Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Santa Claus is coming to... SUGAR CREEK!

The weather has been rather cold lately, and Christmas is only a handful of days away. We haven't been to Sugar Creek in a few weeks, and hubby and I are both getting antsy. We love working on this precious dog-trot. Even the kiddos love spending time out in the countryside.

I can't even begin to explain what a difference we see in our children. Since we began spending time working on the dog-trot, both boys have really grown up. They don't really miss their electronics anymore when we're working. They've become very imaginative little creatures, always inventing stories about the wild animals that live in the woods around the house. Shaun cut down a tree and left it on the ground earlier this year, because our boys immediately deemed it their "clubhouse" and the pair spends the majority of their weekends "climbing" it. Despite the fact that there is no working bathroom, no kitchen, very little electricity (think pull-string lights in the downstairs rooms) and no water other than the water well, life is good at the creek. In fact, the boys don't like our "modern" home in town anymore. They beg to go work on the dog-trot, because they know that the trees and bugs await them.

So what does one do for two little boys that seem to be moving backwards through time instead of forwards? A tree house, of course! Little do our kiddos know that Santa's not coming to our house in Minden. This year, he's coming to Sugar Creek! Well, technically he's coming to our house in Minden first. He's leaving a treasure map that will lead them to the presents... and it's going to be the best Christmas ever.

Ye ole' Chimney

I thought I'd share this lovely photo of THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK, taken (obviously) during WWII. The man on the horse is Jack, and he was born in the house. His birth certificate actually says SUGAR CREEK, LOUISIANA!

This photo thrills me for several reasons. First, it's a great photo of Jack. And secondly, it's a great shot of a chimney that fell to the ground long ago. This is one of the original "rope chimneys", named because rope chimneys could be pulled down easily with a rope and a mule. One of the die-hard rules in dog-trot architecture is the detached chimney. Notice how the chimney is much smaller at the top than at the bottom. Now imagine throwing a rope around it and hitching up your mule. This concept saved many a home from burning back in the day, I suppose.

So what is our plan for the chimney? Both chimneys will be rebuilt, exactly as they were before, and I plan on lighting at least a thousand fires beneath the original mantels (yep, we have them!) before my time is up on this earth. There will be a fireplace in the master bedroom, and a fireplace in the parlor. I can't wait until our first real Christmas in the house. I'll have the fireplaces going, and garland on this old mantel. I can already see it in my mind... and believe me, it's going to be beautiful.

(One of the original mantels from THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK.)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Family Home

Hubby and I were working at SUGAR CREEK a few months ago when these lovely people stopped by to say hello. As it turns out, they are Grandma Mintie and Papa Willie's great-grandchildren! (Mintie's parents bought THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK from the Taylor family in 1902.) I was thrilled to meet them, and even more excited to find out that they love the old dog-trot. When you have a family that loves the home you are restoring, it makes the process of renovating just that much more special. And believe me when I say that the Robinsons and the Taylors are all very proud of this lovely old house!

Even though THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK is miles away from our nearest neighbor, we've been surprised to meet dozens of people that are somehow related to this project. It makes me smile when I think about how we're all going to have a home to be proud of one day very, very soon. Hubby and I decided long ago that when we're completely finished and the weather is good, we want to have all the descendants of the Robinson and Taylor families standing in front of the newly restored dog-trot for a SUGAR CREEK family photo. I suppose that the SUGAR CREEK family photo will be the very last post we'll need on this little blog... but we have hundreds of posts left to make before that day comes. ;)

Alana, Melanie, and Kevin (plus kiddos) during their summer 2011 visit to SUGAR CREEK.