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Family Turns Old Barns Into Picture Frames
They're home wreckers. If you hang around, they'll frame you and nail you to the wall.
They're really cleaning up, too.
J. Alva (Al) Roberdeau, wife Irene and their four schoolboys live in Sturgis on the edge of South Dakota's beautiful Black Hills. They go out into the Great Plains and up into the Black Hills to wreck old abandoned houses, barns, claim shanties and mine shacks. They haul the rain-textured siding back to tiny Vale in northwest South Dakota to their 96-yearold blacksmith shop where they've installed some old wood-working machinery and sophisticated new framing equipment. There, they convert the stormworn boards into rustic picture frames.
The crew doesn't sand, paint or varnish the weathered wood. Instead, they leave the apple green moss and bright orange lichens right where they grew.
Occupational hazards around the old buildings include not only splinters and rusty nails, but resident skunks and mosquitoes. The area is prime rattlesnake country but they've not seen any yet. Once they were discomfited by bullets a trigger-happy hunter sent about their ears. A buffalo herd attacked them, as did a hired man whose boss had forgotten to mention the deal he'd made.
I asked Al what he pays the landowners for the buildings he recycles. "Most of them are glad to get rid of the old eye-sores, delighted to have a few pictures framed in wood from the barn that Grandpa built in '91. Ken Johnson here, for instance, had been paying taxes on this old line shack since the Twenties. He's glad to be rid of it."
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Rustic Woodcrafts, 1542 Fulton St., Sturgis, S. Dak. 57785.
Reprinted from Communicating For Agriculture, Fergus Falls, Minn.

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1987 - Volume #11, Issue #3