The Home Farm House

A Painting of our House on Main St., Lodi by Floyd Covert

A Painting of our House on Main St., Lodi by Floyd Covert

Our house on Main Street in Lodi dates back from about 1850. This is the house that my grandmother grew up in from the time she was little, though not the first house she lived in. This is the house that my dad and my uncle grew up in and the house that my grandmother lived in until she died at 94 years old.

My uncle lived in this house when he retired from his job as an art professor in Boston. Certainly he had to make some adjustments to his lifestlye when he moved from Boston to Lodi. He lived there for about 10 years before he passed away. The house has had many inhabitants over the years going back through three generations of my family. It’s pretty cool that we’re still enjoying this beautiful house that’s seen so much of my family history.

I’ve grown up in this house as well, though only through visiting at Christmas and during the summers. I have hundreds of memories from the house, like the great meals my grandmother used to make, many Christmas mornings and dressing up in her fancy clothes.

The house is quite big and clearly not laid out the way contemporary houses are. There are 6 bedrooms and three living rooms, in addition to a kitchen and dining room, large screened in porch and, to top it all off (pardon the pun) a cupola on the top of the house. What’s a bit funny about the house is the fact that many of the bedrooms lead into each other without a central hallway. For example, to get to the bathroom you have to go through someone else’s bedroom. This is not the kind of layout that would fly these days, but there’s not a whole lot we can do about it now.

The formal living room

The formal living room

My grandmother used to rent out a portion of the house for many years. Because the house is so big, whole sections can be blocked off and seperated out. There is actually a small kitchen on second floor which allowed my grandmother to rent out a kind of an apartment up there, with 2 bedrooms and access to the bathroom, in addition to the small kitchen. My dad remembers a time that the front portion of the house on the main floor where there is a living room, bedroom and bathroom was rented out as well.

The house has gone through a lot of changes over the years, as witnessed by the numbers of doors that are no longer in use. There are at least two on the main floor that are not used anymore, one in the front and one in the back. However there haven’t been too many significant upgrades to modern amenities, so it still feels like a very old house, the one I remember from my childhood.

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Hard at Work

The sheep paddock before the work begins

The sheep paddock before the work begins

Last weekend was our big garden creation weekend. We congregated in Lodi for Easter with the ulterior motive of digging the plots for our garden. The digging is obviously just the first step and in about a month we will actually start planting.

We decided early on in the process to dig the garden in the area that used to house sheep about 30 years ago when my family still farmed on the property. My father and grandfather farmed for decades until my grandfather passed away and then until my father’s university career took precedence. I remember when the farm had sheep, and in fact the day that they were shipped off after my dad sold them. So it’s really exciting that this section of the old farm is getting rejuvenated with our garden plans.

One of the first jobs was to clear out the brambles and wild raspberry vines and all of the junk that had accrued over the years. It was amazing to see the improvement just with the litle bit of yard work we were able to do.

Them the serious work began. We started by mapping out our intended plot sizes with a cross-like pathway system in the middle. We used stakes and string to measure and mark where we wanted to place the plots. Our method was, ahem, less than scientific and as a result our plots are a little skewiff.

Working in the garden

Working in the garden

Once we had the garden measured out the really hard work began. Which I mostly avoided. Dad and my brother started the difficult work of turning over the soil using pick-axes. The soil hadn’t been worked in a long time so this was not as easy task. But they handled it with aplomb, though they definitely had a good workout.

After the soil was dug up and turned over, we collected stones to arrange around the plots to mark out the edges. It added an air of seriousness and old-school charm, in addition to being a smart way to remember where our markers are.

The finished product

The finished product

The larger job at this point consisted of clearing out the rest of the entire sheep paddock area so that it felt like a place that would be pleasant to spend time tending to our garden. This was a sizable job as the area was really overgrown and neglected. In addition to the foliage there was lots of old junk and rusted farm refuse.

At the end of the day we were simply exhausted, the burn pile of dried yard waste was enormous, we had scratches from the brambles and we were extremely proud of our 4 3′ x 4′ garden plots. We added mulch and let it sit.

Next month we will be back to plant our seeds and seedlings. I can hardly wait!

A Very Productive Weekend

The Barn

The Barn

This past long weekend was a very busy one in at the Home Farm in Lodi. The house was busier than it has been in years with 6 inhabitants for most of the weekend. We gathered to enjoy the holiday weekend, have a great Easter meal and get some fresh country air. There were also several big projects on the go that we were all involved in and we had success in all areas.

When my brother and I arrived, we were greeted by an empty house because my dad and my uncle were hard at work at one of our properties, arguably the one that needs the most work, the house on what we call the Golding Farm. It’s kind of funny how things end up with the names we use for them, and this house has been owned by my dad for a long time, but at one point it was inhabited by a family called Golding and somehow the name stuck.

Dad and my uncle had been hard at work fixing portions of the the roof on this house that dates from before 1850. You can imagine the kinds of things that need fixing in a house this old but the roof is the most pressing problem right now. Last summer significant improvement was made to the foundation, which was the number one issue to fix on the house. Slowly but surely we are attacking the major issues for this beautful historic property and managing to keep it going.

Inside the Golding Farm

Inside the Golding Farm

Dad and my uncle had professtional help in this major roofing endeavour, and in fact were mostly helping out the professional in this scenario. And for the record, my dad is too old to be doing this kind of thing, not that it made any difference to mention this.

The other major success is that we created the garden plots! It is a big success story because we not only dug some holes in the ground, we actually cleared out a huge section of land that hadn’t seen any TLC in about 50 years. We decided, after careful inspection (that others did while I was sleeping in) that we should put the garden in the old sheep paddock. We figured that the soil would be very rich and the area gets a lot of sun throughout the day.

The sheep paddock had housed sheep for many years, but the last of them left about 25 years ago. In the interim, the area was overgrown with brambles, wild raspberry vines, sumac trees, and weeds, along with random ancient junk. We worked hard for about a day and a half, and we cleared out a lot of the junk and weeds and dug four plots of about three feet by four feet, edged them with stones and covered them with the rich mulch-like substance from the ground of the paddock. We’ll return in about a month to plant.

More details on both of these major projects are forthcoming in future posts, but suffice it to say that things really went well on this very productive Easter weekend.