This morning while I was in the barn I climbed the ladder up into the hay mow to throw down a bale of hay. While searching for the best looking bale, I looked up and took in the amazing, simple beauty of the barn. It is easy to overlook the craftsmanship that went into many of the barns and homes here in New England because of the simplicity, but the work is amazing and long lasting.
One of the barns on our property is over one-hundred years old and I love to think about the people that once worked and lived here and the people who helped in its construction. I wonder if the barn was built in the old-fashioned barn raising tradition, if the builders had a party to celebrate its completion. What I do know is that it is beautiful and it is well built.
Here in Walpole we are lucky to have one of the best timber framers around living and working among us; Ted Benson. Mr. Benson and his wife Christine started Bensonwood Homes (www.bensonwood.com) in the early 1970’s and have watched it blossom into a thriving, socially responsible business. Ted became infatuated with the expertly crafted barns and homes of New England and set out to learn the craft. He has written The Timber- Frame Home, Timberframe, and Building the Timber Frame House: The Revival of a Forgotten Craft. Obviously his work has payed off as he is now one of the most well-respected timber framers in the country.
Timber framing uses mortise and tenon joinery which is a way of joining two pieces of wood together without the use of nails. The two pieces of wood, one the mortise, the other the tenon fit together like a hand and glove. The angle (usually 90 degrees) helps to hold the pieces together.
The folks who make the joints for Bensonwood are the Northcott family who own and operate Northcott Woodturning (www.pegs.us). This is also an amazing local business that we have here in Walpole and oh how convenient for Bensonwood. I feel so happy to be living in an area so rich with people that have traditional skills!
If you have not had the opportunity to visit the interior of some of the amazing old barns here in New England, make a point to do so. You will be awe inspired by the simple beauty and craftsmanship exhibited in these gorgeous, functional structures. I am so glad that Ted and his family are continuing the tradition of timber framing here in our area and I love to keep up on the latest timber framing news.
Because so many people are becoming more interested in farming and getting back to the land, we have had requests by folks looking to be married or hold special functions in our barn. We held our first small wedding in the barn last fall and I must say that it was one of the most gorgeous and intimate wedding locales that I have seen. If you would like more information about hosting your next wedding or special party on the farm or in the barn please visit www.innatvalleyfarms.com for more information.
Keep up the good work Bensonwood!