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Monday, January 25, 2010

Field Trip

Over the weekend we went up the country...further up the country than we already are. The farmer bought a piece of property where he could put more cows. It is a beautiful little place with a pond and this quirky little house that is tiny and overgrown and slanted and old...very old. When the farmer began to clear the property, we found it literally overgrown with vines and poison ivy and trees. But there it was, waiting to be discovered by someone who could see it's beauty. That someone was not the farmer. What he saw was a shed at least 100 years past it's prime, a home for nothing but snakes, possums, squirrels, mice and wasps. In that at least he was right. But what I saw was potential. I saw window treatments waiting to happen, painted furniture, fires in the stone fireplace with a comfy chair pulled along side and me reading a Jane Austen novel. I saw weekends spent in the little house cozy and out of the cold watching the cows graze right outside the door.

The reality fell somewhere between the two possibilities. From the outset, the farmer made it clear he would spend the night sitting upright in his truck in a snowstorm before he would shut an eye in "that shack". One dream out the window. But he relented and promised not to knock it down. Closer inspection showed that in order for the little house (as it became known) to be liveable it would need to be taken down to the ground...note I did not say the foundation...there really wasn't a foundation ,only brick pilars that had eroded over time. Not only would this have meant spending thousands and thousands of dollars, but then it wouldn't have been the little house in all it's quirky slanted glory, but rather a reproduction of something that was once quirky and slanted but was no longer so.
It was decided to leave the little house as it was and give it a little face lift...make it ...inhabitable for sort periods of time...a little place to get in out of the cold while the farmer cleared the property and planted grass. To say I was in heaven would be a gross understatement. All my life I dreamed of having an old house to "re-do". But let me just say the reality of a "re-do" and the dream of it are two different things. First of all, any re-doing would be done by me. I am good at concept not the work it takes to make concept reality.
Second of all, I don't like snakes and the granddaddy of all snakes lived under the little house....for a while. Once he was gone (thanks to some very big pruning shears), the work began. I chopped vines, threw out junk, swept, knocked down a wall, painted, washed windows, and nailed boards. Then the real work began. I bought at least 56 cans of some sort of goop that you spray into holes. It then expands and supposedly chinks up the holes to keep the beasties out. I sprayed and chinked and sprayed and chinked for days and days. But when it was all done and the window treatments were hung, and the thrifted furniture was in place and there was a fire in the fireplace, and the chair was next to it with the Jane Austen novel lying on the afghan, I was pleased.
The little house, with all it's flaws and cracks and crookedness was looking pretty darn good to me, and while it might only be useful for short visits, it provided even the farmer a warm spot to eat his lunch and warm his feet. And while the cows do graze outside the window while I sit by the fire, I have had to shoo them away a couple of times because they like to chew on the little house's siding, and there just isn't enough left for chewing.


  1. LOVE this! How sweet. ;0)

  2. It is adorable! I want to see the inside!

  3. I second the vote for a look inside!

  4. I can't believe I have comments! yea! I will take some inside pics but....I'm afraid they may disappoint...did you get a GOOD look at the outside??!!

  5. What a beautiful tree! And of course the house is charming!

  6. I am bummed you live in Va...I was hoping to drive to the country and see it here.... Spokane Wa!!!

  7. So you live in do I. I love this and I love the fact that you did, in fact, get almost what you wanted. What is it that Virginia Woolf called it? A Room of Ones Own. Congratulations on your room, your space..even if the farmer gets to use it too. - MaLinda

  8. I think this little house is great, how lucky are you! I'd love to see the inside as well---the outside is charming, I'm sure the inside is too! I'm living in a 145 year old farmhouse that is charming as well---which translates into either, it needs a lot of work, or it has a lot of potential!


  9. Marsaili...I feel your pain (or joy!) I'm sure it's a great house...thanks for visiting...stop by again soon for more on the little house..s

    ReplyDelete happy to hear from you.........