Newsflash from the Walnut Ridge Restoration Project….

An amazing group of people has come together over the past few weeks to help me rescue and restore a beautiful 1840’s log cabin, Walnut Ridge, near my home in Tennessee. We’ve had a core group of a dozen people here for the whole month, and more than that cycling in for a day or a week or two. Altogether, at least 40 people have pitched in.

Repointing the chimney. Leopard, Fish, and Tom approach the roofline, as masonry mentor Willy advises.

Jen and Sarah beginning to deconstruct the roof around the chimney, so the pointers can access the top of the chimney. Roof will be replaced later in the summer.

We have built foundation walls, jacked up many parts of the house and replaced understructures, repointed the chimney, removed and replaced a rotted out sill, dug new drainage, removed walls and cladding, rechinked, and built a small kitchen addition. The project is ongoing; I think it’s still two years away from being ready to move my fermentation school into it. I am patient, because it is a beautiful building in a beautiful spot, and it feels so good to be addressing the underlying problems and giving it a new lease on life. And best of all, for the space to already be bringing people together, learning new skills and filling it with their hard work, good intentions, generous spirits, and love.

Sarah and Jen open up the roof.

The partially-removed roof with gorgeous shadows

Sarah and Josefina repointing above the roofline.

Josefina, Kayvon, and Kassidy ripping up a termite-damaged floor.

Gabriel checking measurements for a rafter cut, while wearing ear protection in the style of the Mouseketeers.

David and Joe “rechinking” between the logs using a mix of earth, sand, and straw.

Willy Rosencrans, who taught us all the art of stone masonry.

Alicia and Fish laying stones for the new foundation walls (where there had been none).

Oak setting cornerstones in what has affectionately become known as Oak’s corner.