A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Virtual Field Trip to Birdsong's

My virtual field trip will start with a few donkeys grazing on the front lawn. Our house was built during the California Gold Rush, in 1852, by J.P. Brown, a man from Boston in his mid-twenties at the time and serving as the local Wells Fargo agent. This view is the front, and he had an office to the right side, where I have one today! From left to right, Rose, Louise, and Rita graze contentedly in the spring sun.

We have entered through the kitchen door, also on the right side of the house when facing from the main road. I have a large farm-style kitchen, and it is my favorite room in the entire house, partly because of all the space, and partly because it has the best light.

My field trip is somewhat unique in that I have pulled together a collection of photos taken at various times in the past year or so, showing different stages in our daily life. This photo shows our first grape harvest from the 60 or so Sangiovese plats we put in the ground back in 2000; grapes live a very long time, but take several years to really start bearing fruit, particularly in our heavy clay soil. We tried making wine, but our timing/sugar content was off a bit and we didn't get the fermentation we were after. They sure look awesome though!

This is a view of our family room, where we spend the most time... my DH collects beer steins, found the coyote skin at an antique store down in Texas last fall, and got the snakeskins from an elderly man who was the nephew of "Bring 'Em Back Alive" Buck, a hunter who collected animals for American zoos from Africa in the early 1900s. I have replaced the chair in the lower left foreground, covered with a burnt orange blanket woven by an old friend, Noel, many years ago, with my new knitting chair and spend a lot of time knitting in this room. My view is of this fireplace, retrofitted with a propane "fire":

This is the formal parlor of our antique house; I am the only person I have ever met with a buffalo head hanging on their wall - another antique find of my DH, this time from Montana by way of Ebay. These are the original, horsehair plaster walls, with handcut laths underneath (now patched but not painted to keep the authentic look, in this room at least). It is never dull, living in an old house... lots of things to work on, but also lots of character. It is colder than a modern house, but we have put a lot of effort into weatherizing over the eight years we have been here, and it's better than ever.

Upstairs, I have a lovely studio where my knitting supplies live, and where I hope to set up my sock machine in the next week or so and get cranking:

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Glenn has his own version of a studio across the hall, and we have two small guest rooms upstairs, but they are too cluttered right now to show you; we have been working over the winter to re-arrange the upstairs and clean up and out.

The newly installed felting station, on our back porch - a vintage 70s colored washer hooked up to hot water!

Across the room from the newly installed felting machine is the displaced tack... a few pack saddles, cinches, assorted bridles, bits, and stored newspapers. The wooden boxes are slung from the packsaddle, tarped and roped down, and later make great critter-proof camp storage and seats!

That's a brief tour of my "crib"; I love it here! Our house is situated on four acres with a cedar grove, no neighbors behind us, just empty land, and the town's historic cemetery to one side. The burros have an antique carriage house for their barn, and we also have a logging truck-sized carport, left over from the previous owner... nothing is ordinary around here. Come back later in the spring for a field trip outdoors.


Anonymous margene said...

What a lovely tour around your home. It feels cozy and very 'you'. I could almost imagine it without seeing it. I love the kitchen (what a nice place to knit!) and the fire place. Some day I'll drop in and visit you 'in person'.

8:44 PM  
Blogger KnitNana said...

I like Margene would like to drop by to visit someday! :)
Thank you for your tour...living in an old home is definitely a challenge sometimes but always interesting...I *heart* your red fireplace!

6:19 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

What a lovely warm home! I love the tour. We should compare coach houses. Ours is a tiny garage now. I could send you a photo. I love the BURRO pics. They are so sweet. GREAT light on your kitchen table. Great photo.

7:02 AM  
Anonymous evagorman said...

I Love Your Home! It's so cozy, inviting and feels like a real home, not one where you feel you can't touch anything. Wonderful!

And let me tell you, I completely understand the draftiness of an old house. We're combating that as well old man winter breathes on us. My DH calls the upstairs the "meat locker."

The grapes look yummy. I was considering planting grapes this spring but wasn't too sure if they would survive the cold. I only have experience with grapes, or gradening for that matter, down in the San Francisco Bay Area, where we do not have winter months to consider.


9:09 AM  
Blogger Lynette said...

Your house is perfectly cozy! It must be such a treat because it looks like a vacation home too.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Stacie said...

What a beautiful place! Those grapes are sexy and I love the horse hair plaster walls, how old skool. My fave is the pic of the storage space! Very truthful, like my house too!

9:03 PM  

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