An 1800's Hubbard, Ohio Homestead and Favorite Memories
The Old House and Memories
Reflecting on the old house where my Mom grew up; my Grandparents; hiking the trails and other memories from spending time there, is always bittersweet.
I was selected as "Homesteader of the week" several years ago (2006) in the Organic Homesteading and Gardening online Yahoo group so Linda asked me to write something about my homestead. She saw what I wrote as a poem and I guess it was - sort of.
I own that house now - since Grandma died and I still "see" those memories although they do fade a tiny bit each year.
That is why I wrote this and sent it in when Linda asked for our stories - so these things could be remembered by me and other family members and friends.
I was seeing these memories all over again in my mind's eye when I was writing so I suppose it is a form of poetry although not intended as such.
I just wanted to get my thoughts is writing before they were forgotten.
Much of what I do today, embroidering by hand; sewing by hand; learning about herbs; seeking natural remedies; organic gardening; making all natural perfumes and balms; and cooking from scratch - comes from listening to my Grandparents stories of long ago and wanting to be a part of it - albeit a very small part.
Featured Article About the Old Family Homestead
The old homestead:
I see my grandma everywhere here.
She's cooking dinner.
She's canning at the sink.
She's at the old wringer washer.
She's outside picking off the bad bugs.
She's in her rocker crocheting or embroidering.
She's in her gardens weeding - she's weeds - she's weeds.
She just died in 1999 at the age of 98.
She still mowed her own lawn in her early eighties.
She was tough, yet she was kind.
She had many memories and stories of her joys (children, marriage, friends...) and of her not so joyous times ( being put into several foster homes - some abusive; losing her first daughter at 5 years old; outliving a son, a husband, a grandson (my brother), and many friends.
She was sad to have outlived so many friends and family members, but she did not give up until her last few months. She was in so much pain and was ready to go and await the resurrection.
I still see grandpa here too, although he died in 1976.
He's telling a joke.
He's pounding in a nail.
He's wearing his old red hat.
He's smoking that familiar stinky cigar.
He's sitting in his chair while I clip his toenails.
He's losing at Dominoes and he says "You're cheating" with a laugh.
I hope you all didn't mind me telling you why I love this place.
It reminds me of them and my brother.
I have great memories of all of us here.
It has always been my "home" and now it is officially my home.
As near as we can tell, this house was built in 1825.
My grandparents bought it in the early 1940s.
It had no windows or doors and was clearly abused/neglected.
Grandpa worked at demolition of old buildings as well as other odd jobs. He would save the windows and doors... from those jobs and use them in their house.
Grandma said that Grandpa made it as nice as he was able.
She also said that the front room and their bedroom used to be the old front porch, but Grandpa closed it in to give them more living space. On one of the walls you can still see the square nails.
Also, the backroom (washroom) and the bathroom used to be the old back porch.
There is a hand dug cellar probably 12 x 12 feet with huge wooden beams and stones for its support.
There is an upstairs it's probably about 12 x 24 feet. It is all insulated now, but I would love to know if it was an open loft at on time.
I still use the 25-30 foot hand dug well for my water supply. The surrounding area is swampy because of the nearby springs and creek so, as long as I don't wash more than 2 loads of clothes a day, I never run out of water.
I have a little gift/antique shop in the front of the house and I love it.
I am having too much fun making soaps and scouring estate sales looking for vintage items and antiques for my "Vintage and /or Handmade Items Room".
This virtual shop for handmade and vintage things features much of the old time crafts that Grandma taught and has been active for many years.
The gift shop at the house was closed and the handmade and vintage goods were moved to my Mom's little store at 6177 Youngstown-Hubbard Road in Hubbard, Ohio as she had her cancer come back and her business partner closed while Mom was out of town. I stepped in and kept it open for her for 3 years until we lost her in March, 2013 and I am trying my best to keep the gift shop by myself now. My Dad is gone now as well. January 8, 2016.
Lovely Old House, but Needs Work
I'm sure it would take much more than I could possibly do alone, but I am doing what I can here and there.
It would be nice to restore some of it like putting in a fireplace/wood burner and getting rid of the awful aluminum siding that was put on in the back when folks didn't care much about preserving looks or historical integrity.
I want to do these things while updating other things like discreetly adding solar panels on the roof, adding hidden electrical outlets and adding a deep well for washing clothes even in a drought. I am trying to keep the look of the house in a cross between close to how Grandma and Grandpa had it and how it would have been when it was built.
A tough call for sure because I have no photos of the house before they bought it and I want it to be earth friendly too by saving energy and using what I have on hand like lots of trees for wood.
March, 2013 - I've had to put my dream on hold for these last several years as my Mom's cancer came back and I took over her little gift shop to keep it open for her - glad to do it as she was happy to come in whenever she could - we lost her this month.
June, 2014 - Well, my health has not been good for a few years now and I have a ton of doctor's bills to pay and more tests and things to get done - so even more bills will be on the way.
On top of all of this, business has been slow at the gift shop and I found out that we have a hole in the roof of the old house. Of course it is over the room where my precious few antiques were so most of them are ruined. Hubby has gone up 3 times to try to cover the hole/holes, but the roof is still leaking.
This must have been going on for some time because the wood under the shingles is rotting in several places. This roof hasn't been touched since my Uncle replaced the shingles 40+ years ago so I was hoping to have a really good year in sales because we do not make enough in wages to cover it - even without all of the medical bills.
August, 2014 - Well, the plan was for me to do what I could to save my house and my herbal gardens, but Daddy's not been well and he needs me. Love my Daddy and glad to be there for him.
January, 2016 We lost Daddy now as well, but he fought hard against his heart and lung issues. During his last couple years, he needed me to go with him the him appointments and shopping trips as he just couldn't breathe and his heart kept acting up. I was glad to be there for him. I wish there were two of me so I could have also been working on my house and other work that needed to get done, but that's life I guess.
This Old House Needs Saving
For anyone out there who might like to help save this old homestead original house that needs so much and soon.
Thank you ! It is one of the oldest houses in this town and needs to be saved.
The road was named after my Grandma
For sure, it was built by 1875 as it is recorded at the old courthouse. In 1825, it was only recorded as a "structure" so the lady said to be safe, count it for official records as 1875 because a "structure" could have been my house but it also could have been a hunting cabin, a lean-to or maybe even a chick coop - LOL
Thank You to Most - No, Thank You to a Few
Several of you saw my post on this page and on my personal facebook page... and have been so kind! Thank you all so much for your messages and other kind support.
To the very few others who like to judge people and situations in which they know virtually nothing = I was/am so embarrassed to have to ask for help like this as I have always worked very hard all of my life to take care of my own problems - often working 2 jobs at a time.
Back in my days as a single mom with 2 kids, I went to Penn State full time and made Dean's List every single semester/ran a few clubs/helped out at HeadStart/had a huge organic garden to have healthy fruits and veggies for my kids... and helped my neighbors...
The last several years has been horrible for us with my Mom being so ill and dying from cancer and then Dad having serious heart and lung issues. So, I stepped up to help out wherever I could physically and then emotionally as well when most of her loved ones were too busy to stop by and thus broke her heart and am still helping Dad with whatever he needs.
My brother would have been there in a flash, but he died when he was only 30 years old so it is all up to me.
These days I can barely walk and have a few other health issues going on that I wont mention the details, but I still work here at my gift shop from 7am until 5pm on most days and just cannot keep this up for much longer so I had to break down and ask for help to save my old house - one of the oldest homes in Hubbard, Ohio.
Please read the page about this wonderful, old house and then tweet/post/share this if you are so inclined. If not, that's just fine as well - as long as you keep your judgmental attitude to yourself.
How Does an Old 1825 House say "Welcome, come on in" ?
Before Mom got so ill and my health really started failing, I was slowly trying to fix up this old house.
One of the main things that really set the stage for a front entrance is the walkway that I put in with a little help from my son and some from my Uncle Jim who lived next door. I planted the herb Thyme on both sides and is has started to fill in nicely.
Even though my grandparents never had a walkway there, I thought it was appropriate and the front door seemed to be calling for one - it was so bare and looked lonely being just a door and two old stone steps.
Now it feels complete and welcoming.
Expanding my Organic Herb Gardens
February 2009, Since hubby is out of work now (laidoff for good) - I am hoping I can get my semi formal herb garden in this year.
I have several sections of the property already growing herbs and edible and/or healing flowers, but I still want and need more.
I have also been propagating my herbs so that I will have a bunch of plant "babies" all ready to go into my new organic herb garden.
I have had the area picked out for the last few years, but I just couldn't do it all by myself with my physical limitations.
Hopefully, I can get him to help at least a little bit so I can get in in this year.
I have been getting more and more orders for my products and really need to be able to grow more herbs and flowers to be able to keep up.
* Update, August 4, 2009 : Well, no progress with this yet.
This will also fit in very well with my own house as back then, the garden and the woods/fields were your doctor.
I do the same for my family. I make our own balms/salves and I use them on every sort of skin problem. I even make my own mouth rinse for minor sores and tooth problems.
* Update December 2009 - He went back to work after being off for 9 months.
Oh well, I am working even harder to get my business going well enough so that I can hire the help that I need around here.
*Update, 2010 - Mom was about to start chemo so I took over her gift shop to keep it open for her and I will wait a little longer for my dreams :)
*Update 2013 - We lost Mom on March 25th. and my health has been going downhill for these last few years so I haven't been able to work toward my dreams again.
*Update, 2014 - Well, I still am not well and have so many medical bills and more tests coming AND we have a hole in the roof so again, my dreams have to wait.
*Update, January 8, 2016 - Daddy's gone now too.
It felt like it WAS 1825 the other day !!!
On Wednesday, May 13th 2009...
Oh my goodness,
I almost felt like a pioneer from 1825 or that I was in a Little House on the Prairie story for a minute because I saw a whole family of coyotes in front of my neighbor's house.
I went down to get the mail at about 11:30am or 12 and heard a howling and I thought a poor dog must be in trouble in the woods so I listened for a minute and then heard some more terrible howling.
I thought maybe a dog got caught in a trap or something.
Then, I heard the woods right across from my house rustling and heard a bunch of noises and then I thought it must have been a man with his hunting dogs just practicing so I turned to go up my driveway to the house.
I got to the end of my walkway and saw 5 or 6 small German Shepherd like dark-almost black dogs running full speed out of the woods so I walked a little faster to my doorway and then turned to see and I saw a few more coming out of the woods.
A little while later, my neighbor saw a couple of them behind my house and in her garden area.
I called 911 when I first saw them (and thought they were just dogs) this morning because a pack might go after a small child or someone's pets.
I don't know if the police ever came to see about this or not as none came to my door to ask me about it - I doubt it.
By the way, we also have a black bear who lives in our woods, but all he has done in the last few years is to know bird feeders over.
This Old House Always Reminded Me of the "Little House On The Prairie"
Being with my grandparents (and I was as often as possible - as was my brother) in this old 1825 house always made me imagine that I could have been one the Ingalls' neighbors from the Little House On The Prairie stories..
I know - Hubbard, Ohio is nowhere near to the prairie, but this old house is in the township and on a tiny little road back in the woods with only 4 other houses.
We loved walking along the railroad tracks in the back and picking blackberries and smelling the sassafras.
Out here, there was/are black bears, coyotes, hawks, fox, deer, and many other members of the wildlife family.
My grandparents raised milk cows long ago (before I was born) and there always chickens - Grandma LOVED her Rhode Island Reds !
My Uncle Butch had pigs there at times and helped with the big garden.
I loved listening the my Grandparents' stories and imagining my self there - in the past.
Grandma taught me to sew by hand, embroider by hand, cook, garden and so much more.
And, to add fuel to my imagination, we'd often watch the T.V. show "Little House On The Prairie"
I still watch the reruns when I can find them and I love reading the books !
Have You Saved an Old House or Have Some Insight?
Do you know of any folks who are looking to help with for a good project and who might like to help save this old house?
These nasty raccoon beasts ! They tore another hole in my roof !
Raccoon damage again
© 2009 Diana Burrell-Shipton