Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Sunday Stroll

The heat of the day was starting to pass and it seemed like a lovely evening for a walk, so I told Charles the route I planned to take and I set off.  I'd walked most of my planned route before.  But then Charles had dropped the kids and I off on the creek road and we walked back home. Tonight I was by myself and I decided to make the route into a loop.  It only meant adding one last section of road at the end of the walk.  So...

A glance back at the house from the end of the drive.
0.2 miles - a brief stop to visit a few graves in the Primitive Baptist Cemetery, including Elder Lewis Seitz who married the Einsel House's first owners, Noah and Rebecca Rhinehart (he was also Rebecca's uncle)

0.4 miles - peeking out behind those pine trees is another 1840's stone house

0.8 miles - the setting sun shining through clouds

1.1 miles - crossing Silver Creek, site of the first mill in this township

1.3 miles - turning left onto a township road, this is the longest stretch ahead of me

1.8-2 miles - I enjoy a few black raspberries growing along the side of the road

2.2 miles - turn right onto the Creek Road (this is the best part of the walk!)

2.4 miles - passing a wheat field during harvest
2.8 miles - Honey Creek through the trees

3 miles - This brick house always makes me smile.  I think it's the little 'eyebrow' peaks on the porch roof that do it.

3 miles - Old bridge across the road from the brick house.  The lane across the bridge leads to a barn and a pasture with a flock of sheep.

3.2 miles - a second old bridge crossing the creek

3.4 miles - This is an early log cabin, the original log walls are exposed under the front porch

3.6 miles - another right turn, back onto our own road.  It's been a nice walk, but the Einsel House is straight ahead and I'm ready to relax and enjoy a glass of water.

3.7 miles - a largish, dark colored dog at the house that's about three telephone poles ahead of me starts to bark.  I say a silent prayer that the dog is tied.

3.71 miles - the large, aggressively barking dog leaves the house and begins coming toward the road.  Slowing my pace, I say a silent prayer that there is one of those invisible fence systems along the side of the road.

3.72 miles - the large, very intimidating dog walks right up to the white line at the edge of the road.  Damn.  Nobody puts an invisible fence on the other side of the road.

Still 3.72 miles - The dog and I are both holding our ground, still more than two telephone poles apart.  Regretting the decision not to bring my cell phone with me, I decide to pass the dog by making a wide circle through the soybean field beside me.

3.73 miles - The dog is still barking angrily.  I'm about twenty feet or so into the field when it finally decides to cross the road and heads toward me through the soybeans.  Damn, damn, damn.  I'm no longer worried about getting back home, I'm just worried about getting away from this dog.  Resisting the urge to run, I begin to speed walk through the field. At the moment I really don't care that I'm now heading farther away from home, just as long as I'm getting farther away from that dog.

After a few seconds I glance over my shoulder.  The dog has stopped about 10 feet into the field.  He's still watching me and barking angrily.  Breathing a sigh of relief (but not slowing my pace) I continue walking through the field.

about 4 miles - I reach the other side of the soybean field and come out back on the creek road.  Regretting again the decision not to bring along my cell phone (or even some bottled water), I resign myself to the walk ahead of me.

4.2 miles - back past the early log cabin

4.4 miles - back past the second iron bridge

4.6 miles - back past the first iron bridge

4.6 miles - The eyebrow porch watches me walk past again.

5.2 miles - Even when I'm tired and thirsty, I still have to admit that I love the smell of freshly harvested wheat

5.4 miles - A left turn back onto the township road, but I forget to document it with a picture. 

5.6-5.8 miles -  I'm initially hopeful as I pass the section of raspberries growing along the ditch, but realize quickly that I picked them pretty clean my first time by. 

6.2 miles - I'm almost back to our road.  A right turn and just over another mile and I'll be home.   I hear a car coming up behind me, so I step off the side of the road.

But the car keeps slowing down.

I turn around and see my husband with the passenger window rolled down - "It seemed like you were gone quite a while, so I thought I'd come check on you."

God bless you, honey!

Friday, June 15, 2012

In the Details

I have enjoyed poring over the details revealed in the 1906 picture of our house that we were recently given.  In many ways the picture confirms that thus far we've been historically accurate in our work on the house.  The joint finish of the mortar in the 1906 stone walls appears to match the joint finish our masons used when they repointed the house.  And I'm pretty confident that the tan paint color we used on the house is also accurate.  Although the 1906 picture is in black and white, it is obvious that the paint used on the house is slightly darker than the (white?) dress worn by the woman in the picture.  The one difference I see between the picture and our influence on the house is the front door.  But in spite of the obviously light colored 1906 front door, I have no plans to part with my Carriage House Red front door any time soon.  : )

Click on the picture for a larger view

The picture also provides details for future work we would like to do.  We knew the house originally had shutters (the hinges are still on the 2nd story window frames), but I've pondered what color to paint the shutters when we someday replace them.  Now I know to go dark - a deep forest green seems appropriate based on the picture.  We also now know that the original first story windows have always been six-over-six.  This detail did surprise me, as I suspected the originals would have been nine-over-six.  The picket fence was also an unexpected but wonderful detail in the picture.  Adding a picket fence in front of the kitchen has actually been among my plans for this summer, so I'm thrilled to now have something to model my fence after.

And peeking out behind the horses and tree on the left side of the picture is proof that the kitchen wing has been on the house since at least the early 1900s.  Having seen the intimate structural details of that wing I'm not surprised to see it in a picture from 1906. (Frankly, I'd expect to see the kitchen wing in an Einsel House picture from the 1880's.)

But of all the details in the 1906 picture, the one I've spent the most time studying is the front porch.  The Einsel House had a front porch when we bought it back in 2009, but it was obvious that porch was not original to the house.  It was also in poor condition.  So before having the front of the house repointed we removed the existing porch, planning all along to someday replace it with a more historically appropriate replacement.  Thanks to one of my mom's cousins, I even have some solid wood 19th century round porch pillars tucked in the loft of our barn. They were removed from said cousin's parents' house sometime in the 1960s and had been stored in his barn since then. When he tore the barn down earlier this year he offered the pillars to me and I eagerly accepted.  In my mind I could see them in an Einsel House porch - with simple corner pillars and an almost flat roof.   Something very similar to the porch on the house pictured below:

Compare the porch above to what the Einsel House looked like when we bought it in 2009:

 And then for fun, compare the 1906 porch to the porch we tore off the house in 2009.

(Note that the little girl is holding a doll)

The 1906 and 2009 porches had a lot more in common than I expected.  That said, they also had many dissimilarities.  The square pillars on the 1906 porch all appear to be the same size, while the corner pillars on the 2009 porch were larger than the other pillars.  Although it is difficult to see the details of the 1906 porch's roof, the picture seems to show the flat roof I expected and not the gabled appearance of the 2009 porch roof.  (Also note the black line on the stone in the 2009 picture - I suspect this marks where the original roof met the house.)  Finally, if you look very carefully at the 1906 picture you can just make out a porch rail between the two pillars on the left.   The rail appears to be very similar (or even identical) to the rail inside the house at the top of the stairs.    

While we are probably still years away from it, I'm so glad this picture came to us before we replaced the porch.  Because the porch in that 1906 picture is even better than any porch I would have envisioned on my own.   The inspiration for rebuilding the porch is now hanging in the dining room.  And every time I walk by I want to stop and study the picture for more details - you know, just in case I missed something the other 2,638 times I've looked at it.  : )