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Thread: Amish Customs

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Amish Customs

    Hi everyone. As promised, I would like to post a little progress report on our move out to Amish Country in Middlefield Ohio. Since I'm new here, I suppose it would be inappropriate for me to just post the latest stage in the project...So, I'll take it from the beginning.

    A long time ago, when I was a lad.... Nope...too far back.

    A little over a year ago, I took a ride with my brother-in-law while he checked on the progress of his bedroom set being built by an amish craftsman. We went out to the house and they were jawing about finishes and stains and stuff, so I just wandered around the property, sticking my nose where it didn't belong. The whole time, I was thinking, "Man! would I like to have a place like this some day!".

    So, anyway...they were wrapping up their chat, so I sez to Raymond, I sez, "Raymond...this place is just beautiful...I love everything about it."

    Raymond sez, "You wanna buy it?"

    "Is it for sale?", I asked as I swallowed hard.

    He said, "Well...It can be"

    That was the beginning. The two of us figured we had about a year. Me?...well, I had to get my finances in order. Raymond had to build a new house on the promise that I was buying this one. Big risk. But it seemed worthwhile at the time.

    The property consists of a little over 5 acres and has a barn, a woodshop, and two houses. Here's a satelite pic of the property
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    Raymond and his family lived in one house, and his wife's grandparents lived in the other house. The two houses are separated by 32 feet of yard.
    Here's the main house
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    And here's the second house
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    The woodshop is roughly 3000 sq feet upstairs and downstairs with a 22 horsepower diesel engine driving an underfloor pulley shaft connected to all his woodworking tools. There's a compressor also connected to the diesel, keeping a 1000 gallon air tank charged. The air tank supplies pneumatic power for the shop and also runs a pneumatic water pump...keeping the water system for the property at 60 psi.
    This is a pic of the Shop and the Barn
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    And one of just the shop
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    There were horses everywhere. I scared them away.

    Anyway...The plan was....kick the grandparents out of their house and join the two houses into one big one, with the new addition to become an atrium that I would generously give to myself as an office....filled with plants and hopefully decorated by Mark Singer.

    So I took a picture of the two houses
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    And then Photoshopped an atrium into the picture
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    We all agreed that this is what we wanted.

    To be continued......

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Constantine, MI
    You, sir, are living the dream. (he said as he wiped the drool from his keyboard)
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    The first thing on the agenda was to install electricity. No big deal....just dig a 300 foot trench, lay 300 feet of 4-ought cable, wire the whole property, get it inspected, pass inspection the first time, have the electric company come out and install a transformer and hook us up! No problem! make a really long story short...NONE of it went well. Between rain, bureaucracies, rain, money, broken tools and rain....It took 4 months just to get the cable laid and approved. Then on to a 20 week waiting list for power turn on. I installed a 10 Kilowatt generator on to the diesel engine and we lived in a construction environment. (still do, now that I think about it)

    In the mean time....there was an atrium to build. The neighbors converted a giant chicken coop into a gorgeous new house for the grandparents. Took them a couple weeks...sheesh. I hate the amish...don't you?

    My wonderful amish neighbors wanted to help with the construction of the atrium, and I didn't deny them the opportunity.

    Here's a couple shots of the concrete work:
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    Some Framing:
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    Then a little OSB to keep the wind out
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    backClick image for larger version. 

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    Here's a view of the inside before any insulation
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    And this is a nighttime pic after the insulation
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    And here's what it looks like as of this morning
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    I'm taking the afternoon off today and we'll have the drywall done by 9:00pm tonight. (That what my neighbors say)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Minneapolis/Grand Marais Minnesota
    Wow! What an adventure.
    I'm liking it and waiting for more.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Ocean State
    This fun to see. I remember it was just a gleem in your eye. Your ambishen was fun to witness first hand. This couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

    Everyone...these pictures will never show how wonderful this place really is. You really have to stand in front of it and take it all in at once. I remember standing there when he took me to see it and saying... man this is amazing...I hate you sooo much. Wait till you see the shop building. The upper floor is like a ballroom.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Southern Georgia
    W O W John,

    The entire concept, the property, the setting, the buildings...AMAZING!

    You're one lucky man!

    And I wanna see the pictures of the shop...bad!

    - Marty -
    Fivebraids, Inc.
    When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there’s no end to what you can’t do…

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    John, I'm really impressed, you are doing so much and doing it so well!

    ..............but............. I see one small problem...........

    You are making such a nice little spot of heaven there that your kids are NOT going to want to leave!

    Oh sure, they might go away for a while, but when they see that most people live in little apartments or houses and are surrounded by noise and pollution in the cities, they well beat a path back to your homestead and find a way to stay

    Great to see your dream coming true, thanks for sharing it with us!

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Houston, TX
    Okay John, so much for the house, now get to the important part--THE SHOP. I know that it sometime isn't fun, but you're doing a great job and I know you and the family are looking forward to getting the major parts finished. Hope there are some good new tools under your Christmas tree.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Wisconsin Dells, WI
    First, glad to see you here. Your dream is coming true. Congrats.

    I am most impressed that the finished [well almost] came out looking exactly like the photoshopped version you did. How did you manage that?

    When do we get to see the shop?????


  10. #10
    Such a blessing. Glad you have the opportunity to do something like this. Awesome...


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