First of all, I want to take a minute to say a quick thank you for the response to Friday's post. And thank you for all of your continued support in regards to Buckaloo View. I never cease to be amazed and touched by the love in this community. I've got a busy month ahead of me if I want to stay on schedule.
Last summer, I got it my head that the milk house would make a perfect little dye studio. At that time, I was knee deep in so many other projects, clearing it out and cleaning it up was not a priority. Instead, I stuck with dyeing under a little canopy in the yard on pleasant days.
Then, in December or so, I felt restless and started working in the barn, organizing and rearranging. Slowly but surely, floor space emerged as I cleared things out. I was getting myself prepped (and psyched) to have a little dye space in the barn come spring. The bitter cold of winter swept in and I took a break from working outside. Fortunately, that gave me the opportunity to mull over things a bit more and get a better plan of attack.
Traditionally, a milk house is just what it sounds like, a small room attached to a dairy barn used as a separate place to store the milk. I spent the first eight years of my life on a dairy farm a few miles from here. (We were not the farmers, just tenants in one of the houses.) There was a massive (at least to a kid) tank that took up the whole of that milk house. I remember it being noisy in there and the tank was cool to the touch. Looking back, I was also very lucky to be drinking that raw, rich Jersey milk (and it may have contributed to the fact that I was generally a pretty healthy kid.) Our milk house here at Buckaloo View hasn't been used for it's original purpose for many, many years and even when it was, it was a time before the large tanks and fancy equipment of our day. Instead, it's been serving as storage for tools and various odds and ends.
As I dig through the layers in the barn, I've been finding so many interesting things, like old wooden toolboxes, one of which must have been my grandfather's considering the initial written on the end. More screws and nails than I could ever possibly need. Graffiti from my cousins. Clever storage solutions. Shearers from my when my Dad's parents had sheep. Delicate bird skeletons. Buckets of rusty old things. Even a receipt from when my Dad ordered baby chicks back in the '70s.
There are some pitfalls to using the milk house as a dye studio, but I'm I can work around them. The pros outweigh the cons. It'll be wonderful to have a designated spot out of plain sight (no more buckets and jars strewn about the yard and sidewalk.) It'll also be wonderful to work even when the weather isn't the best. I can set pots to simmer while I work in the barn on other projects. It faces the south which will make solar dyeing more convenient and effective. And the fact that I'll be adding my own work history in the same place my father, grandfather, great grandfather and even great-great-grandfather once did, is pretty powerful. Each of us did something a little different here, but I too will hopefully derive a certain joy from tinkering away in the Buckaloo View barn, particularly in the milk house.
(I'll share more about the dye studio transformation as it happens.)