Monthly Archives: June 2021

Up on the Roof

Georgia

Photos courtesy of Goats on the Roof

Pet, feed and befriend the amiable goats that hang out on top of sod-covered buildings at a popular roadside attraction in north Georgia.

It only stands to reason that one of the G.O.A.T.s (for the uninitiated, that’s “greatest of all time), of quirky Georgia travel and tourism is populated by – you guessed it – goats. These friendly kids meander from barnyard to rooftop at a roadside attraction in Tiger, Georgia named – naturally – Goats on the Roof.

“Several tourism boards have ranked us as the second-most visited destination in Georgia,” says Russ Phillips, who owns the business with his wife, April. “More than a million people have visited us.”

The couple purchased the business, which started in June 2007, from a friend in April 2015.

“My wife says I lost my marbles,” says Russ, who originally was an accountant. “We just closed our eyes and took the plunge.”

Follow the Food
While April initially may have questioned her husband’s judgment, she quickly fell in love with the goats. Their 14 “kids” are her babies, and she buys a new one every year. The goats include one Boer goat, four miniature Nubian goats and nine Nigerian Dwarf goats.

They wander from rooftop to rooftop between the general store and the Rock and Old-Time Candy Store, which is new this year, on a steel bridge that connects the two buildings.

“The goats can come and go as they please. They have free roam from their fenced-in area with a barn to the rooftops. They have a ramp they can walk up and down,” Russ says. “They just follow the food.”

It’s hard to know who enjoys feeding time more – the visitors or the goats. Visitors can buy goat food by the bag or in a souvenir bucket. They can feed the goats by hand, with a hand crank or by pedaling a bicycle attached to a contraption that sends a cup full of food up to the goats.

Humans won’t go hungry at Goats on the Roof, either. The attraction offers award-winning nitro ice cream, including new flavors this year; sweets such as homemade fudge, buckeyes, Oreo balls, chocolate-covered bacon and cookies; popcorn and fresh boiled peanuts. The Rock and Old-Time Candy Store also satisfies a sweet tooth with a wide selection of nostalgic candy.

Goats on the Roof also added a new food truck, Game Time by Coach Joe, in May.

Regular Stop
Gifts and souvenirs, along with the sweet treats, are available at the general store, and visitors can buy gems, rocks and specialty stones from all around the world at the Rock and Old-Time Candy Store. The attraction also includes a playground and a gem mining sluice for miners who like to earn their treasures.

“Gem mining is a lot like gold mining,” Russ says.

Goats on the Roof is open year-round, but the days of operation vary from season to season. Currently, the business is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Monday until the end of December. Admission is free.

The business is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. the rest of the year, operating Friday, Saturday and Sunday from January through the first half of March and Thursday through Monday from the last half of March until the end of May.

Russ says many of their visitors are repeat guests. “We get a lot of people that travel to Tennessee, and they tell us that we’re one of their regular stops on the way,” he says. “We also get people who travel the other direction from Tennessee to Florida.”

The concept of putting goats on the roof began in the United States in the 1970s at Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik in Sister Bay, Wisconsin, Russ says. Before that, he adds, personnel at Goats on Roof Old Country Market in Coombs, British Columbia, Canada, put the animals atop their building after the Norwegian immigrants “borrowed” some goats to “mow” the sod-covered roof, a common feature of hillside homes in Norway, to provide entertainment for passing cars. The goats never left, and the people kept coming – just like in Tiger.

“I enjoy seeing people’s reactions to the goats,” says Russ. “I enjoy the good time they have, and I enjoy working in a family business atmosphere.”

A Tiger in the Tank
To see the other area attractions, energetic visitors can put a tiger in their tank to explore the mountain region. It won’t disappoint. Film buffs can catch a first-run show under the stars at Tiger Drive-In movie theater. The drive-in is one of only 349 left in the world out of more than 5,500 at one time. The theater originally operated from 1954 until it closed in the mid-1980s, but it reopened in 2004.

Combining elements of yesteryear with modern amenities, the drive-in features all-grass terraces, FM broadcasts, outdoor speakers, Pandora pre-show music and Wi-Fi. Movie-goers are welcome to bring a picnic or order food from the TDI Grill. The property is pet friendly, and it has a playground for kids.

Gates open at 6:30 p.m., and the first movie starts at 9 p.m. The theater operates on a first-come, first-serve basis. Online ticket purchases do not guarantee a spot. Admission is $10 for adults 12 and older, $5 for children ages 4 to 11 and free for children under age 3.

Visitors in search of food and drink in Tiger will find local eateries, farm-to-table restaurants and cafés that offer fine dining, comfort food, BBQ and international cuisine. Wine lovers can visit the family-owned, award-winning Tiger Mountain and Stonewall Creek vineyards.

Tiger Mountain guests – families or small groups of friends – who come to pick up bottles of wine can stroll through the vineyards or enjoy wine flights on its Red Barn Café patio. At Stonewall Creek, visitors can sample wine by the glass, bottle or flight on the covered, outdoor patio or the indoor tasting room.

In nearby Clayton, Georgia, the award-winning Moonrise Distillery offer tours, tastings or both. The distillery creates whiskey with methods that date back to the early 1850s, and visitors can sample 12 different products.

On Sundays (and the occasional Saturday) from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Moonrise offers live music. The events are free, and visitors can bring a picnic basket or munch on pre-packaged snack foods.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do in Tiger and the surrounding area as well. Visitors can go boating, camping, picnicking, swimming and fishing at Lake Burton. The smaller Lake Rabun offers fishing, water skiing, jet skiing and tubing as well as afternoon and cocktail cruises.

Rabun County is home to many waterfalls and hiking trails as well. The southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail is located at nearby Springer Mountain.

Accommodations include resorts, cabins, boutique hotels, budget motels and Airbnbs. Regardless of the sleeping arrangements that overnight guests prefer, however, they can agree that they need to get their goat fix.

“They are just goofy animals,” says Russ. “They’re constantly playing. They’re very active. They love to have fun.”

For more information, visit goats-on-the-roof.com, tigerdrivein.com, tigerwine.com, stonewallcreek.com, moonrisedistillery.com or explorerabun.com.

 

By Morgan Davis

Staying Power

In The Home

Photography by Sally Kolar

With a swimming pool, backyard porches and lots of flowering plants, this Bartram Trail home is the perfect place for an Evans couple to enjoy year-round staycations.

Anyone who lives in paradise knows it’s an experience to be savored – whether they’re sharing the space with friends or enjoying the solitude. Just ask Evans residents Karyn and Paul Edmondson.

They have all the amenities they need to entertain, which they love to do, at their Bartram Trail residence. However, when it’s just the two of them at home, the empty nesters, who own two small businesses and have four children between them, can relax in a haven of peace and tranquility.

At the end of a busy day, Karyn loves to settle in the soaking tub in their newly remodeled master bath and tell Alexa to play calming music while she relaxes with a glass of wine. If Paul tries to take that opportunity to discuss business with her, well, Karyn isn’t having it.

“I tell him, ‘We’re not working right now. We’re on vacation,’” she says. “Because we’re in the heating and air business, we don’t get to take much vacation in the summer.”

However, they don’t need to go far to find an escape. “We have staycations in the yard,” says Paul.

Carefree State of Mind
About eight years ago, they built a swimming pool, complete with tanning shelves, in the backyard. Lush flowerbeds filled with beautiful plants like cala lilies, dahlias and lily of the Nile are nestled in the curves of the pool on the surrounding salt pit concrete decking.

“I didn’t want the deck to look brand new,” says Karyn.

The sound of water soothingly trickles down a stacked stone wall in the backyard koi pond, creating a carefree state of mind.

“It’s so nice when the breeze comes through and you can hear the water,” Karyn says. “We actually feel like we’re on vacation.”

Even if their home feels like a resort, the Edmondsons have put a lot of work into it. They moved into the house in 2006, putting a contract on it before it was complete so they were able to pick out the materials they wanted. Through the years, however, they have remodeled the entire house.

Four or five years ago, they renovated the kitchen to create a space that not only is functional. It’s also a great place to spend time.

Rich with various textures, the kitchen features a tongue-and-groove pine wood ceiling and tile flooring with a brick look. The copper hammered farmhouse sink has a curved apron front, and the tile backsplash called “grunge” adds to the room’s rustic, farmhouse look. A decorative tile inset accents the wall above the range, and the range hood, which Paul ordered from Mexico, is made of stainless steel, iron and copper.

The room also includes marble countertops, barn door cabinets, a pot filler and a large island. Sitting on the end of the island is a wood riser that Paul made from the base of a cedar tree. Typically, it is a display space for flowers, candles and other accessories. However, Karyn says, “When we have parties, I use it for my charcuterie board.”

Paul used the rest of the tree to make large cheese boards. He got a lot of the lumber he uses for woodworking projects from a friend’s farm in Thomson when he tore down some old buildings on the property. “A lot of the things I make are Karyn’s idea,” Paul says. “She is very creative – and a great cook.”

A chest stands at either end of the island to provide additional storage space such as drawers for pots and pans, and a perimeter countertop serves as a coffee station.

“We’re both coffee snobs. We drink coffee all day long,” says Karyn. “This is our first stop every morning.”

She also keeps a photo of her great-grandmother, who raised her mother, on the coffee station countertop. MacKenzie-Childs accessories, including two rugs, add a splash of color and whimsy to the kitchen.

An adjoining sitting area offers a comfortable spot for guests to gather. Four oyster paintings hang on the wall by the windows that overlook the pool.

Remembrances of Karyn’s late brother, Greg Connell, an aerobatic pilot who was killed in an air show accident in 2016, are placed throughout the house, including the kitchen.

A black-and-white picture of Greg from his high school football playing days hangs on the kitchen wall beneath a canvas of a black dog in a pickup truck. The canvas, where the words “Country roads take me home” are scripted in the bottom left corner, has twofold significance.

“When we were little, we would sing ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ at the top of our lungs,” says Karyn.

The Edmondsons also named a new business they recently started, Greco Transport and Home Medical, after Greg’s call signal when he flew. Capitalizing on Karyn’s healthcare background, the business transports clients to doctors’ facilities, treatment centers, patients’ and relatives’ homes, hospitals and from state to state.

“When we retire the vans, we transport homeless pets from kill shelters to no-kill shelters. We’ll take them anywhere,” says Karyn. “That’s what Greg wanted to do when he retired. He was all about dogs and saving dogs.”

Despite the kitchen’s many features, the Edmondsons took advantage of existing space to expand their culinary prep areas. They turned a closet into a small butler’s pantry and gave the laundry room, which features a tongue-and-groove ceiling, a dual purpose.

“I transformed my laundry room into a bar,” says Karyn. “We took out the utility sink, put in a copper sink and made it into a wet bar.”

The laundry room also offers convenient access to Karyn’s fresh herbs. “My herb garden is right outside the window, so I just open it and get what I need,” she says.

In honor of Paul’s Alabama roots, a painting of Bear Bryant hangs on the laundry room wall. In Paul’s six degrees of separation from the legendary Crimson Tide football coach, his mother worked for RC Cola when Bryant served on the company’s board of directors.

The living room, which features red oak hardwood flooring, a raised-hearth brick fireplace and a cathedral ceiling, adjoins the kitchen. To create a definite demarcation between the living room and the kitchen, they added a pine door frame when they remodeled.

Meaningful Mementoes
Family photos are plentiful throughout the house. “We grew up having our picture made,” says Karyn, whose father, Charlie Connell, worked in photo finishing.

One special memento sits on a bench in the foyer, just inside the front door — a blue-and-white-striped stuffed bear that is made out of one of Greg’s shirts.

The red oak flooring in the foyer extends into the dining room, which features a high chair rail and the Arnold Palmer Lexington table that Karyn has had for about 30 years. “When I like something, I just keep it,” she says.

Giving the formal setting a bit of playfulness, a pair of black-and-white-checked MacKenzie-Childs moose candlesticks sit on the tabletop.

“MacKenzie-Childs pieces can be a little ‘extra,’ so I have little pieces of it here and there,” says Karyn.

The master bedroom features a trey ceiling and a ceiling fan, and a pair of angel wings hang from the armoire in Greg’s honor. When Karyn took over her brother’s heating and air business after he passed away, she also re-engineered the company logo to include his wings.

In the master bath, they replaced the built-in tub with the stand-along soaking tub and enlarged a walk-in tile shower, which features a rain showerhead, when they renovated the room earlier this year.

“Our shower was like a phone booth,” says Karyn. “We expanded it and made it all glass. We added a pebble floor, and it’s one of my favorite things.”

The space also features a double vanity with a granite countertop, a vaulted ceiling and two shiplap walls.

“We kept the room light so we can feel like we’re on vacation,” Karyn says.

Porch Life
The Edmondsons’ house sits on a corner lot, which brings a cheerful, vacation-like breeze onto the property. They often enjoy the breeze from the covered side porch, where lots of hanging baskets filled with ferns and flowers give them more privacy.

The side porch includes a wicker sectional couch and table, an antique church pew, a ceiling fan and a TV on the wall. The beadboard ceiling, like the front porch ceiling, is painted haint blue.

They found the church pew, which is more than 100 years old and is constructed with wooden pegs, at an antique store.

MacKenzie-Childs accents include a birdhouse that hangs from the ceiling and a frog-shaped dinner bell mount on the wall. The frog’s long, curly tongue is sticking out to hold the bell.

Planters filled with bougainvillea hang from the side of the porch railing into the yard, and small blue and white planters line the rail. Paul made the fish wall hanging on the side porch out of plywood and tin.

“We saw one on the wall at TakoSushi. We tried to buy it, but they wouldn’t sell it. We came home and the next day, I made it,” he says.

An open air porch that extended from the side porch features more wicker furniture and wrought iron chairs. The décor includes a decorative pig and colorful pillows that accent the furnishings. Glass ornaments embellish flower-filled containers.

The Edmondsons like to eat on the porch or by the pool. Mostly, though, they like to enjoy each other’s company at work and at home.

“We raised children here,” says Paul. It’s been a great place.”

By Betsy Gilliland

Frozen Tropical Fruit Salad

Desserts
  • 10 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped until stiff peaks form
  • 3/4 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks
  • 2 bananas, chopped or sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries

Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, mayo, coconut extract and powdered sugar until smooth. Fold in whipped cream. Add coconut, pistachios, pineapple, bananas and strawberries. Stir gently and pour into baking dish. Cover and freeze 24 hours. Thaw 10-15 minutes before slicing into squares and serving. Makes 10 servings.

Star-Spangled Fun

Star-Spangled Fun

Independence Day Fireworks & Festivities

July 1
Fort Gordon’s Independence Day Celebration
Barton FieldFort Gordon’s annual celebration that includes a kiddie carnival, food and craft vendors, fireworks show and live music. Bring blankets and chairs, but no pets, tents or coolers. 5-11 p.m. Admission is free. Food and beverage tickets also are available for presale at the MWR Directorate Office (Building 28320, Lane Avenue). Guests 16 and older must present a photo ID at Fort Gordon’s entrance gate. Masks must be worn for all unvaccinated attendees. (706) 791-8878, fortgordon.com

July 2
Freedom Blast
Thomson-McDuffie Government Center Grounds
The Thomson-McDuffie Chamber of Commerce and the City of Thomson bring Independence Day fun with a picnic on the lawn, food from local restaurants, music and fireworks. 7-9:45 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. Bring lawn seating. Coolers are allowed, but no alcohol. Admission is free. (706) 597-1000, thomsonmcduffiechamber.com

Clarks Hill Lake 4th of July Fireworks
Raysville Marina
Friends of Clarks Hill Lake present a fireworks show for boaters and onlookers from shore. Best viewing areas on land are from Amity Recreation Area and Raysville Marina. Free. 9 p.m. Bring seating and picnics.

July 3
Grovetown Fourth of July Barbecue
Liberty Park Community Center
The City of Grovetown’s community-wide picnic will be a drive-through this year with free barbecue plates. Plates include barbecue, two sides and a roll. 11 a.m. (706) 860-7691, cityofgrovetown.com

July 4
Boom in the Park
Evans Towne Center Park
Bring chairs and blankets to Columbia County’s annual Independence Day celebration. Event includes live music by Whiskey Run, food trucks and fireworks. 5-10 p.m. Fireworks begin at dusk. Admission is free. No glass or alcohol is allowed. (706) 868-3484. 

Independence Day Celebration
Augusta Commons
Downtown Augusta’s Independence Day Celebration features live entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, patriotic merchandise. 5-9:30 p.m. Fireworks begin at dusk. Bring blankets and chairs but no coolers or pets. Free admission. (706) 821-1754, augustaga.gov

July 10
Independence Day Celebration Fireworks and Boat Parade
Plum Branch Yacht Club
Celebrate Independence Day with a patriotic boat parade, food, games, entertainment and fireworks over the lake. The boat parade kicks things off at noon and festivities continue until 10 p.m. Barbecue plates will be sold for $14 each at the Pavilion at Plum Branch Yacht Club from noon to 4 p.m., and the Lakeside Grill will be open until 10 p.m. Fireworks begin at dark. For more details, contact the McCormick County Chamber of Commerce at (864) 852-2835, the Plum Branch Yacht Club at (864) 443-3000 or the Lakeside Grill at (864) 443-3004. mccormickscchamber.org, plumbranch.com

Tropical Allure

Garden Scene

Dreaming of turning your yard into a personal paradise? Several palms native to Georgia thrive here with minimal care.

There are few sounds in nature as beguiling as the rustle of palm fronds in an ocean breeze, and no other tree sets us dreaming of faraway places quite like the palm.

No tree looks more exotic. Cypress trees may look as timeless and banyan trees may look as tropical, but palm trees look timeless, tropical, and exotically mysterious.

It’s impossible to imagine the Caribbean, the South Pacific or any respectable oasis without palm trees in the picture. If they could talk, palms could probably tell us plenty about dinosaurs and what the Garden of Eden was really like. Palms have seen it all.

Today, homeowners, businesses and golf courses alike feature this tropical icon in their landscapes. Look closer though, and you will usually discover that many of these local palms are not tropical at all but are actually native to Georgia.

Four authentic palms native to the Peach State are the Needle Palm, the Dwarf Palmetto, the Saw Palmetto and the Sabal Palmetto. All are cold hardy, and the Needle Palm is considered the hardiest palm tree in the world.

The advantage all native palms have in common is that they are cold hardy and can handle temperatures below freezing and still recover quickly. The best time to transplant most palms is in spring or summer, when soil temperatures are warmer. Keep in mind that most palms do better in sandy soil — clay holds water and does not warm as quickly.

Sabal Palmetto
The most popular native palm here is the Sabal Palmetto, also called a Cabbage Palm, and you may recognize it as the official state tree of South Carolina and Florida. This hardy palm tree stays green year-round and matures to a height of about forty feet. It is topped with fan-shaped palm fronds that can grow up to five feet long. While they do not have traditional growth rings, it is believed they can live 200 to 300 years.

Sabal Palmetto is easy to transplant, easy to grow and easy to maintain. It grows best in well-drained soils that can be sandy, loamy or clay, but needs lots of sun — it cannot grow in the shade. For tree health (and to keep pests from nesting in the tree), trim the dead palm fronds annually.

Dwarf Palmetto
The fan-shaped Dwarf Palmetto, a shrub-size palm, can live to be more than 400 years old. This smaller relative of the Sabal Palmetto provides a nice anchor in the garden, especially small spaces.

Able to grow in nearly any type of soil, from sand to clay, Dwarf Palmetto tolerates a variety of conditions and is fairly easy to maintain. It has an underground trunk and likes its head in the sun and its feet near the water. Water regularly for its first two years in the ground to allow it to get established. You can expect it to reach a height between two and seven feet with a spread between three and five feet. Prune browning palm fronds to keep the palm healthy.

Needle Palm
The slow-growing Needle Palm is an attractive, low-maintenance, pest-free palm that is easy to grow in just about any landscape. Though it rarely stands higher than eight feet (usually around four to six feet), it is a nearly trunkless palm, almost always appearing as a shrub. It gets its name from the sharp needles on its crown that protect the interior of the plant.

The Needle Palm will grow in both sunny and shady locations but thrives best if given some shade in the afternoon. It loves regular waterings at first but is very drought tolerant once established. Needle Palm stays green year-round and can take temperatures as low as minus ten degrees.

Saw Palmetto
The shrubby Saw Palmetto provides a lush, tropical touch to landscapes and works well as a privacy hedge, foundation planting or backdrop for mixed borders. It usually grows five to ten feet tall and spreads four to ten feet wide. Though typically green, a silver form of this palm is highly prized. Slow-growing and low-maintenance (occasional pruning of dead fronds is all this plant needs), Saw Palmetto is a sun-loving palm but will grow in almost any light. Water regularly after planting until established. Then it will be drought tolerant.

Saw Palmetto is difficult to move once established, however, so be sure to pick the right spot for planting — away from walkways, driveways, play areas, or anywhere the saw-like teeth along the stems might cause harm.

A Popular Non-Native
One major contender on the local palm scene — the Sago Palm — is not native and actually not even a palm. It’s a Cycad, a species that has been around for millions of years and has more in common with ferns than with palms. It’s easy to understand its popularity, though. With a big branching trunk and dark olive leaves that are three to four feet long, it’s very easy to grow.

In fact, with a look that is straight from an oasis, the Sago Palm is so luxuriant and palm-like that it’s become one of the area’s leading landscaping plants. Native to southern Japan, it is cold hardy, usually free from pests and prefers a sunny location with sandy soil and good drainage.

Summertime Mixtape/Playlist

Listen To This

The summertime mixtape/playlist is an essential ingredient to make waterlogged days last longer, splashes larger and memories brighter. It’s best enjoyed as a random bag of genre, decade and contributor, with each song evoking ice-cream-truck-mania excitement.

Summer songs become sensory indicators of the good vibrations we feel when springtime has rounded the last corner or when the charcoal lighter fluid smell of grilled goodness wafts through the neighborhood.

This stack of tunes should slide everyone into vacation bliss, down the lazy river of happiness. It’s a foundation of classics — build your tower of tune nachos from here.

“Tequila” – The Champs

“Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson

“Sugar, Sugar” – The Archies

“Africa” – Toto

“Kiss” – Prince

“Summertime” – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

“Low Rider” – War

“Magic” – The Cars

“For Your Love” – Benny Sings

“Sweet Emotion”- Aerosmith

“Jump” – Van Halen

“Ventura Highway” – America

“Pour Some Sugar on Me” – Def Leppard

“Come Go With Me” – The Del Vikings

“Surfin’ U.S.A.” – The Beach Boys

Enjoy this summer responsibly and don’t forget to lather up with sunscreen.

– Chris Rucker

Made in the Shade

Garden Scene

Photography by Hodges Usry

A Martinez couple built a “pandemic potting shed” themselves to fulfill a vision and to pass the time during quarantine.

In the 13 years that Martinez residents Phyllis and Rob Collier have lived in their Watervale home, they have made several additions to the property. They built a master bedroom downstairs and a detached garage that serves as a workshop for Rob and a gym for Phyllis. They also planted a garden on the side yard.

Despite all of these home improvements, there was still one project that Phyllis, who calls herself and her husband “yard nuts,” always wanted to pursue.

“I’ve always wanted a shed to have a place to keep my gardening supplies and to do my potting,” she says.

The Colliers love to antique, so anytime Phyllis found a treasure at a quaint little shop, she would buy it and save it for future use in the shed. For instance, when she found two long antique shutters, each with a diamond-shaped cutout, she knew they would be part of the shed.

“I had them stored away. Rob knows not to question if I have a vision for something,” she says. “I knew the shed was something I wanted to do eventually.”

Putting in the Work
The time to build the shed finally arrived last March when everyone was quarantined because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Phyllis and Rob, an internal medicine physician at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center and a former builder, got to work, and their “Pandemic Potting Shed” started to bloom.

“He drew it and came up with the concept,” says Phyllis. “I told him what I wanted.”

Finishing the project in September, it took them about six months to complete the 8-foot square shed.

“When the weather was nice, we worked on it every day,” Phyllis says.

Rob framed the building, and after his back went out, Phyllis dug the footings.

They used old brick that Phyllis found on Facebook Marketplace for the floor, which they laid themselves. They had the 1-foot-by-6-foot treated pine siding custom-made, and sometimes patience was required to complete their labor of love. They had to wait for the floor to dry after they laid the brick, and it took four months for the specially ordered siding to arrive.

Phyllis found the porch light for the shed at an antique store in Warner Robbins. “It looked like there was no way to reuse it,” she says.

The shed also includes a metal roof and awning windows. Phyllis found the windows and door, which was missing a glass pane, at a local antique shop. She also painted the antique shutters moss green, and they flank either side of the door.

“I wanted everything for the shed to be old,” Phyllis says.

She got strands of grapevine from a friend in Millen who makes grapevine wreaths, and she wrapped the vine around the eaves of the front porch. “I can put lilac in it, or confederate jasmine can grow up into it,” says Phyllis.

The shed is enclosed under a treehouse that the Colliers built for their eight grandchildren several years ago, and the ladder to the treehouse is inside the shed.

“I learned a lot. I had never laid a brick before,” says Phyllis. “We’re avid cross fitters, but I got a good workout when we built the shed.”

‘Winging It’
In the shed, Phyllis keeps lots of clay pots, an old antique bench and indoor plants. Rustic heart pine shelving provides additional storage space, and the shed also has power and running water.

“Sometimes I just go in the shed and hang out,” Phyllis says.

The Colliers have three raised beds in the yard, and they plant annuals and perennials. Phyllis especially loves daffodils and tulips, and she does most of her gardening in the spring and the fall. They grow some vegetables including tomatoes, cucumber and squash as well.

“I’m not a master gardener,” says Phyllis. “I’m just winging it.”

One of these days, the Colliers hope to get to their next project – adding an outdoor living space off of the sunroom. In the meantime, they can enjoy their new potting shed and appreciate the therapeutic qualities the building process had for them.

“I had energy that I couldn’t channel because we couldn’t go anywhere or do anything,” Phyllis says. “It was fun to see the progress and think, ‘Wow! I did that myself.’”

By Sarah James