, our Buff Orpington went broody, and successfully hatched four …


May 18, 2015 – 10:52 pm |

In 2015, our first Storybook Farm lambs were born. About a week later, by a happy aligning of circumstances, all six of our daughters and eight grandchildren make the trek to celebrate early spring lambs. Margaret had given birth to twin ewe lambs the week before. The group was only all present for one full day: Friday. On that day, God gave us a gift: …

Chickens at Storybook Farm

March 31, 2015 – 3:48 pm |
Chickens at Storybook Farm

This third week of March, 2015, has been a busy one at Storybook Farm! We had our first lambs born, and also brought home some chickens.
We decided to purchase our chickens as young adults because, after raising ducks from hatchlings in 2013, I determined that I would rather have the fruits of another’s labors rather than going through that particular chore all over again.
I had …

First Lambs Born at Storybook Farm!

March 29, 2015 – 3:02 pm |
First Lambs Born at Storybook Farm!

Spring of 2015 is our first year to have domestic animals born at Storybook Farm! (Clearly, there have been many animals born here in the past, but not since it came to be called Storybook Farm, and has been under “new management.”)
First, a little background on our sheep.
We decided to keep Babydoll Southdown sheep at Storybook Farm because they are reputed to be good for …

First Christmas at Storybook Farm

December 17, 2014 – 1:26 pm |

In 2013, we celebrated our first family Christmas at Storybook Farm, and we haven’t celebrated another one here because we have visited extended family in their homes instead. However, we did work out our new Christmas traditions for decorating, and I wanted to share them with you, since it’s that time of the year again.
Christy and Marjorie came home for Christmas in 2013. Here, they …

The Fairy’s First Christmas

December 17, 2014 – 10:07 am |
The Fairy’s First Christmas

The farmer at Storybook Farm always says that there is a fairy living in his upper pond.  He says she must live in the corner, because that’s where bubbles come up.  The farmer is much too strong and gentle to think of disturbing the fairy.  He only points out to the granddaughters, “the fairy is stirring today.”  The granddaughters look with eyes full of longing …

Conquering “The Greater Eyesore”

August 26, 2014 – 11:03 am |
Conquering “The Greater Eyesore”

At Storybook Farm, we have this large shed. It is OLD. One side is half falling over–there are cables that stretch from side to side to keep it from bowing. My daughter Christy aptly named it “The Greater Eyesore” and has plead with us for almost three years to tear it down. (It’s the *greater* eyesore because it has a smaller twin shed across the …

Upper Room Retreat Nook

August 24, 2014 – 10:58 pm |
Upper Room Retreat Nook

Our Upper Room is ready for you! It is a private cabin that we renovated (click here for full story of its renovation), and much of the time, it sits empty. We love company, and Storybook Farm is second to none as a peaceful, quiet place to get away for renewal. We would love to see more pastors and Christian couples taking advantage of our …

The Tale of Skypig

February 2, 2014 – 1:23 pm |
The Tale of Skypig

Sky Pig
by Scott Somerville (with slight editions and additions by Christy)
based on some true events (and others not so true)
Now attend and pay attention all over again, best beloved.
Once upon a time at Storybook Farm, that same Storybook Farm where the air is full of butterflies and hummingbirds and the smell of cappuccino, and where all the grandchildren love each other, the kittens were learning …

Construction of the Upper Room Guest Space

November 22, 2013 – 8:30 am |

When we bought Storybook Farm, the whole place was pretty run down, as no doubt you’ve seen by now! One of the main buildings that desperately needed love and care was the cellar, the outbuilding nearest to the house. Here are some shots of how it looked early on. (For all thumbnails, remember you can click to enlarge!)
We had to wait about two years to …