The Old Home Place

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I have walked past this old farm for 12 years and today was the first time I walked up the driveway. No one has lived here for years and it now belongs to the conservation society. They don’t have the money to turn this into the living museum they have planned. Come with me and we will look at it together for the first time.

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There are two front doors off the front porch. One was for guests and led to the parlor. The second door was for everyone who came and went daily. Most old houses of this era had two front doors, but it is becoming rare to see a house now that still has both doors.

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Look at the beautiful workmanship of these gorgeous eaves.

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Don’t you love these old storm cellar doors?

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There are large mounds of bee balm growing near the back door of the house.

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Swallowtail Butterflies like the bee balm.

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A lucky horseshoe is nailed above the back door, open side up to catch the luck.

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A bower of lilac bushes separate the kitchen back door from the chicken coop.

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This was a very big chicken coop. See the doors that rise to let the chickens out? The windows all face south to give the hens the most light.

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How do you think this building was used? It rests upon large rocks.

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I wondered if it was for drying something. It is the only building resting on rocks.

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This shed with the spaced siding and holes in the roof, I believe, is a corn crib.

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Another Interesting Shed

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And this one was possibly for carriages….

come on, let’s look inside. The door is open.

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I thought this must be the main barn until I turned and saw …

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this big dairy barn.

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This little building right at the rear entrance may have been for storing milk, like a spring house. My sister, Cindy, worked on a large farm during college, maybe she’ll tell us what this building was.

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Prairie Land Reflected in a Barn Window

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 Northern Illinois Wildflowers/Herbs Seen near the Buildings

The Daisy Fleabane – Swallows line their nests with these flowers and leaves for the obvious reason. That is the same reason people used to mix this dried plant in with the straw used for mattresses.

 

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There are bird nests everywhere I look.

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And Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Anne’s Lace or Wild Carrot is known as a good companion plant for tomatoes. This fascinating plant has been found to change the temperature when planted near lettuce plants. And lettuce, as some of you know, likes cool weather. The carrots we eat are a cultivar of this plant.

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Long after the children are gone, the old tree still holds rungs to help climb up.

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Old Fashioned Perfumed Phlox

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This place really speaks of home to me. I wonder if there was ever a picnic table under these shady trees. Don’t you think this would be the perfect spot for a summer supper?

I enjoyed this walk so much, but on my way home, I saw this scene near the cemetery:

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Some men had cut down three big, beautiful trees and they were grinding out the stumps. I counted over two hundred rings on this stump. A man said the trees had insects of some type that would spread to other trees. I had to wonder if a tree could stand up to all the storms and insects for over 200 years, why would it need cutting down now? Why couldn’t it be treated to kill the insects? Wouldn’t the insects just move to another tree?  Did a tree cutting company go to the village and tell them these trees must be cut down? The morning ended with a lot of questions that marred my perfect walk today.

32 thoughts on “The Old Home Place

  1. Despite it being empty and in need of care, it didn’t seem as sad as some old homes do. Life seems to be moving on despite not having human occupants. Thank you so much for “walk”. It was a nice start to my day.

    Finally someone who feels the loss of trees. I ached at the sight of that tree stump. My neighbor cut down a huge oak that was “blocking sun” from his back room. I don’t understand how people just slay trees without considering it’s value. We pulled out a large shrub from our front flower bed that was rooting into the foundation, I tried to think of every considerable option before doing that. I went and planted 5 more in it’s memory. I know I’m a bit of nut when it comes to these things, but with air quality in our state as bad as it is, you don’t have to be a Pagan to get the value of a large tree beside a home.

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    • I know, Deidre, it is like some people have no mindfulness for how long it took a tree to get that big and that beautiful. There are times when trees (or bushes) have to go. But it is the careful thought processes that people like yourself and Alycia use before making a decision that just makes me proud to be a human being. How often can we say that? I never realized when I started a blog that I would feel this camaraderie with other people. Thank you.

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  2. I like this post for a number of reasons. First, the farm here reminds me so much of my paternal grandparents’ farm in Sabetha, KS. They had the cellar door (I think they referred to it as a tornado shelter, though) that I was too scared to open. I just always hoped & prayed there wouldn’t be a tornado while we were visiting because there was NO WAY I was going down into the ground like that!!! :-) I remember all the outbuildings on the property. They raised cattle and had lots of pigs, too. There’s was a popcorn farm with rows and rows as far as the eye could see. They had a small orchard with lots of fruit trees. They even had a well! There was a pump outdoors, and the well water somehow magically ran through the faucets in the house. That was so different from what this city girl knew. The well water tasted really different, too. I didn’t care much for it, but my Mom thought it was fabulous. I also remember being able to see all kinds of wildlife around the farm. It was an education unto itself. I remember, too, that 2nd door. We didn’t have a 2nd door at our home, so that door was always a mystery to me. I did take notice, however, that visitors seemed to come through that door rather than the one we did day in, day out. You’ve just solved the mystery for me!

    I might be able to offer an explanation for why the trees are possibly being cut down. A lot of ash trees have been removed from our subdivision lately thanks to the emerald ash borer beetle that has arrived in Missouri after first being discovered in the U.S. in Michigan in 2002. It is thought to have traveled here from overseas in cargo. The larvae feed on the inner bark and kill the trees from the inside out. Parts start to drop off. The first clue they were here was when a large limb came crashing into the side of a home. A few days later, several more limbs were found lying across the road and/or in people’s yards. After investigation and examination, it was found that several of the ash trees were infected. It was too late to treat them, so they had to be destroyed. It’s sad.

    We had 2 tree companies out over the weekend to talk to us about what appears to be a 125+ year old locust tree on our side yard. It has been invaded by all kinds of critters (termites, squirrels, bees, an owl, a woodpecker), and you can actually hear it creaking. (That was actually kind of cool, but then I was scared that it might come crashing down on our heads at any second!) Two substantial limbs have already fallen off of it over the last 8 years, one hitting the house & causing substantial damage and the other barely missing our neighbors’ home. (Luckily, it just tore up her flowers which were easily replaced.) If we see another harsh winter like last year, chances are Bertha is going to drop more limbs (that by themselves are the size of large trees!) and possibly do some real damage or hurt someone. Instead of the knee-jerk reaction to just cut her down, though, I have contacted the Missouri Department of Conservation upon the advice of one of the tree companies. They said they’ve never seen a locust tree that size and that the Dept. of Conservation may be interested in saving it. That would be the desirable outcome. We’d hate to lose Bertha. She is a wonderful source of shade for the SE side of our home, and she’s definitely a conversation starter with her girth and presence!

    Geez…I’ve practically written a book here! I hope there’s room for more comments after my ramblings!!! :-)

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    • Alycia,
      That would be so awesome if the Missouri Department of Conservation trimmed and saved your fabulous tree and took the expense on because they deemed the tree as unusual. Tree work is so expensive. If everyone in the world had your intelligence to research before they cut down, our world would be a fabulous place for all of us to live. I admire you.
      I completely enjoyed the story about your grandparents farm in Sabetha, Kansas. I bet it was wonderful. And they had two doors off the front porch! I think, from the stories I’ve read, that the parlor was a place where the Bible was kept (In fact, in Mississippi some people referred to the parlor as the Bible room.)and everything else in the room was the best of what the people had. The curtains were kept closed so nothing would fade from the sun. They didn’t have vacuum cleaners in 1860 and these rooms were off limits. It is easy to understand when I stop to think that people didn’t get new furniture (ever). If they saved up to buy a clock, that was the clock they owned until they died. They had to take care of what they owned. I think my generation can grasp this better than younger generations because we had grandparents and parents who lived through the Depression. Another thing that is interesting is that your grandparents stuck to the original Victorian tradition of using one door most of the time. My grandmother kept the shades pulled, at least halfway down, in the dining room so the sun didn’t ruin her furnishings. That was a direct carry over from her Victorian mother. I remember thinking as a teenager that it was silly. (If you can hear me, Grandma, I’m sorry!)

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  3. Wow, what an educational post and interesting comments. Ginene, the images are fantastic! I didn’t realize the significance of the two doors – silly me, I’d always assumed the home had been made into a duplex at some time. Duh. I hope the conservation society can eventually acquire enough money to work on this beautiful home, the out buildings and property. The flowers and bowers tell me that this farm was well cared for and loved at one time. I just have to add that we have those old fashioned phlox growing in our yard, too. They smell devine!

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  4. That’s where I’d like to spend my last days. Somewhere peaceful, serene, simple and beautiful just the way it is. I’m going to pull it up periodically because even though it’s not my home – it’s ” home.” I can hear the screen door opening and closing, the dog barking and the rooster in the morning.

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    • I’m right with you, Denise. The amazing thing about all these buildings is that they are in remarkably good condition and very sturdy. Someone painted the buildings with latex paint instead of barn paint which is more like a stain, as you know, and just wears off. Who ever made the decision to use latex created a huge, and I mean huge, job for whomever repaints these barns.
      Maybe, someday, we will all be reunited again on a place like this with three houses, the original farmhouse, and a couple of houses created from outbuildings. I can see it. Remember, that was always Dad’s dream, that everyone lived on the same property in their own house and share the chicken eggs, the garden, and the taxes.

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  5. I thoroughly enjoyed your tour of the home and out buildings. I can see such potential! It almost makes me want to take on a new project. Almost! But we already have a massive project that will for sure be our forever home, and I can’t believe I even thought that. Haven’t felt that way for a long time, since being overwhelmed many times with our current reno.

    I love all the bird nest photos, especially the nest on the post with vines. Lovely!

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    • Hi Ann,
      I know what you mean. We see a place like this and the feeling is to make it come back alive with clothes hanging on the line and chickens in the yard. I think everyone who is remodeling their home is overwhelmed. It is one thing if one has the money to tell others what they want and just do it, please. But, living in a construction zone and trying to maintain the energy it takes is not fun. Even ones clothing must be covered in the closets from plaster dust and it seems to seep into everything.
      I had to put the bird’s nest in, they are so cute.
      I’m glad you enjoyed this post, Ann.

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  6. Ginene, I feel like I walked around that farm right along with you. I can practically hear the insects in the fields. I love these old farmsteads … probably takes me back to my youth when we would spend a week or two at my great grandparents old family farm in South Dakota. Thanks for taking me along on the tour!

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    • Hi Linda,
      Thanks for stopping by today. I love the sound of insects and birds in the Midwest fields, but most of all I love the peepers. That’s what people call the little frogs in Northern Wisconsin where I lived for many years. Oh, the peepers singing at night in the spring is a sound I really miss.

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  7. Fabulous post! Maybe the buidling on stones is for grain of some kind? To keep the mice and critters out of it? the other little building with windows–how about a milk house?? And the TREE! Good grief. Sure–might have been an ash–but if not–they will have answer to Their Maker someday as to why they cut it down. Keep on writing–love your posts.

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    • Thank you, Beth, for your sweet comment! I think the tree must have been an ash. I read on line that they can be saved but the process has to be done within a couple of years of infestation. At a certain point, it is too late. Now that I think of it, that is pretty much the case with everything and everyone!

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  8. Well I must say…It was very delightful reading your blog and comments made. I actually made lunch, sat out side, put my feet up, put a pillow on my back, got nice and cozy and finished reading. The walk was lovely. Nice to have places like that to go and explore. Can’t wait to read more of the adventures.

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  9. Hi Ginene , let me take the liberty of barging in as a late and surprise visitor to the country home featured in your walk-logue (my coinage) . Greatly evocative pics of deserted buildings and surrounding greenery , embellished by your narrative that swept me back by over four decades to similar scenes in my ancestral village , what with all the birds nests , butterflies , flowers and trees and the talk of clotheslines and chickens ( the cows grazing in the field seemed to be the only missing feature) reminding one of those halcyon days . I do appreciate the love for trees and environmental conservation . Life and its concerns are pretty much the same , be it America , India or anywhere else…best wishes…raj

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Just found your blog, through Must Love Junk. I, too am German decent, a hard working bunch they were. Your photos of the old farm bring back many memories. I hope that it can be preserved. Thanks for the great blog.

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    • Hi Ava,
      Yes, German women place a big importance on clean houses…it seems to be tangle up with their self-esteem as women. I remember my grandmother telling me that they used to think, when she was growing up, that getting the wash out on the line early and off as soon as it dried was another thing they aspired to do. Of course, they were all homemakers. Their domain was the house and front flower garden.

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  11. I like these old houses. In my country, Jordan, houses are made of brick and cement, we don’t use wood at all. What I like more is the big trees around the house and I’m so sad that some people would cut a tree just because it has insects!

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    • Please tell Jackie that I thought that was funny! Well, I spent the last 15 minutes reading about all staddle stones (after reading your interesting post called “Bats.” I had the same experience with two bats flying in an open window last summer, by the way.) Those staddle stones are just fascinating to me. I’m surprised that there are none in the U.S.A. with all of the people from other lands. Well, perhaps the U.S.A. didn’t have stone like that, I don’t know. I think they are brilliant.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Derrick,
      As things sometimes happen, I was speaking to an architect, who is a friend, today and I asked him if he knew about steddle stones. I showed him your photographs and we had an interesting conversation about these stone braces. I told him about the photograph I had taken of the old home place for my blog and how we were wondering what that buildings use was, set upon those rocks. He said, “The reason that building is set upon those rocks is that they moved it from my farm and had nothing else to set it on!” Isn’t that funny?

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