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What's done is done well

I know everyone has a love hate relationship with a contractor and ours is no exception.  He is so damn slow and never does anything he says he will.  We are so far behind in the process and everything that was promised remains undelivered.   Thankfully the Plumber has been here.  Jason is fantastic.  Fast, neat and very professional.  Takes real pride in his work.  I would recommend him to anyone.  His girlfriend is also a falconer which is cool too.  He brought a Peregrin falcon to the job site one day...we were not here to see it.  

Jason's handy work for the master bathroom vanity

The in wall toilets are all in
Even the point for the washer drier upstairs has gone in

As you can see we are still only at framing phase because patching the floors and building the doors has taken 4 weeks.  Yes that's a lot longer than it should have taken but we have to admit that what he has done he has done well.  The back door has been reconstructed with some old poplar beams.  There is a wonderful bead on the beams that match the originals within the house. 

New Door Frame constructed using mortise and tenon.  Lovely hand beading

New Door frame in the traditional hand made style

Restoring the Mow door with a new footer made out of old chestnut 

The Mow door is also being restored.  We've repaired the floor at the door and have a new footer which has been planed to make it look like it has been used over the years  The original frame was rotten at the bottom so the sides of the Mow will be patched with similar wood so that it will look almost exactly how it looked originally.

Now, some of you might remember that we took out the ceilings in all the downstairs rooms to restore the house to its original look -  boards and beams as the ceiling.   Unfortunately, when we took out the ceilings a couple of the original floor boards had been cut over the years for some reason and had been supported by the joists that held up the ceiling.   This of course caused us problems as we needed to find a way to repair the floorboards so they could support people walking on them.  We opted for inserting steel bars (rebar) and fixing them in place with epoxy and wood-shavings that will later be stained to match the floors.   
Repairing floorboards back to structural strength

From below.  These will be sanded and painted and you will never know
During all this time Daniel and I are still slumming it in the tent.  In fact, I'm writing this post from an air mattress with the rain hitting the canvas.  The pussies are lying around sleeping which is more than they were doing in the middle of the night.   Last night our friends Pat and Dawn Kiernan came round to see the house.   Dawn said "this house is very lucky to have found you two".  Given all the work we are doing to restore this house to its former glory - and more - I know what she means.   From the air mattress it does feel like the house is the only one benefiting right now.

Pat and Dawn at DeJoux House

The test garden is doing well.  Another bumper crop of tomatoes and beans.   Strawberries get eaten by the slugs before I can get to them.   Basil is taking over so we have to start making pesto or gimlets.   

Nest of Baby Green Heron on the island in the lake
There are baby everythings,  everywhere. The two baby deer are still in the field and last week we found a wonderful nest of tiny green herons.   

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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.


All of these books are beautifully produced. I can't wait to see our home in one of them later in 2015/16.

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…