The rebirth of a country school

Month: September 2018

Another successful Ramble

It was FANTASTIC to see so many of you last weekend at the River Road Ramble.  We had an incredible time talking to as many visitors as we could and sharing our progress.  We were so busy we almost forgot to take pictures!

The school was prepped inside with a selection of historical stories, including a Day in the Life of a student from June and the story of the bell (featuring, of course the bell).

I also included a selection of ‘found’ items, from a blueberry picker to a Colliers magazine from 1925.

Historical display inside school

Outside, the sale was smaller than normal – too busy to pull much out this year.  But Mom and Dad brought some over, and we had some leftover construction items.  At the end, a lot of this went to the St. Croix ReStore some someone could get good use from them.

One of the most recent changes to show off was the bell tower.  It got a spit shine of silver, plus sealing, and soffits, and removal of an impressive family of wasps.

The week before we rented this monster – saving a TON of up and down the ladders –

and spent the weekend replacing soffits and resealing with aluminum roofing.  It is some amazing stuff.  I think it looks pretty good!

But back to the Ramble, I can hardly scratch the surface of all the people who stopped by.  We talked to tons of people who had aunts, uncles, moms, dads, or even themselves who attended school at Bass Lake.  Old (and new) friends from the ‘neighborhood’ came in droves.  Mom and Dad provided lunch, for which I am very grateful, and Grace once again took charge of refreshments and most importantly, coffee!

I was overwhelmed by a surprise visit from Janis, previously my Boot Camp Instructor, now a great friend (now that I’ve recovered from boot camp!).

Here she sits – maybe appropriately?  in the single seats, which were reserved for the ‘bad’ kids.  She kinda looks like she knows she’s in trouble ;-0

We were also lucky enough to talk my son Cody into a quick weekend visit.  By the end of the weekend we all took a well deserved break, with Grandpa and Cody getting in a little fishin’ to top it all off.  A great way to finish off a great weekend.

It’s Ramble Time!

Join us this Saturday for the 2018 River Road Ramble.  This historic, self-guided tour will let you explore the oldest road in the area.  Tons of historic sites, lots of extra stops for sales, shops and goodies.  And yours truly is once again on the route – we’re Stop K!  We would love to see you!~

The Bass Lake School address is 2509 270th Ave, Cushing, WI 54006 for your Google Mapping pleasure:  Hope to see you there!  


The problem:  how to raise three 260 pound window sills 5 foot into the air in order to place them in their windows?

The answer:  physics, creativity and a call to Dad.

The backstory:  At last, the last of the main floor windows are ready to go in.  (We aren’t QUITE done with the windows, but this is finally the end of the regular windows for each side of the school).  But those sills on the north side are 5 foot up.  First step:  levers and inclines.  Kevin used some left-over microlams as ramps.

Then a chain and pulley system was devised to raise the ramp to level-ish.

Add some brute strength, and before you know it, voila, sills are in (with a little fast-forward action)!  Thank you Dad, once again.

On the other side of the schoolhouse, the view to the bell tower is opening up from the inside.  Here’s a sneak peak, looking straight up.  It’s getting easier to envision how it will look when it’s finished.

Last but not least, I’ve found a new friend in this crazy Schoolhouse-saving, life adventure.  Jill is similarly saving and restoring a schoolhouse, hers being in New York and having family history, but with all the same challenges of balancing real-life with schoolhouse tasks.  If you want, jump on over to visit her site too!  

You can find it here:  I love the brick walls!

Just a few bandaids

Have you been by lately? Have you seen the world’s most not-historic front door? Don’t worry – this is a case of necessary form over function, and it just a placeholder – a bandaid, if you will – for better things to come.

The last few weeks have been full of bandaids. First there was rough tuck pointing on the interior of the bell tower.

This was needed not only to keep critters out, but to seal up the wind that seems to always whistle off the south field.  It’s not all that pretty, but it’s effective and once finished, no one will ever know (except you and me, and I know you won’t tell).

I wish I had pictures but I’m sure Kevin is glad I don’t: he needed a few bandaids as well, having been attacked by wasps one day, and getting a window dropped on his head another.

We have spent many many months, years now really, trying to figure out how to keep the original front doors, while working out our vision for opening up the bell tower.

We finally decided the best thing to do was to recreate it in the same style it was originally built.

So the first step was taking out the old. Here is one giant reason why it seems it might have been a good idea.

This is a view from the bottom – completely rotted out. So out with the old, in with the temporary. The plan is to replace with another set of red doors, maybe with glass to see out, and a transom above, just like they built it 100 years ago.

Seems we also may need to make some adjustments in the new glassed in bell tower.  While we saw a benefit – free solar heat – this might be more than we bargained for.

Next time, let’s open up the inside of that bell tower.  Last chance to find the secret treasure hidden in the walls (or millions of dead ladybugs, maybe that).

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