Since bad weather and social obligations kept us in town last weekend, yesterday was our first opportunity to get out to the farm and see how things look with the farmhouse gone. I was hoping too, to see where the fire really jumped to away from the house and to get a decent look at the debris in the hole, but there was too much snow for that. It was also too cold to think about orchard work or barn demolition. So this was just a sightseeing trip to check out the foundation of the house, post fire, download images from the trail cam, walk out to the back on snowshoes and walk back into the wind.
Too much snow to drive in either, so D. shoveled a space at the end of the driveway and then backed down a good section of the driveway, at least until he would have had to swing right and down a hill into deeper snow. All-Wheel-Drive certainly served us well. While all this shoveling was going on, I walked in on snow shoes with my backpack and a lidded five gallon bucket full of the last two weeks of kitchen trimmings: onion skins, eggshells, carrot peels, coffee filters and grounds, roots from potatoes over-enthusiastic for spring, various other vegetable trimmings, and making up most of the volume, grapefruit rinds and winter squash skins. I figure we might as well take the compost stuff out there since we need it there more. We didn’t even start a fire in the woodstove in the shack; it was just nice to be out of the wind. I put the dishtowels away and got out some more optic orange tape to make the cable at the end of the driveway more visible again.
Then we walked up to have a look at the foundation of the house. We’ve talked about what to do with it. We haven’t come to a conclusion yet. Of course we have to fill it in, but do we salvage some of the stone, especially from the interior walls? Do we rent a Bobcat and push the walls in entirely, or do we pay the old house a little bit of an homage by filling it in up to a point and then making a garden within the walls like this, except less fancy, because this was never a very big or grand house. Whatever we do with the foundation we’ll work big and little things from the place into our new place. Some stone walls in the garden and a stone-lined fire pit. Maybe bookcases from the beams salvaged from the small barn. Projects with other supports and siding salvaged from that barn… A headboard from the small barn’s upper sliding door. Maybe a coat rack in our mudroom like this one mounted on the wall in a friend’s hallway in Tulsa, OK made from one of the boards we salvaged from the windows.
After looking at the foundation of the house and taking our walk, we had a little time to kill before the restaurant in town we wanted to go to would open for dinner. We went to the bookstore because I wanted to see if she had any old plat maps of the area. Old maps, yes. None of either the township or county for which I was looking. I was sorely tempted by a book on Wisconsin silos, but I didn’t buy it. Then we walked to one of the art galleries. We looked at some jewelry, some furniture and dyed silk scarves. I had almost decided to buy some handmade soap. Then we saw the tree. Actually there were three tree pieces by the same artist. All mixed media and we really liked two of them. We decided to buy one of them. The artist called it Homecoming. For now, it hangs in our living room here. I have no doubt that at some point in the next couple of years, it’ll be hanging in a new building out at the land.