Work on the ceiling is coming along nicely. Thankfully. And as part of the process to make it structurally sound and safe, the contractors had to put a beam inside one of the dining room walls. This wall is actually part of the original house, and it was so, so cool to see it open.
Seriously, they just don’t make them like this anymore.
The lath and plaster is neat, but what really caught my eye – and you can see it in the side at the right side of the opening – is the timber. Y’all, it’s beautiful, and solid, and only planed down on two sides, so you can see a lot of detail in the wood. It’s also solid as a rock, even after 200 years.
I’ve long said the old section of the house is the easy section. We’ve had no problems. It’s sturdy. Seeing that timber, I definitely understand why.
This photo popped up in my memories earlier this week.
Apparently, I took it in May of 2007. I don’t remember the when, but I do remember the why. Graham had just come home from work, and Gatsby immediately curled up right beside him as soon as he sat down. And stayed there. It was just such a sweet moment I felt like I had to capture it, and now, all these years later, I’m so glad I did.
I look back now – at how young Graham looked, at how much Gatsby always loved us, at how lucky it was that I had a camera nearby – and I’m grateful. I’m also reminded that we are legacies for the people (and animals) that we love. Even when they’re no longer with us, we carry them in our hearts, and so they’re never really gone, as long as we’re still here to love them and remember them. How very powerful that is.
This little guy seems to come back and visit us every year.
We always see him at his favorite spot on the power lines by our back window. Out of curiosity, I looked up bluebirds, and most of the information I found says that they symbolize joy and hope, and are a sign that good things are just around the corner. Well, I sure hope so! But perhaps it’s enough that this little one makes me smile – a big kindness from so small a creature.
Work on the house continues! After finishing up (mostly) on the exterior, we’ve moved inside, and started in the basement. Our workers have relocated our washer and dryer up to our main level, which clears space for us to expand our basement bathroom.
We’ve wanted to do this for a while, as it’s our main guest bathroom and it was just really shabby and dark. And, well, they do say things look worse before they look better.
I’m not worried about that. What I am mildly concerned about is the mystery pipe they uncovered when they took down one of the walls.
We have no idea why it’s there. And it definitely means some extra work. Figuring out what it’s doing, and then figuring out if it’s needed, and then, if it’s needed, finding a better place for it, if that’s even possible.
We knew the plumbing in this house was…let’s just say, confusing. I’ve written about it before. So, we’re not surprised, and we know our crew can handle this little wrinkle. These things happen, and I’m confident that when all is said and done, we’ll have a lovely guest bathroom that I’m no longer embarrassed for our guests to actually use. (And yes, of course I’ll post pictures. 😊)
There’s something sort of sad and beautiful about watching this house crumble. Sad, because it’s very old and doubtless full of stories, even if it isn’t full of ghosts. And as it deteriorates, a little more every day, it takes those stories with it. Beautiful, because nature has a way of reclaiming land and forging on, regardless of what humans do.
I don’t know what this house will look like next year. But I’ll be there, regardless, to find out.
P.S. As I did last year and the year before, I’ll add this disclaimer: This house is on private property, and there are no trespassing signs posted, so please don’t go poking around where you’re not welcome. It’s easy enough to take a picture from the road.
I collect antique and vintage china. It’s definitely not a problem. I definitely don’t have way too much of it. I definitely have enough space. It’s definitely, totally not getting out of hand at all.
Now that that’s out of the way, I just had to share this with y’all, because seriously, how cute is it?
I went to a farmers market in the next village over a few weeks ago and came across a booth selling teacups and saucers made into candles. I’m not crafty, and as we’ve established, I love vintage and antique china. So, of course I bought two.
They live on my mantle now, and I don’t know if I’ll ever light them, because though they smell lovely, they’re just so adorable and I like them just as they are.
(And truth be told, I bought four. But I only kept two. So it’s fine.)
I used to be afraid of spiders, but now, living in the country, I look at them as friends. Well, mostly. I certainly wouldn’t want to meet the wrong spider at an inopportune moment, and some relationships work best with a little distance. But I find the ones that set up shop around our property to be largely unintrusive, and interesting, and honestly, sort of beautiful. And it helps that their webs keep the other bugs and pests away.
Now that we’re coming into fall, I’ve seen several.
Mostly writing spiders, which as a writer myself, I can’t help but feel a certain kinship with.
That’s strange, isn’t it? But we women have stories in us, and deep down, I think we’re all weavers and makers.
And I figure, outside in the fields and trees and such, I’m really in their territory, not the other way around. So, as long as they keep to themselves, I’ll do the same.
Graham and I stopped into my favorite antique and vintage shop over the weekend, and these little cups caught my eye:
I bought them and brought them home, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out what they’re meant to be used for. Are they sake cups? Maybe they’re for sugar? I don’t know! They’re Nippon, based on the maker’s mark.
But a quick Google search doesn’t turn up this pattern, so who knows? Regardless, I just think they’re neat. And different, given their shape, pattern, and colors, than anything else I have in my china collection. So, overall, a pretty cool find.
I haven’t written a Found Friday in a while, but I picked up a few vintage and antique items over the holidays, and I wanted to share one of them today.
So, I mentioned in a previous Found Friday post that I seem to have accidentally started a collection of antique and vintage ashtrays. Now, I am not a smoker. I never have been. But you know what ashtrays are good for these days? Holding crystals.
Or jewelry, or dried petals, or other various and sundries. Which, honestly, I’ve got a lot of. And I figure it’s much better to repurpose an old ashtray than to see it thrown out, if it’s generally sturdy, nice-looking, and worth a few extra dollars. I like the idea of taking something associated with a bad habit and giving it a better purpose. I’m really not fond of this new culture of quick construction and disposability that we’ve found ourselves in lately, and I love a piece with a story.
Cut to a random Thursday in December, just before Christmas, and I came across this little curiosity in a shop run by a friend of mine:
It’s cheeky, right? With the cigarette holder in the middle, and the leaf and vine embellishments. It was sitting on a shelf, sort of hidden, and I just happened to spot it. So of course I bought it and brought it home.
The friend who owns the shop suggested that it could be a good paintbrush holder, which I can definitely see. But unfortunately, I don’t paint, so I’m not quite sure yet what it’s use will be. That’s okay, though. I’m not quite sure what my use is some days, either.
Can I be certain? Well, no, but I’d like to think I’m right, because it’s a pretty cool connection. See, this house is just a few minutes away on the outskirts of our village, and Graham and I drive by it frequently. Of all the gin joints, right?
I’ve always been a fan of both ghost stories and old houses. I love walking into a space knowing that it has a history, that others have come and gone and loved it and built their lives there before me. And honestly, I think it’s just a fundamentally, very human thing to love ghost stories. Something in our primal makeup, in our DNA and our bones and the very oldest part of our brains tells us to be afraid of things that go bump in the night, and to ponder what happens to us when we die. I grew up in a town full of ghosts and legends, and I live in an area rife with them now, too. And this house is just one small piece of that larger puzzle.
Or, it was. Which is to say, it still is, but for how long is anyone’s guess. It was a ruin last year. It’s in worse shape now.
Graham stopped by yesterday and snapped this picture. Sad, isn’t it? Soon enough, the house will be gone, and the stories will be all that’s left. Then one day, they’ll be forgotten, too. But for now, the house is still here, crumbling away on the roadside, taking its secrets with it.
P.S. As I did last year, I’ll add this disclaimer: This house is on private property, and there are no trespassing signs posted, so please don’t go poking around where you’re not welcome. It’s easy enough to take a picture from the road.