We had Cliff's shop built in 1999. I went through old paperwork to find out for sure.
It began as an idea, a dream of Cliff's. We had the little two-car garage that was here in 1975 when we bought the place, and that's where all the tools were kept. There was a wood stove in there, and Cliff painted a few tractors in that garage during some long, cold winters. He even butchered a cow and a goat there. He had added on a sort of lean-to on the north side, so he had a place to park the car if there was a project going on that took up too much space in the garage. We'd never had a garage before moving here, so he was in hog-heaven. It was his man-cave.
As usual, we were living payday to payday. We sometimes talked about how we'd have a shop built when it was time for Cliff to retire so he'd have room for all his man-toys and projects.
At some time after 1990, my friend Dona Smith had a stroke; it didn't kill her, but it disabled her severely. She's only ten years older than I am, and when this happened it woke me up to the fact that I could never know what to expect from one day to the next. It occurred to me that Cliff might not even make it to retirement, or me either, for that matter. OK, I wasn't working; Cliff always said "retire from what" if I mentioned retirement in connection with myself. It's a moot point.
After Dona's stroke, I realized that if there was something we wanted to do, we'd better be doing it, because guess what? WE'RE GONNA DIE!
I bought a Tennessee Walking Horse named Pleasure Boy from the breeder in town, because now I realized I might have a stroke some day and not be able to ride. I started thinking about Cliff's futile dream of having a shop, and admitted to myself that even if he made it to retirement, we wouldn't have the money to get it built. We never had any big amount of cash laid up; all we had was our good credit. So I made a suggestion to him.
How about we redo the mortgage on our house to finance building a shop? Because after all, WE'RE GONNA DIE!
Some friends of ours had just started a winery; we looked at one of their buildings and decided it was the right size; indeed, it seemed huge. We agreed that it would be the perfect size for Cliff's dream shop, and asked Tim, the owner of the winery, the dimensions. We called a local guy who constructs pole barns and got an estimate, then went to the bank and signed on the line to extend our house payment for another twenty years.