It was back in February, with a good half-foot of snow still on the ground, when I rode with a couple friends up the gravel road to an old ranch homesite where all the buildings, save for the beautiful old barn (thank goodness) were being torn down. We had permission to walk through and take anything we could dislodge and carry away. A marble slab from the hearth of one fireplace was pried up, some brass hardware was unscrewed and pocketed. We looked at the curved, floating staircase and tried to figure out how we'd get it out and what we'd do with it if we did. I measured every door in the house, pool house, shed, and pool hall, hoping to find two at 28" wide, but, sadly, no luck.
It was during one of the many trips back and forth from the pool house to the main house, across the flagstone patio that I saw the end of what looked like a thick, heavy door lying on the ground, one end emerging from the snow. My friend was looking for a heavy door, so we started digging it out. Turns out it was a rustic, handmade table top with slabs 3" thick and over nine feet long. We dug around some more and found its hefty base a few feet away. Since it wasn't a door after all, it was up for grabs. Grab it I did. I could just picture it sitting on our own flagstone patio under strands of lights there by the creek. We hauled it home.
During one of the first sun-drenched sixty-degree days in early March, I set to work raking a place free of leaves to put it, right where the flagstone will be later this spring. I had to call on all available muscles on all available boys, as our combined strength was necessary to wrestle the beastly thing. We almost had it in place when I noticed that the middle plank of the table top was rotted nearly through! Such a heartbreaker (Not to boys. Boys would like you to know that they do not get heartbroken over old tables). Over the following days, I mulled over what I was going to do with this hulk of an unusable table top lying there in our yard.
It's interesting how, when put on a low flame to simmer, what was once a question, somehow becomes an answer and you're not quite sure when or how it happened. But there it was: The old shed needed a step, and there was enough good wood on the old table top to oblige.
On another sunny sixty degree-day in March, I stretched out my measuring tape, then took to that table top with a hand saw. Sawing, banging, ratcheting, dragging, heaving, leveling. In the end, it couldn't have been a better fit for the old shed. Weathered silver like she is, it seems like it's always been there.
And, at two planks deep, it makes for the perfect place to set out the clay pots for their spring cleaning.
Do what you can with what you have.
P.S. Only Two Days Left! The Spring Sale on the Shelter Collection is going on now! Through the month of March, all building plans are 25% off (that's a $500 savings, peeps!). Learn about the Shelter Collection right over here. Shop the collection here.