Monday, May 2, 2016

Closing a Family Home, Our Version

Copyright 2016, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

The last almost 3 weeks we were in the Shenandoah Valley.  We were assisting in the closing of a family home.  It involved getting INTO the house, which alone was a chore. All our RV friends should appreciate and laugh with us when we tell you to get the garage door unlocked we used a 751 key.  The front door screen was latched and the only other way in was to get that garage door unlocked.  We discovered we did not have the key.  In a moment of some brilliance Man decided to try every key on our own personal key rings, not just the ones we had to access the house.  Imagine our surprise and happy dance when the lock opened.  Once in the garage, we faced spider webs and dirt that took a couple of days to sweep out.

The house had been locked up for about 12 years.  Heat off, water off, electric on, no fans, no air conditioning, nothing.  All drapes pulled.  Yes, that is the perfect recipe for icky stuff to grow, and we were faced with white mold and dirt on every single surface and object, furniture and knick knacks.  It looked like this:


And, this:


The floors were covered with a film as well.  Eventually they would be swept and then damp mopped with hot water, white vinegar and a small amount of isopropyl alcohol.  The least amount of water that could be used, was, as we were dealing with oak hard wood floors and in the kitchen area, linoleum.

The next few photos are of furniture and items found in the house, some we sold, some we would eventually decide to take home.  

The brass bed is heavy, and never tarnished in over 30 years.  I have NO idea how that is possible.


First order of the event was to get the water turned on in the house, the well, the pump, the hot water heater, the accumulator thingy.  With 12 years of being turned off, we opted to call a plumber, if something blew and started spewing water all over, the plumber would already be there.  All went quite well till the pump had run for 30 minutes.  Then, well, you know.  Bam!  And, gone.  40 year old pump was not going to pump one more drip of water. Next day, the pump was replaced.  Dang those things are not cheap.

This wash basin table/dresser has no water stains, not even the towel "rack".



With some water and a huge supply of disinfectant wipes and latex gloves, the mold and dirt eradication began in earnest.  We cleaned and cleaned.  And, we tossed out stuff,  flower arrangements that were over 20 years old were gone.  Ewww, the dust.

A very unusual china cabinet.


At the end of a week we had a well pump, a cleaner house, less mold and scum and a realtor, a realtor that had a great handyman to do the outside chores that we had no time, nor energy, nor skills for.  He power washed the front porch, the approach to the garage, much of the wood on the front of the house, the "barn", roof and all.  He painted the concrete on the front porch, tore down or cleaned out the pine needle filled gutters, put up new gutters on most of the back of the house, painted the metal roof on the barn, painted the doors and other wooden stuff on the barn and on the back of the house, and cut down and disposed of 4 HUGE bushes, 2 at the front porch of the house and 2 at the entrance to the barn.  What he accomplished in a few days we could not have managed to do in weeks.

The dining table chairs were covered in needlepoint done by the ancestor.


This is the same piece as in the photo with all the mold at the top of this post:


This is what we call the Winfield Armoire.  It is quite old, we know some of the history of it, who owned it before our immediate family did.  We need to revisit this with other family members, but, we feel it is over 100 years old. We believe it is yellow pine, it is actually built in 3 pieces, the top, the chest/storage area in the middle, which is actually two chests built and then joined at the middle and the bottom which has the 2 drawers.


There were 5 "hope" chests, here is one that was custom made for the family ancestor, cedar through and through:


This one is quite old we believe, just look at the lovely corners:


This is a church pew, from a small Mennonite church that was originally on family land nearby.  And, yes, there is a "hymnal" holder on the back.


Ceramic cats painted by the ancestor:


This plate was unusual in shape, a small serving platter.  Origins need to be researched some more.


Another piece of ceramic, this is "Pink Lady", or a version of:


There were many fabric pieces, this crocheted large sized quilt is crocheted in thread, not 4-ply yarn.


A crazy quilt underneath.  The quilt on the top appears to be old and possibly, hand stitched.


A Bible, a bottle that just appealed to me and a coffee grinder (brass handle on drawer is not original in my opinion.)


Eventually we decided to rent a small U-haul truck which I drove home and Man towed Tana.  It took us two days.

The truck has been unloaded and Man and I are taking a few days off, we have not moved back into the stickbuilt house because, frankly, we were just too tired.

It has been quite the adventure.  I also have other little genie goodies, like lots and lots of greeting cards, letters, photos.

Yes, indeed, quite the adventure.




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Sunday, April 24, 2016

And, Then, There Were Two

Copyright 2016, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

There were 4 of us, first cousins.  


Here we all are with our grandmother, Minnie.  In the back is yours truly on the left and cousin R, on the right.  In the front, left, with his finger in his mouth, is my brother Don and front and center, our cousin L.  R & L were siblings, Don and I the other set of siblings.

Don passed in 2014 and last week we received news that cousin L had passed.

And, then, there were two.




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