07 June 2012

Where I come from: Part 1, the farm

As I have mentioned, I visited my family in West Virginia last month.  The whole trip revolved around photographs - taking them, looking at them, cataloging them.  One of my goals was to capture our family farm.  My family is talking about selling some of the barns/buildings.  Many of them are in disrepair, and people will pay lots of money for old, weathered wood.  So before the farm's look changes completely, I wanted to capture it.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn't cooperative and I didn't get as many good shots as I would have liked, and my skill level isn't nearly where I want it to be.  I took almost 500 pictures, and picked about 50 that I liked ... but only a handful that I really loved.  Hopefully, I will make it back before they sell the buildings and give it another go, but for now, I'm working with what I have.  Some of these pictures are a bit over-worked, but again, I was working with less-than-stellar material.

But enough of the negatives.  This will be a presentation in four parts: the farm as a whole (this post), the animals (because what's a farm without critters?), some detail shots, and finally, old pictures that I scanned in for my grandmother's digital frame (and borrowed while I was at it).  I'm going to try to not be too long-winded, but I'll share some memories as they come.

So.  Let's get started.

This is my grandmother, Neenie, on the side porch.  Isn't she beautiful? This is the sitting porch, the one that gets used the most often.  It's where the men sit before dinner (yes, I have a very gendered family), and more generally, where a lot of visiting happens.  I think Neenie sits out here a lot with Arby (the cat whose butt you can see above).  The light on the side porch, by the way, didn't work for years and years, much to my grandfather's chagrin.  He could fix anything, but the walls of this part of the house are the original small house surrounded by the addition, so they are two feet thick, and Pap-paw couldn't get in there to work with the wires.  The night of his funeral, someone happened to flip on the switch, and the light came on.  It has worked ever since.  

The farmhouse.  The original house, as I understand it, is over 150 years old, while the front section (that you see here) was added in the early 1900s.

Side view (that's the side porch from above).  The box-like thing in the yard is the well.

Back view, with the back porch.  The building on the right is the meathouse, seen in this Wordless Wednesday.  The basement of the meathouse, by the way, smells wonderful; I can't really describe it, but it smells old and musty, but in the best way.  I used to volunteer to get canned goods and odds and ends out of it just to be able to smell it.  Neenie has always thought I was crazy.

I didn't get a lot of interior shots, since the weather was really overcast and there wasn't enough light.  This is the kitchen; the table is set up for an "average" dinner.  We had turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, corn, rolls, two kinds of salads and four different desserts, including strawberry shortcake. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  Neenie made it all (I helped peel the potatoes and slice the strawberries, though she was much quicker at both, despite bad arthritis).  The skinny door towards the back of the room is the old icebox, which has been converted into a cabinet (for office-type stuff, mostly).  The alcove to the left of it is the entry to the pantry, and the door to the left of that is the bathroom.

The utility sink.  When Pap-paw would come in from working out on the farm, he would always stop here first and wash his hands/arms (up to the elbow).  

This is more of a detail shot, but speaking of Pap-paw, this bear was made for my grandmother out of a set of his pajamas.  The name came from his Odd Fellows Lodge shirt (I glued it on for her).  It is still strange to walk into the house and not see them both.  I miss him.

Three of the buildings, as seen from the side porch.  From left to right: the barn, the garage, the tractor shed.

 The big barn.  It's in not very good shape, but it's beautiful.

This is the grainery/tool shed.  This picture was taken from the front porch of the house; the barn and old silo foundation is to the right.

Garage again.

Tractor shed.

Fireplace in the yard.  I have a great old picture of my great-grandmother making apple butter using this (coming in the fourth post, if I remember!).

The tractor, also as seen in this post.  Despite the overcast weather, I took a bunch of pictures of the tractor; my dad was in the tractor shed digging out my mantle, so I had a lot of extra time.  I had some fun with the next one.

I used the Pioneer Woman's Photoshop Elements Heartland effect (found here).  I like the texture of this one; it has the texture of a pencil drawing, while still clearly being a photo.

As I mentioned above, the pictures are not the only thing coming back to Raleigh with me.  Isaac and I are getting a mantle from the farmhouse; the original one from the kitchen, actually, which was taken out when they took out the fireplace in that room.  There are still four other fireplaces in the house, only one of which I know is working.

That's all for Where I come from: Part 1, folks.  Stick around for Part 2: The animals!

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