Part of the fun of owning an old home is wondering about the past. What it used to look like, who the owners were, what life must have been like. Yet, at the rate that people move these days, it’s often tough to track down the details of the past. At our home in Illinois, which was built in 1890, we poured over the old deed which measured the small town lot line in ‘chains’, but that was about as far as we came to knowing truly about the past.

When we bought this house, which is much older, things were similarly guessable. We wondered what the rooms used to look like, when and why the Colonial addition was put on, how the barn was used, even what the property used to look like 50 or 100 years ago. Taking clues from the nails, the door latches, the whitewashing in the barn, we could deduce the age of things, that the barn was was used for dairy cows, and guess at the original layout of the house.

But guessing aside, there’s really nothing like having the granddaughter of the farm’s prior owners for nearly 50 years stop by the house to introduce herself, walk around with us, and then forward on the most amazing photos from the past. That’s just what happened a few weeks ago.

Meet Norma. She’s on the right … and, well, just a bit older now.

This photo was taken in our kitchen, facing where the pellet stove is now. Notice the fabulous old cast iron cookstove? (I kinda wish it was still there!)

 And here was our house then:

It was a dairy farm for 40+ years…

Back when the barn housed more than the extra stuff that wouldn’t fit in the garage:

But not just pigs and cows (see them in the background?)… but HORSES!

Working horses!

Riding Horses!

I am so excited to get our own horses home and put them back in the barn. To have horses back on this property after such a long time will really be wonderful.

I can’t wait to share more photos and stories with you from her visit. She was so happy that we were here ‘bringing the farm back’ and knew that her grandparents were looking down on us equally as happy. It was so wonderful to have her stop by, and I have a feeling we’ll be keeping in touch for quite a while…