Meanwhile, Back at the Old Farmhouse


My cousin’s dog Flash stands sentinel on the once-busy old porch.

I go over to the old farmhouse every day. Here on our boonies road, neither mail nor school busses will come. (And yet, oddly, we have trash pickup!) And so I take Princess over to the old farmhouse every morning to catch her bus while 16 and 14 head off in the other direction to the high school on their own. It’s a little different from when I used to drag her up 15 minutes before the bus was due and shove her onto the big front porch. We missed the bus the first day and I had to drive her on to school. Now we’ve figured out our timing a little better and we’re managing to make the bus. I head back in the afternoons to pick her up, and most days I go a little early or stay a little late–or both–to clean.

We aren’t entirely moved out of the farmhouse, plus we left it MESSY. And I mean really messy. I took a sabbattical on cleaning in the weeks (er, months) before we moved out. I promised Georgia I’d make it sparkly. They have a party the first weekend in June every year and they hold the party at the old farmhouse. Aside from that, I owe it to the old farmhouse. I would never leave it anything but better than when I arrived. “Be patient,” I begged Georgia. “And don’t touch anything. I’ll do it!!”

I worked on the old kitchen first. It’s probably my favorite room in the house. Not because it’s a great kitchen, but because I rediscovered my neglected love of baking there in the two-and-a-half years I spent there, and it’s where I learned to can. I hear Georgia there admitting, for once, that maybe she shouldn’t drive anymore. I hear her saying, “I took care of that possum.” Me saying, “How’d you do that?” And her telling me, “I hit it over the head with a shovel.” And especially I hear her saying, “You want me to take that ammo box out of the house?” Man, that woman is a scary hoot. And so many of my surprising conversations with her took place in the kitchen.

And I see my Great-Aunt Ruby there, wearing her apron. You just know she’s got pie…..

I wiped down everything in the room, dusted the glass, put back Ruby’s windowsill decorations that I’d taken down to put mine up while I lived there. It’s Ruby’s kitchen again.

Except, to me, it will always be mine.

I started in on the front room yesterday. (Left, dirty. Right, cleaned.) Cleaning this room has been the bane of my existence for the entire time I lived there. The carpet? What IS that carpet? It has no nap. I have tried out every vacuum cleaner known to mankind on that carpet. They are all useless. The best thing I found was using the hand-tool end of a small vacuum cleaner and going over the floor an inch at a time on my hands and knees. No problem, it only takes half a day to clean the carpet that way. Then! Then I discovered that a BROOM actually cleaned the carpet better than anything else. And so yesterday I broomed out half the room. Even at that, it took an hour to clean half the room. Then I dusted the table and all the old photographs. Georgia watched and chatted and got a sled out of the cellar to cart all the dust bunnies I swept out onto the porch out to the garden. (Okay, I thought that was weird. Why are we putting dust bunnies on the garden? But I do not question the farm mistress. I just said, “Princess!! Haul that sled of dust bunnies out to the garden for Georgia!” That’s what we do on the old farm. Whatever Georgia says. Even if we don’t understand.)

I’ll clean the other half of the room today.

And one room at a time, I will make it sparkle, because I promised Georgia, and because I love that old farmhouse.

It’s spring at the old farmhouse, and I miss it and don’t miss it and hate it and love it. (If you ever tried to clean that carpet, you’d understand the hating it part.)

I am always glad to see it and to know that it is still part of our lives. I got to LIVE there. How lucky am I?

Dust Bunny Update!

Me: Georgia, everyone wants to know why you put dust bunnies on the garden.

Georgia: (silent)

Me: Georgia!

Georgia: I don’t know. I just thought I would.

Me: GEORGIA! I need a more substantial answer!

Georgia: Well, I put everything on the garden as long as I don’t think it will hurt anything.

So there you have it. She just felt like it!


  1. Patricia Herman says:

    You are lucky! Having lived in the old farmhouse and now living down the road in your new farmhouse! I bet Georgia enjoys the company more then you cleaning the place up!!!!

    Have a great day – love your picture of the yellow flowers!


  2. Heidi says:

    Its nice to get a job done. It looks like a very welcoming place to live/nest/settle or just to visit. I think you will really love putting the old stuff back out too – that is a walk down memory lane I am sure. 🙂

  3. Kim A. says:

    Very lucky indeed — except for the cleaning part. Feel free to head northeast and do my house. I can’t remember the last time I dusted.

    Green grass and daffodils. *sigh* I can only dream….


  4. Hillbilly2 says:

    Very lucky! :yes: And the old farmhouse is lucky you feel that way. :heart: BTW, can you still draw up water in the bucket at that old well? :clock:

  5. Lisa J says:

    What peace and joy to travel the road from the past to the new. Makes us appreciate what we have all the more. I am curious why the boys don’t take Princess to meet the bus? Just a thought! Happy Cleaning.

  6. Robin G. says:

    You have daffodils? *sniffle* I want daffodils.

  7. Suzanne McMinn says:

    I’m not sure water can be drawn up from that well or not. I don’t think so. It hasn’t been used in a long time and a new well was drilled on the other side of the house. I think the old well was not very deep. They did draw a cat out of it several years ago….!!

    Lisa, the boys don’t take her because they go in the entirely opposite direction to the county high school while she goes to the little school in town. She’s in sixth grade. Otherwise, I’d LOVE for them to take her, LOL. But it would be way out of their way. They ford the river by our farm and take off to the big town while I cross the creeks and the hill in the other direction to get to our little town.

  8. Treasia says:

    There is just something about old farm houses and old house sites that is calming and so beautiful. The yards are always so pretty and cared for and you can almost feel the previous generations of owners still maintaining them.

  9. Jill S. says:

    Aw, I’m going to miss hearing about the farmhouse.

  10. Christine says:

    I have to say, I love the time-capsule feeling of that old house. Seems warm and inviting. But I have one of those old carpets and I totally understand that hate thing. 😆

  11. Amy says:

    Thank you Suzanne, for the old farmhouse and for the memories that came along with it. I hope you will be as happy in your new farmhouse as your ancestors were in the old one!

  12. kacey says:

    It will be nice to still have the old farmhouse there to visit. Or sit on the porch and chat with Georgia as you wait for Princess’s bus. Best of both worlds I’d say. A new farmhouse with insulation and a great kitchen…as well as an old farmhouse with history.

  13. Lora says:

    This is half of a full circle. Someday your childrens children will come to your home and it will be the old farhmouse.
    Caring for this one is teaching your children how to care for yours. Wonderful.

  14. Maria says:

    Please PLEASE have Georgia explain the dust bunny thing. It’s gonna bug me if I don’t know. All these years I could put them in the garden?? Why?? Should I start doing this? Will I get water for a well if I do??
    I LOVE all those old photos on the wall. I did something similar in my old home back in WI, before I now rent. I miss those photos..except mine weren’t steeped in a whole lotta history like you seem to have hear.
    You ARE a lucky girl! And we are lucky to live vicariously!

  15. Jyl says:

    I am wondering about the dust bunnies as well…inquiring minds want to know!

  16. Suzanne McMinn says:

    I’ll ask Georgia this afternoon and come back and report! :sheepjump:

  17. Amy Addison says:

    Hugs on the cleaning. Why dust bunnies in the garden?

    The farmhouse memories will always be special. But one day, 14, 16 and Princess will bring their kids back to your “new” old farmhouse and it will be the old farmhouse, or Gramma’s place, or Nana’s house (or whatever your grandchildren will call you) and that’s where their memories will be and you can take them to the “old” old farmhouse and say, this is where our life started.

    And the circle will be complete.

  18. Tori Lennox says:

    Yeah, I’m wondering about those dust bunnies, too!

  19. Nicole Reising says:

    I’m so jealous of those flowers!!! Mine are about half an inch and are once again buried under snow. Ah well, all in good time. Have fun cleaning!


  20. lintys says:

    Aw, it looks a little lonely and forlorn without kids, critters, and you. How nice that you’ll be able to visit the old farmhouse often.

  21. Brandy says:

    Okay, inquiring minds want to know about those dust bunnies! *g*
    The Old Farmhouse just seems to radiate a family history filled with love.

  22. Estella says:

    I am also curious about the dust bunnies.

  23. Susan says:

    I’m so jealous of the flowers! Can’t wait to hear Georgia’s reasoning. After living with older people my whole life I’ve learned just to do as told and not question! 😆

  24. Karen says:

    :thumbsup: Well, at least NOW I know what to do with the dust bunnies – my Thanks to Georgia!!!

    BTW, I finished A Hero’s Redemption yesterday and it was WONDERFUL – and that’s coming from a Danielle Steel & Nora Roberts fan. Can’t wait to read Secrets Rising and more…

  25. catslady says:

    If you need any extra dust bunnies I have tons of them :mrgreen: Maybe it’s just a matter of “why not” :rotfl:

  26. tabbimama says:

    Why not throw the dust bunnies in the garden. They’re compost and maybe their smell will drive off critters coming to steal your bounty. I really am stretching with that but I wanted to post something so bad so I could add the cute little sheepie to it.

  27. Kathy Russell says:

    I grew up with a Hoover vacuum cleaner in the closet, so when I visited my great-grandmother on her farm over in Putnam county I was fascinated by the carpet sweeper — carpet cleaning without electricity.

    Then I found out that she never even used the carpet sweeper. She sprinkled canning salt on the carpet, and swept it with a broom. I asked my grandmother (great-grand’s daughter) about the salt. She told me it was to keep down the dust when you swept. She also confided that she thought it was mostly so you could tell when the carpet was really clean. No salt = no dirt left in the carpet.

    I find cleaning is very peaceful – polishing things and putting them in their place, leaving them for others to find and appreciate, and enjoy.

  28. Kim W says:

    I have a carpet cleaning story, too:

    When I was grade school-age, we had a gold carpet in our living room. It was one of those kind that were so popular in the 60’s, a pile w/winding, twisting grooves all through it. The grooves were nice looking but they made the carpet nearly impossible to keep clean. No sweeper we EVER tried could get all the crud out of the grooves. (As the youngest, and spryest of the family, it was MY job to get down on my hands and knees and pick out anything I could find…it was a BIG living room!)

    One day, a sweeper salesman drops by. My dad told him that if he could clean that carpet he had a automatic sale. Oh my! That little man was exited! But, alas, after SO MUCH trying and trying, he couldn’t get that carpet clean either. So…w/out saying a word, he just packed up all his attachments and walked out the door! :shocked:

    Blessings from Ohio…

  29. Maryann says:

    My grandma used to do the same thing. Her reasoning was the dirt came in from the garden/farm it can go right back there again. Don’t forget about how all the peelings go into the compost pile and newspapers were for seedling starters.

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