Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Memory of a Farmhouse

Can you come for refreshments today?

I am trying out a few new cookie recipes and I thought I could share them with you.

Our house is a little bit hard to find. It is tucked away from the street behind two big industrial buildings. Just turn west into the gravel driveway and follow it back.

See that big garden to the right? It is my asparagus patch. Too bad you aren’t visiting a little later, the asparagus spears would be emerging from the ground in thick clusters and I could send you home with a paper bag stuffed full.

The big garage to the left is where we park our cars away from the snow and rain. It is always a trek to haul groceries and sleeping children into the farmhouse. If you look on the west side of the garage wall you will see that it is almost totally covered in old road signs. These are the signs that the man who owned the house before us salvaged from the town. My favorite is that giant red stop sign.

Don’t park way out there, though. Just pull up the gravel driveway to the side of the house. Do you like the color? This brownish-gold shade is one of my favorites. Perched precariously on a 30’ extension ladder, I painted this house myself. With a paint brush. It took me months to complete, and I will admit to having almost continuous terror when I was painting the highest eaves of the house. See those little windows beside the brick chimney? Those are the windows that shine light into our walk up attic. The old glass is beautiful, isn’t it?

The tree to the left of the house is a Carpathian Walnut tree. I’ve told you about it before. I suspect you’re surprised at how huge it is, though. It’s hard to imagine a tree that large. If it warms up a bit, we can swing on the old wooden swing mounted to the large walnut branch, but for now, please come up to the enclosed porch.

Are you surprised that I have painted the steps and the wooden foundation of the porch as a checkerboard? I love painting and any wooden surface at the farmstead is fair game. The porch stays warm, even in early spring like this. This porch is where I sort all the roses that I dry in the attic to sell at art and craft shows. It’s too bad I’m not getting ready to dry any right now. When the buckets are filled with hundreds of roses the porch smells like a garden no matter what time of year it is.

I like the old door into the main room. We open the transom above the door when it’s warmer out and it helps circulate the air through the house but right now the days aren’t warm enough yet. The old brass hardware on the doors and windows is really neat, though, don’t you think? There are only three actual doorknobs in our entire house and they all have these old porcelain knobs and rectangular lock plates on them. The rest of the doors still have the ancient, hand-forged iron latches and they work perfectly.

Come inside. Do you like this room? Do you see how high the ceilings are? It took me almost a month to tear down the ugly dropped ceiling and expose all these beams. It took me nearly that length of time to lightly sand and paint the ceilings this lovely french vanilla color. The floors were covered with cheap carpet when we bought this house and I was very surprised to see how lovely the old, wide floorboards were underneath. It only took a good waxing to get them like this. Do you see the huge old built-in corner cupboard there? It holds so much. I have to have one of my children crawl inside to reach the farthest corners. Every glass panel in the doors is old glass. I wonder how careful someone must have been to keep that glass from breaking over the years.

I had quite a time wallpapering this room, but I’m happy how it looks now. Do you like the pattern?

Oh. I see you looking at the doorways there on the right side of the room. That first door with the single french door panel leads into a small sitting area. That small middle door leads to the basement. We will definitely NOT be touring that part of the house. It’s ancient stone with low ceilings. There is a shower down there and some rooms to store coal but it is not very charming. And there, in the corner, those two steps go up to a little landing and then up to the second floor.

Would you like to have a seat on that comfy couch under the big windows while I get our refreshments? Or if you prefer, you can come with me into my kitchen. It’s just through that open doorway to the right of the corner cupboard.

This room has been a bit of a challenge. Remodeling an old farmhouse with a dollar budget can be difficult. There used to be an old gas range on the left where the stove sits now. I burned my eyebrows, bangs and eyelashes off one too many times and it finally had to go. That is the dishwasher I found beside the road and dragged home. It worked perfectly, it just needed a coat of paint and some wallpaper on the front panel to look cute! And the red countertops! They are so’s hard to believe I found those at a salvage yard for five dollars! I even like this wallpaper I bought at a dollar a roll. It’s not pre-pasted but it made it more of a challenge. It really is cozy in here, though, isn’t it? I like looking out these big windows to the old barn down below. To the left of the barn you see? You might have to stand on you see that little stream? The stream flows from a little fresh water spring in the hillside. We’ll have to walk down a bit later, but for now I have a pitcher with water from the spring and I will brew our tea from that water as well. Let me just drop the teabags into the teapot and I’ll show you the rest of the downstairs.

Here. Step into my little laundry room. It’s always warm and comfortable in here. This little door leads right outside to the sled riding hill. It’s perfect when my children are shivery from being outside too long. Warm mittens and hot cocoa are always available in this laundry room. And the old linoleum floor is easy to clean up, too.

Do you see this little door in the corner of the laundry room?

It leads to a very odd space. Some people have told me it was designed as a box room...others have said it’s a ‘borning room’. I’m not exactly sure but it’s where I have my little desk and a single reading chair and lamp. I like the tall window in this little room, but there’s not much space for any more furniture. Between the window and the doorway to the laundry room and the doorway to the little living room it can be pretty crowded in here.

Let’s finish our little circle tour of the downstairs, okay?

Through this door is the little living room. See? We’re on the other side of the single french door now and you can see the great room just through there?

I like the exposed brick on this chimney wall. I’m sad there’s no fireplace in this space but the mantel looks nice there anyway, don’t you think?

This is where we watch tv and I read to my children. The chairs and couch in here all came from garage sales and I recovered them in this soft vanilla colored fabric. Don’t look too closely. I’m not going to get hired as an upholsterer any time soon, I suspect. I like this berry and wine wallpaper, too. The warm colors always make me smile and I think it looks good with my primitive wood furniture.

Let’s head back to the kitchen. I suspect the tea is perfect now.

After we have our refreshments, I’ll show you the rest of this house and then we’ll go next door to our second little house.

I think you’ll like it!

How do you take your tea?

And would you like to try one of each kind of cookie?

I’m so excited you came to visit for a little tour round and some delicious refreshments. This recipe for potato chip cookies is from my friend, Joanne. I think they're really delicious. Do you like them?


1 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. crushed potato chips

Mix all ingredients. Roll into small balls; flatten with bottom of glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 - 14 minutes until just set. Sprinkle with powdered sugar when cooled.

Can you come again next week so we can go up the stairs and around the side of the house?

This little memory is written in honor of the letter "R" for Alphabe-Thursday. R is for refreshments and rooms.

To read other 'R' offerings, just click here.

post signature


Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

I've love to join you for tea Jenny and try these cookies. Hmm, potato chips in them, I know the grands would like them for sure.
Thanks for hosting A-T.

Ms. A said...

Thanks for the tour, tea and cookies. I always enjoy my visits.

Ames said...

Love it! I may try these. Always looking for new and unusual cookie recipes for the grands.

Oh Jenny at first your little farmhouse sounded just like my Mamaw Carrie and Papaw Bill's old homestead in Kentucky. This was such a charming story. I really enjoyed the tour and can't wait till next installment.~Ames

21 Wits said...

Thank you so much for the grand tour, it is a lovely farmhouse, indeed! ....and since you are asking, yes I shall have a cup of tea, plain, nothing added, no not even lemon. Please do pass the cookies as well, after all this is an afternoon tea right! :)

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I would love a cup of tea! With lemon please and a few of those lovely cookies!!!

Lola said...

A wonderful visit - as always!

PS The cookies were delicious too!

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Your words write a picture!

Maureen Wyatt said...

This home has evolved into something beautiful! I'm so happy to be here for tea. ~ Maureen

Pat said...

May I have another cookie, please? And oh yes, let's continue the tour...I would be more than happy to visit awhile and wait for fresh asparagus too.

To the Toy Box and Beyond said...

great post Jenny I can picture your farm

Unknown said...

I love this tour of your yard! JDaniel would love the sled riding hill!

Jen said...

Oh I take my tea sweet! Southern Sweet!I love chips and walnuts...I bet I would love these little goodies! And I love your tiny photos!

anitamombanita said...

You're amazing. This must be hard moving into a place that's not really yours and then thinking about the farmhouse. As I've read your delightful descriptions in the past, I felt like I was starting to know the place, but today's piece makes me feel as though the picture I had was completely wrong...and so much smaller. This was great!

Theresa said...

Oh yes, refreshments in ANY of the farmhouse rooms is fine with me! Thanks for sharing this story with me, HUGS!

Maude Lynn said...

I must make these cookies!

Slamdunk said...

Whoa this kind of tour is going to make me hang out way too long. The checkerboard pattern I bet must be a great sight--I def do not have that talent.

Unknown said...

Doggone it, I had to use my visual skills to picture the tour. I would love to see pictures! thanks for the tea! Looking forward to the rest of the tour.

Pondside said...

I just knew you'd be a woman who makes tea in a proper pot. I can't abide tea made in a cup.
I loved that tour! There is nothing better than a word tour - no eye-seeing is as good as mind-seeing.
Thank you....and I'm longing for more.

H said...

Your farmhouse sounds like it began with a lot of character which you added to with all of your loving attention. Fancy painting a house by hand! That's dedication!

Unknown said...

"Jenny Matlock" has been included in this weeks Sites To See. I hope this helps to attract many new visitors here.

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

Awwwwwww, I just came for the tour, the refreshment were an added bonus.

I love the way you painted the pictures with your very descriptive words. I felt your love for this old farmhouse.

Have a blessed day my friend!!! :o)

LuLu Kellogg said...

I need a farmhouse with all these dogs here! I could see every single nook and cranny!

I am going to get the Commander to try the potato chip cookies! They look delish!


Susan Anderson said...

Great descriptions, Jenny! And I can't believe you painted the outside of the farmhouse yourself, especially those way up high parts. That is plumb crazy!!


Betty said...

This is just a one story house and we've painted it ourselves three times. I can't imagine painting the old farmhouse...and you did it by yourself! You did a lot of work around that place. I enjoyed the tour.

Annesphamily said...

You can really paint a pretty picture and you share tea too! I love stopping over here today. Thank you Jenny!

Leovi said...

That rich! I like, I think I'll love the cookies. Saludos.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful tour. The house sounds so warm and inviting with all the care you've put into it.

NanE said...

Thank you for inviting me for tea and a tour of your gorgeous home. I can picture everything beautifully and can tell a lot of love has been poured into it! I love those potato chip cookies, a sorority sister shared that recipe with me a couple of years ago. Thank you for hosting Alphabe Thursday, it always challenges me to do a little research and writing, something I do very little of these days, Hugs and blessings, Nan

Splendid Little Stars said...

I DO like them. Thank you! I've enjoyed my tour, the tea and cookies. I can't wait to visit again. May I visit when the asparagus is ready?

I'm impressed with all your work and wonderful finds! Your house is beautiful! You really did paint the whole entire outside with a single paintbrush?!