History Underfoot

Handy hubby spent a few hours last week installing a new floor vent in the dining room.  Since this room was cobbled together where there once was the basement stairs, entryway, clothes washer and dryer, electrical panel for the entire house, and a very homely half bath, this room has come a LONG way.  Getting it warmed up is one of the finishing touches.  In  order to put in the vent, he had to cut out a section of the floor to hook it up the to the furnace.  When he did, he took a “core sample” of Small Wonder Farm history.  He explained to me all the different layers in the over 7 inch floor sample—starting with the original hardwood floor and ending with the cherry red vinyl tile he installed last summer.  Wedged between layers one and two was a shim made from newspaper.  I pried this apart to see what I could see.  This layer dates back to 1969 or 1970.  I could not find an official date, but I did find cars for sale and the latest was for the all-new 1970 Starcraft Camper.  I was born in 1971, so this new floor layer happened shortly before I happened.  Many twists and turns brought us to the same place.  The original house was built in the 40’s–or so we have been told.  Below are the pictures of what those scraps showed me.  Amazing to think all this history is under my feet everyday.  Having an older home is often a challenge (especially in the remodeling phase), but I love our middle-aged house and I especially love that we are improving it and the land it is on.  Our first home, which we still own, is a 100 year old American Four Square, so it makes this house look like a baby.

What you could get then:

Talking catfish 3 for $1

a whole Pick-up load of firewood for $15

a house on Knox drive for $36,500

a job at the soda counter of Goodnight’s Drug Store if you were a nice high school girl

a ’62 Chevy Bel Air for $595

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One day, when we had been here for about a year and half, as I was heading back from the barn having done my morning chores, I saw a man was standing on the porch.  He asked me if I wanted to see a picture of my farm in the 60’s.  He represented an aerial photography company.  The film was beginning to disintegrate and he was seeing if anyone wanted to purchase the images.  So, I had to ask myself if I was interested enough in the history of this farm to pay for a pretty pricey hand tinted picture of it.  I decided I was and I have never regretted it.  It is clear from the picture that the farm included the land on either side of me and I wish it still did.   It’s pictorial proof of how the small family farm has all but disappeared.  The farm once was an orchard and used to have a farm pond (a goal of ours). Farms got broken up and sold off as super-sized factory farms took over.  Seems to me now that most of those who choose to live in the country, do not do so in order to care for and make use of the land beneath their feet.  I don’t understand the people who move to the country and buy a house close to the road with no trees.  Why move?   I am thankful that not everyone wants a place like mine, because there would not be enough to go around….

My love for this 5 acres is so fierce that I feel the need to preserve and honor it’s history.

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