What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

Held Up By A Wing, And A Prayer, And A Barrel!

Often I go into older farm houses to feel a bouncy floor but seldom see one held up by a wing, and a prayer, and a barrel!

It's not uncommon to go into a an old cellar or crawl space and see beams that have been seamed together with a nail or two.  And it has been like that for who knows how long!  Maybe before I was born!

Sure it's slipping apart a little.

And the insulation is backwards.

All too common!

That will allow for a little bouncy, bouncy here and there!

But that wasn't what caught my interest!

That was most piqued by the fabulous support off to one side!

The support truly was a wing, a prayer and a barrel!  Oh, and a bag of fertilizer.

Tell me what you think!

Now if that isn't special let me know!

That barrel is supported by nothing that I could see. 

I could get my hand around it and under it!

The end of the beam must be stuck into something unseen, but if it is, how is the barrel attached to the beam?

Obviously that bag of fertilizer is doing its job, solid as it is.

You can never go wrong with some additional support.  And once you go fertilizer bag, well, you don't go back.

But that barrel is magical!  Maybe there's a rabbit inside!

And it's old too!  That barrel has been there for a long, long time!

The barrel has no writing on it, but this is rural Virginia!  It could very well be a whiskey barrel! 

Maybe they hid it there from "dem gubment revenooers!"

This house is located in Hume, Virginia.  Hume isn't a town really, just a location comprised of a bunch of spread-out residences.  There is one main road, cleverly named Hume Road.

It has a zip code though!  And 500 residents!

I have to wonder how many houses nearby have cellars like this with magical barrel supports under old, hand-hewn beams!

My recommendation:  when you run across something very interesting or unusual you just want to share it!  Next time maybe I'll tap the barrel to see what's inside!

 

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 76 commentsJay Markanich • March 29 2013 04:40AM

Comments

Undoubtedly...a great place to hide family heirlooms and treasures...and an interesting challenge to building codes !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 5 years ago

Hi Jay,

Now this is truly a good find. I have not seen this in support of a beam in a basement or crawl space.

Did you make a not that the insulation was not the right way? The vapor barrier is down and unless it is a wrapped insulation (vapor barrier on both sides) then it is installed incorrectly.

Have a great Good Friday and a Happy Easter this Sunday. And a very good post thanks for sharing your inspections with us here in the Rain.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 5 years ago

S&D - for all I know, 80 years ago this WAS the building code!

Clint - I hadn't seen it either, so I shared!  The insulation is mentioned toward the beginning of the post.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Wow!  You were in the basement after seeing that.  Brave man.

Posted by Conrad Allen, Webster, Ma, Realtor (Re/Max Professional Associates) over 5 years ago

Jay:  A whiskey barrel.  I can just see the night that the owners finished off the whiskey and decided that the best use of the barrel was to support the house - maybe putting in a four leaf clover, a rabbit's food and a horseshoe.  How else can you explain it?  LOL  

Posted by Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer (House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada) over 5 years ago

Sure Conrad!  I see this all the time.  Then I make a joke of bouncing upstairs to see if we can collapse the floor!

I thought it was a rare, and fun, find Valerie!  We all had a good time talking about that one.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Jay,

Were the cinder blocks in common use at the time, or is this some sort of addition?

Rich

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 5 years ago

Those were added at some point to shore up the crumbling stone foundation Richard.  Don't know when!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

During a poor farming year you use what you have to make it better and with what you got. A break even year is consider a good year. Farming with broken equipment happens too when no money coming in and the market is horrible.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 5 years ago

Jay, Truly remarkable. I guess you have seen it all, your right probably been there for years.

Posted by Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC & (Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC) over 5 years ago

If you are in Hume. .

Never assume

that your home is a bloom

because in an instant. . it may be your doom

and you end up being exhumed

 

sorry ,. I couldn't help myself. .have a great weekend!

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 5 years ago

Jay, you're right there could be some good old aged whiskey in that barrel. Then again, you may not want to know what is inside of it.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 5 years ago

Is there any whiskey in that barrel?  That's one of the craziest things I've seen!                                                                        

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) over 5 years ago

Well obviously, the barrel is filled with concrete! They were just using the barrel as a form till the concrete dried and they simply forgot to remove the form. And the fertilizer is there to promote the growth of another support beam, that is indeed special!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 5 years ago
I thought things like this could happen with the homes I sell. I love all of the comments. Too funny.
Posted by Brenda J. Andrew, Professional Realtor in Corpus Christi, TX (ULTIMA REAL ESTATE) over 5 years ago

Jay, looks like the great levitating whiskey barrell!  I think this is just storage space.  Sort of like the equivalent of hiding your stash.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 5 years ago

You have to applaud their ingenuity and that they actually tried to fix it somehow!  It definitely wasn't the right way but it sure is interesting.

Posted by Marc McMaster, Putting my clients before myself (RE/MAX Centre Realty) over 5 years ago

so let me get this straight, the barrel holds up the house, the wheelbarrow holds the barrel water, the garbage can holds the wheelbarrow dirt, the car trunk holds the garbage and on and on and on...

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) over 5 years ago

I'm with #17. It may not be what you want to see as a professional, but it worked for them for however long.

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) over 5 years ago

That is an interesting support.  I guess they drank the barrel that day then they came up with the idea to use it to support the beam.

Posted by Keith Lawrence, ABR, CDPE, SFR, 203K Specialist (RE/MAX Properties) over 5 years ago

Hmmmmm... could it be wine?  Whiskey?  Rain?  That is too funny, Jay!  I always enjoy seeing your photos and reading your stories of the "interesting" things you see.  Keep sharing! :)

Posted by Jennifer Prestwich, Your Castle RE Colorado (Henderson, Thornton, Broomfield and Westminster) over 5 years ago

Before regulations and inspections, whatever worked prevailed and it was not questioned....good post

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 5 years ago

The Red Wheelbarrow

William Carlos Williams


so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

Posted by Tom Jansson, Chicago Area Home Inspector - InterNACHI Certified (Acuity Home Inspections) over 5 years ago

Jay, that is too funny. You never know what surprises you'll run into while inspecting a home. Amazing Barrel!

Posted by Tamra Lee Ulmer, FORCE~NRBA ~ Over 1000 REO Assets SOLD! (Arizona Resource Realty) over 5 years ago

Jay -- your writing of Hume brought back memories of family friends - William Hume & family- who when he was transferred back to that area, bought some property and built a nice home, on a hill, so they could be the Humes of Hume.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 5 years ago

Hume Virginia home owners have some very creative ideas to support hand-hewn beams in their old farm houses. Thanks for sharing today,

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 5 years ago

Jay, Nice stuff there. Got to love them old buildings. Barrel and bailing wire will do it ; )

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Guess you had to use what was around the farm. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 5 years ago

Very interesting indeed. You got my curiosity flowing...what is inside the barrel? My first thought went to old gold stolen coins from the late 1800's? Hmmm, if I could just look inside the barrel...

Posted by Les & Sarah Oswald, Broker, Realtor and Investor (Realty One Group) over 5 years ago

Your thinking might be right Andrew!  I don't know!

Mark - every time I think I have seen it all, I see something new!

Fernando - you're a poet and I didn't know it!  But my feet did because they sure are long fellows.

Mike - I tapped and it sounded empty!

Christiansens - maybe at one time!  If so it's long, long gone!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Nothing like a fertilized beam to shore up the house Fred!  That barrel is empty though.

Brenda - they could and when something like this happens please let us know!

Pat - very fun indeed!  Maybe they got the barrel on a trip to a magic show in Las Vegas.  Did they have those shows 60 or 70 years ago?

Marc - homeowners seem to be a very creative lot!

C'mon Scott!  And the thigh bone is connected to the, um, wait, I'll have it in a minute...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Jill - credit is due!  That "repair" has been there a long time!

Keith - those two things would logically go together, even if the repair isn't!

Glad you enjoy it Jennifer.  I do have fun.

Richie - who would inspect this, except someone like me?!

Geez Tom, I didn't understand Williams in high school, and still don't!!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Tamra - truly I was amazed!

Steven - you never know!  Someone at church once did a family history search and found they were related to people in this area with the last name Nokes.  Well, right beside my town is the town of Nokesville.  Relation?

Pamela - homeowners are the most creative people in the world, methinks.

Don - in this case they didn't even need the wire!  Wow!

Jim - so it appears!  This is the same house that had the moldy pond in the kitchen light fixture!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

S&L - I tapped on it and it sounded empty.  But I couldn't move it!  Magical!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Jay, a couple of times, I have seen old nail barrels (do you remember nail barrels?) used as pier forms---of course it would be nice to have a footing under them :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 5 years ago

The old floating nail barrels!  I do remember them Charlie!  And the number they claimed you got was probably very accurate.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago
An incomplete underpinning job! Wow. Barrel Type support jacks are rarely left in place now unless your crew has been drinking the barrels contents. Of course concrete block underpinning is also pretty rare in my part of the world.
Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 5 years ago

And I bet you don't have the famous "partial bag fertilizer support" Robert.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Good morning, Jay. It is amazing what we see during our inspections, Isn't it?

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 5 years ago

Morning Jay another ho hum feature I see.  Now don't go off on the gubment they need all the money they can squeeze off of us and then some.  Besides the white whiskey coming out of that barrel was tasty.  :~)

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 5 years ago

Good morning, Jay.  That is really funny and interesting.  I guessed they used what they had on hand.  I'm guessing there is not a ton of moisture there since those items have lasted through the years.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 5 years ago

They get funner and funner Michael!

If it was moonshine it was probably clear James.  You are right.  If people really knew what made whiskey brown they would be very surprised.

Our humidity in the summer is pretty high Debbie!  And that crawl space/cellar had no vapor retardation!  See the rusty metal ring on the bottom of the barrel?  The one on the top rusted off.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

I keep thinking that one day your unique photos will end, that day has not come yet.  :)

Your days must be full of wonder Jay.

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) over 5 years ago

Jay, that is too funny and a bit scary.  Love your sense of humor.  Thank you for the smile.

Wonder what's in the barrel?  :)

Posted by Christi Farrington, ~ Your representative in Fairfield County, CT (William Raveis Real Estate - Norwalk, CT) over 5 years ago

The person who assembled that could do miracles with duct tape.

Posted by Raymond Denton, Simple Man (Academy Mortgage Corporation) over 5 years ago

That's amazing, and sort of wonderful. Bubble gum and rubber bands . . . and it worked for a long time.

Posted by Brad MacKenzie, Turning Houses into Homes on the South Shore (Brad MacKenzie) over 5 years ago

I do have fun Tom!  I think other inspectors are jealous.

Christi - I think air.  I tapped on it and it sounded hollow!

Raymond - and hopefully uses one of the new fashion designer colors!

McGyvver would be proud Brad!  I have fixed banging screens with gum before!

http://activerain.com/blogsview/2284563/gumming-up-the-works

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago
I was talking to a pest inspector who crawls under some old homes here, and it makes your blood run cold. I really give you all credit for doing this kind of job.
Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) over 5 years ago

C'mon Hella!  The water is warm!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

I showed a house once that had one corner resting on a stump!  Suggested to my buyer that it might not pass FHA requirements :-)

Posted by Muriel Lawty (Keller Williams Downtown Seattle) over 5 years ago

The old cornerstump foundation!  I hope the stump doesn't grow or rot Muriel!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

I had a listing with a tree in an old tobacco tin full of cement holding up a joist in the basement..  Also probably not up to FHA standards.

 

Posted by Vicki Trembly (Coldwell Banker) over 5 years ago

Hi Jay, that is too funny, but unfortunately not for the buyers.

Posted by Bob Miller, The Ocala Dream Team (Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty) over 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing this one Jay, its always nice when people leave us with interesting things to step back and wonder what they were thinking about.

Posted by Bob Crane, Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671 (Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams fox cities) over 5 years ago

I've seen a Skoal can being used as a junction box in an attic, but never a floating whiskey barrel holding up a house! Sheesh!

Posted by Melissa Brown, Realtor - South Charlotte NC Homes for Sale (Helen Adams Realty) over 5 years ago

That's probably more acceptable than half a bag of fertilizer Vicki!

Bob - they were not buyers after the inspection!

Bob C. - that thing has been there for a long time!

I like the Skoal can junction box idea Melissa!  How creative is that!?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

very cool!  Perhaps it's from an old still?  ya never know

Posted by Rafi Footerman, Home Inspector, Mold Inspector, Radon and More! (Mid Jersey Inspections) over 5 years ago

Amazing photo and illustration. Perhaps no building codes were necessary of the inspector of the owner was a family member or we can speculate endlessly? regardless, it's very interesting to see how a homeowner will allow this type of construction when their family is living in the home, isn't it? Wow!

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) over 5 years ago

Could be Rafi!  This is an area for moonshiners!  Back a few decades ago that is...

Thanks Kimo.  They lived with that support for a while apparently!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Jay:  I'm sure you've run across tons of unbelievable homes in terrible condition, but  I know I wouldn't be at all interested in being the listing or selling agent unless it was clearly priced as an immediate tear down.

Posted by Nancy Middleton, Nancy Middleton, Counselor Realty, Minnetonka, MN (Counselor Realty, Inc.) over 5 years ago

Jay, I love your blog... very funny, and I'm curious to know how this was done? Great story, thanks for sharing!

Happy Easter!!

Posted by EMILIA B COOPER, REALTOR® SFR.NCHSE.AHWD, Short Sales, Foreclosure & Bank Owned Real Estate (LAROSA REALTY) over 5 years ago

Jay - How fun to find magic! I don't suppose you'll ever know what's holding that barrel up.

I've been in many basements that had "make do" supports, but never saw one floating!

Posted by Marte Cliff, your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 5 years ago

Nancy - this house was the subject of a few recent blogs!  It wasn't a tear down, but demanded a LOT of work!

Emilia - this sort of thing, and dozens of others, caused the buyers to look elsewhere.  Merry Easter to you too!

Marte - the magical, mystery barrel.  Wasn't there a song about that?

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Jay, that barrel is amazing!  What is supporting the barrel?  It looks mighty scary to me!

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) over 5 years ago

Jay, you have seen so many cool things in your career...this is certainly one of the best!!!! I suppose that we truly never know what we may see next!!

Posted by Paddy Deighan JD PhD, Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D (TimeshareLawyers.pro) over 5 years ago

Special air apparently Sharon!

Neither do I know, Paddy, but I sure am excited to see new stuff!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

How curious???  does look magical doesn't it...hmm!

Posted by MaryBeth Mills Muldowney, Massachusetts Broker Owner (TradeWinds Realty Group LLC) over 5 years ago

It was MaryBeth.  Everyone was impressed, for sure!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Always enjo seeingthe madness of people out there when it comes to home repair and upkeep.  Safety be damned seems to rule way too often.

Posted by Lehel Szucs, REALTOR of choice (All Seasons Real Estate, Inc.) over 5 years ago

Real estate never ceases to amaze me. Congrats on the feature, Jay!

Posted by Monica Hill, the REALTOR to help you discover Delaware (RE/Max Associates) over 5 years ago

When I was a young man I was earning a little extra money helping a guy pour concrete over the weekend.  We were running out and to make ends meet we filled the patio with a the scrap lumber we could find.  What I see does not bother me as much as what I do not see that is there.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Lehel - who knows when this was done or by whom!  But is sure was fun to see!

Thanks Monica.  I am amazed too, and I see this stuff all the time!

Gene - that scrap lumber is probably all eaten to nothingness by now!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Jay - You do seem to find the most unusual things.  It must be a gift.

Posted by Karen Steed, Associate Broker Haralson Realty (Tallapoosa, Bremen, Waco, Buchanan, Temple, Carrollton) over 5 years ago

Thanks Karen.  It is a gift!  And every inspection is a gift too!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Never underestimate the lifting properties of a barrel of whiskey!

Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) over 4 years ago

They made them better back then, Wayne!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments