My family moved to the 1840 Farm in the Fall of 2005. It had been uninhabited for over a year and it showed. The grass was waist deep and the plantings would have been considered overgrown years before we found ourselves taking refuge from a New England rainstorm on its front porch.
When the realtor took us down into the stone cellar, there was water pouring through the cracks in the mortar. I remember looking at my husband as we stood ankle deep in the water and wondering what we were doing there. Somehow, we mustered the courage to trek back up the wobbly, steep stairs to the kitchen to find onions blooming inside the deserted kitchen cabinet.
I could go on to discuss in detail the remainder of the house including the purple carpeting in the ugliest family room on record, but I won’t bore you with the details. In the months to follow, a prospective carpenter smiled at me and said, “It reminds me of the Country Bear Saloon!” He meant this as a compliment. I viewed it as an affirmation that we were in way over our heads.
We have often joked that we must have had incredible vision or stupidity to spare when we decided to move our family to an old house that would require so much work. Either way, we have made this house and it’s grounds our home. We have patched the basement, thrown the onion in the newly built compost pile, and learned a lot along the way.
Living in a 170 year-old house is like having a constant reminder of my place in history. I like to imagine that the news of the day would have been discussed at an old farm table in our very dining room while the fire roared in the old chimney. Those leaky stone walls in the cellar have been standing through the days of the Great Potato Famine, slavery, the Civil War, and 37 Presidents of the United States.
I only wish that those walls could talk. I think that they would have quite a story to tell. A story that I would love to hear. I guess in some way, the story is being told and my family is the current chapter. So here we are in the year 2012 at 1840 Farm. Let the story unfold.