A space where family, friends and anyone else can follow our adventures. We are a homeschooling, crafting, music-making, back-flipping wonderfully crazy family living on the coast of Maine enjoying everything life has to offer us!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Slow Start and a History Unknown

It was a very slow start this morning...seems like we needed it, the kids have slept in after a pretty long day of running, gymnastics, errands and farm visits yesterday.  We did find time to  enjoy another beautiful walk in the woods.  We talked about how at one time these woods must have been pastures on someones farm.  You find that a lot around here, I think New England in general; remains of old  foundations or stone walls,  a farm with a history that nobody may know.

I wonder when these stone walls were built, and who built them.  How deep down do they go?  I imagine how hard the work must have been, how long.  The boulders and rocks dug up around the farm and fields, the big ones hauled by horses of course no tractors or bull dozer just manual labor, the whole family working hard to finish before the sun goes down...such a different time in our history.

Our house is about 125 years old.  As many have heard me before I've never felt a strong connection with this house (after all it's not the "forever" house).  I'm working on changing that attitude and trying hard to make our house a home.  I've got no fabulous projects to show you today, honestly the house needs a thorough cleaning before I can even think of starting a new project.  It's finally time to comfortably put away all the winter garb and let the fresh air in.  It is supposed to be raining today but right now we are all enjoying the warm air and sunshine on the front porch, the birds are singing, the kids are humming while they do their work...it truly is lovely.  As I was walking around the yard this morning; watering newly planted seeds and transplants,
first lettuce seedlings, can't wait for salad
 inspecting flowers peeking through the earth and buds on the trees
We've created all the flower beds here, they are a willy-nilly mix of local plant sale finds, divisions from friends and relics I've found long neglected around the property.   It was these peonies that got me thinking about the history of our own home.  I'm told that these flowers are more than 50 years old, planted a long time ago by owners unknown.  I've nurtured them and moved and divided them (something the peonies objected to a great deal).  This house had been "redone" in the 70s and then very neglected when we came upon it.  But as I inspect more closely on my walk this morning I can't help but think that there is a soul in this home...somewhere.  There are signs all around that at one time many years ago someone had a lovely flower/rock garden in the back.  The area the children call the "garden house".
There are very old lilacs with a tree stump table and chairs that we added, when the leaves are in the area is pretty much hidden.  The kids have always loved this area and still play there quite a bit.  I have dug up tulips, day lilies and a few other things that I've found in the overgrowth of this area. 

As I look more closely it is all so clear, the remnants of an old stone wall, flowers so gracefully growing around the large boulders that make up much of our small patch of land.  I imagine, that the big tall pines were not there and large gardens of flowers and veggies were growing how hard someone worked to till the land.  I look at the house around us (most younger than ours) and think about the land being parceled off into smaller sections.   More houses being built and these tall pines bordering our back yard were probably planted to keep a sense of privacy (in the process losing a great gardening spot to not enough sun). 
I take a deep breath of the fresh morning air and listen to all the birds singing their song and smile, for a moment there is peace and tranquility, I close my eyes and imagine who could have worked so hard on the garden.  Perhaps a woman and her children alone most of the time while her husband worked hard in the ship building lots, or maybe at sea.  Our town was once a huge trade center.  I try to picture what she looked like and how she dressed.  How she managed to find time to care for her children, feed them, clothe them, and tend the gardens. 
My peace and tranquility at this point is quickly replaced by a barking dog chasing a cat up into the lilac tree and a son fresh out of bed at the back door yelling "mom where are you".  I laugh out loud, assure my son I'll be right in and walk to the side of the house to dig up these extra forsythia for special friends we are visiting later today. 
It's going to be a good day...


  1. What a wonderful history to be found where you live! I have never visited New England, but one day. So glad you are embracing your house and seeing the love that is there; it sounds beautiful.

  2. This is such a great post, Angie! I love hearing about the history you are unearthing around your home. I miss the age of the east coast...our city doesn't go back as far. My dad and sis are archaeologists in Halifax and they find some amazing buried histories. One more reason I'm aching for the coast.
    Have a beautiful day! I'm dreaming of a cuppa with you on your porch!

  3. You are making me want to visit the east coast even more so! I am quite the romantic when it comes to old things and wondering what lies in their past. I have a beautiful antique necklace my dad gave me and every time I wear it, I wonder about the women who have owned it before me.
    I have always wanted an older home, but know they can be hard work. Our current house was built about 25 years ago and while the structure is sound, we still have lots of things to do to make it sparkle.

    I'm sure the lilacs aren't too far off flowering and aren't peonies beautiful when in bloom. We had a couple of lilac bushes at our previous house and I miss those two short weeks in which they flowered.
    Our current garden is mostly Australian native with lots of sprinklings of noxious weeds! The little blighters are forever poping their heads up. Keeps me busy I suppose!

    Oh, look, I have just about written a novel in your comments. Thanks for your lovely post. Jacinta

  4. So great to see the first evidence of spring! It's very cool also to have such history so close at hand. I like your comment about changing your attitude and making your house a home. We need to do the same!


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