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For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name
There is Love, there is Love.

~Paul Stookey

Posts have been scarce due to a full itinerary of family functions and events. The birth of our first grandchild and visits to and from, and here and there, along with a first-in-a-very-long-time Page family reunion filled the first months of our year.

C&ZAnncmt

Photo Credit: Stephanie Bray

In May, a young man asked for our eldest daughter’s hand in marriage. The Farmhouse was decided upon as the venue for a quaint, private ceremony. Our efforts to freshen up the exterior of the old house began in earnest. June, July and August were spent applying primer and paint with satisfactory results. The last of the windows in the dining room were finished (except for some finishing caulk). Black shutters were installed and the old house began to look better than she ever aspired.

Mr&Mrs

Photo Credit: Rachel Gardner

The day of the wedding – a brilliant, pre-fall Thursday morning – arrived. The culmination of many months of planning and work, and work and planning came to fruition. Family gathered on the front lawn of the old family home as a handsome groom awaited the appearance of his chosen. The bride descended the old stone steps resplendent in her vintage inspired attire. Pledges, vows and rings were exchanged and the two became one – a unity of persons. I cannot think but believe that my grandparents smiled down upon the union of spirits on that beautiful September morn.

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And then of a sudden, it is fall. And the days have become shorter and the nights have cooled. The musky scent of muscadine and crisp golden leaves fill the air. So it is with the passing of seasons, the year has become short, almost at its conclusion. The fleeting of time. We recollect on what has been accomplished in the days, weeks and months prior. Our family has grown by two in a short span. Our cup overflows.

Wedding Song

He is now to be among you at the calling of your hearts
Rest assured this troubadour is acting on His part.
The union of your spirits here has caused Him to remain
For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name
There is Love, there is Love.

A man shall leave his mother and a woman leave her home
And they shall travel on to where the two shall be as one.
As it was in the beginning is now and til the end
Woman draws her life from man and gives it back again.
And there is Love, there is Love.

Well then what’s to be the reason for becoming man and wife?
Is it love that brings you here or love that brings you life?
And if loving is the answer, then who’s the giving for?
Do you believe in something that you’ve never seen before?
Oh there is Love, there is Love.

Oh the marriage of your spirits here has caused Him to remain
For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name
There is Love, there is Love.

(original lyrics “Wedding Song”, Noel “Paul” Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary)

I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude,
two for friendship, three for society.
~Henry David Thoreau

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As the old house was somewhat complete and was “dressed” for company from the Tennyson reunion, and since so many had inquired about seeing her, we hosted an impromptu Open House last weekend. Family, friends and neighbors attended.

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Many shared fond memories of my grandparents and visits to the old house. Gracious praise was heaped upon her restoration / preservation. Indeed, she is looking fine for her age.

A man’s house is his castle. ~James Otis

Handi-man and I figuratively “mopped” ourselves out the back door of The Farmhouse this past weekend, having completed the final room, The Center Hall.  Granted, there are touch ups to be made and a mantle to build and one more set of windows to complete; but officially, every room is now habitable.

This is the room in November of 2010, shortly after our initial invasion:

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Even with the door open on a brilliant fall day, the room was a dungeon.

Here is the same room today, same angle:

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What an amazing difference!  No filters or editing have been applied to either of the above photos in order to render a true depiction of the change.

Here are a few more photos of the transformation:

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DayBed
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With exception of the wrought-iron daybed which was purchased for $50.00, the ticking mattress purchased from Pottery Barn (the one splurge for this room), and the throw pillows purchased here and there over the past two-and-a-half years, the remaining furnishings were gifted or are on loan to The Farmhouse; including these salvaged choir chairs – remnants from a church on the Mississippi Gulf Coast destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

ChoirChairs
Now to add a gallery photo wall, some time-worn treasures, and a host of family and make this house a home.

How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it.
How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it.
How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em.
How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.
~Shel Silverstein

Petunias
We have now been working on the restoration / preservation of The Farmhouse for two and a half years.  Two. And. A. Half. Years!  Amazing!  And we are so close to completion – of the interior.  The exterior lacks much work and the front porch is in immediate need of replacing.

Following the Page gathering on the 1st Sunday in May, we (finally) acquired “twin”, multi-pane doors for the back porch entrances.  The doors were painted (black outside, white inside), hardware installed and hung.

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This past week, leading up to Memorial Day Weekend, these two came home from Virginia for a much needed, much welcomed, yet brief, surprise visit.

C&G

Since we draft all guests and innocent passersby, we put Baby Girl and her husband, G, to work.  Actually, all of our children (and many of their friends) have been willing participants in the restoration process and have invested several hours in the old house over the past 2.5 years.

Baby Girl primed and painted the ceiling in the Center Hall.  Now the walls are ready for paint!

Baby Girl2

Baby Girl1
Everyone pitched in to stain or paint front porch rockers and chairs, and screen doors (for the “twins” on the back porch).

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Can’t wait to hear the screech of the springs and the  “WHAP”! of a slamming screen door.

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Our efforts over the weekend culminated with a gathering of immediate family on Memorial Day.  Old Glory was draped, and the smell of burgers and the sound of laughter and call of the Bob White filled the air.  We sat on the front porch, in the newly painted rockers and chairs, and were busy only with the making of a memory.

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Due to preparations for the holidays, extended holiday gatherings and nasty wet and/or cold weather, very little progress was made at The Farmhouse during the month of December.

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Early in the month we caulked and finished the baseboards in The Bunkhouse (bedroom), added (some) furniture, and refinished and installed a peculiarity – a swinging door.

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We’ve pondered how the swinging door, with its heavy duty spring-locking system, came to be installed in the old house.  It is unique to all the other doors with their traditional hinges and knobs.  It could be that my grandfather (Gramps) was a bit of a barterer and he traded something for the door (one time taking an old table – still in the family today – for egg money, much to my grandmother’s dismay). Or maybe he was today’s equivalent of a DIY architectural salvage-repurposer.

No doubt that the old house is full of “make-do” construction – then and now – and is one of the many reasons to preserve This Old Farmhouse.  In 2013 may we all take a lesson from my grandparents frugality: Make Do.

Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral.
Frank Lloyd Wright

Early in the restoration process of The Farmhouse, we made the economic decision to repair the existing wood windows instead of buying / installing new, replacement windows.  For the most part the windows were sound, just in very, very bad repair.  They looked far worse than they were.

In researching old wood window restoration, I discovered a blog (Stucco House) by a lady who was restoring her 1924 bungalow, including its wood windows, in Minnesota.  She offered great picture tutorials and recommended reading Working Windows by Terry Meany.  I secured a (3rd Edition) copy and began to make myself familiar with the parts of wood windows and the process of their restoration.  Somewhere in my research or reading, I ran across the phrase, “we’re not building the Sistine Chapel” — meaning that if it’s good enough, that’s enough.  On page 115 of Mr. Meany’s book he states, “‘Well enough’ isn’t exactly a running theme in this book, but it is a guideline.”

We’ve used the quote “we’re not building the Sistine Chapel” many times in the restoration of The Farmhouse.  Good enough is often more than enough, as the old house has settled and shrunk and pooched and protruded in various places.  She just ain’t square no where.  But she does have lovely bones and great character.

No, we’re not building the Sistine Chapel, but today I swear I heard the Hallelujah Chorus as Handi-man and I completed the four windows (except for a touch up here or there) in the den.

Handi-man also applied a coat of stain on The Bunkhouse floor, thereby checking another item off the punch list.  The Bunkhouse is now ready for a coat of poly, baseboards and then furniture and furnishings.

 

This past (long) weekend allowed for the last concentrated effort of restoration before the Tennyson cousins arrive next Saturday for their annual reunion.  Handi-man might get flooring down in the den area during the week, but otherwise the old farmhouse is as ready as she’ll get at this point in time.

The Galley and Privy are at the ready.

The Eddie (dining room) received a custom color this past weekend and the existing trim received at least a coat of primer.

My paternal aunt, while touring the restoration efforts this past weekend, commented that my grandmother would think she was living in a mansion.  Well, not exactly.  It’s still an old house with a lot of issues. But we have come a long way in 23 months’ time. And while we are not finished (not sure we will ever completely be so), we at least can put our best face forward this coming weekend.


When I started this blog about the restoration / preservation efforts of my grandparents old home, I did not know (still do not) a lot about the blog world. It was more a journal, a way to corral my visions as well as the progress made on the old house.  I had read (still do) several blogs of women who were involved in similar projects – restoring and/or preserving homes, as well as those who were DIYers, those who were very crafty and those who had a similar taste in decor.

But of all the blogs I read, only one took the time to show an interest in what I was blogging about. Her first comment on my blog was “you have me hooked and now I have to go back and read all your posts.”  I was blow away.  Really?!?  Someone (other than my family and friends) out in blog-land was interested in my posts!

Deborah of The Fairfield House often comments on my posts, and her comments, like her blog, are refreshing and insightful.  She has been an encouragement and inspiration to me as I look forward to each of her posts and comments.

Deborah is offering four giveaways of some pretty awesome items – and not just one item, but more a whole grouping of items.  For entry, please see her blog here:  Giveaway #1, Giveaway #2, Giveaway #3 and Giveaway #4.

And while you’re over there, check out this wonderful site – it makes for a good read.

Thank you Deborah at The Fairfield House for your encouragement and inspiration to this blogger.

A goal is a dream with a deadline. ~Napolean Hill

This weekend marked the second to the last before the old (unfinished) house plays host to a bunch of Tennyson descendents.  I worked alone Saturday, my hours and hands employed in the stripping layers of old (probably lead) paint from the remaining set of windows in the den.  I was able to caulk the windows and, with Handi-man’s arrival late in the day, shore up a sagging upper sash.

And that pretty much was it.  Window restoration takes an inordinate amount of time and effort. By the time I was half way through the stripping process, I was ready to quit and move on to more rewarding and productive projects (like putting the Ironstone on the new shelves in the Galley).  But plug away I did, and they are now ready to be primed – on the inside (still lots of work to do on the outside).  Hopefully I can get a coat of primer (and maybe paint) on the windows one afternoon after work which will allow Handi-man opportunity to install the flooring.

Today, after worship, I played for a little while in the kitchen.  I unboxed and unwrapped treasures (Ironstone dishes) and put them on the new shelves.  Got to spruce up a bit.  Company’s comin’!

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.
Ray Bradbury

We’ve now been working on the old house for 22 months, give or take the months when little to no activity occurred.  A visitor yesterday commented on our “preservation” efforts.  I’ve considered our  toils, and more often described them as “restoration” of an old house.  But “preservation”(-ORIGIN Latin praeservare, from prae- ‘before’ + servare ‘to keep’) may be a better description. It is the preservation of, not only my childhood memories, but of an era.  Of open spaces.  Of a slower pace.  Of a quieter place. A simpler time.

While we have made great progress, there is still so much left to do.  The little details slow us down – the caulking-let dry, priming-let dry, painting-let dry….  For the last two Saturdays I have worked on a set of windows in the den. It has been a few months since I’ve worked on windows from start to finish.  While the steps of window restoration are methodical, I’d forgotten how long each step takes. Maybe by the time I get to the last window I will remember that the process takes (me) about four weeks to complete.  A bit frustrating when you are attempting to come to the conclusion of a project.  Don’t think. Just do it!

Yesterday Handi-man finished the restoration (preservation?) of the old fridge that we recently located, purchased and hauled home. She is a 1949 GE SpaceMaker that almost did not fit into the space allotted for her. She has been disrobed of her rust and is wearing a new coat of paint and a new gasket.  She is plugged in and frosting over.  She has been dubbed “Cleo”.

Handi-man then turned his hand to the task of framing in the window in the dining room.  It is a salvaged replacement double-window from a home in Webster County, replacing the windows that had suffered much decay and rot due to rain running over and around a window AC unit.  And that’s when he finds another live, active colony of termites. The enemy of old homes.  The very name of these little critters conjures up something dirty, something dark. Liken to a  dirty secret. A skeleton in the closet. Something that no one wants to talk about.

Handi-man just shakes his head. Another intermission. More restoration in an effort to preserve the past. He says to me as we sit on our front porch all sweaty and nasty after a day’s work at the farmhouse, “You know she’s going to just fall down one day. She’s just going to collapse.”  I do not reply. Are our efforts fruitless? Should we have never started? Should we have stopped and given up long before now?

She’s old. Old things eventually cease to exist. Time is her enemy. For now we will tend to her ailments and attempt to preserve her for a season longer.  Don’t think. You simply must do things.

Previously…

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About Me:


At present, I am a wife, a mother, a mother-in-law, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a legal assistant, a minister, a weekend construction contractor / foreman (said with some jest), a weekend construction laborer (said with all truth), a gardener, a dreamer, a planner, an organizer, an administrator, and sometimes a general pain in the butt. I enjoy spending time with my family, reading (when I have the time), and restoring old farmhouse windows.