Aged and weathered character

Aged and weathered character.

Barn wood. Mmmm…just thinking about it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, especially when there’s family history involved. Now, pair that with a cuckoo clock and you’ve just red-lined the charm meter! When I heard that my cousin was tearing down their almost-a-century-old barn, I almost jumped outta my chair wishing I could hop on over and grab me some DIY gold!

The Kuphal barn

The Kuphal barn. Photo courtesy of Jim and Myrna Kuphal.

Unfortunately, they live in Minnesota. Fortunately, my wonderful cousin, Jim Kuphal, so generously sent me a box-full! Imagine. Barn wood that’s lived through nearly 100 years of Minnesota weather (summer heat, wind, hail, sub-zero blizzards, etc.)! Talk about distressed! Not to mention the earned-in wabi-sabi-ness!

My Minnesota barn wood by mail!

My Minnesota barn wood by mail!

Now, you might be asking, “What can you do with just a box full of barn wood?” My reply, “Lots!” In this case, I was inspired by these charming cuckoo clocks Jim’s brother, John made by hand.

Barn clocks reusing barn wood

Barn clocks reusing barn wood hand-made by John Kuphal. Art imitating life. Photo courtesy of Jim and Myrna Kuphal.

Then, to my total delight, a couple weeks later, I found at my doorstep this instant heirloom…

Barn wood moo-moo clock

Barn wood moo-moo clock…notice the ode-to-corn cob weights!

And, because our family, The Karstads, have always raised (and practically worshiped) Guernsey cows, John and Jim cleverly dubbed this a “Moo-moo clock”. I will definitely pay it forward by making my own version (coming soon), with the help of this fabulous DIY Cuckoo Clock tutorial and free download, thanks to clever blogger, Kelly Lee-Creel of Ever Kelly.

Meanwhile, I thought I’d let my cousin, Myrna (Jim’s wife), tell y’all a little bit about the type of barn wood and some history behind the barn itself, that produced these wonderful DIY cuckoo and moo-moo clocks:

“I can’t give you much info on the wood itself, but in general, pines that growth in the northern part of the country are generally soft. Southern pine is denser because it grows slower. We don’t know for sure what the age of this wood is, but we guess it to be in the range of 75 to 100+ years.

Jim now rents out the farm. His renters grow primarily corn and soybeans. When the barn was in use, we milked around 30 cows and grew corn, soybeans, oats, wheat and alfalfa. We also grew canning crop (sweet corn and peas) for Green Giant.

The barn had a major remodel in the early 50s when mom & dad were first married and moved onto the place. The entire barn was jacked up, and the bottom several feet of  ‘bad’ wood was cut off. Cement block walls were put up, and the barn was then put back onto its new foundation.

Over the years, the interior has had numerous remodels. Walls taken down for cow stalls, new gutters, new mangers and also an addition to the north end for maternity pens. There is no livestock raised on the farm anymore.”

The Guernsey cuckoo

The Guernsey moo-moo-cuckoo.

Hand-etched roof shingles

Hand-etched roof shingles.

Barn wood moo-moo clock

Barn wood moo-moo clock.

Thank you, Jim, Myrna and John, for your gift of wood, history and family.

Now it’s your turn!

What would you love to make out of a box of barn wood? Tell us in the comments below! Moooo!

All photography (except where noted) by Skaie Knox, HomeJelly

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