Monday, October 26, 2009

hidden treasures

When Joe and I bought this 100 +/- yr old house, we were told by our lawyer, who has always astounded us with his known history of our little town and every 'old' family in it, that the street on which we bought our house, was known to have 'rum tunnels' existing underground built during prohibition for none other than 'rum-running'. Intriguing! And a bit alarming! What, or who was I going to find in my basement?? Along with that interesting prospect, we didn't know what other surprises we would find, but if first impressions were to be indicators, we were not going to be impressed.

The previous owners had decided to rent the house out. It's a big old house and for someone renting, the heating bills would have been a major shock...certainly not what one would expect to pay for a rental property, and a poorly insulated one at that. We just had our first snowfall of the season last Thursday, so it is very chilly this time of year, and it doesn't end really until about May, when you can finally turn your furnace off for the winter. And so, the tenants decided they would flee in the middle of the night in mid February in minus 30C temps to avoid further heating bills, but not before turning the heat completely off! And what does that do to waterpipes?? Why...cause mini-disasters of course, such as broken pipes within the plastered walls of the house which had burst due to standing water freezing and swelling! But...along with the nasty surprises of an old house, also come some really wonderful treasures, like this one.

We had moved into the house in the fall and hadn't yet had the chance to crawl under our front porch until spring. In that treasure hunt, we found old gardening shears and other tools, and refuse that are usual things most often left behind by construction crews like empty cement bags, soda pop cans, empty buckets, but also found halfway embedded into the soil, an old ladder. Not an extension ladder nor a step ladder as I guess technology would have them evolve over time, but a plain wooden ladder, going wayyyy back in time we guessed, roughly 10 ft in length and tapering somewhat as it got to one end. Only knowing it to be really old and not having any idea as to it's immediate use, we set it aside until something would come to us later...and it did! Joe cleaned it up somewhat, cut approx 2 feet off of one end and 4 feet from the tapered end, rounded the legs off, shaped or 'banged out' iron hooks as we couldn't locate any at the time that would fit, and it now serves a purpose as well as has become a focal point in our kitchen...  

Of course, we find it extremely useful daily. It's awesome to look at, gives a defined space to our island sitting at an angle, and allows us to add a bit of unknown history to our kitchen. You just never know what's hiding under your porch...or your neighborhood!

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