Farm Homes in the Paint Rock Valley

Tin roofs dance across the folds of the Paint Rock Valley. The red, green and silver covers adorn houses that are as much as 100 years old. These are not the homes one expects to see remodeled on Bob Vila’s show. They reflect the tenacity and creativity of the people that survived the reconstruction years of the civil war. These Alabama farm houses often are monuments to “making do”; an ethic proudly guarded and not easily disparaged.

Farm House circa 1910

Farm House circa 1910

There is a brutal beauty in square nails, notched logs and adaptations for new-fangled inventions like electricity. The hum of heat pumps is not nearly as soothing as a crackling fire. Of course, heat pumps don’t have to be replenished at 3:00 a.m. either.

The original front section of our home was made with “balloon framing”. The twelve inch thick logs, acting as sill plates, rested on stones that were hewn from the local mountain.

One can’t help but marvel at how flat and square the shaping of the stones could be, given the crude tools available.

One of the truly delightful features of this older home (we estimated over 90 years) was a wrap around porch. The porch had more square feet than our first home did. The only hazard was that it was a tempting place to work on things that did not benefit from an outside, overnight stay.

Birds and carpenter bees also believed they had a claim to any wood items left on the porch for more than a week.

So, What Happened to this House?

 Our 90 year old farm house was too far gone for the remodeling it required. The dry rot and aging timbers could not be repaired.  So, on a cold winter morning a dinosaur ate the house.

A dinosaur ate the house

A dinosaur ate the house

The house demolition took less than one day, once the prep work was done. There was wailing and gnashing of teeth by those who felt we wasted a perfectly good house.  Life has taught us that there are times when entropy wins. Acknowledge it and move on.

Cole even helped Mike Sisk, the back-hoe operator with the demolition. We kept the back third of the house as a base of operations while the new portion was built.

Cole Helps with Track Hone

Cole Helps with Track Hone

A Change of View.

The back view of the house changed from this…

former back view

To this.. Notice that smoke houses and chicken houses are eternal.

House Rear View

The new house is still being completed.

And here’s the view from the front.

New House

House nearing completion.

John Langlois

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