Posted: March 24th, 2017 | Author: eliza | Filed under: bedroom, for rent, fun, heating, kitchen, life, living room, photos | No Comments »
We’re headed out of state for a few years, starting in August 2017, and we’re looking for a few good people to take over the farmhouse while we’re gone. Ideally you love quirky old houses, you’re a little bit handy with maintenance stuff, you need a lot of space, and you’ll appreciate the unique character of this special place.
The house is ca. 1830′s? and has been renovated many times over the years, but still has lots of historic character. It currently has 4 usable bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms (one upstairs and one downstairs) including new washer and dryer, huge, newly renovated eat-in kitchen with new dishwasher, livingroom, and 3 other rooms that are unheated in the winter but are great for storing stuff or summer studio space, etc. We are asking for $1200/month, which doesn’t include utilities. We need to measure the square footage… Best guess is around 2000-2500 SF of usable space. We are happy to leave you as much or as little furniture as you want to use.
We’re located about 45-50 minutes from Portland, 50 minutes from a few different ocean beaches, and about 1 hour from North Conway and hiking in the White Mountains. The nearest posted hiking trails are on Sawyer Mountain, about 5 minutes away, and we’re within 10 minutes of a dozen different swimming and wading spots on the Saco River and assorted lakes, ponds and swimming holes. (Our local swimming options are pretty fantastic!) There is also a little Limington town beach with clean sand, mountain views, docks, picnic tables, clean outhouses and easy parking, on Horne Pond, 9 minutes from here. Season pass is $30 for residents and canoe rental is $1/hour. We’re also close to Dole’s Orchard, with U-Pick berries, apples and fruit throughout the whole summer and fall, as well as 3 or 4 other U-Pick orchards nearby. We’re 10 minutes from the nearest Hannaford grocery in Standish, and 10 minutes from Cornish, which has a very cute downtown filled with small shops, a smaller grocery store, farm supply store, pharmacy, etc. Our favorite restaurants in the neighborhood are Krista’s in Cornish and O.Dan’s in Standish, and every now and then we stop by The Peppermill in Limerick. We love our sweet little neighborhood coffee shop and bakery, Snickerdoodles, 2 minutes from home. There are also plenty of cheap pizza places, and a substantial variety store/grocery/hardware store/gas station about 3 minutes away. In the summertime we’ve got our pick of four different ice cream stands within 10-15 minutes! And we’re a very short walk from the tiny Limington Public Library.
We have 2 acres of green space, including a sweet little patio for BBQ and summer relaxing, a wood-fired sauna(!), a sunny clothesline, a little raised-bed garden, some overgrown pear trees, lots of lawn and a bit of wild jungle, some quaint old stone walls and foundations. We will leave you our mower – we usually do some mowing every weekend to stay on top of it, otherwise the grass can get too tall to mow! Or, we can talk about hiring someone for maintenance if you don’t want to deal with it.
Our driveway just sucks, but you’ll get used to it. We will cover the cost of plowing in the winter.
We have access to a beautiful walking trail via our neighbor’s land – he owns ~50 acres of woods adjacent to our land, and generously allows us free access to his trails. Our usual morning walk is about 1.5 miles / 30 minutes through woods and meadows, and it’s one of our favorite things about living here, although it does require muck boots in the spring, mosquito nets in the summer, blaze orange gear during hunting season, snowshoes, crampons, and/or gaiters in the winter! It’s worth it though, to enjoy the woods and see and feel the seasons coming and going day by day.
KITCHEN: this is the room that’s been most thoroughly renovated. We stripped it to the studs and re-built everything, including custom cabinets and shelving. Double oven, new dishwasher, older fridge. Nice big vintage hutch for storing dishes etc. Exposed beams on the ceiling, brand-new large bay window, original maple wood flooring which was refinished 4 years ago but is now showing signs of wear in the busy areas. This room is heavily insulated and stays toasty warm in the winter. New high-efficiency woodstove with a pretty hearth. A wide, open doorway leads into the livingroom.
LIVINGROOM: big windows, big old couch, fresh wallboard, bumpy old wide-plank flooring, ugly old 70′s ceiling. We’re currently finishing up installation of a beautiful glass-paned door from livingroom to front parlor, which lets in lots of sunlight from the front of the house.
FRONT PARLOR: this is one of the un-heated rooms. It’s large and pretty, but we don’t use it much in the winter. In the summer it serves as additional living space. Two couches, lots of room to relax.
BEDROOM 1: medium-sized. painted gray. recently renovated. has two closets without doors. heated by baseboard radiators. partial wood paneling. trim work has been finished since these photos were taken. no bed provided, but the matching dresser, mirror and armoire can be left for you to use. this room is not on the street, it’s usually quieter, but it’s pretty close to the neighbor’s house and she has chickens, roosters, dogs, and occasional late-night festivities on her deck, so it’s quiet some nights and noisy other times. two windows are north-facing and shaded by trees in summer, so this bedroom has the least bright sunshine.
BEDROOM 2: large room with tons of windows. faces the street, gets lots of sunshine, plus street noise. we live on a kinda busy road and hear traffic sounds day and night. It doesn’t bother me much, we’re just used to it as background noise and it’s never woken me up at night or bothered me in the day, but this isn’t the ideal haven if you’re looking for a silent sanctuary. this room is heated by a brand-new high-efficiency heat-exchange pump, it’s a split unit that does heat in the winter and AC in the summer and it has a remote control for thermostat control. there is one closet with a door, and some built-in shelving and drawers. This room currently has a double bed and an elliptical workout machine, which are both available for you to use, or can be removed.
BEDROOM 3: this is a mirror image of bedroom #2. large room with tons of windows. faces the street, gets tons of sunshine, plus street noise. this room is heated by a brand-new high-efficiency heat-exchange pump, it’s a split unit that does heat in the winter and AC in the summer and it has a remote control for thermostat control. there is one closet without a door, a large storage unit, small bookshelf, a queen-sized bed and box-spring, and a love seat by the window. These can all be left for you, or removed. The floor has been re-painted since these photo were taken.
BEDROOM 4: Medium-sized bedroom. Two big windows, south-facing, plenty of sunshine but not as bright as the street-facing rooms. It has new marmoleum flooring (that’s a natural, tree-based version of linoleum) which is beautifully smooth and clean, feels nice underfoot in both summer and winter. There is a large closet with no door and a small built-in shelf. This room will be mostly left unfurnished. This room has its own thermostat, heated by baseboard radiators.
We use about 3 cords of seasoned firewood (usually around $500-600/yr) plus 500 gallons of oil each winter. Some of the house is freshly insulated and some is old and drafty. We have a great, modern high-efficiency woodstove and a multi-zone oil-burning furnace with hot-water baseboard radiators, and two bedrooms heated and cooled by a brand-new high-efficiency heat pump. We try to be frugal about heat, we keep the thermostat at 58 and keep the woodstove burning all day, which keeps us pretty cozy in the kitchen and livingroom. On the second floor, we turn down the heat in the bedrooms every morning and turn it up at night. Two of the bedrooms have baseboard radiators connected to the furnace; the other two are connected to the heat pump. Each bedroom has its own separate thermostat controls. In the summer, the first floor (especially the kitchen) stays amazingly cool through most of the season. The second floor can get really hot – two of the bedrooms get A/C from the heat pumps, which feels amazing in the dog days of summer. In the other two bedrooms, we get by with a fan in the window. Sometimes it’s sweaty, but luckily, summer nights in Maine are mostly fresh and cool.
Electricity averages around $60/month. High-speed Internet around 45/month. We don’t use a land-line, just cell phones, but I think there is phone lines coming into the house so you could activate one if you want it.
Posted: September 28th, 2013 | Author: eliza | Filed under: barns, history, life, yard | No Comments »
The old dairy barn finally seems to be coming down. It was on the way out when we bought the place in 2009 but it’s hung on surprisingly long, through a few hurricanes and a lot of wet heavy March snowstorms. Every time we get a big storm, we can’t wait to go check out the barn and see what’s fallen down. We’ve talked about having it demolished but we keep hoping Mother Nature will do the job for free. It’s a kind of picturesque wreck and I hold it no grudge (in 2011 we got married in the backyard with the collapsed dairy barn as backdrop), but it was always wayyyy too far gone to think about saving it. (Also we don’t have any cows or anything, though a big old barn in better condition could’ve been a great venue for movie screenings, barn dances, yoga classes…)
Based on old photos and some historical society documentation, we think the original barn burned in the 1930′s so this barn was probably the replacement for the old barn lost to fire. It was a dairy barn; the Brunk farm sold milk to the Locust Farm Dairy that used to be in Limington.
evidence of the Locust Farm Dairy
A few years back, we found some neat cattle tags(?) buried in the yard next to the barn while doing some yard work.
Typical 20th century construction, the barn was huge but nowhere near as sturdily built as the older ell and house. Leaky roof and time and no maintenance is presumably what did it in. By the time the Brunk family sold the property by the early 1980′s, the farmers would’ve been aging and dairy farming in Maine was becoming increasingly unprofitable, so (like so many rural Maine dairy operations) it’s no surprise that they didn’t put too many resources into maintaining a dairy barn with a leaky roof. Since the 80′s it seems like the barn’s been mostly ignored and used for dumping junk. Day by day it’s sinking and slumping. We go out and check after every big storm and often we’re surprised that nothing has budged, despite howling winds and whipping rain and wet heavy snow, even when the yard is littered with tree limbs and debris, the barn holds up. But this week’s been peaceful and sunny and beautiful, and we just noticed that it’s gone down dramatically while we weren’t paying attention.
I wish we’d managed to set up a proper time lapse record of the changes, but we’re not so organized.
this is the barn when we first arrived in March 2010.
left: found photo of the barn (1960′s?). right: inside the barn, 2010.
front of barn. 2010
And here’s the back.
August 2011 (before Hurricane Irene)
August 2011, after hurricane Irene
Posted: March 4th, 2012 | Author: eliza | Filed under: fun, kitchen, life, woodworking | Tags: kitchen shelves | No Comments »
beautiful drive to Vermont and back
Monday was Presidents Day, so Mike had the day off from work and we made a kind of impulse decision to drive over to Vermont and buy some butternut wood! We needed some more butternut wood to finish our kitchen shelving project, and we were surprised to discover that none of the local hardwood lumber yards sells butternut! Turns out it’s not that popular. Mike took a look around the internet and found a place in Marshfield, VT called Vermont Wildwoods, that sells salvaged butternut wood – we didn’t realize that, sadly, butternut trees are suffering a blight that’s killing them off pretty quickly (similar to Dutch Elm disease that killed all the elm trees a few decades back). Vermont Wildwoods sells “irregular” butternut wood cut from the fallen and disease-killed trees, paying loggers to leave the healthy trees intact and instead salvage the wood from the fallen trees. The wood from these trees has interesting and irregular grain patterns, and the whole concept seems pretty cool. So, unable to work in the wood-shop since we’d run out of usable wood, we decided to take the day off and go fetch some more wood from Vermont. The trip was four hours heading due west, through Crawford Notch and the White Mountain National Forest, into the hills of Vermont. It was perfect and sunny out, and we got to check out lots of snowy peaks, cute little tourist towns, busy ski slopes, old farm houses and winding country roads along the way.
The guy from Vermont Wildwoods was super nice and helpful, letting us pick through a huge stack of butternut lumber to find the right planks for our job. It seems like he normally works with builders on big-scale architectural projects so he did a nice favor in letting us show up (on a holiday!) and dig through his wood for this little small-potatoes project. We took plenty of time to pick just the right pieces. My parents let us borrow their truck for the trip, so we had room to carry all the wood home. Now we’ve got this huge stack of wood waiting to be planed down, glued, sanded, cut up and assembled into our kitchen shelving!
our new wood!
Posted: September 10th, 2011 | Author: eliza | Filed under: excitement, fun, life | No Comments »
photo by Pamela Vachon
We got married! It was really fun.
Sometimes (many, many times) it seemed like a crazy idea to get married at our house, in our back yard, in the middle of trying to renovate our house, especially since our back yard was nothing but a giant pile of garbage and tenacious weeds and brambles. But I think the whole idea is about being together, with your entire family and your whole circle of wonderful human beings, and being who you are, how you are, all together. We wouldn’t want to get married in some impersonal place, all dressed in white and made up to look like different people. We just wanted to have a big fun party with everyone we love, in our own space. And we did, and it was great. I wish we could have so many of our favorite people together in one place more often.
We cannot thank our friends and family and neighbors enough for all the incredible amounts of hard work that everyone did to help us get everything ready!!!!! We got SO MUCH work done in a big hurry because of this big exciting deadline, and because of the generous help of so many friends and family!
Our back yard has definitely never looked this beautiful before, and may never look this good again. Giant collapsing wreck of a barn notwithstanding. It was pure magic to see our back yard transformed into this beautiful space filled with loving faces, bright wildflowers and bunting, delicious food and drink and music.
If you wanted to see 1,000,000 more photos of the big day, you could see them here.
Posted: June 6th, 2011 | Author: eliza | Filed under: life, slow progress, yard | No Comments »
We resolved to make some major improvements to the yard this summer and pitted ourselves against the mounds of half-buried garbage and rubble and relentlessly energetic grass and weeds. It’s been an fairly grueling, time consuming, buggy, sweaty, muggy, muddy crusade but with some great help from friends, neighbors and family, it feels like we are making progress. Hopefully our back yard will one day be fully transformed from an overgrown dump to a beautiful space to hang out and enjoy the view.
We spent the first half of the spring and summer pretty thoroughly occupied with trying to conquer the wild, bramble-covered and weed-choked land out back. We have two acres, and what ground isn’t occupied with the dilapidated barn has been covered with an impenetrable jungle of thistles, burrs, vines and weeds that grows to shoulder-high in full summer and is completely wild and impassable without a machete. So this year we’re trying to clear out as much land as we can and mow down the weeds before they get too big to tackle, and seed some nice soft grass, hoping to be able to enjoy more of our land during the summer. We started with hauling away lots of garbage that was left around the land by the previous owners. There were the shredded remains of several huge (inflatable) plastic swimming pools, a handful of mangled kids’ bicycles, plastic kids toys and trucks, pool floaties, lots of pepsi cans and milk jugs and just general garbage strewn about and hidden in the weeds, making for a lot of surprises when we’d accidentally mow over bike parts or soda bottles hidden in the knotted grass. We found a nest of at least 30 garter snakes living in one of the crumpled swimming pools! Imagine Mike’s surprise when he gathered up a heap of soggy plastic in his arms to drag it away, and found it squirming with dozens of startled snakes!
There were tons of tiny babies, and lots of huge adult snakes too. We felt a little bad displacing them, but the heaps of crumpled plastic garbage had to go.
Rainy May weather made the grass go crazy and we found that even if we spent every waking hour mowing, it was still growing faster than we could cut it. I suppose this is a common springtime homeowners lament. We decided we need to sow the whole thing with wildflowers or something. Anything that doesn’t need to be mown. We were super excited to get a new mower, which at least made the fight a bit fairer! Mike wishes we could get a riding mower, but I think we can use the extra exercise. Could do without the blackflies though.
Sometime around June, our amazing neighbors Mike and Fausto took pity on us and offered to help out. Fausto brought over his brush hog and weed whacker, and Mike brought his giant tractor, and they made SO much progress, transforming seas of brambly mounds to tidy fields and stone walls.
Mike and his tractor!
Fausto and Mike at work in the back yard
Man. Good neighbors are the best. What a difference it has made!