When I was a boy we called the old “home house” on our farm “the old house.” That name has stuck over the years and it is fitting I suppose. The part that remains was built, we think, in the 1880s, being the final addition to an even older and larger house that is now gone.
It’s a simple house, but it has character. And sentimental value of course.
We considered trying to renovate it and make it our residence, but we weren’t sure it could be saved and we didn’t want to risk sinking a lot of money into it and not ending up with a home we could live in.
So we built a new house on the farm, intending possibly to renovate the old house when we retired. But one thing led to another and without planning to do it so soon we renovated the house and made it livable.
Of course we didn’t need two houses on the farm and we struggled to figure out what to do with it. Friends of ours lived in it for a couple of years. We let a family that was between jobs and without a home live there a while. Our interns live there two weeks during the summer. We’ve loaned it out to our neomonastic friends in town for weekend planning retreats. Missionaries have stayed there to decompress for a few days. A couple of years ago a band stayed there for a week to finish work writing the songs for their new album. But most of the time it just sits there empty.
In our quest to find a good use for the place, this year we’re going to try something new. It’s now available for “farm stays,” a form of agri-tourism, like a B&B without the breakfast.
Folks who stay will be able to enjoy the sights around the farm, go fishing and hiking, and generally escape the rat race for a while.
It’s an experiment and we’ll see how it goes.
Our hope is that it will be a fun and relaxing getaway for folks who want to unwind in the country.
Whatever the result of this experiment, we’re glad the Old House will be around for a few more generations.