Evidence Of (Another) Old Homestead

by Tammy Taylor

We purchased our piece ~TMR~ paradise back in 2000.  It was in pretty rough shape but I could see its potential and the property itself really spoke to my heart.  Once I learned that the crumbling 1880’s barn was part of this property the deal was all but sealed!  RancherMan & I had the barn’s exterior refurbished, leaving the interior intact.  We’ve had ponds, fences & cross fences built, revitalized pastures and spend numerous days clearing these dang Honey Locust trees (we call them Satan trees, I’m pretty sure that’s where they came from!)  It’s fun to envision the family that must have lived here, and several months ago I wrote about the Evidence Of A Past Homestead.

But in the fall of 2012 we purchased a remote pasture about 10 minutes away from our own homestead to hold our stocker cows.  Again, that property was in somewhat of a shambles. But again it held an 1880’s barn, albeit in dire need of repair.  RancherMan & I are determined to refurbish this old barn and property the same as we did with our first one. (I’m seeing a pattern here…)

Evidence of an old abandoned homestead. It has an 1880's barn, orchard of jujube trees & is in need of TLC! #TexasHomesteader

Although we purchased the remote-pasture property in the fall of 2012, I didn’t know then the breast-cancer diagnosis I would receive just a few months later.  The swirl of diagnostic tests and surgeries put everything on hold for the entire year.

Cleaning Up Abandoned Homestead Property

But now I’m ready to get back on the horse, as it were. This property needed some TLC. The most recent property seller burned & then attempted to bury the falling-down house that was vacant on the property for so many decades. Unfortunately he left quite a mess with partially buried burned housing material & bricks.

Not only is burned housing material scattered around the property but trash of all kinds was strewn about.  RancherMan & I have been working hard to get this property cleaned up & brought back to it’s previous glory.

But while working you can’t help but to wonder about the lives lived here so many decades ago back in it’s heyday.  We’re told the inhabitants earned their living farming cotton for quite some time before the owners died & the property was left vacant for decades. It changed hands several times before we purchased it. But I absolutely love the history I feel here.  I can still hear the whispers of the past…  In what used to be the back yard next to an old tree is this concrete marker hand lettered “JESS”.  I imagine a beloved pet was laid to rest here.

Grave Marker. Evidence of an old abandoned homestead. It has an 1880's barn, orchard of jujube trees & is in need of TLC! #TexasHomesteader

Some Old Structures Remain

Behind the house was an outhouse, still standing today.  I love this structure just for the nostalgia of it all. Although I’ll admit being a little skiddish of going inside!

Abandoned outhouse. Evidence of an old abandoned homestead. It has an 1880's barn, orchard of jujube trees & is in need of TLC! #TexasHomesteader

Between the house & the barn is a large-ish cleared out square area.  This appears to be where they planted their large vegetable garden. I see heirloom garlic still sprouts along the perimeter. So I dug some up & brought it home to be in my own veggie garden too.

On the north side of the garden was their orchard of jujube trees.  The orchard is way overgrown now. But I harvested some of those jujubes last summer and dehydrated them to use in my homemade pumpkin granola.  I was pretty excited to get a small taste of the past with this fruit.

Jujube Trees and Fruit. Evidence of an old abandoned homestead. It has an 1880's barn, orchard of jujube trees & is in need of TLC! #TexasHomesteader

Work Still Needs To Be Done

The shallow pond next to the barn needs to be reworked. But that’s in the planning stages now.  And behind the pond was another structure (again burned by the most recent seller).  It’s too small to be a house. Perhaps it was a smokehouse or something.

I enjoy looking at the layout of the pens even though the barbed wire is long gone in most cases.  Looking at the tree lines gives hints as to where they once were and their proximity to the barn gives me an idea of the work flow.  In observing the layouts I’ve been able to see a glimpse into the daily rhythm of those lives of the past as they tended to the animals, the orchard & the garden.  It’s been so much fun to envision the lives of those that came before.

~TxH~

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36 thoughts on “Evidence Of (Another) Old Homestead

  1. Ricki

    I absolutely love the phrase you used “whispers of the past”. It rings so true…I find those whispers, or maybe fullness of heart next to the oldest living things on our property…the oaks which some are said to be 200 years old. Our home which was saved from decay by the previous owners (unfortunately for them the bust of 2006 sunk their hopes and opened the door for us at the perfect time). We will forever be grateful, and sad for them for their loss. The house built in 1957 is surrounded by 9 grand oaks, and their roots cradle our home. Recently we learned that there is a Indian burial ground only a small distance from our property line, and a tribe lived under and around these oaks….which is not at all surprising to me. We don’t have any old barns (unfortunately), but I hope to look for some artifacts when the work slows…I know it never will on the farm…but hope springs eternal in these old bones.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      OMGoodness Ricki, your piece of paradise sounds divine! I know what you mean about older things – they just make you FEEL different, whether it’s amazing old trees or kitchen tools your grandmother used. Oftentimes people shun “old” things, tossing them aside for the newest/greatest/best. In my opinion, best is held in the older things – made to last, made to work. The newer things we’ve acquired have given us grief, the older things were workhorses. I can rely on them, and that’s important. Thanks for stopping by & sharing your story – have fun looking for artifacts. ~TMR~

      Reply
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  3. Terri Presser

    What a wonderful property with stories to tell. Thank you for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

    Reply
  4. Lori from LL Farm

    After we purchased our land, we worked at it for a couple years, cleaning it up. We wanted to save the old barn, but it was not feasible. We still have a lot that we want to do…we do most of the work ourselves. It is rewarding when you get a project done. Your place has such potential…hang in there! Lori

    Reply
  5. Terry

    You are very lucky to have a part of the past that pulls at the heart strings. It breaks my heart every time I see an old abandoned house sitting in a field. I always wonder who lived there and what it was like. I so want to go in them and look around but usually it means trespassing. I love old farm houses and once wanted to restore one but am getting too old for that now. I guess as my blog title says, I am a country lady at heart.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      It’s fun to imagine what those lives were like so long ago. It’s like a puzzle, trying to figure out how their gardens laid out, their orchards, their animal pens. I’ve often wondered long after I’m gone if others will follow behind me & notice the tree lines & wonder about our current fencelines & pens. ~TMR~

      Reply
  6. Gentle Joy

    What an interesting post…. like reading a mystery novel…wondering what you will find next! You have taken on quite the task…. I would also enjoy the searching… and imagining what it was like… but I don’t think we would take on quite as much work as y’all are…. still I’m glad you are doing it…. and posting about it. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Yeah, dreaming of the lives lived there and trying to envision what that looked like – I really enjoy that. What fun! ~TMR~

      Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      (blushes…) Sweet comment Daisy. I do love the history whispering through this old abandoned piece of property and I rejoice in bringing it back to it’s previous beauty. ~TMR~

      Reply
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  8. Kathy

    Fascinating finds! I love passing by old roads and seeing a lot of daffodils or other bulbs – that shows us where homes onces stood! I appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday, Kathy

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I love that too Kathy. I’m excited to know so many others feel the same way. ~TMR~

      Reply
  9. Buttons

    Oh what a great place I think it is going to be a lot of work but it has good bones as my Gramma used to say. Oh your photos are wonderful. I am so glad you are doing well. B

    Reply
  10. Tracy Fredrychowski

    I loved this post…we found a grave stone in our woods and ever since then we have been trying to find out as much as we can about who lived on this land before us. We love the history and mystery it all holds!

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Exactly Tracy, it’s fascinating to try to track down the story of it all… ~TMR~

      Reply
  11. Ann Marie Mones

    I enjoyed reading this. It made me think of the places up in Maine where my family lived, and some still do. My sister still has the old abandoned house on her farm, that my mother was born in. The house was built in the 1600’s. Thanks for sparking the memories.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      How exciting Ann Marie to still have a house built in the 1600’s and also know it was the home your mother was born in. Love, Love, LOVE IT! ~TMR~

      Reply
  12. Christine @ Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

    I love this post. What a joy it must be to walk around a piece of property and see what was, and what will be! 🙂 Take care, ~ Christine

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      It really is a joy for me Christine and I’m so glad to know there are others that enjoy these things too. ~TMR~

      Reply
  13. Cecilia

    It’s so nice to know there are those who care about neglected properties and bring them back to glory! We bought our farm two years ago and have been working hard to clean it up and care for it. I just love this! Thanks for sharing on Fluster’s Creative Muster Party. Looking forward to reading more.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thanks Cecilia – I don’t know why more care isn’t taken for property but it seems idle property ends up being a dumping ground of sorts. But RancherMan & I worked hard to get our ranch property in tip-top shape and I have no doubt we can do the same to our remote pasture property as well. In the meantime it sure is interesting to dream about the lives once lived there. ~TMR~

      Reply
  14. Ken

    I’ve been following your blog for two weeks and really enjoy it. We live on the south side of Hunt County with a Caddo mailing address. Used to be an old homestead across the county road from us but new owners have eliminated it. I reckon using the old wood for who knows what. Such a shame. Regards

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Well thanks for stopping by Ken. It is a shame when old homesteads are demolished or destroyed so I understand the sorrow. I’m pretty excited that I get to rediscover two of them though. ~TMR~

      Reply
  15. victoria witte

    I hope you will be saving some of the artifacts that you find. “JESS” should be put somewhere special. The outhouse is a prize but I can understand your reluctance to check out the interior. Who knows what might have made it their own abode. Victoria in Indiana

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      (snicker) Right Victoria!! I do love the old “JESS” marker. It makes their story all the more vibrant & real to me. ~TMR~

      Reply
  16. Lynn@Southern Direction

    I thought maybe I was the only one who became excited over stumbling across an old homeplace. I enjoyed this post and it’s nice ya’ll are able to save the structures.

    Reply
  17. Brent

    We know how you feel. Having Crohn’s disease and the surgeries that go with it means we have to take months off here and there, as well. Our farm is right on the Wolfe city/Greenville line in Black cat thicket. I enjoy studying the history of our area too. Thanks for your posts…it sure encourages this little farm.

    Reply

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