When RancherMan & I bought this piece of NE Texas paradise we were enamored with the rich history of the property. Apparently over the decades it’s been home to several homesteads, I’m assuming one of the first was in the 1880’s when our barn was built! The most recent home was located at the front of our property but it burned down in the late 1950’s. We’ve discovered whispers of their past lives that they left behind – so amazing!
There were two deep cement cisterns located where we think were either side of the house. One had to be covered up when we moved here, but we preserved the deeper one to use as our Outdoor Irrigation for my veggie garden.
At the time we were living in the big city. Someone had a small cedar fence that they pulled down – it was almost brand new. That would be PERFECT to frame in our little cistern! So we brought it here and constructed a cute little wishing well with that discarded fencing & some leftover metal roofing. It looked cute & kept the cattle out of trouble when they were around the cistern.
We have two tractors, a 55 hp Mahindra for the big jobs and an older and smaller 32 hp Ford 1910 tractor for mowing, disking, etc. RancherMan usually hops on the newer big-boy tractor with the higher horsepower and front-end loader to do the rough stuff. And I happily allow him those tasks.
My preference is Ole Blue. She’s a 1983-built tractor that purrs like a kitten & is as reliable as the day is long.
Recently our Mahindra dealt us an unpleasant blow by having a deteriorating gas tank, rendering it USELESS. So much for the reliability of a fancy-schmancy tractor that’s only 5 yrs –OLD!
(Mahindra’s certainly seen the last of us as future customers)
So RancherMan went to work playing tractor mechanic for the Mahindra. But it was the ever-faithful Ole Blue Ford tractor that pulled the load on the Homestead.
I’ve been revamping our guest room lately. Last week I shared with you the headboard that RancherMan & I made from repurposed barn wood pulled from our 1880’s barn when it was refurbished a few years ago. I absolutely LOVE the way it turned out!
But now what to do with that wall? RancherMan & I don’t like much visual clutter so I was in a quandary. Do we just leave the wall blank? Well, maybe, but I think it looks a little TOO bare. What to do…
Then I remembered a great piece of old aged wood that RancherMan had to cut off the original boards we were using for the headboard because it was split. But I loved the split. And the ridges. And the knot-holes.
It was a beautiful piece of aged wood. So I asked him to save it for me. My mind was spinning on ideas to make a meaningful pictorial wall feature.
When RancherMan & I moved to our NE Texas Homestead we outfitted our home to suit our new lifestyle. We were now empty nesters so our needs only included one guest bedroom for the occasional overnight guest.
But we were basing our probability of overnight guests on the number of overnight guests we typically entertained when we lived in the city.
Back then there were only sporadic overnight visits during the holidays and maybe an occasional weekend. For the most part our family lives very close to each other. Although we get together often it’s seldom necessary to spend the night.
Several years ago RancherMan bought a martin house as a gift for me, knowing how much I loved birds. He also knew what a challenge it was for me to get any trees to grow in our backyard.
We put that martin house on a heavy reinforced triangular telescoping pole. Then we attached it securely to a line post on the fence to our yard. For years I’ve enjoyed watching nests being built and young being raised. And I love the robotic R2-D2 sounds the martins make as they swoop around the yard.
Recently I decided I wanted to plant a pear tree since back in ‘the day’ all homesteads in this area had pear trees. They were very easy to grow & could produce lots of fruit for the household. I decided not to plant it in my yard – both for my poor backyard soil issue as well as fallen fruit messes.
Instead I planted it a short distance from our yard. But this area is accessible to the cows. You know how cattle are – they love to rub on trees. This little sapling didn’t stand a chance if left unprotected.
I needed a way to keep the cows away from it long enough to give it a fighting chance. But I like to repurpose what we’ve already got to serve a need whenever possible.
So I put on my thinking cap & started looking around the homestead for supplies.
To save our 1880’s barn we hired a contractor come shore up the exterior. We originally asked them to remove the the old ragged exterior boards and replace them onto the barn after the repairs were made.
But after removing these old boards and sorting through the ones too far gone for the barn, it was apparent there would be nowhere near enough wood to replace the entire surface. So we had them use new similarly-styled wood planks. We allowed the new wood to age for one year and then we sealed it for protection from the elements. They did an awesome job and our old barn has maintained it’s beautiful old look. (If you’d like a virtual tour of this beautiful old barn you can see it here.)