Sunday, March 9, 2014

Red Barn Renovation

This harsh Michigan winter brought an over-abundance of snow.
Snowbanks that were five feet tall.
Sub-zero temperatures.
Howling winds.
Ice laden, breaking, crashing branches.
Winter weather advisories.
Storm after storm after storm.
After a couple months, there was no place left to push the drifts.

This old farmhouse was swallowed up in a world of cold, icy, white ~
week after week after week.




The Mister plowed paths for the deer and turkey that we fed every evening.




We reveled in stolen moments of feeble sunshine
that cast blue shadows on mountainous mounds.




Through it all,
our big red barn stood tall and proud
against the winter sky.
The wind roaring through the cracks and holes in her wood planked walls.
Snow sifting into piles on the worn, sturdy floor.

It was time for a make-over ~
to help strengthen her old bones so she could make it through the next 100 years.




We hired an Amish construction company to restore her beauty.
We asked them to wait until spring to start this huge project,
but they wanted to begin immediately.
Winter weather was not going to stop them.

The first thing they had to do was to push all the snow away from the foundation...
in single digit temps.



From the warmth of our kitchen,
we watched in constant awe as the crew, arriving at 7:30am sharp every morning,
worked diligently in frigid conditions.
Heads bent against blowing snow,
breath heaving white,
leaving beards white and cheeks red.
We offered them our heated workroom to take their breaks and lunch.
We fixed them homemade soup to warm them up.
We wanted to tell them to go home, escape this brutal weather,
and come back when it warmed up, or when it stopped snowing.
But they kept to their schedule without a complaint,
working long, cold days until 4:30pm,
when a friend would pick them up and take them back home to their families.





Their work ethics were amazing.
Their work....absolute perfection.




 They were kind.
They were professional.
They were hard working.
They were humble.




We watched as sturdy metal siding covered old, dilapidated wood.
We watched as the old gutter system fell away
and a new white soffit took its place.




We watched as they built three new sets of barn doors
and mounted them on new track systems.





We watched them confer about each stage in the project,
which would then be tackled with grace and efficiency.

They rented a lift to reach the second story,
and we held our breath as the snowy winds picked up ferociously on the day they installed the soffit under the high arch of the hip-roof,
along with new vented windows at the peaks on the north and south sides of the barn.




The Mister, Maizie, and I would take a walk every night after they left
to see the transformation that was taking place,
and stare incredulously at the perfection of their work.

We felt like they were blessing our barn with their beautiful talent.




After five days of laboring in frigid cold, blowing winds, snow squalls, and a smidgeon of sunshine,
we watched them add the finishing final touch.




The sign that used to be in my booth
now hangs front and center.




With smiles, handshakes, many thank-yous,
and grateful hearts,
they packed up and moved on to their next job.

We miss having those humble men working around our house.
There was something....comforting....about having them here each day.
We do plan on hiring them again to tackle some additional home improvements planned for this spring, with the widow's walk and railing being the first on our agenda.

Until then,
we look out our windows and love our beautifully renovated barn
which will now stand the test of time for years to come.

Our hearts are warm.



Thank you so much,
Raymond Kauffman Construction Company.
God bless you for your diligence
and for the beautiful restoration of our beloved barn.




This summer, we will be replacing the two windows in the foundation on the north and south side.

Back of barn.

South side.




We both look forward to seeing our new barn standing in a gentle prairie of green grass and rambling flowers soon...




...but to get us all through until then, you can see the gardens of Heaven's Walk in full bloom
in the premier edition of 
Country Style Gardening!
(published by Harris Publications, Inc. and on display until May 26) 
 
My six page feature was styled by Fifi O'Neill and photographed by Mark Lohman
last June when they were both here for a photo shoot. 
(The scoop on that incredible day later...I promise.)




Needless to say,
I am beyond thrilled ~
and feeling so blessed.

~  Eucharisteo ~



Linking to the linky parties on the lower right of my sidebar.

Thank you, Harris Publications!


72 comments:

  1. Laurie what a beautiful preservation you saved an old barn I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT I will be running tomorrow to find the country style magazine to read the article you were featured in!! I adore your story of your barn do you/will you keep animals in it? Hugs my friend

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  2. Your beautiful barn looks so amazing in the sun against the sky so blue!
    They did a wonderful job!

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  3. How wonderful Laurie! Wow! What a labor of love, how beautiful it is to have a chance to go through a renovation like this, and have this blessed people working with you. What a blessing that must be. It looks amazing! Congratulations! Have a blessed week, love from your friend here in NC. ~ Vanessa

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  4. Hi Laurie,
    They were appreciative for Gods strong hands in this build. Your barn shines in the glory of its beauty and I am sure it will be there more the 100 years from now.
    Back in the very, very late 70's through the 80's early 90's I was taken with anything primitive folk art. Being a big collector and a collector of Amish pieces mainly quilts and baskets and salt glazed pottery I would decorate my home and fill our store full of theses valued pieces, in fact I was so taken I too wanted to live their very primitive life, on a farm, no TV, creating by oil lamps a d feeling so blessed that I am I. Touch with the land.
    It really is amazing that your country life on the edge of your land is beautified by true barn raising craftsmen with their spiritual hands that do Gods work honestly.
    I so wish I lived in the country, or beach :)
    Its two of my favorite lifestyles; your "Heavens Walk" signage looks perfect right where it was placed, I hope you can read it daily with a beautiful view from your home daily. :)
    As for the old barn doors, are they wood? And will you hang them somewhere in your home? I think the pinks and reds look so sweet together in your mix of colours you use in your design style.

    Looking forward to what's next on your design list.

    Beautiful sharing here.
    Xx

    Doré

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  5. Hi Laurie,
    They were appreciative for Gods strong hands in this build. Your barn shines in the glory of its beauty and I am sure it will be there more the 100 years from now.
    Back in the very, very late 70's through the 80's early 90's I was taken with anything primitive folk art. Being a big collector and a collector of Amish pieces mainly quilts and baskets and salt glazed pottery I would decorate my home and fill our store full of theses valued pieces, in fact I was so taken I too wanted to live their very primitive life, on a farm, no TV, creating by oil lamps a d feeling so blessed that I am I. Touch with the land.
    It really is amazing that your country life on the edge of your land is beautified by true barn raising craftsmen with their spiritual hands that do Gods work honestly.
    I so wish I lived in the country, or beach :)
    Its two of my favorite lifestyles; your "Heavens Walk" signage looks perfect right where it was placed, I hope you can read it daily with a beautiful view from your home daily. :)
    As for the old barn doors, are they wood? And will you hang them somewhere in your home? I think the pinks and reds look so sweet together in your mix of colours you use in your design style.

    Looking forward to what's next on your design list.

    Beautiful sharing here.
    Xx

    Doré

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  6. I think your barn is smiling now. Isn't it amazing what beautiful work the Amish do, and so quickly. Congrats on your feature. xo Laura

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  7. Oh my gosh sweetie... I felt so emotional reading your post... I love how honest, kind and hardworking your Amish fellows were, and I too believe they were saying a blessing with each and everything thing they did... your barn looks absolutely gorgeous!... and honestly, I got teary eyed when you showed them putting your "Heavens Walk" sign up there... I am sure they also felt the peace, quiet and God's beauty there surrounding them at your beautiful farmhouse and property so rightly named Heavens Walk... how fun it will be to see it amongst the Prairie grass and flowers soon... and I am so proud of you and happy for you being featured in Country Style Gardens... as you know, I ran right out and bought my copy the minute you emailed me about it... absolutely stunning!... tonight, I will dream about the beautiful place my dear friend Laurie lives... with her wonderful husband, her precious pup... and all of God's creatures sharing this most special place as well... love you!... xoxo Julie Marie

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  8. Everything looks so lovely, Laurie...hmmmm, I'm thinking a bloggers retreat at Heaven's Walk! :)

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  9. Laurie- That old barn looks great She sure stand tall and proud now. Beautiful job. No one works like the Amish do. Love that you have your Heaven's Walk sign mounted there now. That must have been a smiling moment for them, too.

    Congrats on the magazine spread. Good for you. I always said you were a master gardener...glad someone finally recognized you should be in print with your outdoor areas! xo Diana

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  10. I can only imagine the joy that this old/new barn brings you, and I can well imagine the experience of having these diligent workers be the creators of such beauty. I am so taken by barns that I just had to stop in and take a look (much more than a peek!). It is lovely...and with great anticipation I read on to see if I'd guessed and hoped right, that Heaven's Walk was going to grace it! Thanks for a lovely visit. ~Zuni

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  11. The barn looks so beautiful and I enjoyed reading about the company working on it. We have had more snow this year than in the last ten years, but nothing like what you have.

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  12. Fabulous! Thank you for sharing!

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  13. Laurie, so much snow! But it helps to make fabulous pictures. Wow your barne is amazing. No room at my little wedge of ground for that!
    Wish you sun sun sun sun sun!
    All the best
    Elisabeth

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  14. Ma che meraviglia!!! Avete fatto benissimo a scegliere queste persone speciali per il vostro restauro!!!

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  15. Your barn is just beautiful against the white snow. The Amish did an amazing job. It is so funny to see them driving the heavy equipment. I grew up with Amish all around us in the Ohio countryside. They are amazing, gentle people.
    Do you still have that much snow on the ground? Ours has melted with threats of more to come this week.
    Congrats on your magazine publication. How honored you must feel.
    Cindy

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  16. Hi Laurie, Your barn is gorgeous. The Amish work crew did an amazing job. I love your Heaven's Walk sign above the door. It makes it perfect!! I can see how hard the men worked. I know this first hand having lived in Indiana and seeing the Amish work and living near the community of hard working, and diligent professionals. Now your red barn continues to stand tall and proud in the sunshine. How wonderful to have your gardens in the garden magazine. I look forward to seeing it. Congrats on being featured. So well deserved!!
    Loved seeing your home and barn in the snow of Michigan. It takes me back to my childhood growing up in Michigan and the knee deep snow of the north. I know it's harsh and cold, but still a beautiful sight.
    So enjoyed my visit~~

    Have a blessed day. Hugs!!

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  17. Congratulations on the piece in the magazine. I must say the barn is stunning and love that you added the Heaven's Walk sign. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all workers created as the Amish do.

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  18. I love the photos of the barn. When I first saw all the snow, I remembered that you live just down the road from us (sort of). :-) We've been looking at renovating our barn also. We have to do something soon or we're going to lose it. It desperately needs attention. Hiring an Amish company is a great idea. We have an Amish community in our neighborhood. I'm so glad you are saving the red barn!

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  19. Gorgeous...and nice that they protected the precious 100 year old siding rather than removing it first. Also, I tried to locate them online to no avail. Do you have a phone no. or website for them? We're in Michigan also and may like to have some renovations done. Beautiful barn and fabulous images of that impressive red silhouette against the clear, vibrant blue Michigan winter sky!

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  20. What a beautifully written post. I just love a red barn and you have energized it with the steel, it will last a long, long time. Do you use the barn for animals or anything?

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  21. Laurie,
    I love that you are preserving history with the restoration of your barn, dear friend!
    The barn looks as if it is beaming radiantly in the sunshine.
    I know it warms your heart to see the legacy of a 100 year old barn restored!!!
    Here's to many more years of life for the barn. . .Salute!
    Fondly,
    Pat

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  22. Beautiful barn. Love the sign and the snow really is nice to see -- at a distance for me. Love your blog and all you do. Blessings

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  23. Laurie,
    I read spellbound, what a winter of perseverance, tolerance, loss (of trees, plants, patience) and through it all ... beauty of the human spirit, beauty of your restored barn and an experience to learn and grow from. Thank you for sharing through your beautiful poetic words and photos.
    Congrats on the spread, your gardens, I can't wait to enjoy the issue.
    XO,
    Vera

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  24. My computer is incredibly slow this morning. Took forever for the pics to load, but waiting for it was so worth it. Beautiful story, beautiful barn. We can learn so much from others. The crew sounds remarkable, and your barn has a new chapter.

    Congratulations on your feature, Laurie. I will be sure to look for it! :)

    Stay cozy & happy,
    Lin

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  25. Laurie,
    You are indeed blessed. What a beautiful job. We had Penn Dutch Structures....local Amish builder...build our new garage a couple of years ago. They were a delight to have around, so gracious, wonderful work ethic, great sense of humor. What a great experience!

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  26. I am just in tears about your post! I can't explain that, but the whole scope of my heart was touched. I so wanted to save my grandfather's barn, but I know I cannot. And the Amish and their gentle ways have been more than a special part of our lives. The story of my late father and Amish I wrote here in my blog if you have a minute some time. I loved, loved, loved this bright red and white post. Now I'm going in search of that magazine! http://oatmealandwhimsy.blogspot.com/2008/03/our-gentle-friends.html

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  27. Love your restored barn. I grew up on a farm in the Midwest and am so sad to see when I return there all of the small abandoned farms and their buildings crumbling, uncared for. Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone was as tidy and methodical as the Amish? You sign looks so appropriate.

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  28. I spent part of my growing up years in Amish Country Indiana. Each member of the community has a skill and/or talent that is supported by all the rest. Your pictures are an excellent depiction of the pride and joy taken by these awesome craftsman. Blessings to you and yours! Marie @ http://asatisfiedspirit.com

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  29. God bless these men and what admiration I have for them. Strong and hardworking can't be found everyday and not to this extent that is for sure. It is a honor to read this post and what a beautiful job.

    Cynthia

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  30. Laurie, I have to thank you and your husband for saving that barn. It's a beauty again. The Amish do have a wonderful work ethic. I love old barns and when I see them slowing falling apart, I say, They should fix that before it's gone, they will never be able to do any cheaper than now. Take care, xoxo,Susie

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  31. Bob wows! My eyes teared up when I saw the Heaven's Walk sign being displayed. That is a very large tall barn! I am amazed at their work and diligence through this winter's harshness. Being from northern Michigan I know all about how cold and bitter it was not to mention the large amount of snow we all got. My husband grew up on a dairy farm and the barn is still standing and in fair shape but could use some TLC. I'd love to see it red too (its dark gray right now and not too inspiring). I'll have to check out the magazine that your gardens are featured in. I'm glad I got a chance to see this restoration - another barn saved is a good thing!

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  32. Hasn't this winter been so crazy, and soooo loooonggg, lol! What an incredible job they did restoring your beautiful old barn. Many more years to enjoy it!

    xoxo Brenda

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  33. Your barn looks beautifful! I am so glad thst you restored it! I see too many of tese old beauties left to rot and fall down.
    Hugs~

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  34. Oh Laurie! God bless the great construction company! I just can't get over the color of the barn now. It's really beautiful!! And such an enormous congrats on your garden being published! Two happy events to perk you up during this loooong Winter!

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  35. Beautiful new barn and I enjoyed this story and love to see there are still people with good work ethics out there. Looks like your barn will stand just about anything Mother Nature throws her way now:-)

    Stay warm, my friend!

    xoxo
    Kathleen

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  36. I loved reading about your new barn, Laurie...they did a beautiful job on the old place. I am so excited to see your feature in the magazine!! Congratulations!!

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  37. How beautiful your barn looks. The sign is so fitting and how wonderful to have these wonderful workman hang it for you.

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  38. Laurie, I love your red barn and can't wait to see the pictures of your garden!

    Love,
    Victoria

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  39. Your barn looks absolutely gorgeous, Laurie! I'll be featuring you next week at Knick of Time Tuesday and I'm sharing you on my FB page tomorrow! Congratulations on your magazine feature - I can't wait to see it!!
    Blessings,
    ~Angie

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  40. You've written a lovely post. It feels like another world to this northern transplant who has spent decades in Florida. Thank you for sharing your images and very strong the sense of place. By the way, I saw your link on the Knick of Time's link part. Ann Marie @ Iris Abbey

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  41. they did an awesome job! the old barn looks grand, laurie--and the sign is perfect! congrats on your latest magazine article!

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  42. Lovely barn restoration! The Michigan winter has been pretty snowy, huh. 6-9" today forecasted :)

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  43. Wow..beautiful pics! I came over to visit really just to see the Red Barn but the post is beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

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  44. I got completely lost in your photos honey...just amazing. Thanks so much-truly-- for linking up at Twirl & Take a Bow...xo

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  45. Your words were so touching and the photos just amazing! That is so inspiring that the men were out there in those frigid temps day after day! They really made the barn look superb!

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  46. Like you said.....The next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow leaves you speechless, remain that way. I feel speechless after seeing this post, I felt like I was sharing with you a part of history, your barns history. I would think that the Amish would have the skill and "art" to steady up and beautiful your lovely barn. It's a proud looking barn, that will now last 100 more years. It is a part of history, the history before you, now your family and the other families who follow. Wow, so special!

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  47. Love your barn!! They did an awesome job restoring your old barn...it is a beauty!!
    ~Cindy

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  48. Your barn looks wonderful. The Amish gentlemen did a wonderful job, as they always do. We live with Amish all around us. They are a kind and gentle folk. I love that you had them place your Heaven's Walk sign above the door. Congratulations on the magazine feature of your gardens! How exciting for you. I will have to look for that issue. Thank you for sharing at What We Accomplished Wednesdays. Have a lovely week! ~Deborah

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  49. Loved this post...It was so much fun to visit a different place with your gorgeous pictures and beautiful barn. Thanks for sharing with us on the Thursday Blog Hop!

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  50. Although I just love the look of weathered, old red painted wood on a barn, your renovated barn looks fabulous! We are always so hesitant to hire workers...we've had a lot of bad experiences...so how nice to know about your experience and the work done proves how good it was!

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  51. What an amazing post and beautiful photography of the beautiful red barn in progress and then finished ~ You most certainly have a quality barn ~ love the Amish ~ you are blessed indeed ~ xxx

    artmusedog and carol

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  52. Oh wow Laurie I can't believe they managed that in all that snow !! Your barn is fabulous ...we don't have anything like that over here so for me it's quite something to look at . Well done you getting in that magazine ...how exciting ! have a good weekend...Gail x

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  53. What a truly lovely transformation. We have lots of Amish crews around here as well, who do wonderful work. Such a gorgeous red barn, even against the cold, cold snow. Thanks for sharing at Fridays Unfolded!

    Alison
    Nancherrow

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  54. What a wonderful job renovation this beautiful barn!

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  55. What a beautiful barn. Now, I have to say. . .that one of my favorite things to see is a RED barn against the WHITE snow with a beautiful BLUE sky overhead. . .I could just look at your photos all day long. Just beautiful!

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  56. Amazing Laurie! What diligence those kind and gentle men had. The barn looks fabulous and I love the new sign! We have an old barn in the lot at the W. end of our back yard. I was saddened to learn that it is going to be removed and made into a subdivision. The owner of the barn is the father of the Construction Co. So sad that they don't want to preserve it! Congrats on the feature. I almost bought that magazine at Home Depot today. Darn, now I will for sure. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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  57. Oh my, your barn is especially beautiful in the snow! And I love the addition of your sign! But gosh, those workers must have been freezing out there!

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  58. Laurie! What a splendid post! Your barn looks amazing! Can't wait to see your feature! I remember when she was looking for homes to feature and thought to myself that your home would be perfect. How wonderful that you both connected. I love her work and of course you know I absolutely love your home, your writing and most of all your heart.

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  59. LOVED this post Laurie - and I never realized how large your home ( and land were ) amazing -
    Your barn looks beauitful :)
    xox

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  60. What a beautiful barn and how neat to make it last another 100 years!!

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  61. What a wonderful restoration! I have never seen a barn with the curved roof line like that, congrats also on your publication, Celeste

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  62. I can't imagine having that much snow! I was born in Illinois but moved to Texas when I was a child and we only saw an abundance of snow in the Dallas area a few times in my entire life. Now I'm living in CA and I don't expect to see any snow here!
    Congrats on the new article coming out, I can't wait to read it!
    Have a fabulous day!
    Julie

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  63. Oh Laurie, this was such a beautiful post! Everything...your words, your photo's, the description of the Amish workers. The Amish fascinate me, whenever I can catch a documentary about them I'm always glued to the t.v. Your barn looks gorgeous, how blessed you are to have all that!!! I swear, I almost bought that magazine...I'm fairly sure that was it! But I ended up putting it down because the price of mags these days always makes me choke! I'm for sure going to pick it up, knowing you're in there!

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  64. And it’s totally a haven! I love how they work progressively, and appreciated a lot that I have read one of your blog Laurie. It seems red is in my day today. I will surely visit your garden this spring, and wait for the flower to bloom. Beautiful!

    Sebastian of
    Tropical Life Style

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  65. Oh Laurie, how I love your beautiful barn!!! And your "Heaven´s walk" sign on it, what a perfect idea! I´m so sad that I can´t buy this magazine in our country, but big congratulation! It´s amazing that you are in magazine, you really deserve it, sweetie!!! Hugs and kisses to you :-)

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  66. What a truly beautiful barn and an amazing experience for sure.

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  67. Laurie, your barn is divine! Thank you for sharing. You are the Star Feature today at the Before and After Wednesday party at The Dedicated House. Here is the link to this week's bash. http://www.thededicatedhouse.com/2014/03/the-round-up-from-before-and-after_18.html Hope to see more of your projects at the party. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

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  68. Thank you for visiting, Laurie.What a great work the workers did on your barn. Love the sign. I can`t believe that you have sooo much snow. In fact a lot more than here. We got our first snow this weekend, so the weather is very strange this year.

    Wish you a great thursday.

    Hugs

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  69. Amazing! The barn looks so beautiful and will be around for many more years to come. It truly is heavenly!
    Congrats on the garden feature, I'll have to run out and get a copy.
    Hugs,
    Patti

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  70. We don't have barns like this in Australia Laurie, so I always enjoy it when you share your barn on your blog. The photos are amazing with the blue sky and snow against the red barn... very striking! How lovely to know that your barn will be even stronger now and able to live on into the far distant future.
    Hugs ~ Kerryanne

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  71. Hi Laurie, such a beautiful barn. I'm just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
    http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

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  72. Laurie this post was so heart warming!
    Oh my I love the Amish people!
    What a delight and a honour to have chosen them to do your barn. It is beautiful..what workmanship!!!!
    I love all your photos and especially to see them at work. I love this!
    Thanks so much for sharing sweetie!!!!

    All my heart,
    Deborah xoxox

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Bless you and thank you for visiting! I read each of your comments and treasure them all. So, please make sure your settings will accept emails, or leave your email address so that I can reply! ♥ Laurie