A place near and dear to my heart: our 180 year old farmhouse in upstate New York...
Established in 1830, our farm is situated on 80 mountain-view acres in a historic (Iroquois Indian, Revolutionary War, and near the old Erie Canal) and geologically-interesting (near Howe and Secret Caverns) area between Albany and Cooperstown.
The farmhouse, located under an old “spreading chestnut tree,” is reputed to have been a stop on the “Underground Railroad”. It was purchased 53 years ago from the family of the original owner/builder by my husband’s aunt and uncle. Until recently, the house had undergone very little modernization - the aunt and uncle installed the first running water, indoor toilet and bath in the 1980s and we recently installed the home's first furnace, hot water heater, and dishwasher.
Features of the farmhouse which are especially notable are the wide board chestnut floors, the exposed hand-hewn beams (hewn with a broadaxe and exposed in the living room), the original steep wooden staircase, the original wrought iron nails and Blake’s patent cast iron thumb latches on several of the upstairs doors, and the original crane in the fireplace graced by a simple Greek Revival style mantle. I enjoy digging up old china, glass shards, and clam shells in the earth surrounding the house and identifying the 19th century china patterns of the farm’s founding family (on which I have researched a genealogy).
An early 20th century photo of hay harvesting on our farm
Blake’s patent cast iron thumb latch
View of stone fence from dining room...
The second story of the house retains its original plank constructed doors. Two bedchambers are located on the northern side of the staircase and central hallway and two on the southern side. The former small closet on the south side of the central hallway was recently converted to a half bath with sink and toilet. (Note the original hand-wrought nails and the pencil-written initials on the back of the half bath door – possibly those of the carpenter who constructed it.)
From the hill on which the farm is located, one can see mountain views of the high peaks of the Adirondacks to the far north, the Green Mountains of Vermont to the far northeast, the Helderberg Mountains to the east and the Berkshires of Massachusetts to the far east, and the Catskills (seen below) to the south.
Our property boasts several “Northern Spy” apple trees;
daisies and black-eyed susans;
buttercups, clover and Queen Anne’s lace;
wild aster and goldenrod.
Our acreage includes three corn /hay fields farmed by a dairy farmer down the road, who sells his milk to Vermont’s Cabot Cheese Company.
We also have many birds - crows, red-winged blackbirds, robins, red-tailed hawks, mourning doves, wood thrushes, uireos, and owls; mammals - white-tail deer, cottontail rabbits, chipmunks, red and eastern grey squirrel, woodchucks, red fox (and we have been told of an occasional coyote); and amphibians - newts, toads, and yellow-spotted (see the beauty recently spotted below) and red eft salamanders.
We love the old stone fence full of fossils...
...and the amazing sunset views, which change with the seasons.
Two old pumps still stand in the front and side yards.
The old barns blew down several years ago - thankfully, we have old photos (this one taken by a local newspaper after a mid-May snowfall!)
We still have much of the old barn wood – and a much-in-need -of -restoration one horse open sleigh still resides in the storage barn.
A historic cave (under which is reputed to be an underground lake) is located in a forest in our “back 40” acres; and we have been told that the residents in the county seat village down the hill receive all their water from under our hill.
Our back deck at dusk...
A Mosaic of Interior Furnishings
To magnify the mosaic above, click on it ~ then click on it once again!
1. Crocks, 2. Flax Wheel, 3. Dome and Candle, 4. Dining Room Lamp, 5. The Shepherd, 6. Kitchen, 7. Kitchen Table, 8. Stenciled Chair, 9. Living Room Corner, 10. Living Room Desk, 11. Washstand, 12. Fireplace, 13. Lilac Table, 14. Clock, 15. Bedroom Corner, 16. Tole Tray and Dough Bowl, 17. Crane, 18. Toleware Candle Sconce, 19. Fall Dome, 20. Bookcase, 21. Bedroom 4 dressertop, 22. ., 23. Upstairs Landing, 24. Powder Room 1, 25. Bedroom 3 three
Photos taken in Fall of 2010 at the farm and in the "neighborhood".
(With thanks and appreciation to John and Linda!)