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Ode to this 1860's Farmhouse: my muse

1:19 PM

You're as old as the sugarmaples that surround you and your layout doesn't make sense.

Visitors are greeted into an overflowing laundry and mudroom connecting straight into the tiny, dated, eat-in kitchen.  Clunky,  energy-sucking appliances, and a fuel-oil heating system that currently doesn't work.

 We were forced into biomass heating (pellet stove) 2 years ago because it was the only option we could afford.  Not because we couldn't afford to have gas run to you and a new furnace put in, but because your walls have no insulation "entirely clapboard, like a barn" they said when  they came to "seal up" the energy leaks in the house that first year we were in here. Originally, you were a 2 room farmhand house, with no running water or electricity.  There were fireplaces in the basement and the main living quarters which were kept roaring all winter long... you didn't need insulation.

You have 1.5 bathrooms, neither of which have ventilation.  One used to be a closet space in the attic, and the other a hallway between the 2 main living areas.  A baseboard heater runs almost smack through the middle of the floorspace of the "hallway" bathroom... making it nearly impossible to move with more than one person in the room. We cram all 4 of us in there every night for bathtime.

Your roof is sagging in places, your yard is mostly moss and weeds, no vegetable crop grows easily in the rubble and backfill that composes your yard. Your barns and out buildings were plowed under to make room for the encroaching track neighborhood surrounding you...

You have Tony's gravestone in your backyard.  "Tony 1933-1936"...  I have no doubt that it's real.

You only really have 2 bedrooms... and half of the space downstairs serves as a 3rd.

Your basement has rough hewn logs holding up the rest of the house and a dirt floor.  It's always 55 degrees and the cold leaks up through the slatted old wooden floorboards both in the summer, and winter.

None of your walls are straight and somehow that makes me feel a little bit more easy...

And you are lived in and have been continuously for the last 150 years. You've been decorated and climbed upon, and scratched and barked at, and cried and screamed and laughed in.  Your kitchen smells like my Grandma's used to, and your basement is an honest to god wine and root cellar.  Your kitchen counters are made for canning and for standing around. Our table just doesn't fit... eventhough there's no other possible place to put it.  So we're all just here, together.

Your old floor boards are the color "vermont maple" and they're worn and uneven and rich and alive under bare feet. Stained glass and window boxes make sense. 

And you inspire greatness.  "this little place could be a jewel".  You make me want to repair and replace and be historically correct about it... So that I can put a little 1860 plaque above your front door and get you on the town register of historical buildings.  You make me want to insulate and side you so that everything matches and is neat as a pin.  You make me want to get a custom made copper claw bathtub, and one of those toilets with a pull chain and wall-mounted tank...  and to plant 1860's appropriate flowers all over the yard and to grow a market garden...
But we aren't carpenters or plumbers or general contractors, and we're living on 1 income and have limited time and energy to dedicate...
We're a growing family and we know how the majority of the people around us live.  We're more often than not in eachother's way and sometimes curse your poor layout.  We even went so far as to ask our real estate agent how to get the house ready to sell...

We were told we our "inspired" plans surely wouldn't pay off and that we wouldn't recoup the cost.

... but you could be a little jewel... and you inspire me to make rosewater, and wild grape jelly, and blackcap wine...  and to wildcraft, and to be outside, and to be crammed together in one room with family and friends...
And in the summer the scent of peony and lilac drift through your windows beaconing "come and see what's new, come and see what you can do..."







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