• Chris Fesko

Restoring Barn to fit my passion

If you have a passion, you have to figure out what you want to do with that passion. My passions include children, Agriculture and teaching. The video series opened up a wide world to me. Except, I lacked contact with children.

I wanted to do something locally.. real local.. a really ready to fall down barn. Simple! Restore it .. to look like .. well better than this.. I recently found some photos someone had taken of my progress.. from start to finish.. what was I thinking?

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So I borrowed some money from my husbands life insurance policy, asked Woodford brothers to help me pull this barn back up the hill 1 foot, setting it on a new basement wall on the road side. A neighbor, Bill Ramsden, who must have thought i was crazy, one of those "She must have more money than brains " comments comes to mind, said he would help me. Actually now that I think about it, the whole neighborhood must have thought I was crazy. I know my father in Law did.. George: "You are throwing money away" .. my response.. "You don't have the dream I have".

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This was my dream, It was a long way off but I had it in my brain. I could see little children coming to learn in this barn. All I had to do was work at it. No big deal.

The barn was headed to the lake. All we had to do was jack the barn up and cinch it back up the hill. This is a slide show of the process... the barn made so much noise when we jacked on it.. moving it 1/2 inch with each jacking.

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With the new basement under the road side, and the building held firm by the cables, the roof needed to be repaired. The back corner of the roof had blown off many years ago and I reconstructed the rafters and laid boards and put down enough asphalt shingles to keep the rain out. You can see the 6x6's in the back of the barn that the cables were hooked to as we pulled it up the hill.

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In getting actually ONTO the building via 60 ' ladder, I realized that the south wall needed to be tied back into the barn and a new sill beam put in the corner to support the rafters.. so Bill and I brought in logs and tied them back to the second beam. The Scaffold sure made me feel better. The floor was also rotted. I could feel a real money pit taking shape.

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I made the downstairs into pens with certain animals: mammals, Fowl or birds to match the curricula that students would learn.

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A new roof, a paint job and we were done

So now, 17 years after opening, the Discovery Center has school field trips here in the months of May and June. We also do virtual field trips via Skype.

Here is a combo of pics of activites we do here. If you have any questions, Please feel to email me at Chris@fesko.com

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Mammals have soft fur or hair

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Catching Frogs is a favorite thing.

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Play time in the seed table

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Daughter Kimberly became a great helper teacher.

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Mammals get milk from their momma, oh My

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Frog hunting

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Tadpoles and Crayfish

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Roosters need love too

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Eggs are measure by weight but then sold by size

So the passion lives. I thank the many schools that have come to our Discovery Center and learned using hands on activities and thinking of things in perhaps a different way.

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