Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Martin House

It’s a great feeling to see the end result of something that you’ve invested a lot of blood, sweat and tears into.  That’s what we are experiencing today here at Marigold Meadows.  We are putting the finishing touches to our newest addition, the Martin House.

My sister-in-law, Marcia loves to bake pies.  In fact, she’s known as the “pie lady” in our neck of the woods.  We don’t live in the west, so I guess you’d say, “Her pies are the best in the midwest!”  During the festivals that we hold at Marigold Meadows, she bakes pies in a wood burning oven and sells them by the slice.  While the rest of us might like to think that people attend our festivals to watch demonstrations of age-old skills of sustainability and/or to listen to our music, I’m thinking that a good number of them come just for her pie!

Previously, Marcia baked pies in a wood-burning oven that holds only four pies at once.  Needless to say, it took a while to bake the 80+ pies that she bakes in one day!  Additionally, the little log cabin that she worked in over the past seven years is really too small for her and her helpers to work efficiently.  In order to make her work easier and quicker, brother Art spent most of this past winter building her an oven that will bake 16 pies at one time and designing a larger cabin!

Last spring, Art, Gary & I went to Sandridge, a nearby forest to cut pine trees for building Marcia a larger cabin.  What an experience!  I’ve helped to down trees before, but never in a forest!  For several days, “our” little corner of Sandridge was humming with chain saws, winches, a little Ferguson tractor, pondering out loud, grunts, groans and sounds of frustration, as well as, a lot of laughter and cheering.  While it was exciting, it was also hard work and downright dangerous!

While we hoped to use our draft horses for pulling the logs out of the woods, our Spring was so wet that we had to keep putting off getting into the forest.  Running out of time in order to get the cabin done before our fall festival, we decided to use Art’s trusty ol’ Ferguson for that purpose.

One of our music companions, Gene Martin lives near to Sandridge.  Gene, who is in his 80s, was so excited about what we were doing and wanted to help in some way.  As it turned out, Gene had a type of lift that was perfect for loading the logs onto the trailer.  So, whenever we were ready to haul more logs home, Gene faithfully showed up at our worksite.

Once we transported the forty-some, seventy-five foot trees the thirty miles to our property, we began to prepare lumber for the new cabin.  Using his mill, Art sawed while Gary & I cleared away the slab wood, carried lumber to the building site, etc.  For the last three weeks, the saws have been buzzing and the hammers ringing at Marigold Meadows.  It didn’t take long for the word to get out about what these three “crazy” people were up to.  Before we knew it, there were car-loads of people showing up to see the progress!

While Marcia isn’t too verbal about her appreciation and excitement, she shows-up every couple of days to see the progress and to take pictures.  The smile on her face tells it all!

  • She now has more floor space for herself and her helpers to move about.
  • They’ll all be cooler while they work.  With the new oven having been built into the wall, its heat stays in the wood room behind the kitchen.
  • They’ll be able to serve pie not only over the counter inside the cabin, but through a serving window to the outside, as well.
  • They no longer have to carry the dirtied pie plates to the old washtubs outside the cabin.  While there is no running water, the new cabin is complete with three sinks and a drain!
  • With lots of countertop space, she and her helpers will no longer be bumping elbows while they work!
  • And when the work is done and it is time to store everything away, with all the cupboard space that she now has, Marcia will never wonder where it is all gonna go!

I think Marcia is more than pleased and we’re anxious for Gene to see the end result.  Won’t he be surprised when he sees that we’ve named the new cabin in his honor, “The Martin House?”


P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at:  You may also contact me at:
             Bonnie Jaeckle
             In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
             Diagonal Progress
             505 Jefferson St.
             Diagonal, IA 50845

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