Monday, November 2, 2009

The Farmhouse - Inspiration from the Adirondacks - Part I

Farmhouses evoke nostalgic memories - real or imagined - of a simpler life and a deep, nourishing connection to the seasons and the land. So what makes a true American farmhouse? A farmhouse connected to the land and all its seasons, that dominates a community of buildings, and that's built to last using natural, indigenous materials.

Recently I spent the day with my friend Linda, who having spent much time at an earlier age hiking and working at summer camp here in the Adirondacks, now lives as a permanent resident here in this wonderland. She is a master at farmhouse and barn restoration, and her devotion and artistic vision are amazing.

On this particular day, we took a walk on Fox Run Farm, one of her recent projects in the making. This property has one foot firmly planted in the national optimism of the well-heeled early 19th century, and one toe in the currently struggling horse country of Lewis, NY.

The prior family were a typical 20th century farming family - ten children and hard times. They had a subsistence dairy farm, like many small farms in the area. Cream & milk were exported to Albany via the railroads. The rear addition to the 1790's barn has a milking parlour with thirteen wooden stanchions and two birthing stalls. We noticed an old metal sign with the herd's certification still hanging in the barn. The round silo foundation is next to the barn, and studying the barn's construction reveals large cut nails and vertically sawn lumber.

The house is a Greek Revival cottage, with double parlours on each side of the entrance vestibule. Dating back to the early 1840s, the brick nogging in all the outside walls and the Franklin wood stove setup all point to that time. The windows are faithfully reproduced based on the remaining evidence -they hold the soul of the house. The skillful craftsmanship and materials used in building the house and barn are flawless, and am flabbergasted that these structures stand so true going into their third century. I love the survivorship aspect of these buildings. The four by six foot outhouse had a news article in it dating from 1898!

Linda sums it all up by saying "The farmhouses, the barns and their fields are all in connection to each other and in context...variable of time, light, color, texture. The viewer sees what the eye allows - I believe houses draw your energy attracting whom they desire...mystical, yes.
This farmhouse is on the radar of the Preservation League of New York, AARCH and staunch preservation advocates locally.

Stop by the Pink Pig blog again as I continue to take you through more farmhouse & barn restoration projects by my talented friend Linda.