Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Making of a Home

Of all the things I love about spring, I think what I love the most is open doors and windows, welcoming the outside sounds and smells into the house.

These are a few of the beautiful birdsongs that I hear every day now.

song sparrow

But wait, what is that other song I hear? It isn't a sound that everyone thinks beautiful, but I do. It is the beepbeepbeep of a big truck backing up. This isn't a sound we hear very often out here. But this year the spring air is filled with it because Margaret and her boyfriend, Matt are building a house! Well, they aren't actually building it, but it is being built for them.

We gave them almost four acres of land down at the bottom of our dirt road, bordering the main road. It is a beautiful, sunny, flat, open meadow surrounded by woods. Just behind where the house will be is a logging road that goes all around our land. The east border is our pasture.

Margaret and Matthew got a great deal on this log home. The sellers and the builders are all in the same family. Apparently they build all over - one of the latest is in Ireland!

Though this view doesn't have the cellar foundation their house will, I wanted you to see the side view with the sliding doors.

It has a great front porch facing north, sliding glass doors opening east onto what will someday be a patio, a loft and two bedrooms upstairs, and an open plan living, dining, and kitchen downstairs. Also downstairs is their bedroom and bath, and a combination laundry room/half bath.

Last winter in the midst of the worst white-out snowstorm we had, all of us and Matt's mother all drove to the log home company, and from there went to look at a house. It was someone's vacation home, and they allow the company to show prospective buyers around when no one is there. We all five fell in love with the place. It felt so spacious, beautiful, and homey. It is also the type of house that will look like it belongs on that piece of land, as if it has always been there.

There have been many steps along the way that had to be taken before work began.

Deeding 3.9 acres to them.
Perc test which was done last year. The numbers go from 1-5. 1 is sand, and this land is 2, so that's very good.
Hiring septic design person who submits design to state for approval.
Building permit from the town.
And then of course the loan.
One of the fun connections in the whole process was that the lawyer was in Tom's first eighth grade class.

Before land was even broken they had to get an address, which nowadays is obtained at the local police station for 911 purposes. Margaret was given a choice of a few numbers and chose one I love (I admit I'm a bit of a number person).

The first activity down there was the phone company fellows putting in the telephone pole. Later they will connect the pole to one in our north pasture across the dirt road. In the meantime, there is a temporary electric hookup while the house is being built.

The most recent work was digging the hole for the foundation, and there occurred one of those things that will be told as a building story for years to come. They asked Margaret which way she and Matt wanted the house to face, and she said the road. After the hole was dug, Margaret and Matt stopped by and thought it looked a little odd, and then the next day she talked to the digging men. They thought she meant the main road not the dirt road, which is the road we always, always mean when we say 'the road.' So they proceeded to redo the hole, and now have it ready for the foundation.

We were all down there last evening looking at the big hole, and all the piles of sand, and the debris from the inside of the hole. Lexi was home, but little Piglet had a great time exploring. She made her way down into the hole on the short side, and then wandered around a bit wondering how to get out. Matt came to her rescue.

The main topic of conversation was not, however, this new home. It was all about the end of LOST. Here is Tom telling everyone what he thinks happened!


  1. I love doing the same thing- opening all the windows in my house to let the cool breeze in, and all the beautiful chirps from outside.
    And I love that cabin! How charming! ♥

  2. Erin, I know some people keep windows closed in the summer to keep the heat out, but I never do that. We have the windows closed too many months of the year to keep them closed in the summer! Thank you - that's a lovely adjective for their home.

  3. What a beautiful house. I especially love the porch! It must be nice to have all that land to build on. My property is 6600 sq feet, and that is considered large in Hawaii, as land is hard to come by and is very valuable -- after all, it is an island!!!

  4. I agree that it is lovely to open windows and doors - a real sign that the seasons have changed. the only problem that I have at the moment with this is huge amounts of dead wisteria petals floating into the house, getting everywhere including all tangled in the cat's fur (which is not inconsiderable - see my latest post!). Thanks for sharing some wonderful pictures and a lovely post


  5. You lucky dog having your kids just down "the road". One of these days you will hear the Grands screaming and playing along with all those birdy sounds. It is great to be able to open up the house. It feels better than spring cleaning just getting all of that stale winter air out and the fresh spring air in.

  6. Thanks, Gigi, I do, too. It will be nice and cool on a summer day. Besides being an island, I think more people are drawn to live in 'paradise' than in my land where it is winter for many, many months. :<)

    Hannah, does that mean you don't have screens?? We have to have them because of bugs, bats, birds, and who knows what else coming in along with the nice sounds and smells. :<)

    Lisa, my heart is so full that she wants to live here. I am thankful every single minute.

    Opening windows is a lot easier than spring cleaning, too. :<)

  7. How wonderful that you will be neighbors! Their house seems ideal!

  8. Aisling, one of the four of us says 'neighbors' every time we meet. :<) I can't express my deep, deep joy.

  9. Nan, I am jealous of your daughter! I have always wanted a log home. The log home she picked out is almost identical to one my friend and her husband built themselves about 30 yrs. ago and they still live in it today! Congratulations to your daughter and son-in-law!

    I love my windows and doors open too! Down South here we don't get much opportunity to do that with the heat!


  10. Sherri, I love it that your friends are still in their house! Oh, and not a son-in-law. :<)

  11. How nice to have the kids nearby! A real blessing.

    I've always loved log cabins and porches. And since we live in a manse, I'm always keeping my eyes open for house plans. We'll have to build someday when we retire.

    Love your lilac banner!

  12. What an exciting time this is for your young people. I have very fond memories of watching my first home being built. I think we visited the site every day to see what was happening, and could hardly wait until we could turn the key in the front door for the very first time. Since then there have been many houses, but that one shall always hold a special place in my heart.

  13. Island Sparrow, it sure is, and I am thankful every minute. What on earth is a manse?? These very folks could come up there and build you a nice little log house! Thanks about the banner. The sky was so blue today, and I was pleased the photo came out well. Not always the case!

    Donna, thank you. I loved reading about your first home.
    I've only had a first home. :<)

  14. Wow. How wonderful for you and your family, and what amazing pictures - I'm fascinated by the drill for the telephone pole. Your pictures of spring and the screen doors remind me of when we lived in upstate New York. It was lovely - but nowhere beats home, wherever that is for you, and for me it's now great to be home in England. (And far fewer bugs!)
    Enjoy your summer!

  15. Wonderful to have your kids so nearby, we're blessed to have 2 daughters within 15 minutes, which is great.

    We built our home 12 years ago, your photos brought back some great and exciting memories :)

    Have a wonderful day,
    PS are u having a heat wave??? We are 34 celcius today...a record breaker.

  16. Katherine, Tom said the pole digger is just a bigger version of post-hole diggers for fences! I do envy you the no bugs. :<)

    Niki, that's so wonderful that your girls are close! And yes, it is HOT. Right now, quarter of seven eastern time, we're in the high eighties, low nineties depending which thermometer we look at.

  17. Oh, how exciting! And good thing she noticed it was facing the wrong way before they started building the house. :-)

    The mockingbirds are singing their heads off here and I can hear them even with the windows closed (a.c. on already, unfortunately).

  18. Nan, Do you know the name of the paint you have on your door and screen door? It is a really nice blue.

  19. Nan,
    What a great and interesting post again with so much to celebrate! Love the log house and think that M&M will have so much to be thankful for!
    Love having my windows open even when the farm smells come in!
    Loved peeking at your home!
    Love the lilac header...so pretty! The lilacs are almost finished here now...it went so fast!
    I had to laugh at your comment to Kathie about a manse...maybe that's a British/Canadian term? It means a house affiliated with the church.
    Enjoy the process along with family!

  20. How wonderful - a compound! I fantasize about lots of land and my children in houses at the corners...(not happening in this suburban highly taxed neck of the woods, for sure)...but how very cool for you.
    And yes, the husband here talking LOST until I pleaded I had to get up in the morning, could we please get some sleep!

  21. I hope they'll be very happy in their lovely new home. They're so lucky and so are you, to have them near.

  22. I am loving the sound of the Veery each morning and evening. How special to have family so close. We built our house just a few years ago. It is such an exciting time!

  23. What a lovely thing to be able to do for your daughter, Nan. Our son lives further north but our two daughters live nearby but land here is at a premium so we couldn't afford to do the same.
    By the way, I'm always tickled when I read the words: 'half-bath'. It conjures up a very small tub for a very small person! We'd call it a cloakroom, or more likely a downstairs loo!

  24. Thomas, it's been a really long time but I'm quite sure it is a Benjamin Moore paint, from the Colonial collection. Not sure if they still sell it.

    J.G., you are SO right! I haven't heard mockingbirds in a long while. I'm not even sure they are out here.

    Joanne, you know what? I really like farm smells. You're not surprised, are you?! Dog 'smells' are so very much worse!
    This isn't a stellar year for lilacs because of the day of heavy snow and the night of 18º F. They are sparse on all our bushes.
    Thanks for the manse info! We say, 'Parish House.' Now that you mention it, I think I have read the word in British books.
    We are so much enjoying the whole process.

    Susan, my kids use the word, 'compound' too! We have a lot of land, but not much of it is 'buildable.' They've got a lovely spot.
    Here is my LOST confession. Once I saw Sawyer and Juliet at the food machines (is that what they were?), I told Tom, that's it. That's MY ending to LOST. I just wanted them to be together and happy. He has tried several times to talk about the 'real' ending, and I say, no thanks.:<)

    Thank you, Call Me Madam!!

    Sarah, though I've never heard it, I have the feeling that 'our' veery and thrush are like the English nightingale. Do you agree? It is the purest song I've ever heard. That's so great you built your own house. We always wanted to do that until we found this place.

    Nicola, prices were much, much lower when we bought this place in 1981. Here a 'cloakroom' is usually used in a school setting, or at least it was when I was a girl. It meant the place we hung our coats. And for some reason, in those days, the bathrooms were called 'basements' - isn't that weird?

  25. What a delightful setting for the young couple. And what fun watching the house grow from dream into a real home.

    Our NH spring seems rapidly to have morphed into summer, hasn't it? All the air entering through my open windows and doors is hot!

  26. Margaret, it sure is! Today the cement truck was here. And yes, it's hot! High eighties on the thermometers, but I'll bet it is 100 in the sun!

  27. Open your windows wide, Nan! The winds of beautiful change are blowing across your land. I can think of nothing more wonderful than having a daughter become a neighbor and go on loving the land that has nurtured and sustained her. I am so very happy for you!

    And I thank you (deeply) for the caution you sent me by e-mail. Fortunately we live a distance from there, but how far is far enough? Thank you for thinking of us!

  28. June, so very good to hear from you. I love your words.
    And you're welcome!

  29. wow...I'm in love with their new home!! I love summer smells too!

  30. Sounds like you are having some lovely warm weather Nan.
    Your daughter's house looks amazing,a log house in a meadow surrounded by woods.How romantic that seems.
    Lucky you having them so near. Our daughter,husband and Tom,our three year old grandson,lived very close to us for years but last year moved to Melbourne(two hours flight away) for work.I can't tell you how hard that has been.


  31. Staci, the model we saw was just perfect!

    Patricia, I understand exactly how you feel. And it must be even worse when there is a grandchild so far away. Are the rates low enough that you can fly there fairly often? I have a friend who takes an hour plus flight once a month to visit her two daughters, their husbands, and grandchildren, who happen to live in the same state.

  32. Yes Nan, if I can get a reasonably priced airfare I go off to see them every six to eight weeks.I can't manage much longer than this without seeing them.Your friend is very fortunate she can go so often.


  33. What a beautiful post and what a gorgeous house your daughter and her boyfriend are going to have! I love that she will be your neighbour - plenty of lovely summers ahead for you to be wandering in and out of each others' homes and having picnics and barbeques etc...you are a lucky indeed. What a gorgeous part of the world you live in, too. Such scenery is to be envied by those of us who see chimney pots and traffic from their windows!

  34. Patricia, I'm so glad you can get there as often as you do.

    BooksSnob, I loved your descriptions of future summers. I am thankful every day about this. What is it about the word, chimneypots which is so appealing?

  35. Nan, this house plan is so similar to my new small home. One main differance is upstairs - I have the loft area and one large bedroom and a bath for children and granchildren or anyone that visits. Also I have a small front porch, large screen porch on side and deck in back.

  36. One Woman's Journey, I have thought of you often during this building process!


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