Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Millstones and toes do not go together...

I had a small accident on the homestead the other day...

Mark, Jayson (a young man who is staying the cottage for a bit) and I were cleaning out the shed in preparation for a yard sale.  We were doing great and things were coming together.  I was tossing some cardboard into the corner and my foot hit a millstone we have laying around (that's the thing about having a farmhouse over 250 years old...there are some weird things laying around!).  Unfortunately it was up on its side and I hit it just hard enough to have it tip over...onto my foot...well, my big toe to be exact.  My big toe that was not at all protected since all I had on were sandals.

Our neighbor (Jay's grandmother) was an EMT until she retired, so she came down to take a look at it (both Mark and Jay were insisting that I go to the ER but I really did not want to).  She looked at it and told me a trip to the ER was not necessary, unless it did not stop bleeding.  Thankfully it stopped bleeding and I was able to save myself the trip (and the expense!) of an Emergency Room visit.

Very thankful that it was just a wound - the toe did not break and the millstone missed my toenail by a hair!

I did have to cancel my yard sale, but it was best to keep it elevated and let it heal.

It is healing great and doesn't hurt unless I step wrong or bump it (which seems to happen several times a day, unfortunately).

So...the lesson I learned is this: Do not wear open-toed shoes when doing things around the Homestead.  Tough way to learn a lesson, for sure!

Thursday, August 31, 2017


I haven't been keeping up with my blog lately...have been so busy around the homestead that I forget to come here and write.  I have been trying to do short posts on my Facebook page but I love having a blog because I can do longer posts.

I will purpose to keep up with it more often!

News from the Homestead:  This is going to be a new feature on the blog that I will talk about the happenings and news from the Homestead.  My news this week is that Mark bought me 16 baby chickens yesterday!  I am very excited to have chickens again - I've missed having them.  My pet chicken, Spot, died a few months ago and it's been very quiet without having her around.  These 16 babies will sure keep me busy!




Chicks huddled in the corner under the heat lamp




Thursday, July 27, 2017

Insurance, Regulations and Laws, oh my!

The past couple weeks have made me feel like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz!  I feel like I was swept up in a cyclone and dropped in the middle of an unfamiliar place.

I live a very simple life.  I follow rules and laws (provided man's laws do not go against God's law).  I do my best to be a good person.

But sometimes, despite those things, rules and laws rear their ugly head and make me realize that I am not doing things quite "right".  This happened almost two weeks ago - we listed our Homestead on Airbnb and on Craigslist.  We got a booking almost immediately and I started reading more about Airbnb (we wanted to be sure to follow all of their rules) and saw information about home insurance...information that made it sound like we would not be protected under normal homeowners.  I made some calls and did some research to find out that the information was correct - if one rents on Airbnb then one is not protected under homeowners.  We needed to get "short term rental insurance" (something I had never heard of, thus never considered).

Short Term Rental insurance is fairly easy to get - if you have a "normal" home (by normal I mean a regular house sitting on a piece of land - the home being less than 100 years old and the land being in a non-flood zone).  The 1765 Homestead is not a normal home.  We have 2 houses on one deeded piece of property and one of the houses is a 252 year old Farmhouse.  And we live in what some insurances consider a flood zone (due to the river being across the street...despite the fact that in the 252 years this home has been here the river has NEVER raised enough to even touch the edge of our property, let alone the house that sits uphill from it...honestly if the Sheepscott river rises enough to flood our house then the world as a whole has a whole lot more problems than if we live in a flood-zone!!).

We hit brick walls left and right when we inquired about insurance.  We thought we found a company that would work with us but they wanted us to replace the chimney in our home - they said it was not safe (it was lined with Supaflu in the 1980's and the underwriter I spoke to had no idea what I was trying to explain...Supaflu is basically an epoxy/glue/concrete liner that goes inside of chimneys to secure them and protect the house).  They wanted me to do a $25,000 chimney replacement.  Nope.  Not only are we not going to replace something that does not need doing, but we certainly do not have a spare $25,000 sitting around!

We finally found a company that will work with our unique situation (instead of trying the national companies that would seemingly be cheaper because of their size, we went with Cheney Insurance, a local agency who understands our area and our unique home situation).  The rate is about $500 more a year than we are currently paying and the policy is not quite as good (but definitely sufficient).  The only drawback is that it has to be paid in full up front.  So we are going to tweak the budget to see how soon we can come up with the money to pay up front, and as soon as the policy is written we can start accepting guests in the Homestead.

Meanwhile we are working on the cottage, getting it ready for us to move back into (we are living in the Homestead right now). I'm eager to get back into it...we lived there for the first 20 years of our marriage and it feels more like my house than the Homestead does (plus it is a 3-bedroom instead of 2-bedroom so I have room for my crafts!!).

Excitement is good, but routine is a bit better when it comes to an old Homestead!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Mark is working on moving two maple saplings today.  We have two that have been growing in our front yard, fairly close to the foundation of the Homestead.  They are about 12-15 feet tall now and are strong enough to be moved.  They need to be moved so the roots do not break the foundation when they get bigger.  He has moved one so far and will be working on the other this afternoon.  We are excited to save the trees as they appear to be strong sugar maples and will eventually be able to be tapped for sap to turn into maple syrup.  We are hoping they survive the move and do not get shocked (which could kill the trees).

I listed the Homestead on Craigslist under Vacation Rentals today.  I'm excited to start this adventure - one of my dreams has been to own a Bed & Breakfast and this is even better!!

Friday, July 14, 2017

We are excited to start a blog for our Homestead!!

I thought it would be fun to describe the Homestead in this first post and share a few pictures.

We have just over 3 acres of land in Sheepscott Village (part of Newcastle), Maine.  There are two houses on the land; a Cottage-style home that we are moving into (we currently live in the Homestead) and the Homestead itself, a Cape Cod style home that was built around 1765!!  There is an attached shed to the Homestead.  In addition to the houses there is also a good sized workshop and a small garden shed on the property.

The Homestead was the first house built in Sheepscott Village.  It has the look of a Cape Cod style home but it is actually Medieval Style due to the age and the way it was built.  It is 2 stories with 2 bedrooms upstairs.  The downstairs has a kitchen and bathroom in an addition that was built on around 1850.  There is also a living room and dining room.  The basement is unfinished and has a unique history, itself!  The walls of the basement are field-stone.  Back in the mid 1700's Sheepscott Village and Alna (across the Sheepscott River) were very busy ports.  When ships came up the river they had field stones for weight (so they would not tip).  Once they got to the port the stones were discarded and the merchandise was loaded.  It was these discarded stones that were used as the basement walls of the Homestead.  Some even have fossils on them!

The Homestead was once used as the Methodist Church (before the church next door was built), and later as the Parsonage.

In the mid-1800's the Homestead was purchased by the Carney family (Mark's mother's family) where they and their decedents have lived since.

The 3+ acres is mostly open land.  There is a lot of space for gardens and animals and we are in the planning stages of making this a self-sufficient property.  There are flowers, maple trees, berry bushes, rhubarb, and a couple of apple trees on the land.  We desire to plant more fruit trees in the upper part of the field and have about 1/3 of the land be an orchard.

We are excited to offer the Cape home to rent on airbnb.  This is a very new thing to us...opening up our Homestead, and ourselves, to the public, but we know that in order to maintain the Plain lifestyle that we desire that we must start allowing the Homestead to produce an income for us.

We look forward to see where God guides us with this project!!

Here are some photos of the Homestead and surrounding areas: