Wednesday, January 5, 2011

More New (Old) Goodies

I promised to do a post about our experience cleaning out T's grandmother's 200-year-old farmhouse.  I'm not sure I have the energy to go into the details today, but here's the basics: we spent three days during Christmas vacation cleaning out the top storeys of the farmhouse because T's dad would like to turn it into separate apartments to rent. 


If this doesn't sound like a big deal, it's because you haven't seen the upper storeys of the farmhouse!  His grandmother lived alone for many years (right up until her death last year), but due to limited mobility, she only used the ground floor.  So the upper levels were uninhabited for probably 30 years, except by squirrels, rats, and mice.  The squirrels made themselves nice little nests in the walls and stashed their nuts:

This is the living room.




 T. claims I exaggerate when I say the house was being lived in by animals.  So, I ask you, gentle readers: what are squirrels, mice, and rats: vegetable, animal or mineral?  ;)

Anyhow, first we started by cleaning the attic, which had been variously used over the years to store grain and dry tobacco.  And then later on, roof tiles and old sewing machines, broken glass, etc. were stored up there, and that was its state when we cleaned it out.  But first we had to start by creating another level to the attic by laying planks across the roof beams.  We then transferred the roof tiles up a 100-year-old handmade (no joke) ladder to rest upon the planks.  My job was to stand on the ladder and hand up the tiles to T., who had to scamper across the planks.  Oh so very safe.

Then we progressively worked our way down and cleaned out (yet another) grain storage/junk storage area, then the bedrooms, living room, and various closets containing 30-year-old rat poison and various other hazardous chemicals.  I stress that this had been an active farm until about 30 years ago.  T's father worked on the farm until eventually getting married and becoming a banker.  And all the tools, chemicals, etc. that the farm needed were still being stored in the house, stable, barn, and attic.  That makes for a lot of rusty blades, nails and chemicals.

Some items we took out of the house.


 I don't have time today to describe our antics in cleaning out the hayloft (which still contained 30-year-old hay), nor do I have time to explain why we needed to do this.  Instead, I would like to stick with the house.  In cleaning out the house, we had to move some very beautiful, very heavy furniture.  We also discovered some equally beautiful and well-preserved items in the various cupboards and drawers.  We were able to claim a beautiful rug, which is now in our living room:


And I also took some handkerchiefs that were still in their original packaging, never used.  I'm not sure what I will do with them; perhaps I'll try to sew them together into a shirt or skirt.


I also claimed a beautiful old spinning wheel.  We couldn't fit it in the car on this trip, so it's being kept for me safely until we return.

And now I need to go prepare my lunch!  So stayed tuned for more complaining descriptions about our antics on Episode Two: Cleaning out the Farmhouse

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