I'm the keeper of an old farmhouse and seeker of old beautiful things to fill her (and then some, lol) Often someone asks just how all this came to be.
So for the curious, the lovers of all things old, those who share my triumphs and tragedies and those thinking of loving an ancient old house I've started to put all it all to word and picture here.
I began my day just before 8am with a tense incoming phone call....
Once responded to and behind me I knew the best possible thing I could do was head to the woods
Because honestly, I swear I can feel the damp soft timeless soil
beneath my feet and the trees (tho still leafless) who tower above me
drain the stress, anxiety and sadness away.
Every time my foot connects with the earth, I can almost feel it draw
the worries and pressures away from me ~
were they go or how they dissipate from the soil to the universe I have no clue.
But however those trees, hills and earth manage it for me
it always, always works.
Early this morning it was cool, windy and sunny. Clear and crisp.
The red wing blackbirds were full of themselves (as always, lol)
I spotted a tiny handful of early blooming bushes and mosses declaring themselves alive.
But for the most part it was the vistas and views seen only 'pre-leafing' that kept me company.
The daffodils were waiting to say hello amid the leafless thatch that,
in summer will be a grand wild berry patch.....
No sounds aside from the birds, the breeze in the hundreds of trees and my thoughts.
When stress comes calling some meditate, some hit the snooze button, some rush to immerse themselves in work or family or any one of hundreds of things that people find best relieves stress
Stepping back, resisting the (human) inclination to
draw "conclusions" or 'pass judgement'
a monumental act of human kindness
It's not about them deserving it (or not)
It's not about you being right (or wrong)
What it is, actually. is a gift you give
to that person (family, friend, coworker, stranger)
It's a gift you give to the world at large
(one less negative bit of karma slinking around)
Maybe the bewildering/annoying/obnoxious people
have a reason for (fill in the blank with whatever they are doing that's annoying)
(or maybe they ARE just total ass*oles) lol
May as well keep your eyes on your own paper
Cause I'm pretty sure you're not gonna change the A*holes
And if someone IS in the midst of a soul crushing crisis
Odds are there's little you can do
to alter how they're coping with whatever they may be facing
It's for sure not easy
I'll admit right here, right now that some days I do better than others lol
But I keep reminding myself of something I really do think is true: Any timeyou choose to take the higher road...
I cut my teeth (and deepened my old house love and knowledge base) on the original episodes of This Old House. The years of the show when the old house owner was on a real/honest/not insane budget and did lots and LOTS of the work alongside the expert advice of Norm and Tom and the gang. New England. Old but wonderful houses. People with (few) dollar(s) ~ just a hammer and a dream. A-maz-ing what I learned.
HGTV (still a wonderful and favorite channel) evolved. House flipping and massive alterations to old homes predominated the renovation shows. Even TOH evolved - still interesting and full of information but not as "grassroots". Much less 'hey, this is my life!' TOH and I didn't break up but we took time apart from each other, lol. I am massively committed to accurate historic reno so I grew less addicted to renovation shows. To each his/her own but it saddened me to see so many old homes 'modernized'. 'Updated' to the point of no longer looking or feeling or preserving any 'age'. I skipped past many of them each week.
That all changed when I watched my first episode of Rehab Addict with Nicole Curtis. All the reality of TOH with a woman calling the shots, rolling up her sleeves and dedicated to saving and renewing original detail whenever at all possible. (She even keeps a pile of original scraps and bits from each house on site for her contractors/herself to search first to use original wood, moldings AND to save money). She runs machinery, throws mortar, paints, rallies neighbors, saves original windows (by re-glazing) moves concrete - uber hands on without doubt and she loves each house. This is my kind of rehab!
So if you are/will/dream of (or have the periodic nightmare about, lol) renovating an old house to original charm or if you want to see some actually affordable tips to old house reno you would probably enjoy tuning in....
photo found at diy online
Rehab Addict on diy (not a channel I have, so no details - sorry)
Rehab Addict on HGTV Ch 229 on Thursdays at 9pm
And this Thurs 1/23/14 they are running old episodes at 7pm & 8 pm
before the new weekly episode at 9pm.
photo found at pintrest C.Steiner
One last thing I love about the show?
The show/houses/Curtis are located in MI - SNOW! COLD!
FROST HEAVE! FROZEN PIPES!
You need heat to PAINT!
(But it's 90 in the summer! lol)
Oh yeah, my rehab life roflmao....
PS no, I don't get a dime or a nod or a holler for this post
just honestly enjoy and knowing many of you have/love/hate/are interested
in old homes and rehab thought you may want to check out :-)
There is euphoric joy that sings out loud amid the old farmhouse, barn, pump house and chicken coup in the 'living seasons' ~ Spring Summer and Fall. The days feel like gold and unfold with a depth that can not be easily put into words.
But in the midst of huge winter storms there is an unease....
Minus 15 degrees. Acres of snow blow and drift.
Water freezes. Animals suffer.
EVERYTHING that must be done is harder
and carries the reality of frostbite, perhaps even danger.
Roofs must be unladen of snow when it reaches the 12+ inch mark
(pulled down by a snow roof rake). You have to be sure (and quick) to get out of the way as it slides to the ground!
Water has to be drawn up ahead for creatures, for humans (in case of power outage because there is no water from the well pump sans electric).
Dark is dark in the hours of any nite, but the howling winds and driving snow add an intensity and foreboding to such frigid winter darkness. Even the huge three story thresher barn seems to strain against the elements.
Unease, tension, emotional breath-holding...
As I look out the windows I can barely believe these are the very same fields, the same stream, the same place I walk easily in the living months.
And April seems a very very long way off tonite
Wherever you are be safe and warm (if in snow/cold)
and dream of Spring with me...