The old farm is in the rolling countryside of Prince Edward Island, away from the cities and the shoreline, deep in farm country.
There, on this bitterly cold March afternoon, it feels cold enough to freeze time itself. And in a way, it is. My friend, Lucy, has purchased the old farm and is renovating the house for her future, with all the necessities on the ground level. During renovations, the house provides a glimpse of the past and stirs up some great memories.
The original house was built in the 1880s and just beneath the surface, it is a time capsule. Underneath the plaster covering the walls are the laths used in house construction in Canada until the 1950s.
A closer look at the beams in the ceiling is interesting as well. Who knew that nails were square at one time?
And who nailed them there so long ago? Their identities are in the genetic code and records of other families, pictures faded in old boxes, stories passed on through the generations.
The wood on the exterior of the house, under the siding, is varied in size and not finely milled as one would see today. Those old wood forests are gone from the island now, cut for construction of railway, homes, barns and buildings more than a century ago. The individual boards, some quite wide, stood the test of time.
A wood stove heated the home against the wind which could bite through the walls. In more recent times, the owners had insulation blown into the walls, so the old house was warmer than it had been a century ago.
The stairs are narrow, leading to an upper floor with sloped ceilings.
Walking up those stairs takes me back to my childhood in Newfoundland to my great grandmother's house. There, similar stairs led to an attic where I loved to play. It was magical to me with its sloped ceilings, giving it a cozy feel, the beds tucked under the roof line.
The old tub was like the one in my grandfather's house where I spent the first few years of my life. As a teenager, a bath in that tub felt luxurious!
Up those stairs, time turned back sixty years with memories of places and people I loved!
Like many of the farm houses in Prince Edward Island, this home is a combination of two houses. As the family grew, the owner purchased another house, moved it to the site and attached it to his original home. The newer house is the kitchen of this home and an attic extension upstairs. It is a huge home, for a farming family who worked dawn to dusk, on the fields, caring for animals, working hard. If those wall could talk...
Outside, the old trees include pine and poplar which are dead, their skeletons making interesting designs again the sky.
Nature has begun to reclaim them already and Lucy will do the rest. She plans to sit on her patio in the morning sun and look out over the countryside, which includes a little stream that runs through the valley. Knowing Lucy, she will have a spectacular garden like she does at her present home.
One old barn is fire wood now
while another building may house some animals.
Lucy's son will use the old tractor which still operates. Some of the thirty-three acres will grow crops. Nearby, some of the neighbours look on.
The old farm is moving into the twenty-first century but I wonder when the next renovation will be? Will those people in the future ponder its construction, builders, and owners like we did on this cold day? Only time will tell.