Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Getting Ready for Renovation....

For almost 3 years, David and I used to put H. on the school bus and then drive on down here to look for our dream house. We haven't stopped our little sight seeing drives even though we now live in that house....every now and then, we head off and spend an hour or two checking up on the ones that someone else bought or that someone needs to have bought.

Last Thursday, we had an hour or two to kill; we wandered into one of the abandoned houses we had looked at was heartbreaking. In the five years that have passed, the kitchen has fallen almost completely off the back of the house, a hole in the roof has caused the attic floor/living room ceiling to cave in and the debris from that has gone through the floor, and the front porch is barely hanging on with most of its flooring rotted away.

Amazingly, the interior rooms of the little single story farmhouse remain in relatively good shape. The dining room beaded board and shelving is fine and the built in wardrobe that stands on both sides of the hallway leading from the bathroom to the bedroom is perfect. Visions of salvaging ran through our heads.

We called a friend in Real Estate and asked her to find out the owner's name...he just happened to be the farmer who lives down the road from yesterday, we dropped in to say hello. And as is becoming the norm in almost every conversation, the economy found its way into our discussion about salvaging what was left of that old house......

Turns out the farmer's daughter may have to move back home due to a job loss and the farmer is thinking about fixing it up for her family to live in. My first thought was "he hasn't looked at it in a while because its beyond help". But then I remembered who and what he was.....and who his ancestors were. He's a farmer.....who knows what generation of farmer he is...but he's a farmer.

He's of the same breed as our farmer across the street; they don't look at things in quite the same way the rest of us city and town folk do.....the same can do spirit that caused our farmer and his two sons to tie ropes to the barn and to get up on their tractors and pull it right on back up after Hurricane Dora took most of it down will be what guides the farmer down the road in his decision about that farmhouse....

My visions of salvaging beaded board and wood for a built in master bedroom closet have now been replaced by visions of that farmer and his kids knocking off that kitchen and the living room and the front porch and beginning from the still intact interior, building outwards - adding the rooms they deem necessary for his daughter and kids to live comfortably. Use it up, wear it out, make it do.......

And I'm fine with that.....ultimately, my desire is that all of these old farmhouses shelter families and that the history of this rural farming community is not lost in the rush for progress. I look forward to seeing just what the farmer down the road does with that almost 100 year old house.....and I'll be happy whether he decides to let us salvage while he starts from square one, or if he decides that he'll be the salvager and bring new life to that old building.

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