My grandfather had a wood shop. His was in a decommissioned chicken house. He had, I think, thousands of board-feet of nice lumber when they upped stakes and moved to town. A friend of my father’s who is also a woodworker took a lot of it.
Sparks’ grandfather also had a shop. Grandpa Pete’s shop was in what is called the Honey House, I suppose because at one time there were beehives and a honey extractor on the property. These-a-days his shop tools are still out there, though mostly not used. It is also good for cold storage of pumpkins, squash, nuts, the riding lawnmower, and sundry bits and pieces like vintage porcelain signage (from the general store that used to stand next door) and old children’s sleds.
There are so many similarities between Sparks’ family and my own, it is uncanny. The farmhouse, with its junk-filled outbuildings. The pie-making grandma. The work-for-himself grandpa. Mine raised chickens, as I’ve said. Sparks’ raised hogs, mostly.
And the critters. My grandparents still had a few chickens, in my memory. Just enough to keep themselves in eggs. At various times when my mother was growing up they would have a pig or two, and there were always dogs, and always cats. My grandpa’s cats lived in the tool shed, which they accessed via a corner where the walls didn’t quite meet the foundation.
Sparks’ father’s cats have their own fancy house. It was once a utility shed of some sort; it was explained to me that an insulated closet, now occupied by wire shelves and blankets that serve as cat beds, was where the old water tank sat.
And yep, it is called the Cat House. Must have a name for every building on the property. The Honey House. The Cat House. The garage. The barn. The house.
I don’t remember the names of all the buildings on my grandparents’ farm; the buildings were torn down, one by one, during my lifetime. There were two or three chicken houses, only one of which survived as grandpa’s workshop. Then there was the Egg House, where eggs had gone to be cleaned and sorted. There was an outhouse. There was the small chicken house, and the tool shed.
Sparks and I are still contemplating the move to the Pacific Northwest, next summer. In fact, the only limiting factor is whether our house will sell promptly or not, when we put it on the market. We want to get a parcel with at least half an acre of land. Plenty of space for Sparks to have his own shop, which he badly needs. Maybe room for other buildings, too. We’ll see.