~ Girly loves Sam with Gray Lady (rear) and Smudge Moonbeam ~
For a good portion of the last two weeks, we've had warm weather...very warm weather which is in direct conflict with snow, high wind chills of below zero double digits and temps of -5 degrees F we had Sunday, January 8 which caused this. It's been an epic, chaotic mess and had you asked me last night if I was up to it (after almost two weeks) I would have said, "NO!" Today, after a sleep of ten hours, I'm saying, "With God's continued help...".
But I'm ahead of myself...every morning the air is heavy, pregnant with moisture, some days pouring buckets, other days only misty. The dogs are ecstatic as they chase scent after scent that hangs deep over the ground's surface. Even I see evidence of skunk, raccoon and, many times, startle the o'possum
stealing eating cat food on the back porch.
~ evidence of skunk activity ~
Let's get one thing straight...no, I do not feed the possum, the possum is a thief and contrary to what you see on face book...possums are dangerous critters, carrying in their feces protozoan that can cause Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis or EPM which can kill a horse. So, I allow the possum to steal cat food because it keeps him/her close to the house and not in the pasture; I'm choosing my evil, so to speak. What I'd really like to do is capture the thing and take them for a nice, long drive across the mountain!
This morning before dawn, at 0:dark thirty, I heard the far away call of Canada Geese. This is a surprise because they aren't due back for another couple of months; apparently, the warm weather is confusing a lot of us. My daffodils are pushing through the ground, trees are budding and all sorts of spring mischief is happening. Even I can smell the scent of fusty, furry little bodies and it drives the dogs in a tizzy as they wander from grass to shrubs to bush.
The house is, slowly, being put back to right; the dining room is cleared of insulation, sheet rocks, staples, nails, heavy heating and de-humidifying machines (as an aside...cannot say enough great things about Jeff, Tyler and ServPro...I hope you'll NEVER need their services but the Kingsport ServPro is marvelous!) while the floor has been swept (many times), mopped (many times) and the dining room table is upside down, on mats, while Eddie is gluing legs together. The legs need to be attached so the table can be turned right side up in order to determine if the top can be restored. As of now, the top is white, due to water damage...this dining room suite was purchased by my mother-in-law and her husband when they began housekeeping in the mid 1930's and I want it restored along with the rest of the damaged furniture.
When the table is finished, the other pieces will be moved into the room and work started on them but it's impossible to know, yet, how much or what damage has been done.
~ corner knee braces ~
~ joins to strengthen the length of support beam ~
It's been delightful to see, again, the hand hewn construction of this lovely old home! Dave and I looked at, then purchased this farm in 1995 and the real estate agent told us the house was built in 1900, but as she was wrong about so many other things, I now know she was wrong about this as well. I've been in touch with an employee of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources who says he's convinced this house was built 1850 to 1875 and others brought in to see my home concur. In the National Register of Historic Places registration paperwork for the 1879 St. Claire home, the then owner of my home, Mr. A. (Abindigo) White is referenced proving my home pre-dates the St. Claire home.
In this photo, the center board has been notched to hang over the support beam below it which adds strength that is unattainable with mere nails. The nails appear to be hand cut.
The technique used above, showing the small piece jutting through the left side board is called mortise and tenon. Woodworkers have used this technique for thousands of years to join wood pieces, adding strength and security.
In the ceiling, original X braces add stability while Dave had the carpenter add other long boards, screwing and bolting them to their adjacent neighbor. The under floor of my bedroom is as beautiful as the top...more so since the top has had the stain boiled away. (The heating system is a boiler system, oil fueled hot water and when the pipes froze, burst and thawed, the hot water was fierce.)
Early days, when we were renovating, we found a piece of wood signed Thomas Hawkins, who was the original builder. We placed it behind the wall and in keeping with his sentiments, I labeled the inside clapboard with this:
Thistle Cove Farm
Bought May 1995
To God be the glory
F. Dave Bricker
Sandra K. Bennett
married front lawn
July 22, 1995
Dave died Nov 5, 2011 @ home
Now, not only will I leave my heart here, I'll leave this little testimony.
My hand knitted stockings are hung by the fireplace, adding to the home spun simplicity of candle lanterns, churns and small, wooden box. Probably, it's too much for some but it suits me and brings pleasure every time I see it, especially when there's a fire lit.
Some spinning wheels are damaged but can be repaired, some Persian wool rugs are a total loss (hand spun, hand dyed, hand woven) while other modern poly are just about good as new and could, probably, survive the Tribulation.
When the situation overwhelms, the dogs and I go for a Ranger ride and we see amazing sights, like the eagle above, that restore soul sanity. The peace spoken of here remains although tears have broken through twice. Still, that's not too bad and the men told me, "You're handling this extremely well!" I guess they've seen it all and my attitude is, "Why add to a stressful situation?" That's not going to help and might even hurt, if not me then others and certainly the "little Christ" I strive to be. I'm happy the animals and I escaped injury, I'm happy to have Mary as a BFF, I'm happy to have insurance, I'm happy to have good health, I'm happy Eddie and Faith have been able to help, I'm happy God has a plan.
Ponder this ~ God doesn't abandon His plans and made you as He planned in order to use you as He planned ~