When I was a girl, I would visit my grandparents at the farm in the summers. There are so many things about it that are stamped on my memory and I want to share the story of the house and its origins.
The farm-house was old even then. There is a romantic story of how it came to be.
The homesteader built a small two room house into the side of a tall hill. It was snug and large enough for his needs with a dug out room in the back for storage. He put a porch on the front, but most of his building skill went into the barn. It was a magnificent building. It had a set up for milking the cows and an ample haymow for storage in the winter. The rest of the barn was set up with mangers for the horses and pens for the calves that he fed when he separated them from their mothers. He had a separator that he set up and automated with greyhounds. He would put the milk in and the hounds would go round and round so that the cream would be available to sell at market. Eventually, he sold the homestead to an enterprising young man named Oscar.
In another location, a man busied himself building a wonderful two-story house. He was preparing it for his mail-order bride. He spent hours on the Victorian style building and had completed the basic part of the house. He was decorating the eaves with intricate cut-outs and was nearly finished when the word came that his bride was arriving that week. In order to have the surprise complete, he sent his brother on the anticipated day to fetch her. He worked feverishly. Night fall came and his brother had not returned with his bride, indeed, he never did return. He took her for himself. Broken, the man abandoned the house and became a hermit living in a cave. Oscar also purchased this property.
With ingenuity that we no longer see, Oscar took the Victorian and moved it. He used a team of oxen to manuever it to the top of the hill and carefully located it on the other house. As I looked at the property, I was in awe that it could have been accomplished. He connected the two buildings with stairs, added a side porch and moved in. Later he moved to town with his family.
First my parents and then my grandparents rented the farm. This is where I spent many wonderful hours of my childhood. There is a creek and seven cold springs on the place. A deep canyon had been cut by one of the springs. A log had fallen across the happy little stream. When I visited, I would go there and sit by the hour on that log, singing, dreaming, and talking to God.
In the house, my grandmother was a true homemaker. Her tall cabinets always shone with varnish and polish. The beautiful African rosewood clock sat atop them, faithfully chiming the hour. The old oak table was often heavy with homemade food and fresh vegetables. At night, after the dishes were done, we would all sit at the table and listen to the radio and play canasta.
Although it is long ago abandoned as a home, my grandparents still live there in my heart . My dog, Stubby, waits outside the old screen door for us to come. The chickens and other animals populate the landscape with the sounds of peace broken only by the guinea hens who don’t know how to be peaceful. In here, in my heart, it is still alive and beautiful.
There is much more to tell, but I will cherish it in my heart until the time is right to share.