Saturday, May 30, 2015

Back Home in Oriental

I snagged this nice photo of my parents' porch before we drove away from West Virginia.
Adam's been baking breakfast bread a lot since we came come. We now have Peter and Anna home for the summer, and this bread is popular.

While I was at Max and Anne's farm, they gave me a few gourds Anne had grown last season. They're nicely dried.
Dried gourds get this moldy growth look on the outside. Years ago in Iowa, I bought a beautiful swan's neck gourd and dried it, and then threw it away when it "grew" like this. :(
Anne showed me that all you have to do is sand the gourds, and the mold growth comes right off.
So I sanded them and then painted them with polyurethane. They're kinda shiny now.
I like this mottled brown look. Haven't decided yet what to do with them. To cut intricate designs on them I need a special tool. I'm gonna watch some youtube videos. I saved a handful of seeds from one of them, and next year at the farm I want to grow lots of them, design something cool on them, and sell them at the market. Bird houses? Lamps? Hanging gourds? Bowls and spoons?
This old house in Oriental has been sad-looking. Peeling paint, weedy/viney yard, derelict and vacant. At last someone is fixing it up, and it's looking mighty fine. They passed sheetrock in through an upstairs window.
These bright bushes are full of spring right now.

The views here are as wide and comforting as ever.
Welcome to the river.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Mysterious Mr. M. ~

This morning Adam and I went to the hopefully-soon-to-be-ours house, to meet with a potential contractor. We were happy to see that Adam's latest tarp work was successful, and the tarp remained in tact and tight while we were gone for ten days. Phew! A dry attic is a good thing.
Speaking of attics, Adam and the contractor spent some time up there inspecting the roof and ceiling.
Speaking of ceilings, this is the worst of it:
The nasty, old green carpeting on the floors must go away!
While the menfolk nosed around inside, I walked outdoors. The gardenia bush is lovely. I wish you could smell it.
These spreading pecans give great shade. Julia was excited about that tire swing, but pecans are notorious for dropping limbs, so it will probably go away also.
There's some sort of archway under all that ivy. I rather like it.
Pretty as this bridge might be, it's a hazard. Adam says he'll rebuild it.
And there's an outbuilding that might come in handy. We picture a little farm store in there, me selling soap and lotions, Adam selling honey or bees or mushrooms or whatever.
Yes, I said mushrooms. Don't ask.
The house has a roomy deck on the back. I think we'll make good use of it. It faces northwest with lots of shade around it, so I think it'll be pleasant most of the day.
At one corner of the deck is this large fig tree.
It's loaded with figs right now. I picture myself sitting there, sipping tea of a morning, picking figs for my cereal.
The elderly gentleman who last lived here -- we'll call him Mr. M. -- was a Frenchman from Brittany. This lovely ship is above the front door.
There is much of France in the house, including a map, of course.
And a poster of the Eiffel Tower.

Today I discovered a half-drunk bottle of port in a bedroom. Adam found a half-franc.
He was fond of copper molds all around his kitchen. So even though he lived alone, a crotchety old bachelor perhaps, he did decorate.
And he had a dog.
But why did he have a large rock on his kitchen sink? Anybody know?
And why did he put in built-in bookcases in the bedroom that block this closet door?
The bathroom is a bit snug. You may sit and wash your hands simultaneously.
Why did the mysterious Mr. M. mount a paper towel dispenser behind his toilet? I know it made sense to him. He must've been a practical man, as well as a decorator.
And this little bag is full of screw hole covers. The label is sticky, so he stuck it to the cabinet door above his washing machine. Why?
I turned around on the porch and found another pouch of them, stuck to the wood between the windows. That really made me wonder about Mr. M.
And this is absolutely adorable!! He put big hair comb clips on his curtains to hold the sheers when he needed to draw them back. I just had to giggle! Can you see it, clipped on there?
I believe he was a feeling man, with strong loyalties. On his front porch railing are two flag holders.
And mounted to the rail at the bottom is a pole with a strong light on top, pointing to the flag location. You may only fly national flags in the dark if you shine a light on them. I think he must've had both a French and an American flag there, don't you?
The front door has a pretty glass, but he mounted a metal blind above. Ick. Must remove that at once.
The back storm door swings free, needing a closer.
Mr. M. had removed the old, broken closer.
And he'd bought the new closer. But Death caught him in mid-project, and it was never attached.
I left a note on it, telling whoever clears out the house's contents to leave it there.
Well, for those still reading, here's a shot of the house from the front door, looking back through the living room, dining room, and into the kitchen. The house is airish in a lovely way; when you open both front and back doors, the breeze just wafts through. I love it. I like an open house when temps will allow.
I was hoping this shot would show more. I'm standing in the corner of the living room. The doorway on the right is the front bedroom. The dining room is rather dark. The doorway you can see only a thin slice of (on the right edge of that opening) is the middle bedroom door. The dark doorway you can see through the opening is the bathroom door, and that leads to the back bedroom.
And now you have seen ALL the house. Yes, we are downsizing, and it feels good.
And even though the house is small, I will have about 11 kitchen drawers there, compared to the two I have now. Forgive me if I'm repeating myself from a previous post. I forget what I've already told you.
The appliances are old and tired, but they work. Folks kept saying, "Get new appliances! Just finance them!" That means put them into your loan that you're taking from the bank. Ha! Like I would EVER buy new appliances and then pay interest on the purchase for 30 years! I'm dumb, but I'm not that dumb.
I'm wondering if this dishwasher works. The water's not turned on to find out.
The refrigerator is, I think, the scariest place in the house. Mr. M. (sadly) has been dead about two years. That milk has been tipped over in there for two years. I think some rubber gloves and clorox will be in order!
They did tell us that we could put notes on various items in the house that would we like for them to leave, if they are willing. Otherwise I think the contents will just be hauled away to the dump or donated.
I couldn't bear to think of this lovely French cast iron casserole being ditched, so I left a note on it. I hope that's not presumptive.
I love the laundry room/back porch because (again) it's airy and bright. I'm going to turn this into the perfect laundry space for me.
So, Mr. M., thank you for your home (provided our purchase does go through). It's always strange to me, stepping into someone else's life who has passed ... like walking over their grave, but moreso. To find his drink half-drunk, his project half-done, to see the grime he left on his bath towel, the indention his head left on his pillow, his tools sitting where he's left them only for a moment. Forever. I hope we can give this house new life and fun.