We had our property line walkabout yesterday morning, which was great and torturous and exiting, all at the same time. Because the survey wasn’t done yet (?), the walkabout consisted of the home owner and our realtor traipsing us around the property in our rainboots, pointing vaguely at a few groups of trees … ‘right about here’ … he’d say with a waving motion.. ‘is where I’m thinkin’ the line will be’…
I’d silently wonder on what side of the creek ’round about here’ meant … and later told our realtor our expectations. Things continue to crawl along at this casual pace, and it seemed too pushy and unneighborly to hurry things up, so we’re going with the flow. The owner was friendly enough — a sort of ‘jack of all trades / master of several.’ He had all sorts of hand-hewn canoes out behind the barn and was expecting a buyer to come pick up the Model T he’d been saving for years. He is the type that keeps everything — even some old wood fenceposts that he said with a nod ‘are staying with the property.’ Picking one up, he showed it to me … “This is old growth Black Locust. You know what rots slower than Black Locust?”
I shook my head.
He and his family had lived in the house for 25 years, and has rented it for the last 2 – and was obviously disappointed at how much things had overgrown since he’d formally moved out. “This field” he gestured “was just beautiful. But you have to keep it up. It needs mowing about once a year.” Of course, he knew a guy down the road who’d done field mowing, but apparently was very old. He hadn’t seen him in several years.
We learned the house, prior to their residency, had been in the same family for quite a while as a dairy. The barn, which was build in the 1830s housed 25-30 dairy cows up until the 1950s. The small Cape side of the house was build around 1800 (he insisted the nails used were circa that time, even though our inspector dated it to the mid 17oos), and the larger two-story Colonial side was build sometime in the mid-1800s. “You could tell the farm was doing well when they built that side” he pointed out. “Some of the detail and trim was just so lavish for a farmhouse at that time.” The small garage was put up in 1930, and we learned it was perfectly situated to block the house from the ‘brutal’ Northern winds. We also learned that furniture is nearly impossible to get up the narrow staircase to the second level (he had an elaborate plan to build a large window into which things could be air-lifted… I’m secretly glad this plan never came to fruition) and that the row of fir trees to the right of the Property were his family’s live Christmas trees which were planted the next Spring. Also, the two large trees at the front of the property are indeed Sugar Maples (we can try our hands at Syrup)!
I love those details, and I’m excited to walk around inside the house with him before to closing. And he’ll be around cleaning out the barn until September, so I’m sure we’ll get our ears filled with enough stories. For us, part of buying and moving into a historic home is wanting to get our hands on every detail about this place which has been here for so many more generations. Even stories of it’s recent past are enchanting and make it feel so much more like ‘home’ to me … the Christmas tree row, the hill his kids used for snowboarding practice (the rock-ramp is still there), the trails up around the pond in the fir trees.
I can’t wait to bring it back to life…
In the meantime, I did some exploring around our own yard and found some lovely treats. Wild strawberries! Raspberries! Sage planted last year making it’s entrance. The green out here is just beyond words…