The old island barn

Junque from the Sheds

There are 3 sheds on our Northern cottage island. There is a metal cladded boathouse, a landlocked ice fishing hut, and a mysterious small barn. While the cottage itself was clean as a whistle and needs no major work, each of the sheds are ramshackle – but I am drawn to them. They have mystery and history, but they are filled to the brim with garbage – and a few treasures.

We are having the boathouse repaired in the wintertime by a professional – a boathouse is a necessity to shelter boats from the elements on this big lake – but the other two sheds, we don’t need – so who knows what will become of them.


As my brave boys and husband are terrified of dock spiders (they are massive here), I set about clearing out each of the sheds – a little bit at a time. It’s a bit frightening – but fun at the same time. Over the years, the previous occupants of our island had simply stuffed things into each shed instead of disposing of it. That’s what people do with sheds – they stuff things in them and close the doors.

The boathouse was a treasure trove of tools and fasteners – and I was happy to find an inflatable raft, waterskis and an old paddle (which I use to wack dock spiders). Early in the spring I hooked up the hose and sprayed every inch of the interior of the boathouse with a stream of water – to loosen and remove spider nests and webs. This was about a 3 day process – but the boys were grateful. Then I emptied out the cupboards and sorted the tools – and slapped some white paint on the old shelves – They don’t look beautiful – but now they look less “spiderful”.

Dock spider on boathouse hose
Dock spider on boathouse hose rack

The photo of the dock spider above – is of a medium sized one, honest…. The females are bigger!

In the boathouse we found this neat thing – and tried to figure out what it was. What do you think it is?

Thing from the boathouse
Vintage junque from the boathouse

We are not sure exactly – but we believe it is a stand for a motor! I cleaned it with steel wool and painted it with blue metal paint. Now the stand sits on the dock for no reason other than that it looks neat and ads some colour to a grey area of the yard. I currently hang extra life preservers on it.

Blue boat stand
Blue Lockwood Boat Stand

The old barn – was filled with broken tools and axes, galvanized buckets and wood pieces – to the ceiling. It makes me curious – why would there be a barn on an island in the middle of the lake? It seemed to have held a cow or a horse – does that make sense to you? I hope to solve this mystery in a future post.

The old island barn
The old island barn

The ice fishing hut was full to the rafters as well. Ice fishing huts are generally towed out onto the lake by snowmobiles or trucks – to keep the fisherman warm while they fish through holes in the bottom of the huts. This one is landlocked on the island for now – I don’t want to drive my truck on the ice – and we could buy an ice fishing tent if we needed one, which would be tidier and easier to work with!

Scary fishhut contents
Ice fishing hut contents

The ice fishing hut contained broken furniture – garbage cans, hoses and some junque! But on top of the heap – was a decaying stuffed deer head. This was too much for me – and I had my husband dispose of the poor deer. We have taken many boatloads of stuff to the local dump from these 3 sheds, but I also found a few junky treasures. There were a few chairs, some dishes, pots and pans, and a collection of Kerosene lamps.

There was also a vintage steamer trunk. My kids told me not to touch the trunk – as that is how horror movies begin. The main character opens the trunk and then……..

Vintage trunk
Vintage Steamer Trunk – Very Spooky!

But I dragged the trunk out of the shed – and gave it a wash of the same blue paint – with some varathane – to protect it from the elements. I filled it with topsoil and daffodil bulbs – and set it on a rock at the back of the island.

A Wash of Blue Paint and Varathane
A Homemade Blue stain of paint and varathane

There was an awful looking but sturdy metal chair in the hut as well – so I painted it blue as well.

Metal Wire chair
Metal wire chair
Varathaned and painted trunk and chair
Painted and varathaned vintage steamer trunk and chair

Who knows if the daffodils will bloom next year – but I’m happy to wait and see.

At the bottom of the hut I found a vintage iron bedframe from Simmons. (I found similar ones online from about 1930.) I removed the frame – and sanded the rusty old headboard with vinegar and steel wool.

Rusty Vintage Simons Headboard

I decided to leave the outer edge that came through as an industrial looking steel. Then I painted the centre and back with the blue metal paint – which I had darkened with a bit of black tint.

Simons headboard
Vintage Simons Headboard being painted
Headboard after
Vintage Simons Headboard after painting

We have been keeping busy getting rid of garbage and cleaning up our yard and sheds this summer – but I have enjoyed finding junque and trying to find purposes for them and splashing on a bit of paint here and there. AND there was nothing scary in the trunk!

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6 thoughts on “Junque from the Sheds

    1. Thank you for clearing that up. It was a mystery to us – and we kept looking online and circulating pictures to our friends and relatives (kinda fun) . It’s a great big heavy thing all the way from Australia! Thanks again!

  1. What a fun adventure and to find useful treasures always adds to the mysteries of the people that lived there before you! I am sure the barn hosted animals at some time, part of everyday living in the olden days!
    Appreciating your creativeness!

    1. I’m glad you liked the shed story – I have found out a little more about it’s history and it had horses – more about that later!

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