Just when does a house become a home?

   The House: (2009)  by Mary

It was land that we wanted, not a house. We just needed a place to park our stuff and put up an air-mattress during our visits. So we thought. Or didn't think at all. The first thing we noticed is that we would need to scrape, caulk, and paint the house to save it. No problem. It was only one story and part brick, unusual for a farm house. When the realtor opened the door to the mud room, we were hit with a horrible stench coming from the old basement. As we proceeded through the house, this person (me) who lives with white everything in the city, just didn't seem to notice all the dead flies and mouse turds around the edges. The hallway and bedroom carpets were each a different color with an old fashioned design and they were filthy. One of them smelled like a baby had thrown up or dumped a bottle of milk and no one cleaned it up. I did notice that. The whole house was dirty. Looking back, I can imagine the above is one of the big reasons the place hadn't sold. I'm sure any man who wanted to buy this wildlife sanctuary didn't get his wife past the smelly mud room door!
We often say the house was free, a bonus that came with the land. It is 1,700 square feet, about the same size as the house in which we raised our four children. The old part, built approximately in 1940, consists of a large living room with a fireplace, a dining room with a wood-burning stove, and a kitchen and dining area. It has three add-ons: a screened-in porch, the mud room with a small bathroom, and a large bathroom which also holds a washer, dryer, and freezer. The new addition, built in 1998, is three bedrooms. The attic above this area has a pull down stairway, a large walk-through storage area, and an attic fan.

The old part of the house has a furnace which uses propane from an ugly, rusted propane tank in the front yard (which Larry later persuaded the company to re-paint). The air conditioner was unfixable. The bedroom addition is heated and cooled by a heat pump.

The house is made well, nestled in the hillside, and surrounded by large shade trees. Once, we arrived at the farm after two weeks of above 90 degrees and it was a cool 76 degrees in the house.

I want to go on record as saying the house cleaned up nicely, and is a real asset. In fact, we both love it. 
Once, after it became our own in our hearts, I stood in the lane looking at our freshly painted house with new downspouts, outdoor lighting, and lattice work. I thought in wonderment, "I now call two places home."  
                                                                                                                                                        The farmyard


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