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Smoke, Fire and a Free Lunch

It won't take me long to update you on the renovation as there was NOT MUCH PROGRESS THIS WEEK!!   Not entirely sure why.   The big issue we are facing is the master bedroom flooring.  We have to find 16ft long, 1 and 3/4 inch thick, 12 inch wide boards to span the beams to create the floor.   These are much thicker than normal floor boards as they need to be structural.  The need to be wider to match the 20+ inch wide boards that cover half the master bedroom.  This is taking longer than we thought and is holding up the process. We can't start framing out the upstairs until the floor is in place.   We started the framing upstairs along the knee wall but that is about it so far.   

New Basement stair being built (note the door to living room is gone!)

View from the living room
Kitchen has become a workshop
So, what has been done.  We've moved the basement stair and patched the floor with some salvaged floor boards.  The old door to the basement has been closed up with lath, to be plastered later.

New floor (where basement stair used to be) and patched wall

Last weekend Daniel and I had our first fire in the new hearth.  The chimney was complete and we wanted to test how it worked.  I got some wood from the shed and made a little grate out of a shelf from the old cooker and a couple of bricks.  It lit perfectly, did not smoke and warmed us on a chilly morning.
New Chimney

First fire

While on the subject of smoke, the mystery Smoketree is still to be identified. I called the forestry people in New Paltz and they were fantastically helpful.  They said they would come round when the leaves were out.  This week the leaves were still just buds, so a little longer to wait.  If anyone can help identify this tree from these leaves...please post a comment.




 The other big event of the week was the arrival of the 100 year old terracotta tiles.   They look even better in real life than the photo on the website.  Daniel and I had to lay them out in random order on the floor, just to see the full effect....magnificent.


My favorite discovery was one of the tiles that had a small pussy cat's paw print in it.   Obviously a cat walked on the wet tile before it was fired all those years ago.  Cute, will have to find a place for this in the hearth somewhere.
Cat paw print tile
We changed the plans for the master bedroom again.   The cross ties/beams that we were going to suspend the ceiling from are so wonderful we decided we will have the roof in the master bedroom go all the way to the peak, leaving these beams exposed.   They will be left rough and we will finish the ceiling in a wood/beaded plank (lime washed or something) so that it doesn't look like just a sheet rock box with these old beams across it.   We will give the whole room more of a barn/grain loft finish, as it once was.
 
Master Bedroom as it is now!!!
Like all things old, not everything is perfect.  Several of the beams we have exposed show significant water or insect damage.  These will be supported with "sister beams" and filled with apoxy to restore and  protect the beam.  Glad we are finding this now...
The beam under the downstairs toilet - this is all dripping water damage
(surprised someone didn't fall down into the basement)

Historic powder-post beetle -  this beam already sistered

Powder post -  accurate description of what these critters do to wood

The final delight of this weekend was the discovery that we have a patch in the garden where Morel Mushrooms grow.  Found these beautiful Yellow Morels on Saturday.   That afternoon the neighbors came over to say hello and brought some eggs from their chickens and early on Sunday I found some asparagus while I was weed-wacking the garden.  Sunday morning breakfast was an amazing morel and asparagus omelet...amazing, free and delicious food.  

Yellow Morels
There's more of this bounty to come. The Paw Paw trees were in full bloom, hopefully meaning we will get some free Paw Paws in the fall.  The blooms are an amazing color.







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DeJoux House to be published

Our house has been watched over the years by a couple, Susan Daley and Steve Gross who create amazing books of old houses and Hudson Valley (each name below is a link to Amazon).  They knew the house and had been watching our progress. As we came close to finishing they reached out and asked if they could photograph the house for a book of cottages:

Catskill Country Style Book, Old Houses, Farm House Revival, Homes With A Past, Gardens of Hudson Valley, Time Wearing Out Memory...to name but a few.


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I won't reveal all of the amazing photographs that have been taken of our house, you'll have to buy the book to see them all....but here is a little taster.





























Paradox farm

If you wander along Springtown Road, past DeJoux House, you will see our mailbox opposite the front door.  It's not especially distinguishable except it is rather large and sits on an old tree stump.  It's a rusty old thing but it seems to have survived the snow plows and drunk drivers of Springtown Road.

It has always bothered me that on the side of the mail box you can see the vague outline of the words "Paradox Farm" which was clearly a name that DeJoux House was more recently referred to.  Occasionally when wondering the fields I would stumble across some incongruity and wonder if that was indeed the "paradox" that the farm was named after.

Yesterday morning, for some unknown reason, I decided it was time to resolve the paradox.  I sent a quick email to the previous owner June Finer to see if she knew anything of the Paradox Farm ghost on the side of the mailbox.

This was her reply:

once upon a time we, (myself and russell gilmore---my ex), met a rather …

The story of three Marias

For the first time in a long time I have had a few hours to spare to investigate the relationship between Maria Deyo, the story of the murders on Springtown Road in 1800, DeJoux House and the Deyo family -  especially now I have both the complete family tree and ownership of the house.   

My investigation started with the facts that we knew so far.

1) The document from the Library of congress that documents the murders and the names of the husband (Josiah) and the wife (Maria).   In this news DOCUMENT she is described as killing two children from a previous marriage. Also an infant daughter of 9 months old. (presumably the daughter of Josiah)

2)  The map of 1790 shows the only other Deyo owned house as being owned by C. Dojo

3)  The tax record of 1798  references a stone house, next door to David Deyo's house (Our house) that is "owned by"  Christian Deyo but was being occupied by "Josiah Deyo"  and is described as being "Between the main road and the mou…