Well, not the beginning, but rather the start of the restoration of our own house. I thought I’d share in a series of entries here, some photos and info on the work of it, which also took place at the beginning of time, or so it seems. We were in our early twenties, and, surprisingly in counting back, it was our fifth house project. My husband happened upon it one day, and of course, like a magnet, was attracted to its lines, its center chimney, doorways, and the sixth sense that told him it was empty. Trespass, when it comes to old houses and helping them, is a risk, but a necessity.
After walking around it squinting through windows for a time, he heard the sound of a tractor behind him, and realized he was about to have to explain himself. The farmer wearing a broad hat and baggy overalls, pulled up right onto the front lawn, turned off the engine, leaned over the wheel of the tractor, and gave him a stern look.
Edward was always charming, smart, and kind. But in his youth complained that adults didn’t take him seriously because of his long hair and musician look. His mom would always assure him then that as soon as he spoke, they’d see beyond his looks. And she was right.
But would it work with an angry farmer? Edward was passionate, sincere, and believable. He was truthful. But this farmer wasn’t buying it, at first. He didn’t take out a gun, but his huge frame and angry scowl was intimidating. The farmer just couldn’t believe that anyone might have an interest in this broken down old house that he was planning to let the fire department practice on. Once finally convinced that this young man might actually be willing to pay cash for the place, the farmer’s ears perked up, his face brightened, and though in disbelief, his interest was peaked.
After much conversation, meetings and dealings, and in spite of the fact that the house looked on the inside like it had already been in a fire – we ended up with that crooked, broken down, dilapidated old place. The farmer would continually scratch his head, feel guilty about selling it to us, and for years drive over in that tractor with a bushel of squash or cucumbers, homemade sauerkraut, even maple saplings from the meadow – three of which are planted across the front yard. Offerings of old timbers from fallen tobacco sheds, which we’d use to replace rotted sills, and numerous other gifts of vegetables and Yankee tales, would sustain and entertain us for years.