To some, it is an old run-down farmhouse. Plaster-and-lathe, with cracks like old wrinkles. The window panes are old, and some show the wavy patterns of settling. Hardwood abounds - no carpet in this old house, only oriental rugs here and there. House slippers are de rigueur for us, the inhabitants, not by etiquette, but to offset the cold floors. The ca. 1887 fieldstone cellar/basement gives evidence to the quality of craftsmanship the Civil War soldier used when he built this, our old house.
The windows wear wooden plantation shades which open to views of the surrounding gardens and farmland. There are house shutters out in our barn which at one time must have been more than ornamental; some day I would like to haul them out from the loft of the barn and have a really good look-see in broad daylight.
Our huge barn is another amazing testament to old style craftsmanship. Kneebrace joinery, and mortise and tenon instead of nails. The fieldstone foundation is faltering a bit, the stalls bear evidence of cribbing horses or bovine boredom. The old weathervane is a bit askew - no doubt the Kansas wind has played a part in that. Barn swallows abound in the spring and summer. What a treat it is to watch nest-building, nesting, and hatching of these delicate birds. Occasionally, we have bats high, high above, in the barn rafters.
We have a well, and it's a pretty reliable water source - of course, we are only two miles from the Kansas River. We have a vegetable garden. What we call "the orchard" consists of two plum trees, two peach trees, and two apple trees. We have wild blackberries down by the creek in July. Our rancher neighbors are our sources for beef and lamb. Our ducks give us seasonal eggs.
All-in-all, we have shelter, food and water. Even in all its age and upkeep, I am thankful for this old house on this old property. We have lived here ten years. Before that? City dwellers. Our kids spent their later childhood years here, exploring the fields and pastures, riding horses, running the country roads, playing with ducks, dogs, and cats. And rounding up the errant peacocks. We have had many horticultural and garden experiments on this property. We fly kites and ride bikes. We've had lots of parties and potlucks and cookouts here. We go out in the night to view the constellations, and go out in the morning to watch the glorious sunrises.