Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More Farm Pictures!

Because I know you all love them so much. LOL

Sunday the 20th, we spent another day going through the house and walking the property. I've selected only a few interior pictures to share. I've taken quite a few more that I'm eager to show you, but because the current occupant is still there packing and sorting, I'm trying to protect his privacy. A lot of the house has been closed off and needs cleaning and so I'll wait until we get to that. But we have a few highlights...

One of the things I've always loved about this place is the big old beams. You can tell they are hand hewn. The marks of axe and saw are still on them after 160 years. I've asked the owner to sell me that pot rack BTW. 

Bypass cabinets doors open on both sides of this custom built freestanding unit. These are the upper doors. 

This is a lower unit. Only the drawers open on one side. Note the high gloss wooden slab countertop? :D

Upper unit open so you can see the back doors. This side faces into the kitchen prep area, the other side faces the entryway and a trestle table beneath a double window. Lve these cabinets!

Over by the double sink, single sided cabinets against the wall. My understanding is they were all custom made out of old oak shipping pallets. Wow! 

It's needs a good cleaning and sealing, but the kitchen floor is hand laid slate. I remember when that went in, and I always admired it. I said I wanted a floor like that too someday—just didn't realize it would be this actual floor...

The kitchen cabinets surround the prep area in sort of a horseshoe shape. In the middle of it is a brick enclosure for an old gas range that will be turned into a prep island and storage shelves, as the stove has seen its better days and mine won't fit in there. There is a brick chimney and wooden topped counter on the far end toward the dining room, that now accommodates an old cast metal wood cook stove. That stove is a lovely thing, but kind of in the way, and it's leaving anyway, so my big 40" gas range will go there, and we'll cap off the flue for now. The brick stays though, I love that look!

The owners took out the low ceilings in the kitchen and dining area, insulated with foam board, and put in new ones, exposing the old roof rafters. It gives the area a light and lofty look, and some unexpected shelf and hanging space. Love those old beams, even without their cross ties. That area used to be lined with old tins and bric-a-brac and will be again once my stuff gets unpacked. 

I tried to lighten this picture a bit, it was really dark. The dining room, which is one entire end of the ell, has deep-set windows with barn board  trim, with the same board as wainscoting with a shelf edge all around the exterior. You can just see some of that brick divider and wooden counter top at the right. That window looks out over the side yard. 

Now lets head outside again shall we?

A shot of the corner of the main part of the house, showing the old mortared stack stone footing and the cement steps. We want to replace  all that cement eventually, it has cracked and heaved a bit. This is a much better looking footing than I've seen in a lot of these old places, but it will likely need some attention over the years. 

The end of the barn and milk room again. I am dying to get in there, clean things out, and set up my garden shed. Gardening is calling to me again this year. I bought some seeds yesterday. LOL

The far end of the barn, you can see that some clearing has been done. We definitely plan on restoring this building, it is in better shape than most barns that age. I close my eyes and can feel the life that used to bustle in and out of there. 

Looking out over the field across the driveway and toward the treeline, there is a lot of room to roam there. I suspect someone viewing this is already saying there's a lot of mowing that will need to be done. Yes it is, but we have a couple old riders and a vacuum cart, and the grass becomes mulch in the garden afterward. For a good 20 years or so we've been coming to this place to mow and gather mulch for my garden here, hauling heaping pickup loads of it home. Now, we can just mow as we need to, and unload right on the property. I love grass mulch, it is fine and packs well, shading the soil and keeping weeds down, but letting water perk through. Grass mulch rots over the season and can be tilled under, adding humus, improving the soil. To have this all on one property, and not have to hustle to get it all in on one or two days, or drive over 12 miles one way is going to be a lifesaver. 

This is the lower end of the pond again, with all those cattail beds, sort of a slough area. All kinds of wildlife love that broken water, I expect we'll have plenty of things to photograph. Those are trailers in the distance, they will eventually be leaving. 

Looking back over the field, the pond is in the distance on the left, that is the garage on the right. It was a really nice day!

Looking toward the treeline and garden. Yeah, that's a person over there, trying to find the front corner pin. 

They eventually found it. 

Walking up back again and passing the mounds of soil. Funny how land tends to want be colonized with the types of plants its had for generations. This place was mostly in pasture over the last maybe 60 or more years, and hay grass is the first thing that grows in. Must be uncountable numbers of dormant hay seeds in that soil, which is considerably open even after at least 10 years of neglect.

The idea of having an actual pond amazes me. I've always loved wildlife and this place has a little bit of everything. This would be a nice spot to sit and think. Being a writer, I do a lot of that...

A tussock of old rank pasture grass in the middle of the pond. I am hoping wild ducks will nest there, but we might consider getting a few domestic ones just to see something use the pond. I hear they get Canada geese, and they make a mess of the banks.

A little farther up the line, you can see the lower end with its cattail beds. Yeah, ducks, that's sounding interesting...

This is the little brook that leads away from the pond. Interesting that it goes out and not in. That pipe is just laying there. 

I walked around the pond, on the back side, and you can get about halfway around by this very open trail. We plan on keeping that open, and finishing the lower end so you can take a jaunt all around it. Clearing the brush in strategic spots and maybe throwing in a rough bench, log, or well placed stones will give places to sit and think, enjoy the view, or fish from.

Hard to see but this is a concrete base where a wooden gazebo once stood. We're on the far side of the pond, between the water and the wooded hill behind. It was a lovely place for a private picnic, but unfortunately burned down a few years ago. We'd like to rebuild it someday, and may get a screen house and some chairs over there for this year, if we have time.

This shady little nook was where they used to launch the little paddle boat, because the bank slopes gently to the water. We'll clear it again and keep it open. My boys went fishing here for the first time when they were pretty young.

Going back the other way again, you can see how the trail turns around the back of the pond. 

This is about the worst snaggy, brushy area on the property, other than the far boundary, which is a fenced bank full of overgrowth. 

This tree is strangled by vines, likely either Oriental bittersweet or wild grapes. Most of the native vines such as Virginia Creeper and poison Ivy don't form such thick mats. It's likely a tree that was used a lot by migrating birds who fed on the berries of the invasive species in other areas, and 'pooped' the seeds out here. That's often how they get started. A hard seed that passes through an avian digestive system goes through a crop/gizzard and gets scratched up and then is exposed to gastric acids that wear on its shell. That creates thin spots and striations that allow water to absorb, and when it gets dumped out the far end of the bird, it has a gob of fertilizer to feed it. Now you know something you didn't know before, huh? TMI maybe, but it explains why those invasive plants like the bittersweet and Japanese honeysuckles get to colonize large areas. The birds love those berries! 

Yeah, that back corner is pretty scruffy. You can see the stone wall in there though. Not sure where the corner pin is here, we looked all over for it. Got plenty of ticks for our trouble too. 

Somewhere way off in the distance, where that shaded knoll is, there should be another back marker pin. I didn't get over there, too tired to walk that far. That is the back of one humongous mushroom compost pile to the right, trees and all. 

These are the big trees I took pictures of last time. I made my way over there and sat on the stone wall, right next to the big old oak.

No that's not the iron pin we were looking for, it's the remnants of some old fence line. There were several of them around the stone wall, and barbed wire laid across the top of the rocks. New England woods are full of old stone walls, their courses marking where fields were cleared and divided back in the Colonial era through turn of the century.

Looking down into the gully before the hill rises. That bit of branch you see over me is from the big oak I am sitting next to. That is a large white pine ahead, the most common native conifer in Connecticut now that the Eastern Hemlocks and red cedars are getting scarce. 

Panning to the right a bit, you can see more of the hill that rises next to us.

Sighting down the end of the stone wall, trees appear to have been left as a boundary marker. Couldn't find a pin down there though. 

Yeah, like you needed one more look at the mushroom compost pile, but I was heading back toward the house by this point. 

That's the back of the pond here again. There's a trailer on the property in the distance to the left, and then the nearest neighbor's house, the white one with the gray roof. The pond trail goes off around it to your right.

Another shot of the gravel pit on the way by.

Saw a few shrubs like this what had gnawed bases. Under the snow, field mice (voles) have tunnels and in hard winters like this one, will chew bark off, girdling things. This is just something wild, but if it was a cultivated plant, I'd be upset, because girdled bases like this kill the plant which can no longer properly feed or keep itself hydrated. There is a lot of vascular activity going on in the cambium layer right below the outer bark. 

Another shot of the pond on the way back. 

I had several vultures circling over me on the way back. I hiked around so much, guess they were trying to tell me I needed a shower! 

One last shot from the back of the pond, and all, showing the long distance vista toward the house. If you look past the second pine tree on the right, you can just see the golden shingled roof of the house rising above the barn. I'm going to love this place so much! 

Ah yes, hope springs eternal, and with every spring comes new hope. Nothing says 'home' faster to me than planning a garden. I will have to buy most of my plants this year, but did purchase some very important seeds yesterday. Between the grandson and the neighbor's twins (4 year old boy and a girl) I think I will have some little helpers in the garden. 

Some veggies I wouldn't want to miss out on. I have plenty of room for vines to run, so will let the vine crops sprawl to their heart's content. We won't have time for pole beans this year because of working on the house, so I got bush beans instead. I have a grandson who loves string beans best of all, and he now knows how to plant them, so I can count on his help. The pumpkins are for all the kiddies, so they can have something to carve come Halloween. 

The last few years, I have planted long rows of mixed sunflowers here, and will do the same thing at the farm this year. Nothing says summer like sunflowers! 

Plenty of pretty morning glories to dress the place up. I want to keep my mother busy puttering with flowers, so there will be other additions. 

You know, I wasn't planning on gardening this year, I'm so busy with writing, but there is something about new land to tame and get to know that is so inspiring. Add to it that I can actually see this garden from the house, and don't have to climb hills to get to my tools and supplies, or wait for truckloads of mulch, and suddenly it all seems doable again. I can't help but think that this move comes at the best possible time. A new start for all of us, and another chapter in my life opens before me. 

With flying fingers on the keys,

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