Some trees from the homestead

5/6/22

I’ve been here at my family home just outside of Waterford, Virginia for three days now, hanging out with my parents. It’s been really cool so far! I’ve got another few days to go, before continuing on my journey, next to Pittsburgh.

The past day or so has been quite rainy, and the rain is forecast to continue for the next couple of days as well. But when I first arrived, I encountered beautiful golden-hour light that made for some lovely strolling and photography. I hope you enjoy these scenes of trees and fields.

The house is a special part of it all, too. This coming Sunday, May 8th—which happens to be Mothers Day too, of course—is the 50th anniversary of my parents’ signing the mortgage on this now-250+ year-old stone farmhouse and its surrounding 30 or so acres, back in 1972. I’m so excited to be able to be here for this anniversary! (And I was born exactly six months later, on November 8th, so this has been my family home for my whole life. I count myself very lucky.)

When they bought the house, it was an enormous hovel. Despite the grandeur of its size and stone work, pretty much everything else needed replacing, including floors, roof, electricity, plumbing… the only plumbing that first year was a single cold-water faucet in a rusty old utility sink. The toilet was an outhouse, and the “shower” was the garden hose. (My father was commuting to work in a suit and tie at the time.)

As for electricity, the makeshift kitchen had only one outlet, so if my mom wanted to use the oven, she had to unplug the refrigerator.

(Did I mention she was pregnant that summer?)

There were peacocks roaming around when they bought the place, and in the course of that first year, they saw a group of wild pigs making their way across the overgrown lawn. Black rat snakes (not poisonous, but up to six feet long) were all around, both outside and inside the walls. And of course squirrels, groundhogs, raccoons, opossums, skunks, and plenty of insects and spiders.

Also within the first year was Hurricane Agnes, which flooded the barn area rather dramatically.

All this is to say that although the place is beautiful and picturesque now, getting from there to here required a staggering amount of time, work, money, and patience.

I’m glad to be here now, especially at this special time, and also especially during the springtime. I left for college in Portland in the late summer of 1990, and I believe this is the first time in the intervening nearly 32 years that I have seen the property with the dogwoods blooming.

More photos to come in the next few days. I hope you enjoy these.

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