Family Centered Home

A Piece of Quiet

I have been a very lax correspondent.  It has been weeks since anyone has posted anything here.  The days have been long, and quiet moments (and sleep) have been in very short supply.  The house and farm are coming along and I promise I’ll get some pictures up soon.

Right now the house is up on jacks, having her sills replaced.  Our fantastic contractor very sensitively transplanted antique barn beams to our foundation.  It was a very sweet, thoughtful, loving thing to do.  And it is a lovely surprise.  Everything is being carefully dismantled and set aside to await their final fate.  Most materials will be re-purposed for the house or projects around the farm – a greenhouse, chicken tractors, a wendy house, repairs to the milkhouse… Or whatever else we determine we need.  The rescued bricks from the unused chimney may be laid out for a patio.  An unused stone foundation from an original barn will be used as a retaining wall for terraces around the house.  That is going to be gorgeous!

The pigs are growing like topsy, and the goats are a delight.  Eight new gals arrived on our farm several days ago, and three of them are giving the loveliest milk ever – and plenty of it.  Which means, of course, that I need to get moving and make some cheeses and yoghurts from the surplus while we work on getting our dairy licensed to sell milk to our CSA members.

Meanwhile, we are still living in our little house.  And that means traveling back and forth every day for farm chores.  Early mornings, late nights.  And Joséphine still wakes to nurse in the night.  Thankfully she drifts right back off to sleep.

But it is those precious intermissions throughout the day that provide me with what our Sophie calls “a piece of quiet”.  A chance to drink her (Josie) in, to delight in our other children, to absorb all that is going on, and to reflect on how terribly blessed we are.

My St. Benedict crucifix:: A first plaything for each of the last three children

Dependence. Trust. Love, unconditional.


I hope you are well.  Leave me a message to let me know how your family is keeping.

{Making a Home} Original Details

Exquisite.  Lovely.

I want to share some of the original details of our beautiful old house.  In their current state.  Before they are restored.

There is a particular beauty in the subtle decay.  It’s hard not to have a great deal of respect for a house that has stood so long – and so well – in the face of utter neglect.  If houses were sentient beings, I’d say she was waiting for us.  That she knew we were coming and held on until we arrived.

From the dining room, which will be grand.  Trees outside the house will be felled to allow more sunlight from the east and south.  Walls will be freshly plastered and painted.  Wood work will be gently stripped and re-painted.  The ceiling will receive a new {antique} chandelier.  A sparkling bauble worthy of a grand lady.

The built-in china cabinet in the southwest corner

An old brass knob. It will be cleaned up and polished, then replaced later.

The craquelure is lovely to me.

V-groove paneling on the sides and back of the cabinet will remain largely untouched.

Light and Dark.

This mantel has been living here in the dining room, but rightly belongs to the living room next door.

Beautiful woodwork requires very careful stripping of the paint so as to preserve the delicate detail.

Some of the stripping was begun by the previous owner. We are considering sending pieces out to be done - mostly because of the probable lead content.


More details from other rooms will come.  We’re enjoying giving you the Grand “Before” Tour, and are looking forward to unveiling the “After”!

{Making a Home} Un-Making

Our contractor’s crew begins this week.  So this weekend our crew got to work with demolition of the interior walls.  It’s such a shame to see it all go.  All that work.  Laths nailed by hand into place.  Hundreds.  Thousands.

And century-old plaster.  And real paper wall papers.

But all must make way for new wiring, heating, and plumbing.  For walls with fresh plaster and paint.  The millwork will be preserved and restored, denuded of paints and shellac.  Floors will be carefully stripped, smoothed and revived.

But for now, all is rubble and dust, and heat.

Carrie and Will sweep up dust and debris.

Pleasant sunlight streams through the tall windows

Brian works on a ladder to carefully remove elderly plaster and lath

Layers of paper fall away

How neatly the laths were set in place - angled in this corner, straight on the other walls

A pile of ancient laths wait to be taken outside to the skip

And plaster mingles with bits of antiquarian wallpaper on the floor

{Making a Home} Views From the Farm

Ask the children, they’ll tell you.  Every time we cross the town line I can’t help saying “Pinch me.  Do we really live here?”  The views are breathtaking.  One of these days, I’ll take my camera out and about so that you can see the rest of town.  These were the views from the farm yesterday.  Glowing with the last rays of the evening sun.  Truly a land of milk and honey.

Looking over the pond from the barn

Vines embracing the west wall of the barn

Looking west to the pines through the west door of the barn

Peeping through the trees to one of the fields where sheep and goats will be grazing soon

Black birches stand at the far end of the field along with a handful of maples and poplars




Jesus: Joy for the journey

I saw the Lord ever before me,
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted;
my flesh, too, will dwell in hope,
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.

Acts 2:25-28



“Lord, if it is Your Will, please help us to make this land our home” A prayer said on a hilltop, in the chilly, windblown drizzle, four years ago.  It was the first time.  The first time we prayed together outside of church.  And it changed our lives in countless ways from that day.


That hilltop is not so very far from this tree.  This tree, which we returned to with our (then) six children, a little plaster statuette of St. Joseph, a shovel, and hearts overflowing.  We gathered under its branches, dug a small hole between roots outspread, placed the blessed effigy, joined our hands, and prayed once again.  As a family.  For the first time.  We had always asked a blessing over our meals, and said ‘bed-night’ prayers with our children.  They had been taught  the prayers of the Church and various devotions, but this was the first time we prayed together for something from deep down in our hearts.

And it has changed our lives.  Forever.

From that day, we dwelt in hope.  And we traveled along that Emmaus road, not always recognizing Him as our constant companion and guide.  And he brought people into our lives, people likewise nourished by prayer, to share the sojourn to where we are today.  And beyond, to where we do not yet know.

And through it all, though the path was steep, we kept each other from falling.

And we are filled with JOY in His presence.

Reaching heavenward.

Twined trunks. Strength in co-reliance. Hope in life.


Here you can see where lightning has grazed the trunk of the tree. It is scarred, but still strong and healthy.

And moss grows in the cleft of the intertwined trunks.

Budding to new life. A resurrection reminder.


May all of your prayers be answered.  Amen.

May you find faithful friends to share your journey. Amen.

May God bless you and keep you all the days of your life.  Amen.

%d bloggers like this: