the agritect

@VELD architect, southwestern Ontario

Archive for October, 2012

Rural Relics – A Foundation for Possibilities

I was recently introduced to a bit of Waterloo Region's history. Black Horse Corners, a once bustling small town with an Inn, tannery, fueling mill, pump shop, shingle mill, shoemaker and blacksmith shop, all of which are not longer present except for some remains of the old Inn which burnt down.  Located at the corner of Northhumberland Rd. (58) and Cedar Creek Rd. just east of Cambridge is Black horse Corner and you’ll miss it if you’re not paying attention to the small yellow sign at the intersection.  The Inn used to sit at the north-east corner and the ruins of the walls are just a few feet down from the field surface. The inn was built approximately around 1859, it had a horse stable and outhouse. Jeff Stager, the owner of the farm says that the Inn is only a few feet down and he could easily expose the ruins for curious visitors to explore.

But we cannot forget the cheese factory which still stands near the corner on the farm of Jeff Stager. It has been restored,  along with a smoke house, and designated as a heritage structure. When Jeff took me on a tour of the cheese factory it was a cold windy day.  As we walked into the cheese factory it was warm and cozy and the view across the yellow corn field to the inn was perfect! So perfect I felt that the windows should have a see-through film with and artist rendering on what the small town would have looked liked in its hay-day!

View towards the Inn site

Black Horse Corner it Jeff’s little secret and he wants to share it! There is a great piece of history just waiting to be explored by everyone. Jeff and I spoke about many possibilities for the site including; B&B, cabin rental, a new artisan cheese maker, a cheese store, an artist studio.  We also thought a path along the creek on his farm would lead you right from the cheese factory door to the ruins of the inn, you could even make a corn maze out of it! If you have idea for adaptive reuse, renting the space, or an agritoruism/history project, want to be involved with the abandoned town, leave a comment here.

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One-handed drafting

broken collarbone

I recently broke my collarbone while playing soccer. It was a painful first week full of drugs, now its just inconvenient my arm tied up in a sling. Being one-armed has definitely gotten me out of lots of house chores (I have a wonderful husband who has looked after me and the house), but I haven't been able to slow  down at work with deadlines looming and clients to please. Thank goodness I broke my left collarbone and not my right, so I am able to continue working, although a little slower. Even as I write this post, my slow one finger typing is not keeping up with my thoughts and making me frustrated. When it comes to drafting I have missed my other hand. For anyone that has operated a computer CAD program, you know that by typing with the left and reducing mouse travel across the screen you gain a lot of efficiency. Not only am I increasing my mouse travel, I have also discovered that I am unable to draw a straight line without a second hand; a real problem for an architect! So I had to come up with a creative solution to my problem, 'how to hold the shift key while mouse clicking a straight line?'

"my pet rock "ortho"" (for those of you who don't know "ortho" is a term used in CAD to ensure lock drawing  to 90 degree angles.

I now have a new skill to add to my résumé and LinkedIn profile; one-handed drafting! Let me know if you have any alternative solutions or how long it takes for a collarbone to get better!!