Friday, May 23, 2008

"Tails" From The Farm Part 9

You can start reading part 1 here.

The only heat in the house was wood and no stove came with it. We asked Reuben (the Amish man that owned the house) if he thought a Pioneer Maid cook stove would heat the house. He lit up like a light bulb and got all excited. He asked if we had one and we told him we did. Pioneer Maids are Amish made and that must have made him happy.

We talked and prayed and talked and prayed some more. It was more than we wanted to spend, but we were going to make an offer for what we felt we could spend. We had never owned a house before and did not really know what we were doing. Our real estate agent was very helpful and assured us that we could offer what ever we wanted and wait and see what they would say. We submitted the offer which included the diesel engine and the water softener. They made a counter offer and we in turn made a counter offer to that. We told them we could go no higher. He said that he had to meet with his Dad and Brothers as they had helped him with the mortgage on his house and his new house. His real estate agent picked him up and took him over to his Dad’s house. They did most of their discussion in Dutch, but every once in awhile the realtor would hear them say something he understood. He told us later that several times things seemed to get really heated up and going no where and Reuben would mention “Pioneer Maid” and then they would all get excited and start talking again. They came back and accepted our offer. I guess us having that stove helped seal the deal. We had noticed a small local bank in a town between my brother’s house and the new house. We went in on my birthday in early December to apply for a loan. The people at the bank were so warm and friendly. They told us all that we would have to do. We got started and since the house was empty, we closed in a very short time.

We had our pick-up truck and stock trailer to move things with. First of all, we had to go and put some sort of stove in so we could warm the place up to work in. We purchased a wood stove that was on the smaller side just to get it in quickly. The Pioneer Maid weighed 680 pounds with all its packaging and would need to be carried up a flight of stairs, so we would need help. My baby brother and his family came up and helped us hook up the stove and do a few things. They loved the house and were thrilled for us. They offered to come and help us move the Pioneer Maid in and the piano. Joshua and I started making trips in the truck during the daytime. We were emptying out the storage unit as we were able. We would go up and start a fire to warm the place up. We could not turn the water on yet because we were not there to keep a fire going and the pipes would freeze. We found out where the closest bathroom was. I felt like I was living a dream. I LOVED that house. It was a gift to me from God. I had always dreamed of a log cabin with a big wrap around porch. I still love log cabins, but would be every bit as happy in a big old Amish style home. The living room was very large and spacious, as was the kitchen. There was an 8’ X 10’ walk in pantry with 2 counters for working on along with some cabinets. The master bedroom was off the living room and there was another small bedroom attached to it. This had been the nursery, but we would use it for the office. Upstairs there were 4 bedrooms that Joshua got to choose from. =) He picked a corner room with good views out both sides. We chose a room to keep as storage. There was an attic, but they had never cut a hole to get up into it. Who needed an attic with all the extra space? There was a full walk out basement as well. We had gotten a really good deal on the piano. The guy held onto it until we had the house. He then delivered it to the house, but only put it in the basement since it was a walk out. The house was on the side of a hill. The walkout was in the front. As we unpacked we realized how many items we had that needed electricity of which the house had none. All of our ceiling fans, and lamps, etc were put in the storage room.

A couple of times we picked up Reuben to help us out and show us some things, plus he had a few things stored in the barn he wanted to get. He would ask us questions. You could tell that he was trying to figure out what box to put us in. He asked if we had a TV and we said no. He was really surprised at that. There were 2 ladies who lived next door to this house. They had loved on his children. They let them watch TV and he was not happy about that, but he still let them go over there. They had taken the children up to Cleveland and taken them up in high buildings to look out. They took them on train rides. They bought them bicycles that had to be kept over at their house since this particular parish did not allow bikes. When we talked to the ladies later, they did their best to expose those children to the world. That in itself is sad, but they were allowed the freedom to do so. That is sadder. You could tell we really confused him. We brought up lots of things about God. We had ready so many books about the Amish and assumed they were all Christians. We have found out that is not the case at all. He did not know much about God, but he did know what his church believed and what their rules were. His family and several other families had split off from the local parish and moved farther south because they wanted to be able to smoke on Sundays. I don't think they wanted to smoke in their meetings, but afterwards. The people who still lived up around this house did not smoke on Sundays. It confused him as we talked about our relationship with the Lord.

Here is a picture of the front of the house after we put lattice up across the bottom.

It was coming down to the end of the year and we wanted to be in before New Years Day. My baby brother and his family came up to help move the stove into place. It took a lot of work to get it on the trailer. Then driving the hills with the truck bed full as well as the trailer full was quite a trip. There was one long hill that several times the truck was down to about 15 MPH when we hit the top. They got the stove out and put it at the bottom of the porch steps. They did try to put some bracing under the steps, but they were still wobbly. Doug (my brother) said he would take the top side and Joshua and Michael would be on the bottom side. Only by God’s grace did the three of them get that stove up those stairs. It about killed Doug, because he had to bend all the way over, step up and pull. We got the stove up and in the living room and they hooked it up. We got a fire going and we were in business. We did not have the heart to ask him to help with the piano. They were all worn out and huffing and puffing. That had been a major feat. We got pizza from a local place and they stayed and our first dinner in our new house with us. We sat around and talked awhile. The boys all went looking at stuff. They put up some quick fencing so we could bring our animals. Doug & his family were invaluable in helping us get set up in that home. We celebrated Christmas with family, but we were doing everything we could to get in by the end of the year. We ordered hay and it was delivered to the barn. They 2 young men even put it away in the barn for us. We had stalls rigged up.

It was New Year’s Eve and we got the animals up there and were going to be spending the night. As they went back for a second trip, I was making up beds. We had turned the water on and they had started the hot water heater fire. We had wiped everything down. I was putting dishes away in the cabinets and filling the pantry. They got back and said they had one more load to bring and asked if I wanted to go with them. I was so tired, but there was so much to do, I told them I was going to stay there. I had Star with me. When you came in the front door, there was a staircase right in front of you. It was a closed stair case with a door. If you went to the right, you went in the kitchen and if you went to the left you went into the living room. From the front door, you could see the master bedroom door and if it was open, you could see the bed. I was totally spent and went in to lie down on the bed. I had my back to the door. Now, if you know me well, you would know that I really don’t like animals in the house. They are NOT allowed on my bed at any time for any reason. Star would sleep with Joshua in his bed, but I think it is gross to have a dog in or on your bed… or any other animal for that matter. I guess I fell sound asleep. Michael said that when they got back they wanted a camera really bad. I had my back to the front door and was out cold. Up on the bed, curled against my back laid Star, sound asleep with me. =) They thought it was hysterical.

We were in. We were not unpacked, but God had given me an earthly home to settle into. He not only gave me an earthly home, but one that was WAY beyond my wildest dreams.

Here are some pictures of the living room after we had our furniture in and situated.

We settled into a routine. Joshua would go down and start the coal fire to get the hot water heater going. They would load it up with paper and then put coal on top of it. Then they would put diesel fuel on it. When he lit that thing in the basement, you would hear it roar up the chimney like a rocket taking off. That is how Reuben showed us how to do it, but I never quite got used to it. One time it blew the pipe right out of the wall and the basement started filling with smoke. We had to get it back in place quick. We were really good at first about making sure we used the hot water and not let it get to hot. As time went on, we became more relaxed about it. Then we would start to hear the pipes pinging. We knew we had to hurry. We would run and turn on the hot water tap in the hallway sink and the kitchen sink. The steam would come billowing out and fill the room starting at the ceiling. Many times the steam would come well down below our waists. You think that we would learn. It made for some REALLY hot water though. You had to be very careful to not burn yourself.

The stairs to the basement were steep and a bit wobbly like the porch stairs. There were no side railings or backs on the stairs. Star had not been in a place with stairs before. She wanted nothing to do with them. We would try to coax her up with treats or a promise of a ride in the car, but no go…. She did not want to go anywhere near those stairs either going up or going down. There were 3 stairs to the back porch and that is where she liked to come and go from. Joshua would pick her up and “help” her walk up the stairs or down them. She finally got used them and would go up or down at a break neck speed.

The basement was divided up a bit. There was a long narrow room where the coal stove and hot water tank were. There was a door to the outside from that room and from the main room. At the back of the main room was a small bathroom with just a toilet and another room that they had used for a root cellar. In the root cellar room was what I got to use for a refrigerator. They had taken cement and made a rather large square bathtub shaped thing. It had a drain pipe that stood up several inches from the bottom of the tub. There was a spigot for running water. You would turn the water on to a trickle. It would fill the tub up to the top of the drain pipe and then drain away. It was a man made spring house set up. You would sit your items down in a water proof container or jar in the water. The water came up out of the ground at around 50 degrees. It was constantly running through and keeping cold. I would put smaller items in little plastic baskets to keep them from going all over the place. This worked really well at keeping things cold. It had a couple of downsides though. Number one, the water that went through there had not gone through the softener yet and it was gross. It stained all my containers and jars. The other downside was that it was in the basement back in this dark room and we did not have any electric lights. You would have to go the basement with a flashlight, get the stuff out while it was dripping wet and then carry everything (or make many trips) back up to the kitchen to use. We thought storing meat would be no problem, because it was winter in Ohio. We were going to buy the meat and keep it in a cooler on the porch. That winter was very mild and most of the time we had to buy the meat on the day we were going to fix it.

We lived without any electricity for a couple of months. The way the house was set up made it easy. The only two things I really missed were my refrigerator and my computer. I love the kerosene lamps. They gave such a soft warm glow. We had a couple of Aladdin lamps that would get pretty bright, so we could still see well. I loved having the glow of lamplight in the bedroom. It made everything seem so cozy and snug. You would go in and turn the light down and then blow it out before getting into bed. I have to say that the time we lived there were some of the happiest times of my life. I loved that house and that life.

To be continued…


TnFullQuiver said...

Please DON'T wait until next Friday to continue your story!!!! The Amish house was so beautiful the way you had the living room set up. I too would love a log cabin or an Amish house. We live in a ranch house just like I grew up in. I enjoy my has a large kitchen/dining room...but I miss the character that comes from the Amish homes or log cabins.
grace and peace,

The Stricklands said...

What a beautiful home and story to go with it. I always thought I would love to live without electricity, but the dark basement might be a problem :0) Please let me know when the food book is back in your online store. My email is rstrick1 at suddenlink dot net
Have a blessed holiday weekend.

pilgrimama said...

Hi,your blog looks interesting! I see you like Casting Crowns.I like their Praise you in This Storm.

The Sisters said...

Hi Marci,
We enjoyed reading more of your story! The Amish house is beautiful. We can't wait to hear more!

~Have a wonderful weekend!

Unknown said...

I loved that house, too. Especially the kitchen!

Anonymous said...

Loved it-the Amish house sounds like it is right out of a fairy tale!

Jthemilker said...

We used to live in a house that looked almost identical on the outside... big front porch with 2 doors - one to the kitchen and one to the main hallway... kitchen, dining room, living room, and bath downstairs and 4 bedrooms upstairs. We LOVED it!!!!