Friday, June 06, 2014

June - the Old Homestead Project

Feels good with everything greened up and the leaves bursting forth.
The apple tree has come out in full blossom.. looks so beautiful... bees were buzzing all around it.
When we walked around the property we discovered 2 more Apple trees not in bloom yet, an old Honeysuckle bush, Rhubarb, Lilacs, Chokecherries, Viburnum  and Wild Grape vines growing everywhere.

 The dogs came this time... they had to be shown their boundaries... they smelled the scent of squirrels and deer.... so we had to keep an eye on them.  There was an extreme amount of sniffing  and territory marking to do.
...although Toby did manage to head after and scare off a small herd of 6 or 7 deer grazing at our property border.

...and I found these old mason jars, 2 Safety Seal and 1 Ball wide mouth, embossed Made in Canada with wire and glass tops, back in the woods where they seemed to have dumped everything way back when.  I love exploring those places. You can see when things changed through time by what they threw out... "Out with the Old, In with the New" when we look back much of the old was better than the new.

 This tumble down shed has seen much better days and will have to go eventually.... actually it is sort of like a movie set because only this front wall and enough of a side wall is still standing to enable it to still stay upright at all.
...too bad cause it had been a cute little building in its time...that thick cluster of Virginia Creeper vines are just beginning to show their buds.

Everything good takes time, right.


Faye Henry said...

Hi Gwen.. Loved your post as it is all so interesting and mysterious, too.. smile.. I didn't recognize John.. grin. The house must be quite ancient by the look of the stone cellar.. Wild grapevines?? St. John River?? lol..
Very inspiring, I must say..

Guillaume said...

I admire John's relentless energy. I get tired after five minutes of washing up.

I love the apple trees.

Shelley said...

Wonderful to get back to your project isn't it my Seaside Friend. Such great history in these places. Looking forward to future posts. Miss you greatly and didn't recognize that good looking gentleman until the smile. Love to you all.

A Heron's View said...

Hello Gwen, Very much enjoyed reading this blog-post and especially all of the details, for to my mind it is the details that I appreciate and which makes a post interesting.

Those nuts of the Horse Chestnut tree are what we call conkers.
When I was a younger boy of school age, we used to pierce a conked with a skewer and thread it on to a length of string about 7 inches long. Then two boys would have a game with them. One boy would hold is string with conker on still, while the other tried to hit his conker and break his opponents conker; I never had a conked that went more than six rounds.

You and John should have a game of conkers and make a new tradition, why you might even have conker clubs :-)

cathyswatercolors said...

Ahh another amazing and wonderful project by you and your husband. I look forward to watching the progress.

Penny said...

What a job ahead, I know it is under way, and looks fascinating but ... Love your photos as usual.

Cuidado said...

John is at it again I see! That man has so much energy and foresight. I would not have recognized him having not seen you both for so long. I like the detailed posts and of course the photos. Have a great summer, Gwen. My many apple trees are in bloom and today it looks like a snowstorm with the petals flying around from cedar waxwings and little gusts of wind.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Faye, yes I can't wait to see what type of wild/native grapes they are. I think I have to identify the tendrils and the leaf, and the number and shape of the seeds. at the least I'm sure they will be good for jelly. I have heard also, that grape leaves are edible. xo

Guillaume, Sometimes a change is as good as a rest. this project is a carrot on a stick for us... but it is tiring, John won't deny that!

Hi Shelley, Must be his haircut. He felt it was much easier to wrestle with the old house without tending to hair. yes the history of a place... so interesting with every layer removed. xo

Thanks Mel, I have heard about the Conkers game but never knew how they played it. I am going to have to check this out. I love those "conker" seed pods, they feel smooth and round... almost like a worry stone... wish they were edible for humans... doesn't seem to hurt the squirrels. I wonder if deer eat them too.

Hey Cathy, Thanks. Progress is being made. Every step accomplished gives more energy for the next. We really like the location.

Ahh yes Penny, it is a challenge but very much worth doing, for us. If we hired someone else to do it, they would have to go through the same "torture" and charge us a fortune or they would just say "tear it down"... but John like to be in control of projects. He likes to think things out as he goes, one step at a time. He is pretty methodical and if something is savable, we always try to save it or reuse it. Just the kind of fools we are! xo

Cuidado, Aren't the Apple tree blossoms wonderful!!..such a show! so fleeting and magical... with the amount of buzzing that surrounded the old tree at the homestead I feel the pollination was successful.. now I'm waiting for your cedar waxwings to appear.

BumbleVee said...

ohhhh ... what a lot of heavy intensive labour ..... and, I know what you mean by even though some spaces are not huge...they are still a huge amount of work. And, here you are right back to bare rock and dirt ..... yep....a total rebuild....

Are you living in the big house that is for sale still or here in the one you are rebuilding now?

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hey, Vee, yes we are still living in our St. Martins house. journeying when we can, planning the rest of time and keeping up with our jewelry making. most times Johns doing the major construction and I'm tending the jewelry. Both adding to the "pot". it's working out fine... and enjoying the progress. cheers, xo

maya matthew said...

Amazing work restoring the old place. What energy and dedication John has. Good things sure take time and its good to see that both of you are enjoying the process.

ArtPropelled said...

Such a lot of work but it must feel like a great achievement when you fix, re-build and beautify a building (or furniture) with a history.

Joanna said...

Oh my goodness. What a huge project you've undertaken. I look forward to following your progress.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hey Maya, It was a shame, the poor old place had been let go for so long... it has been a challenge, but we are seeing good results (from John's hard work).

Robyn, It does feel good when we finish a job, if only time would stand still till we catch up. Thinking of the end result keeps us plodding away.

Joanna, Thanks, it is a giant puzzle.. rebuilding, updating and renewing for the way people live today... With all the renovating you've done, I know you know what I mean!

Jenny Woolf said...

What a wonderful place! I'm envious, even though it looks like hard work! :)

Janice / Dancing with Sunflowers said...

Hi Gwen,
What a lot of work! It will be wonderful to see it come back to life, gradually and slowly, and to know that everything is fully restored. Do you plan to live here?

As for the horse chestnut tree, in England we call the nuts 'conkers', and we use the same word for a game that involves attaching the nuts to string and two players taking it in turns to strike each other's conker until one breaks. When I was growing up there were tournaments in schoolyards, and a champion conker would be a prized possession. My brother used to harden his with vinegar.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Jenny, We are hoping we can turn it into a functional little place again. Hope it works.

Hi Janice, It was a very humble abode for most of its life. We wish we could have saved more but there was nothing to save except the well pump and 3 or 4 old doors... which we certainly will use.
Thanks for more "conker" info. Those pods are really hard after they age... they must have to have quite a swing and good aim to break an opponents on a string... that takes skill...

WILDSIDE said...

Amazing! I had a 112+ year old cottage which needed all kinds of work, which we did & did & then gave up the reins to someone else to live there instead... You are bigger people than I turned out to be but loving my new location so much more, so glad I made the move.

I may not be able to find my way back to you to see a reply, but through blogger shared interest pages I have found you twice and liked what I saw here!

Keep on keeping on! Good work!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Wildside, so you have been through this and lived to tell about it... that's comforting, haha.. there is a method to our madness. Drop by again. I'd love to hear more of your adventure!

WILDSIDE said...

Thanks for the reply. Found you again.

LOL, I just had more madness than method which perhaps is my problem! You two seem to have more cheerfulness & skill in your work. Which is important.

But doing repairs/renno ourselves & frugally, I didn't lose $ on the mess, and unlike others around it, the old house is still standing, and the new owners are still living there at least. (We'd like to think happily!) My first house was a 1930s tiny one, which I added a little charm to and again without advertising or realtor people were knocking on the door asking to buy it. Guess I'm lucky that way! But don't want to press it.

Yes, I see I'm going to have to find you again to come back & explore a little more! (Sorry, I'm a bit blog chatty today... Will go now!)

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Wildside, I really do love building new as that lets you do everything exactly the way you want right from the start with nothing in the way.... but there is something about a very old house or most old things, crying out "Save Me" that we have a hard time resisting... call us Crazy!!
You sound like you are enjoying your life very much, where you are now. I hope we will have time to do that too, when we are done.

Anonymous said...

And to think I keep putting off painting the bathroom ceiling.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hey Sackerson,.. sometimes the finishing is the hardest part. I hope we keep our sanity till we get to the bathroom ceiling.

Jeri Landers said...

It just thrills me to see this work being done. We know all about rotting floors and mildew eaten walls and mushrooms growing in the ceiling, after restoring our house from the 1890's. I understand the overwhelming amount of time and effort it takes to restore an old house. I am loving all that stone work in the "Basement.. Cellar"? It's going to be wonderful. I guess I missed post or two t, are you going to be living in this house? I know your other house is on the market.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks Jeri, for the energy boost ...the "Basement" is definitely a "Cellar". You have to bend your head down here and there because of all the new beams John has put into place. But it will be a great place for a cold room and food storage... We need to check the mortar joints for soundness and redo some of them after we get all the sill beams replaced. I thought I was going to do mortar joints last weekend but other things called out to be done first.

If our house sold we would live there for sure. Not sure how long it is going to take to get to the "living Stage" yet but it is a thrill to bring something back from the brink. Every step feels so good.

sandy said...

Love seeing what is going on - I'll be back later as it's late. I just came by and skimmed quickly through the post.

Arija said...

I have been reading your new restoration saga and can only marvel at what a good, noble, hardworking and knowledgable man you have there. I know it takes two to tango but someone has to lead and he does it so well.
Marvellous progress and I am so thrilled that you have found the grape vines and horse chestnuts.
You can do so much with the young vine leave, eat them as they are in a salad, steam them as a vegetable and pickle them and use them as a wrapper for anything savoury.
Hats off to you both for the courage you have to tackle such huge jobs.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Arija, He tries his very best... his nature won't allow anything else.
I didn't know about steaming the grape leaves.. I will do that for sure... and in a fresh salad too. Thanks for that info my dear.
I can't wait till I can be there on a regular basis too. xo

Thanks so much Sandy.