That was the message that accompanied this photo that Brian sent from his phone before heading home tonight. As you can see, the porch is now completely gone. The house looks amazing to me. It’s a little like the better someone looks after major surgery, and there is still a wound that needs healing, but you can see past that to the beauty that will come with time.
It was a long, exhausting week for everyone. Three weeks of traveling back and forth to the farm – a 40 minute drive each way – and sometimes twice a day is taking a toll. We knew that it would. And there are several more weeks to go until we can move into the house. But progress is being made and that is satisfying.
The old porch was one of the first things to be disposed of. And the new porch will be one of the last things to be replaced. That makes this a watershed moment. I wish, dear readers, that you could see the picture in my mind. The one of this beautiful old house all finished.
Old houses are full of wonderful details, things easy to miss if one rushes. This old girl is no exception, there are remnants of yellow and red paints, rusting fixtures, weathered wood with netted patterns not unlike the crinkles around the eyes of an elder – the ones that come from years of joy expressed with wide-mouthed smiles and warm laughter.
While Brian and Jack worked on carrying away bits of the fallen porch to the newly arrived dumpster; while Carrie and Will carried on with brush cutting around the house’s foundation, and while Cate walked the wee ones to the bottom of our very long drive, I pottered around the house trying to capture those charming little details before we replace fixtures and apply paint.
It was a good day. Divine Mercy Sunday marks the end of the first week of Eastertide. It is the first day of May, which commences the spring Marian month, a month we dedicate to Mary, Our Blessed Mother. And today is the day that John Paul II was beatified.
Unfortunately, I missed a good bit of the Mass because Joséphine was wet and hungry. Our new little parish doesn’t have a cry room for nursing mamas and I haven’t quite figured out how to discreetly feed my nursling in the pew. Even covered with a flannel, I’m still not comfortable feeding in the open church. I’m sensitive to older folks and small children who are unaccustomed to seeing a breastfed baby taking her nourishment. And I’m spoiled after nearly a decade in a parish with a special room for such things.
So I missed Fr. David’s homily. It broke my heart because he is a magnificent homilist. I really wish someone would record him so that I can hear them again in the quiet hour or so after the children have turned in.
After Mass, we stopped at the local tack shop for some information and a quick browse through their newly expanded shop. It’s so good to see! Brian and I take separate vehicles on Sunday because he serves the early Masses and we meet him for the last Mass. So while I carried on home so that we could change into farm clothes, Brian stopped for luncheon supplies.
By the time we were ready to make the 40 minute trip to the farm it was 3:30PM. And we were tired. We were a mile down the road when Brian realized that he’d forgotten his mobile. And we were 30 minutes down the road when he realized that he’d left the keys on his chest of drawers. So we stopped for coffee on the third attempt. 🙂
We had hoped to get started on cleaning up the small trees and brush earlier this week, but that wasn’t meant to be. We were all very pleased, though, at how much we can get done as a team in only 2 1/2 hours time. We managed to clear off all of the lilacs and bracken from the terrace in front of the lovely bay windows, and old hydrangea, and about half of the small trees on that side. We have one more beautiful day forecasted before the rain rolls in for mid-week. I’ll run out in the morning, while Brian catches up with his work, to pick up some more equipment and supplies and we’ll try to get the rest of the trees down around the house.
Here are some images from the day. I do apologize about the horribly blown-out photos, the afternoon was gloriously sunny and I had removed my filters on Easter Sunday when I shot some snaps in church. I’ll try to remember next time.
The south side of the house was completely covered in overgrown lilacs and bracken.
Carrie jumped right in with the hand saw.
Papa hauling a trunk to the brush pile.
Here is the old hydrangea. When we got in there, we realized that 2/3 of it had already been cut down at some point.
Looking at the south side of the house from the terrace.
"It's chain sauce!" What else would a chain saw drink?
Josie looking on.
Jack swinging away at one of the smaller trees with an ax. What a blessing to have such a big strong boy.
Louis doing his part by hauling smaller branches to the brush pile.
2 1/2 hours later, the brush was completely cleared from the top terrace on the south side.
The hydrangea is gone and now you can see better where the porch has fallen away from the house. That's the next clean-up project outdoors.
Easter, Passover, Spring… new beginnings. The month of April co-incides with the month named “Nissan” on the Jewish calendar. It means “beginning” or “first”.
Brian and I spent most of yesterday afternoon, with Joséphine, our attorney, realtor, banker and his attorney… waiting. While we waited, we enjoyed each other’s company, and prayed. We were waiting for the attorney for the seller to arrive. She was running behind schedule. Our closing was slated for 1:30. We finished signing a little bit before 4PM. Perhaps we’ll write more about that later…
We sped home, ate a hasty meal of leftover Easter dinner (oh, lamb! how I adore you), bundled all of the family into the Squirrel and headed home. HOME.
We pulled into the drive, opened the doors and children tumbled out.
“Is it ours now?” “Can we go see?” “May I have a rocking chair?”
We led them up the farm road, let them roam, run, climb, hoot, holler, cheer – praise, give thanks. It was a good day. Blessed. Everything we’d always hoped it would be.
James, master of all he surveys.
Sophie and Louis climbing a hump of grassed-over farm stuff. Monarchs of the mound, rejoice!
Will and Jack check out the view. Hoping to catch a glimpse of the resident black bear.
A farmer and his boy. Pa and James exploring the old tree farm.
“Welcome Home, dear family” fills me with awe and gratitude, overflowing tears of joy.
That’s all for now, we’re headed out to the farm again shortly. There is so much to do. We’re thinking of picking up a new video camera and vlogging (isn’t that a fun word to say?) the restorations. What do you think?