Seven months have come and gone since we got the keys to the old homestead. Progress is steady, though painstaking, and the cozy coastal Christmas I imagined will have to wait a year.
A folk art pair of oxen seemed a fitting Christmas gift for Greg. So committed is he to the renovations yoke that the holidays barely came between him and hard labour.
Upstairs, the four bedrooms are blank canvases of wooden floors and plain plaster walls, stripped bare of all but the most resistant fragments of floral wallpaper. The only colour comes through the windows, a slice of blue sky or the weathered red of the barn.
Walls are framed up, bathrooms are plumbed, the back veranda is rebuilt to take best advantage of the water.
Downstairs, the dismantled walls and gutted kitchen have yielded no treasures save for a couple pieces of tarnished silverware, a tiny liniment bottle, scraps of a handwritten play from a long ago classroom, and a Prince Edward Island penny from 1871 – the sole year in which Canada’s tiniest province produced its own currency.
In the evenings, Greg rolls home to Halifax dusty and generally pleased with his mostly one-man mission to rescue the little house from the rough passage of time. Fierce winter weather has made a first, albeit brief, visit, whipping wind and snow around our little house and skimming over the inlet with ice. A sound furnace and a brisk pace will ward off the cold until the work is done, hopefully before the buds are back on the trees.
As we prepare to say good-bye to 2016 (which, frankly, ought to kicked to the world’s curb) I will recall it too as the year we fell hard for a blue house with a red barn and the hope it holds for the future. Happy New Year.