We have recently made an announcement that High Point Farms has purchased one of our neighbor's houses and we are in the midst of converting it into future "guest lodging"; i.e The Bluebird Cottage. We went from purchase, to planning its renovations, to some light demolition, to some reconstruction, and beginning to complete our phase one. As I wait just a bit for our "reveal" photos, I thought it tmight be interesting to take a small journey back in time a bit - to show you where the farm has come from - prior to its makeover as well as the old farmhouse. Now that we have 3 years under our belt, I feel like I can show the before and after pictures and tell a bit of the story.
Let me start with the farmhouse. The above picture is what the farmhouse looked like in the mid-70's when my parents first purchased the farm. Their initial plan was to renovate and expand the farmhouse but after pulling off the back lean-to part of the rear of the house, they discovered some structural damages that were going to cause too much of a challenge - so they opted to build a new house instead. Here are a few of those early farmhouse pictures - the one on the left shows the back of the farmhouse as it looked at the time of purchase. The photo on the right shows where the lean-to porch and bathroom coming off of the rear of the house had been removed revealing many of its structural issues.
After my parents went to their Plan B, the farmhouse just "sat" for years.The back torn off area had been boarded up to "stop the bleeding." It became more or less a storage building for old furniture and such. Even when I got married - we opted to build our own farmhouse on a far corner of the farm property. Again - years passed and the farmhouse continued to sit. We would patch the farmhouse roof, replace some doors, do what we could to keep the farmhouse standing - hoping that somehow, someday, we would have the resources to tackle something more significant..
The farmhouse became a backdrop of the past. Some people would tell us " you need to just bulldoze down that old house!" while some would lament "you should restore that old house - it has history with so many various families from the valley." We always had hope that someday - we would be able to restore it....in the meantime, I was busy raising my kids and had plenty on my plate besides a major makeover of the farmhouse.
Nine years ago, a twist of fate happened. Jill (my daughter and partner in thiswedding venue) decided to get married here at the farm. She wanted to get married out in the hayfield under the shadow of Lookout Mountain - and she said we would have the reception in the barn. Back then - barn weddings were barely heard of. We were not the first but it was very uncommon and none near here that I am aware of. With the wedding being held in the front field - we decided a little sprucing up of the farmhouse would be in order...and little did we know then that this would be the beginning of more than their marriage but the beginning of a huge change for our families and of the farm.
More to come as the story continues with the transition of the barn - watch for Renovations of the Past and Renovations To Come - Part II.
The cicadas have finally come and gone. Fortunately our trees and garden were not particularly effected by their once every 13 year ravenous food frenzy. As they departed, a rare drought and heat wave has permeated the south condemning us to two weeks of mid-90's temperatures and no rainfall. We were so proud of our beautiful sod area behind the barn that we have been very faithful to set the sprinklers on almost every day to keep it nice and lush but we cannot water the whole farm. Our vegetable garden has suffered a bit and with the heat wave, it was difficult to find the desire to tackle even the weeding. As we began to prepare for this weekend's wedding, we began to pray for some much needed rain - if not for ourselves but for a boost of green for our upcoming bride. The week has been long and hard here on the farm. We had to put down one of my best horses - Passion - after an ankle break a month ago continued to get worse and her health deteriorated. It was a tough day yesterday - very emotional, stressful, and fraught with complicated logistics. On top of the that - we had square bales sitting in the field that needed to be hauled to the barn. But all the tasks were completed last night - and we dropped into bed exhausted. Today we had a farm tour from a girl from Murfreesboro who was tickled pink to find a real barn. We considered her a good luck charm because we got that much needed rain right about the time she showed up. The wind blew and thunder pounded and rain came down in sheets. Jill and the boys and I just stood there on the porch and enjoyed the blessed event - rain - rain from heaven. Rain that if it had come the day before - would've made a very louzy day horrible. But rain today - was truly a special event. It felt like a cleansing of the week's sadness. It felt like it was brought to us as a special blessing for the upcoming bride to be to make her special day all pretty and cheery. It is a blessing - the blessing from heaven.
With the new baby goats now hardy and the a run of warm sunny days, our work list is revisited. Sprucing up here at High Point Farms has kicked into second gear. I dug threw my mom's drawer full of flower seeds and found some poppies and Bachelor Buttons. Strangely, those flower seeds do best if planted now in the middle of winter. So, dig a little, spread some natural fertilizer (reckon the city folks know what natural fertilizer is?), and a nice layer of rich black topsoil - then sprinkle in the seeds like I was preparing a roast. Tap it gently in and spray a fine mist of water on it - and hope nature is kind to us again with a gorgeous display of vibrant pinks and deep cobalt blue flowers.
Of course, those flowers work best for May or early June weddings - so plans for zinnias, daisies, hollyhock, and maybe sunflowers are set for later when actual transplanting can take place. It is still nice that in the dead of winter when things seem colorless and gloomy that there is hope and anticipation for spring again - color and warmth and life. The hope of contributing to the "Happily Ever After" moments for a slew of upcoming brides is an exciting thought.
A fresh new coat of paint and in fact a new color palette for the old Milkhouse is ongoing for this week. I can't wait to post pictures of that - wow, what a difference a good coat of paint and a new color does for making a good impression. I don't know why I question it - I say the same thing when I leave Phyllis's (my hairdresser) and she has recolored my gray hair once again with a fresh coat of some new color.
Rain begins tonight and tomorrow and maybe there is a day or two before some more frigid cold temperatures set in again. I guess it is time for some indoor projects. I found a cute 10-bulb chandelier last week for the barn - just gotta find the right spot for it. Maybe some interesting ideas can play out as I tackle the "Garden Room" which is in the old Milkhouse - a room that we will set aside for caterer's needs and such.
That is it for now. Pictures to be posted soon - ya know what they say - "A picture paints a thousand words....." so let's begin a story.