If you’re going to do farmhouse restoration, expect to do a lot of lifting and carrying. Heavy things. Boulders in basements, beams, old tubs come down, pails of dirt go out. Bricks. Lots of old chipped bricks. Floor boards, cement bags.
Ed’s done the bulk of it. At sixty, he can still lift things that three of me could not lift.
It’s hard work. Soon to be replaced with dull work as we take on the electrical switches. But, it’s good to see the house propped up and nailed back together. And we have a good team with a hefty amount of experience. Andy and his grandson have done construction work all their adult lives. They know their nails.
(How is it that Ed’s the worst dressed of the lot? He tells me that the jeans are only now coming into their own.)
And speaking of nails, I admired a set. In rows. For a nail gun I’m told. Here, next to the bronze statue.
Ed’s mother was an artist and her art – paintings and sculptures – at the moment is propped up in various rooms of the farmhouse. Bare rooms, unfinished rooms. Now with construction tools and figures made of bronze.
Having never gutted a building this old (okay, having never gutted any building), I didn’t realize that it is much like going for your medical checkup when you haven’t seen a doctor for decades. One thing leads to another and before you know it, you need tests, surgery and two limbs removed, or at least replaced in parts. At the farmhouse, the chimney’s out. This reveals the inadequate support that has always characterized the building. As walls come down and warped door frames are removed, a rotting floorboard comes out of hiding. And so on.
You cannot be in a hurry. The house wont let you rush through the job.
But, the day is delightfully buoyant. That late February light is playing across the fields and you can’t help but be thrilled at the sight of this older farmstead, there, in the grove of fruit trees and weeping willows, with a tall silo, plainly visible through the bare branches.
They say the sap will start running in about two weeks. And soon after, surely a few crocuses will sprout. Thrilling thoughts. Energizing. For all those hauls with heavy loads.