Say it isn’t so! Stone House Revival is Canceled?

Anyone else feel like Mother Nature continues to “skip” seasons this year? Our pup, Riggs, had me out early in the morning and I have to say I miss just throwing on my flip flops and taking him out. Granted some days I just bear the cold and still throw on the flops, like this morning, but that frosty grass on my toes has me thinking my boots need to be parked by the door instead.

As many of you know, my husband and I uprooted our family of five from the suburbs and moved to the country back in January to a historic farmhouse.  My husband and I, both dreamers, kept talking about having land we could enjoy any time we wanted.  After having said I was done searching for homes for like the tenth time, I expanded the search and found our now home. While it was completely insane at the time to just pick up and move I couldn’t deny this gut feeling I had.  And anyways, you only live once…right?

The farmhouse was mostly my requirement when looking to move, and a front porch.  My husband, never having lived in a farmhouse, agreed (he must really love me :-).  Right away we decided our home needed to be preserved and not gutted like so many homes we looked at.  Granted there are things in our home we need to make period that were added along the way, but overall we don’t have to create that rich authentic farmhouse charm like so many design shows and magazines are grounded in these days.

While I enjoy home shows of all sorts, I found one this Spring I instantly related to.  While I solely watched HGTV, my husband and I stumbled across DIY Network’s Stone House Revival.  Every morning after the kids got on the bus, I would turn it on and enjoy a cup of coffee catching up on past seasons I had missed.  If you’re not familiar with the show, Jeff Devlin, host, and his team of talented craft restore (key word) homes that existed before our country was even established. They make things by hand when necessary and uncover elements in the homes that are one-of-a kind.  The best part of this show, in my opinion, is as a viewer you can tell how Jeff and his team genuinely care and respect the historic homes they help restore.

Not everyone “gets” old homes and I can appreciate that. But there is a special cohort that do.  You can find us on Instagram capturing DIY projects, discoveries, mishaps, and sunsets that remind us why we’ve invested not only our money but endless amounts of time into these homes of ours. We’re the type of people that get excited about the uniqueness of 200+ year old hard wood floors that are wider than your foot, the hand crafted hinges and door handles, and the detailed trim in every room.

We get awestruck by the thought of  all the hard work these early settlers put into these grand houses that have stood the test of time.  Our old homes aren’t always pretty at times and leave us sleepless some nights, but we know what we are doing is important because we are preserving the past. Something that will never be able to be recreated.  So to find a show that reached us in a way no other show could, my husband and I were thrilled. We’ve got a pocket full of take-a-aways which we wouldn’t otherwise have and will be helpful in restoring our home appropriately.

Unfortunately, the DIY Network has canceled Stone House Revival. I’d love to know why because so many viewers are upset to lose such a unique show. There is nothing out there like Stone House Revival which is why we fell in love with the show. Stone House Revival is the only reason we started watching the DIY Network.  This show and its amazing craft deserve another season.

It’s my hope that Stone House Revival will get picked up by another network who will appreciate the authenticity that Jeff Devlin and his fellow craft provide for homeowners who want to restore and preserve homes that can only continue to exist with skill they have and share with others, something viewers were learning from.  They are a rarity in this manufactured society and it’s truly a shame the DIY Network has chosen to eliminate Stone House Revival. I hope you’ll look Jeff up (links below) and watch his work while reruns are still on.  And if your’re already a fan like us, share my post and tag #diynetwork and #stonehouserevival so they know how much Jeff and his craft will be missed!

All the best to Jeff Devlin and all of those he works closely with. We know you will continue to care for the history that is in your area. I hope we will see you again on TV soon!

xo

Danielle

We’re Fans and Think You Should be Too!

Find Jeff on Instagram and on Facebook and be sure to visit his School House Woodworking site (see our cool hats above-see how Jeff gives back with each hat sold on his site).

Living in the Present

It’s been awhile…

I promise for good reason.

I have no idea how I ever got signed up to receive emails on a weekly basis from an OBGYN doctor, but tonight I finally opened up her email and read it.  Aaron laughed tonight when I told him I never open her emails because the subject line usually strikes a cord with me and well I just don’t want to hear the truth.  The email I opened tonight was in regards to stress.  I have finally gotten to the point that I was open to hearing how to get control of the stresses in life.

I have kept thinking since Parker was born that “things would settle down.”  He’s two in February and after this Summer, I’m thinking I need to find a way to manage our family’s new ever changing “normal.” I’ve said it before, but self care has been difficult for me since we’ve moved, but with what we’ve had going on, I can honestly say that I have had no problem giving myself to our family…I’m just not sure how long that is sustainable without it having a negative effect on myself.

So to finally get to the point, this “email” doctor, that somehow knows me too well, suggested making time for small things that I enjoy and reflecting… so tonight is my first stab at getting some balance back in life that tackles two of her suggestions-writing.

Life Changes.

The last thing I remember before things came to a halt was planning for back-to-school. I was once again excited for another chance to regain normalcy. I had a plan in place for getting back on track with exercising , a schedule for tackling soccer five days a week while still finding time to make home cooked meals and packed lunches for the next day.  I made it to the park for a few days, met a new friend who just moved to town and I remember vividly telling her I would be seeing her often since I was going to finally get myself back on track and in a more balanced life style.  I was excited at the thought of having a friend to see in town-I was building friendships!

Never saw her again.

Things changed at the end of that same week.  My husband, Aaron, had been suffering from back issues since July and was beginning to really deteriorate at the same time I was “getting myself together.” A month past with several trips to the doctor, chiropractor, and then a quickly scheduled back surgery.  Aaron and I felt confident in the doctor, plan for surgery/recovery. Within the week he was scheduled for out patient discetomy surgery.  We both felt like we could see a light at the end of the tunnel and that by Halloween we’d return to how things were before school started. Boy were we wrong.

Surgery day came. I’ve never been so anxious.  With the experience of my three month stay in the hospital on bed rest, I quickly came to the conclusion I was more comfortable being the patient than the loved one waiting to hear that everything went fine. I met the doctor after surgery, he explained Aaron’s disc was much worse than the MRI showed but that surgery went well. He told me that when they were ready they would have me come back to recovery.  I kept hearing “still working on comfort.”  Hoping it was me being impatient, I checked the clock  and it confirmed recovery was taking longer than expected.

I’m up pacing the floor at this point and then I stopped when I saw Aaron’s surgeon. I swear to goodness I was hoping he wasn’t coming for me. But he was. My stomach knotted up. Everything in my body became stiff. The surgeon informed me that Aaron was unable to feel anything from the waist down and that because of having to move the nerve a bit during surgery it was in shock and that it could take anywhere from weeks to months for feeling and ability to walk to come back.  I hung on the words that things would come back but at many times struggled to hold it together during our conversation.

For a super short version of a long story, Aaron was in the hospital for four days and then was transferred to another hospital for inpatient physical therapy for a week. THE LONGEST WEEK EVER.  I swear it took a village to get me and the kids through those two weeks.  I literally went into survival mode with all the running and trying to schedule sitters, run the household, and keep things feeling as normal as possible for the kids.  It wasn’t pretty either. All three kids came down sick at all different times, the back roof started leaking horribly, leak in the trucks tire that had to get plugged, I might have lost it a time or two, and rightly so because the list goes on.

But at the end of the day all that matters is Aaron is home. His body is waking up more and more everyday allowing him to do more, feel more, and get around better than the day before. While he experiences nerve pain, his back pain is gone, he’s standing up straight again and for that we are thankful.

Biggest Take-Away

Why is it when bad things happen our memory starts playing everything from the past? When hearing of Aaron’s complication from surgery, my mind wanted to retreat to every image of him walking in the door, working in the yard, dancing with me, and playing soccer with the kids.  Knowing those thoughts would only leave me in a puddle of useless tears I made myself stop. Those thoughts weren’t helpful to myself or Aaron and every time my mind would wander that way I would remind myself to not live in the past or future but to remain only in the present.  Staying focused on what was at hand was plenty to process without scattered thoughts from the past and questions of Aaron’s future that no one could possibly know without a direct line to God himself.

While our family has started to adjust to our new normal,  there are plenty of times where staying focused on the present, not the past or future,  is something I have to remind myself of.   We’re no longer in a short distance race, but rather a marathon. Aaron and I know from our past experiences together that soon this will all be a distant memory.  We are thankful for the extreme closeness we’ve gained between one another and appreciate the adjusted focus in our lives.  We trust God has all of this in his hands…and we find much comfort and peace knowing that.

 

xo

Danielle

 

 

 

An Underground Obsession

There are only a few people who really know about my five month obsession.  I haven’t wanted to share too much of what I have been researching because I wanted to make sure that I was in fact right about my hunch.  While it is still a little early to say that I’m right in what I have suspected,  I feel more confident (and EXCITED) about sharing what I have found out about our home and the likelihood of it being a station on the Underground Railroad.

Why it all began. 

After shortly moving in to our 1837 farmhouse this past winter, I took a video of the stairs hidden in the paneled wall of the upstairs bedroom (pictured below). After sharing that video on social media, a friend reached out and suggested I have an expert come to our home and see what their thoughts were in regards to our home being a station on the Underground Railroad.  Had he not mentioned this to me, I’m not sure I would have ever gone down this somewhat of a winding trail through history.

img_8035img_8036img_8039img_8037

 

My friend also mentioned the Springboro Historical Society as being a good place to start since they have identified several homes as stations in their area.  I acted on his suggestions, spoke with the Springboro Historical Society and they were excited to visit.

After touring our home, it was concluded that our home meets the visual requirement of identifying whether or not our home was a station on the Underground Railroad.  Homes were built with purpose in the 1800s and having stairs to an attic weren’t casually put in especially since they were building every brick by hand and cutting the timbers for the necessary structure. Our home is more of a utilitarian style, meaning they were more worried about function over flare which is dully noted by our spiral main staircase tucked away in the corner of the living room verses a large staircase in the middle of the house (that would just be wasted space to them). Granted the home doesn’t have wasted space, they were sure to add beautiful built ins, trim, mantles, floors and detail on the outside of the home.

Additional ways a home can be identified as having been a station is if there is a family bible with notes or if there have been anything mentioned by word of mouth. It just so happens, after the historical society’s visit, a couple locals have mentioned to me that they’ve heard our home was a station. Unfortunately, any other details about that statement have been lost over time. I also continue to hear from locals, whose families have been here for generations, that there was Underground Railroad activity in our town.  When it comes to the history of the Underground Railroad, stories passed down aren’t something to ignore. They are something to take note of.

With our home needing a lot of work on top of unpacking and three kids, my research into our home and the underground railroad paused for awhile until one day I decided the conclusion of our home being a station wasn’t enough. I wanted to know the story of the Wehr family who built our home. I wanted to know what their occupation was, their involvement in the community, who they did business with, and where they attended church.   I wanted to gain a better understanding of their story here in this house and why they helped freedom seekers in the 1800s, outside of just being good-hearted people.  So that was when  my underground obsession began…and my little folder of history on the house became a 3 inch binder.

img_8041-1

Researching.

Weekends, nap time, and really late nights have provided me with time to research.  My research started out simple and has spiraled into somewhat of a deep investigation that has lead me to speaking with past owners, local experts, various historical societies, librarians from both Ohio and Indiana, and even communications with the Library of Congress. Without getting into every detail of my research, I will give you an idea of the scope in which I have been working.

I started researching the local history of our town to understand the Wehr family’s importance at the time of their settlement. John and Sarah Wehr were among the first settlers in our town. Their home, now ours, was a prominent stop for hog drivers on their way to porkopolis and served as a tavern early on to those passing through; making them well known and very well liked by the community.

From just researching our town, leads began to form from articles I read. I gained clues about their religious views which lead me to researching the local churches. I found the Wehr’s were members of the Universalist Church. This was important because it provided me with their view towards slavery because the Universalists were believed to be abolitionist (against slavery).  Not only was this a very helpful clue, but I learned that their specific church was a prominent preaching stop on the Universalist circuit making it somewhat easier to find articles and information regarding the church’s history and those involved at the time. I only wish the church was still standing to visit, but it burned down in a fire.

This weekend I learned, after visiting the Indian Creek Pioneer Cemetery, that the Vanness family, which were relatives to the Wehr family, were members of the Indiana Creek Baptist Church. This information was helpful in giving a more solid background into the people the Wehr’s were associated with because one requirement of the church was to be an abolitionist which is stated in their  church minutes.  The Vanness family were also some of the first settlers here in town.

There is much more research that went into this specific area, but in effort to stay somewhat concise my takeaway from the above information is the Wehr’s were likely abolitionist, they held a strong presence in the community, and they were very hospitable.

Location and a Breakthrough.

I have reviewed property maps and continue to reference them frequently as they can provide a sense of relationship between property owners and landmarks, such as churches, prominent routes, and rivers/creeks.  I have read numerous articles on the most prominent routes near our home, one which is right out our front door. These routes show movement from as far as the Ohio River all the way to Lake Erie.  I started researching the Underground Railroad known routes by reading various diaries, memoirs, and credible articles- and to my surprise I have found our home to be situated between two confirmed routes that collide just north of us in Liberty, Indiana where Levi Coffin helped thousands of slaves escape to freedom. His home was known as the “Grand Central Station” of the Underground Railroad.

Discovering our location between these routes was a break through for me in my research because we are talking about our home sitting 10 miles from the route in Indiana and 5 miles to the route heading North towards Oxford.  Having found other homes within that 15 miles distance around us,that are confirmed stations, makes it a pretty much guarantee (along with the visual confirmation by the historical society) that our home was in fact involved in the Underground Railroad.

I have driven the back roads from our home to the known Underground Railroad routes and it was to my surprise it took only 10-20 minutes to reach those destinations.  Granted, in the 1800s it  would have taken much longer to reach the main routes,  the distance is consistent with how far one would travel from station to station. With those routes being so close to our home, I started researching known local involvement of the Underground Railroad and found a strong involvement in Oxford, Hamilton, and Mt. Healthy.  And like the rest of my research, I have researched the names of the individuals mentioned but found one person of particular interest. William Beard.

William Beard & Wilbur Siebert.

There was a man named William Beard . He is mentioned  in Wilbur Siebert’s  research as being a conductor for freedom seekers. From reading various materials,  I learned Beard lived just outside of  Bath, Indiana which is only a short drive from us.   I learned from a census record that the Wehr family  had homes just South of Bath which got my wheels turning as to whether or not the Wehrs and the Beards would have known one another.

The Wehr homes in Indiana are only two miles from our home across state-line.  I am currently waiting to hear back from a contact to see if the Wehr /Beard’s are somehow related or just a mere coincidence. The reason I question the relationship is because  I found out through findagrave.com that William Beard was married to a Rachel Pierson and the Piersons were also a part of the Wehr family who were also among some of the first settlers in our town.

Something I find important to note from Wilbur Siebert’s research is the following excerpt,

Sometimes a very small village or a farming community might be the most active station in the entire county or larger area of the state.”

Our town at that time was just that.

The Spiral.

Can you see how my research begins to spiral from one question into many many more?  I could write for hours about the amount of information I have that supports the idea this home was in fact a station on the Underground Railroad and that it was very likely the Wehrs had a connection to someone well known for their contributions to the Underground Railroad, but it will have to be saved for when my kiddos are older and I have time to write a book (lol).

With the current information that forms the many pieces to this extensive puzzle, I have concluded at this time that the Wehrs were not only well liked in the community, but they were of strong character and someone I’d trust with a secret. From my research,  many families that assisted freedom seekers took their involvement to the grave in fear of what would happen to them or their family.  From speaking with relatives, it appears that may be true for the Wehr family.

In addition to character, the Wehr homestead made helping freedom seekers somewhat easy with the various hiding places inside the home as well as in the barns on the property. The location of the Wehr homestead is also just a mile away from Indian Creek which connects to the Great Miami River which flows along the known UGRR route out of Cincinnati.  Having the home situated between two routes would have been very convenient if word got out about someone moving freedom seekers. It would allow a conductor to loose someone looking for them by being able to switch routes.

While some would think I have enough evidence to support my idea of the Wehr involvement, I feel as though there is just a bit more to be discovered about this courageous family and more to uncover on this possible unknown route of the Underground Railroad.

xo

Danielle

When God Interrupts.

If someone would have told me last summer that we would be living in a farmhouse in the country a year from now, I would have said there was no way. Seriously though, moving in the middle of the school year, with a baby, and having to pack up our home at the holidays AND in the winter? Definitely not! Until one day just that happened.

My husband and I had spent weekends and long drives dreaming about how neat it would be to one day have some land to roam, grow a larger garden, and have water near where our family could fish and just relax more easily after a hard days work or on a weekend without having to go anywhere.I remember the day I sat quietly in the rocking chair holding our baby and scrolling through listings just for the fun of it. I found, what is now our home, a red brick farmhouse with a front porch, a pond, barn, and large garage. Things we said we would like to have if we ever going to consider moving again.

Flash forward and here we are on a Sunday afternoon. No longer dreaming of sitting on that front porch but actually doing it. I’ve been basking in our most recent memories made yesterday with the descendants of the couple, John and Sarah Wehr, who built this amazing home. Meeting the Wehrs and seeing the generations pass through the front door their ancestors once did, continues to give me 🦋 🦋.

The conversations with the family members who actually spent time in the home when they were younger are ones I’ll treasure forever. I love how God interrupted our life in suburbia to open a door to so many unexpected things. While the surprises are not always as fun, we find it a privilege to restore and preserve the Wehr Family Homestead. ❤️

OUT HERE IN THE MIDDLE

Do you ever just long for silence. To be alone. To not have to think, watch, anticipate, and interact all within a split second of time? While I have plopped into bed which is now in a room that has been three different spaces in only five short months, I find myself hearing only the birds. Then that moment is quickly interrupted by the mom in me wondering if the kids are really in bed or not.  Something I know I will one day miss, I’m sure.

5 months. Whew. The room I’m sitting in was at one time stacked from front to back, side to side, and over halfway up the walls with boxes. We literally had to tunnel through when moving throughout the house…and in all of it, we had an 11-month-old who could barely walk within the chaos.  How quickly I have forgotten of how far we have come with this old house…yet, I find myself “warning” friends who come to visit, that there are plenty of unfinished projects around and less than perfect areas where the beauty of the home has been neglected and still needs a little TLC.

It’s odd to me that I feel the need to forewarn friends and family of something I truly love and admire. I guess it’s because this home is the complete opposite of what we once had. Everyone loves new…but not everyone loves “old.”

When the Wing Family visited, they mentioned how the realtor had described the second small staircase in the house as worn and old. Not desirable or attractive.  The realtor starsdidn’t appreciate the story or history of the stairs. She didn’t see the unique curve on the left side of the step as a visual treasure. She didn’t care to think of who might have once tiredly climbed them after working on the farm. Or maybe the children who have all climbed them with their little hands and feet.  Not everyone wonders, “Oh, if these walls could talk.” So I suppose, that is why I feel the need to welcome our friends and family to our “fixer-upper.” Just so they are aware we are in fact trying to restore it.

This week, I will be greeting friends to our new/old home. I am thrilled to have friends, from when I taught, want to make the drive and see us and our home. I look forward to catching up with them and the timing of their visit couldn’t be any better.

Today I dropped Caroline off at soccer camp, a very normal thing to do. As I stood there on the sidewalk with the kiddos, more parents started to arrive and quickly moms were gathering in groups to say good morning and catch up.  Then out of the blue it hit me. I know absolutely no one.

While I was well aware that moving meant I wouldn’t have friends nearby, today it just seem to hit me hard when I stood there waiting for my best friend to show up next to me on the side walk. I was the lone wolf wishing they’d just say hi so I could introduce myself.  By the time I realized I should somehow find a way in to their group to say hi, everyone was leaving. I for once felt what my son, Landen, has been feeling for the last five months. And to be honest, as I sit here and write this I’m crying.  I literally feel like middleI’m just out in the middle.

Yes, I know I have friends and it doesn’t matter how far they are away-they’re always going to be my friends…. But it sure would be nice to have one good friend in the school/sports circle.  Someone I could call with questions about things people just kinda know from living here for a while, or just to keep a bleacher seat warm with at a school event. There is so much going on as a family that I wonder how I’ll ever find a way to cultivate that one good friendship I have discovered I need…I suppose I should start praying about it.

I have a feeling that while I thought I have felt settled in for a while now, that I really am not.  Sure, the boxes have dwindled and the house looks and feels more like home, but there are certainly other areas in my life that are still trying to settle in.  After today’s revelation, I’m feeling a little uncomfortable in my skin and find myself feeling more like our home once again.

A work in progress.

Xo

Danielle