Every Act of Creation is First an Act of Destruction. Quoted Pablo Picasso.

It’s no secret how much I love this old house.

Every layer of the modern world that is peeled away exposes more and more of the original house.  Sometimes, though, all of that peeling exposes some pretty nasty problems.  In an effort to solve the problem of the roller-coaster floors, Mat asked us to pull up all the flooring along the back quarter of the house (my future studio and the dining room) so he could get a look at what’s underneath – a modern addition and crawlspace attached to the back stone wall of the original house.

What has been discovered is some serious powderpost beetle damage in the hand-hewn sill plate of the original house. This means that those beautiful beams, each made from an entire tree, will have to come out and be replaced by new wood.  I’m comparing it to a human hip replacement – the surgery is dramatic, but affords the patient a new lease on life.

It really is sad to tear out all this original stuff.  Each hand-cut nail positively screams as it’s pulled out.  Wood groans and cracks as it’s bent.  The house calls out in agony.

Bill and Mat tear up the floorboards and I drag them out.

Bill and Mat tear up the floorboards and I drag them out.

Each one of those beams probably took a couple of men days and days to make using hand tools.  I find myself standing in the basement whispering to the original fireplace, and patting the stones.  “Don’t worry, I love you and it will all be OK in the end.  I promise to take care of you.”

One of Mat's workers is standing in the crawlspace of the modern addition, looking over the original back stone wall into the basement.

One of Mat’s workers is standing in the crawlspace of the modern addition, looking over the original back stone wall into the basement.

The first new wood has been nailed in.  We've now turned the corner from destruction to creation.  It's a big day!

The first new wood has been nailed in. We’ve now turned the corner from destruction to creation. It’s a big day!

We did find one small surprise – pages from a 1932 newspaper spread out between two layers of flooring.  I’ll try to post a few snaps later on.

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About Silver Spring Farm

I am a beekeeper and organic gardener who is in the process of turning my renovated foreclosure property into a working farm. My etsy shop is located at www.leesbeesnj.etsy.com where you can buy honey, lip balm, creams, soaps and other cool stuff. Bee happy!
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