Along the Natchez Trace

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Wearing My Painter's Hat.....

I've written before that personnel, including volunteers, at understaffed refuges wear a lot of hats... and that is very true at Aroostook NWR, up here in Northern Maine.  One job that all refuges seem to need done is painting.  I'm not saying that they save up all the painting jobs for summer volunteers, but fact is, summers are short here and the regular staff are scrambling to get the heavy outside work done before winter comes again.  Along comes a volunteer (like me) who loves to be outside but isn't a heavy equipment operator...  I can spend only so many days a week doing trail maintenance...  soooooo.......  why not put me to work painting?

Now, I'll admit no one asked me to do this particular job....  paint the old Guard Shack.  One of the highlights of visiting this refuge is to see the old Weapons Storage Area where the atomic bombs were housed in bunkers in the 1950's through the mid 1980's.  Of course security was the most sophisticated possible for those times....  12' high electrified chain-link fences, security gates and impenetrable concrete buildings.  Most of the fence is gone, but many bunkers and other facilities, including the Guard Shack are still intact.  July is the month many former servicemen return to visit this area...  to relive and share their former life.

A couple of years ago the Friends of Aroostook NWR decided to paint the old Guard Shack.  It was badly in need of a new coat of paint and just some sprucing up in general.  The paint and all the necessary supplies had been purchased.   A work party was held on a Saturday and I think maybe 3 members showed up to scrape the old peeling paint.  It never got painted.

The Guard Shack sat like this for the past 2 or 3 years....
Yes, those are a couple of black bears in the foreground.  
When we returned this year and I saw that the building hadn't been painted I asked if I could make that one of my projects.  There was some additional scraping to do before I could start.  Bill used the weed-eater around the base and brought me a step ladder.  I brought the 3 gallons of paint and other supplies from the shop down to the building and started my job.

 I'll readily admit that I'm not a good painter...  I'm kinda sloppy and often get as much paint on me as I get on the walls.

I really didn't waste a lot of paint on myself, but we'd underestimated the amount of paint it would take.
Five of these cans are "Refuge Tan", the main color, and one of dark brown for the trim.
I'm not quite finished...  still have a small area to complete, but am using the 6th can of tan and have a can of brown to touch up places.

Before and After...

This coming weekend is the 4th of July - they'll be lots of military reunions at nearby Loring Air Force Base and several tours of our own Caribou Air Station (now Aroostook NWR).

While not restored to it's original state, the old Guard Shack is looking pretty good right now.

That's All For Today!


  1. Well, this is silly, but I am so pleased. This is a job I could have done, except sans bandanna, a lot of paint in my hair and a week or two, not two or three days. But I can relate to every brush stroke. Well done, my friend, and in time for the holiday reveal, too.

  2. Painting is something like mowing. Instant gratification for all that work!

  3. I would be tempted to use a sprayer with that kind of surface, but you managed with a brush. Or maybe it was a roller. Hopefully it wasn't too unbearably hot. Nice job.

  4. Wow, what a difference! That was so nice of you to volunteer for that job. They must just love you guys being there! :)

  5. Looking good!
    Outside and having fun.
    Jill of all trades....

  6. Looks great Sharon! I too am a very messy painter!

  7. We have slung our share of paint on refuges, and ruined some clothes in the process!! The shack looks great!!

  8. What a huge improvement. How satisfying that must feel!