Here on the homestead, aesthetics do play a role in our decisions, but sometimes we have to favor practical over beautiful. For example, we don’t have a tractor or any structure strong enough to use to hoist a pig. So, when we started raising and slaughtering our own pigs, we needed to build a heavy-duty scaffold that could hold around 600 pounds (to hang two pigs at a time). We also had to be able to lift them high enough in the air so we could then get them past the rim of the bathtub and half-oil drum we were using as our scalding vessels.
Matt built us a perfect structure, set in concrete, with big buttresses, standing 8 feet tall. And since we needed it to be close to the final pig paddock and to our mega table that we use for processing, we ended up putting it in a flat area adjacent to our outdoor dining room. Matt originally planned to build some kind of climbing area using the scaffold that would still accommodate the pig slaughter, but he couldn’t quite make the math work in the space we had. So, now, when not in use, that scaffold kind of looks…well, out of place.
For the last year, I’ve been trying to figure out a good use for it during the 362 days of the year when it is not a slaughter station. I had considered hanging some kind of art work, like a wood cut design out of a sheet of plywood or something. (My friend Michele had inspired me to want to make one after seeing her beautiful work.) But it will be a while before I have time for a project that like that. Then I thought about getting some old windows and hanging them at different heights just for kicks until I realized that was an accident waiting to happen with our wild winds.
Then, this week, while trying to figure out what to do about my busted swing seat stand that our recent winds had done a number on (again), the solution came to me…
That scaffold makes a perfect swing stand. Last year we planted hops on the side of the scaffold that will be coming up as soon as it warms up. And that hillside behind becomes a jungle by about May. The view of the bottles fleshes into a lush food forest with pawpaws, elderberry, grapes, strawberry, blackberry, mints, flowers, and comfrey by mid-summer. So, that swing seat will be a beautiful spot to relax in the summer heat.
As a bonus, the A-Frame from the old swing might end up re-purposed into my next duck shelter when I start work on duck paddock number 2.
OK, so it’s not exactly conventional, but when you have an eight foot pig scaffold in your outdoor dining area…