Saturday, 29 September 2012

Cooking with Fire

Now we're cooking with fire. There is something primal about preparing your food over an open flame. The wood cook stove is the somewhat modern equivalent of an open fire for cooking in your house. The previous owners of the Little Blue House said that they used the cook stove up until their last stay in the house, over 3 years ago.

As I've said in a previous post, these stoves were manufactured in the late 1800s by the Tinnerman Steel Range Company in Cleveland, Ohio. Check out the turn-of-the-century advertisement for the range below:

Our cook stove needed a new gasket, and a good cleaning. Also, the chimney was topped with - you guessed it - a bucket. I got a conical hat for the chimney, to replace the bucket. My dad and I got up there on the roof and installed it atop the chimney. The chimney itself looks to be in really good shape, as it was replaced about 7 years ago with a modern double-walled version.

A Conical Hat for our Chimney

Once we fixed the chimney, I replaced the gasket on the cook stove. See? I cleaned the stove and we lit her up! It was amazing how warm the little house became; my mum was really happy about that. She actually ditched her hat, gloves and puffy vest for a while.

New Gasket on Antique Cook Stove

I cooked part of our dinner that night on this cook stove, which was built in the late 1800s. It needs a little more work, but it is functional. Of the 6 burners atop the stove, 3 are cracked. I imagine that if I look around, I could find new ones to replace those that are broken.

Cooking with Fire

My initial experience with the cook stove was positive, and the next step will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner! I don't know about roasting the turkey in there, but I am definitely going to bake a pumpkin pie. Perhaps I will cook the potatoes and other veggies on the ancient stove, too. I will let you know how that goes. At least we will be warm!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Autumn Impressions

Fall is my favourite season, anywhere. In this small town, where we found our little Victorian home, it is perhaps even more calming. The leaves grab your attention; they seem to say, "Look at me! This is it; I will not be this beautiful again. Soon I will dry up, fall to the ground, and be covered with snow." It is a time of decay, but it is also the start of regrowth.

A View from Town

Autumn Fireweed

Sneak Peek at Our LBH and Workshop

Aspen and Sky

Burning Leaves

Monday, 24 September 2012

Playing with My Level

Does this house look level to you? It isn't, and of course you know this already because you've been reading my blog for a little while, perhaps? If you didn't know this, look at the photos below! Behold our crooked Little Blue House. Being that it was built in 1898, during the big Gold Rush, and being that the house was moved 7 km to its present location, the fact that it is not level should not come as a surprise. Please read previous posts for the story of this house, although the story isn't over yet. :)

The House is Settling In

Okay, we promised ourselves that we would focus on restoring this house from the bottom-up. We actually had a peek underneath the house - specifically, my husband had a peek - and it is not too tragic. We think that it can be repaired, with some work. Those crawl-space photos will follow in a future post.

I went round the house with my little level, just for fun, to see how bad it really is.
Table in Parlour

Here is the table top in the parlour, where the level sat for a little while recently, telling me that the house was all crooked. Look at that! One notices while standing in the LBH that one has one knee bent, and the other leg straight, in order to maintain a somewhat normal standing position! My mother commented recently, "This house makes me a bit dizzy."

Level Resting on Window Frame

The level hung out for a bit on a window frame in the 5-sided bay window room. It looked out at the neighbor's house and said, "What does it feel like to stand up straight?"

The house is slumping towards the street; the house sits on a sloping property, and it's just settling in because it is comfortable there. I think we shall give it a wee lift, gently, so as not to hurt it. A local builder, the fellow who built the extension on the back of the LBH 20 years ago, said we probably should not level it perfectly. If we do so, it may hurt the structure of the house, and will likely damage the roof also.

So I think that this work will be like a face lift on an aging woman. It must be done with care, it must be done by qualified people, it must be done right, it will cost money, and if we screw it up, we will end up with the house equivalent of Cat Lady.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Fringe Lamp

I am putting the cart before the horse, when I find things for the inside of the LBH... We know that we should restore the house from the bottom-up, outside-in... and we will. But we need light to read, don't we? I am not going to go overboard with stuff for the inside of the house, like furniture and light fixtures. Really, I'm not. We must get the back-breaking, labour-intensive, expensive and unglamorous aspect of the house done first. More to follow on that subject in a future post, soon!

There was a lamp that came with the house. It was green and faux-brass. Very 90s. It looked okay. Sort of. However, I was recently in Edmonton, Alberta. There are some amazing antique stores there. Look what I found for less than $100!

Lamp with Beaded Fringe, circa 1920

This lamp has what I call "tattered elegance." It has character! It's solid wood, with a silk shade. The shade is coming apart slightly in a couple of spots. The shade has a silk flower sewn onto one panel, as you can see above, and it is trimmed with a fringe of tiny glass beads. We told the kids, "This is a Looking-At Lamp, not a Touching Lamp."

I found it at the Old Strathcona Antique Mall in Edmonton, Alberta. Check out the mall's website at:

A Reading Nook

I just want to curl up in the chair, next to the warm and inviting light of this somewhat tattered but beautiful lamp, and read something written by Charles Dickens. The house may be crooked, and perhaps it's falling down, but I know we will get to that eventually. For now, let there be light! 

Friday, 21 September 2012

The Girls' Cabins

Beyond Repair

A little while ago, I mentioned that our Little Blue House was a brothel. There are two cabins on our property, where the girls would take their customers. One of the cabins is falling down. Here is a side view. It's beyond all hope, I'm afraid.


Autumn is my favourite season. I love how the fireweed turns yellow, then red, and finally becomes a deep purple.

To Restore or Not Restore?

Should we restore this little cabin? We showed the interior to a friend of ours recently, and he thought that if it remained dry over the winter, that a restoration might be worthwhile. However, there was a heavy rain last weekend, and there were some damp spots on the underside of the roof. My dad looked at it and said, "I don't know if I agree with your plans on this one..."

Does this look like a place where you would like to stay?

Tin roof

It doesn't look so bad for a 100-or-so-year-old roof, does it?

Side View

It even has windows, see?!

Well, I guess we have lots of time to think about what to do with this cabin. For now, it's a good place to store firewood. Oh, and the mice are happy to stay there, too. As long as they keep out of the LBH, I will be glad. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Saturday Afternoon Entertainment

We have no laundry facilities in the LBH, of course. The washtub and washboard I found in the house are the Victorian equivalent of the washing machine.

For our children, a visit to the town's laundromat proved to be both functional and entertaining.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Chimney Woes

Economy No 21 Wood Stove

See the wood stove in the photo? (My dad was drinking the beer you see there, as he was sitting nearby.) We are presently using the wood stove as an ornament. This is because it looks dodgy. The chimney in particular is suspect, mostly due to the rust, but also because it has two 90-degree turns before it arrives at the ceiling. The wood stove itself has loads of character; I believe it says, "Economy No. 21."

I found the circa 1910 kerosene lamp, pictured in the foreground, at an antique mall in Leduc, Alberta. It casts a beautiful light, but the fumes may take some getting used to.
Water Leaks
Previous Damage

The photos above show the chimney, where it enters the attic. I cannot imagine the nastiness that we will discover once we are brave enough to explore that area of the Little Blue House. We were able to witness water leaking from the ceiling, in the vicinity of the chimney, during a recent stay in the LBH. There was a big rainstorm, and water was dripping both from the chimney itself (where you can see the rusty area and wet part near the elbow) and from the ceiling (at the lower edge of the tin panel on the ceiling).

We placed a bucket underneath the leak, and decided that the chimney should be removed. I think we should find a professional to remove the outside portion of the chimney and to repair the roof in that spot. Then we can remove the inside part of the chimney ourselves... Maybe? Sledgehammer? Saw? I think that will be messy. Sooner or later, it must happen.

What should we do with the wood stove? Should we:

a) leave it in its current location, as an ornament, or
b) put a new chimney in, and use the wood stove in its current location, or
c) remove the wood stove altogether?
Chimney from Woodstove

Here is the chimney as seen from outside. Like the bucket? We've seen houses with buckets on chimneys all over town! I guess we will take the chimney out and fix up the resulting hole in the roof. I think it may be wise to do this before winter hits. Our youngest child wants the bucket.

The other chimney, the one for the cookstove, is in much better shape! It is quite new, and was installed when the metal roof was put on the house about 6 or 7 years ago. I will talk more about the cookstove in a future post.

What would an old house be without water dripping from the ceiling into a bucket? An impostor!

Sunday, 16 September 2012


Well, my parents stayed with us in the Little Blue House! Success! The visit was rodent-free. The roof kept out the rain - mostly - and we were warm (enough). At one point my mum was wearing track pants, a fleece sweater, a puffy vest, a ball cap and gloves. Oh, and her slippers, of course. The house is a wee bit drafty. (You can see daylight through a few gaps here and there, around windows.)

The gaps are due to the house settling into the ground, on an angle, and the windows remaining level. Hence, small triangle-shaped gaps. The spiders sure like the gaps. The wind likes them, too. I gently relocated the spiders out-of-doors. I let our favourite one stay in a corner of our kitchen ceiling. We named him Boris.

I have been busy hosting my folks and working on the house, so I went blog-free for nearly a week, and I must admit that I missed it. I kept thinking about subjects for future blogs, along with projects having to do with the ancient house. These projects, as you may recall from previous posts, comprise the ever-growing "List."

We knocked some things off The List during the past several days, with some help from my parents. Thanks, Mum! Thanks, Dad! It's nice to have someone entertain the kids a bit so we can get things done. It helps to have my dad help put a "hat" on our chimney, so the rain doesn't pour in, onto our beautiful antique cookstove. (Photos to follow.)

This is my first post without photos. Is that okay? Is my prose alone interesting enough to entice The Reader?

Oooooooh, but I took so many pictures during the last several days. Some of them are quite good. I promise that my next post will contain photos.

I should point out that this recent visit with my parents was not our first time hosting guests at the LBH. My mother-in-law stayed with us there last month and that visit was also a success! She was very helpful with cleaning up the yard, watching the children, general tidying and companionship, and treasure-hunting. She found some cool stuff, including two old chairs in the workshop, that we are now using around the dinner table.

We had some friends camp on our property, too, and they helped us out with many different tasks, including moving heavy, yucky furniture outside and nice, new (old) furniture inside. Back-breaking work really... We even have a super-handy, cabin-dwelling, multi-talented friend who removed some huge trees that were much too close to the house. We drank beer and watched him work, and it was amazing! We fed him beers afterwards - better than during where chainsaws are involved.

I wanted to say what a great joy it is to have this tiny, old house filled with friends and family. Did I already say that I think that being full of people makes this home, which has sat empty for many years, happy? It makes me smile in any case.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Pest Control

I think that owners of old houses must spend more effort than your average person on pest control. It's not a very glamourous subject, but a house full of mice is a strong motivator. I am happy to see the little critters when I am out in the wilderness. I do not want to see them in the house, however. I have discussed the mouse infestation (perhaps that is too strong a phrase) in previous posts. They had been almost everywhere. For such small creatures, they make a big mess.

We could not keep the trays of rat poison around, since we have small children. I saw ultrasonic rodent repellers in the hardware store, so I bought a few. We placed them in several rooms, particularly those rooms where the mice had been the most active.

We did this as soon as we took possession of the house this summer. I must say that we have not had any mice since we did this! I have not seen a mouse, heard a mouse, and I have not seen any mouse signs anywhere. We are lucky that the house has electricity, so this is an option for us.

My parents will be staying with us in the Little Blue House very soon, so I am happy that my mother will not (I hope) have to confront any rodents. I'm sure there will be enough challenges as it is, with no insulation, very little heat, limited water, etc. But she is all heart and she's keen to stay with us. I will let you know how that goes.

Ultrasonic Rodent Repeller

I bought one more of these for the kitchen. That way, every room in the house will be covered, with the exception of the bathroom.

Foul rodents, be gone!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Uncovering a Surprise

I think that there will be many surprises in this little home. Some of them will be good, and some bad! The mouse poo in the carpets qualified as a bad surprise, especially the bedroom carpet. The mice had spent a lot of time there. I had to chop the carpet up with box cutters in order to get it into manageable pieces that I could cart outside. I wore a mask and gloves and I got dirty. The area rug in the parlour was easier - my husband was there to help with that one, so we just rolled it up and carted it off to the dump.

At least we haven't spotted any mice since we took possession of the house. Also, there has been no sign of recent mousy explorations of the house. I will tell you why I think they are leaving the house alone in a future post.

Then there are good surprises. See the wallpaper on the ceiling in the photo, below? It was bulging and generally falling off; gravity was taking over. This wallpaper, throughout the parlour, appears to be attached to a thicker layer, to something that looks and feels sort of like cardboard. Beneath that, one can spot other layers of wallpaper.

In this particular part of the room, however, the wallpaper had been affixed to the ceiling. It had to go. I was just too curious not to take a peek.

Bay Window

I took a hammer and gently removed the nails that were holding the wallpaper in place on the ceiling. Any glue that may have been holding it there was long gone. It came down quite easily, and I was surprised.
Ceiling in Bay Window Area

Well, it doesn't look great so far, does it? There was water damage, from years past, before the roof was replaced. The old paper covering the ceiling in this area is faded and yellowed, in addition to the water stains. However, you can see a delicate pattern in a gold leaf on the old paper.
The Surprise

Here is what I found that made me happy! I know the whole thing is going to need a massive amount of work. I know we are eventually going to have to get into these walls and insulate them and fix it all up. But we have to enjoy these small moments when we get them: there is a gorgeous pattern along one edge of the parlour ceiling. It is in red, black, gold leaf, blue and silver. It felt like Christmas to discover it. I will take that.

Friday, 7 September 2012

If Those Cabin Walls Could Talk...

I mentioned in my last post that our Little Blue House was a brothel. We do not know how many years that it was in business, but we do know that Eva's girls worked in two cabins situated on the property, near the house.

Eva was a gold rush madam. After the gold rush, she continued this line of work, as I suppose there was still high demand for this type of service...

Eva was also a well-respected member of the community, and from preliminary research, she may have cared for injured or sick people in the town. I will be sure to tell you more about Eva in the near future. I have spoken with two people so far who met her in her elder years.

The Cabin at the Back of the Property

This cabin, as you can see, is falling down. The reason it is going back into the earth, aside from its great age, is that it has a wooden roof. The roof was shingled in wood, as opposed to tin, which was common at the time, and which has proven to be very resilient and long-wearing. The roof and walls are falling in. There is a root cellar underneath the cabin, with access to the left of the door.

The Cabin Nearest the House

This cabin is in much better shape than the other one. It has a tin roof, which is made up of small pieces of tin, like tin "shingles." This kind of roof may be found on buildings of this vintage (early 1900s) throughout town. The cabin is as dry as a bone on the inside. It is now a woodshed, and it appears to be a favourite hangout for the local mice.

I must take some more photos of these cabins. It's fascinating to think about the goings-on there over the years. My husband and I both agree that restoring this cabin is a long-term goal. We will see how it fares over the winter. We would love to restore it as a one-room guest cabin. I can see a simple bed, a vintage washstand, a chair, and perhaps a dresser. There should be a kerosene lamp; that would give it the right ambience. A small vase of fresh flowers in the summer. A restoration such as that would honour the cabins history, and the memories of the girls who worked there.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Front Bedroom...

Guess what? I will say it right here at the beginning - our Little Blue House was a brothel!

It was the last operating brothel in this small town, which wasn't so small when the brothel was in business. After the Gold Rush, the town remained popular with tourists, and the mining continued after the rush was finished.

The house, as I've mentioned before, was moved here from another small town which had become a ghost town. After it was moved to its current location, we are not sure who lived in it initially. But at some point the house was purchased by Eva Lambert Daniell, a gold rush madam. She had run brothels in several small towns. After she got married, Eva and her husband moved into the Little Blue House.

The house was a "seamstress shop." Eva's girls would apparently sit in the bay window, facing the street, perhaps sewing? Gentlemen would pass by, and I suppose if they liked what they saw, then they would get some tailoring done...

The girls worked in two cabins situated on the property. I will post some photos of those cabins in a future post.

Dresser in Bedroom

Here is a photo taken in the original bedroom. This would have been Eva and her husband's room. There is one window in the room, and it joins the front parlour, where it's separated with long, red curtains.

Antique Dresser

There are a few beautiful pieces of furniture in the room, and the dresser is my favourite. I wonder how old it is?

A Mystery

Whose initials are these?

The bedroom probably needs the greatest amount of work. The floor is on an angle, sloping quite severely in one corner of the room. There may be recent water damage in one of the walls there also. We must investigate soon.

The history of this house is amazing, and we are learning more about it all of the time. The fact that it was a brothel is intriguing.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

New Bedroom

Here is the bedroom in the back of the house, in the newer part. It is in the extension that was built about 20 years ago. As you can see, it does not look Victorian. That is okay for now, as it will be a warm spot in the house, in which one can sleep! There is faux wood panelling on the walls, which reminds me of my bedroom growing up.

Bedroom in Extension, Before Painting

The plywood floor was damaged during spring, several years ago, before we bought the house, when exceptionally heavy snowfall melted. Obviously, some water got into the house, destroying the carpet that was once in this room. The previous owners removed the carpet, so this is how the room looked when we bought the Little Blue House. We decided that the floor needed some paint.

After Painting the Floor
Isn't it amazing what a couple of coats of paint can do for a room? My dad suggested yellow, and I think he was right. A brightly painted plywood floor will be easy to clean. We will put some area rugs down for warmth and colour, and presto! We will have a bedroom.

Bedroom Now - Almost Finished, but Not Quite

Now the bedroom is nearly finished. We hung one of my mother-in-laws paintings by the bed - it's a fireweed, and I love it; she is a great artist. We put a rug down, and added some crisp, new bedding, and now we will need a few more finishing touches. I bought a couple of small lamps at Ikea and I must find some bedside tables, too. The small table in the above photo is actually going to end up in the parlour, I think. (This table belonged to my maternal grandmother.) You will see what the room looks like in a future post, won't you?

I would love to make the newer part of the house, as small as it is, fit in with the rest of the original, Victorian home. I guess that will have to end up on "The List," somewhere near the bottom I expect.

This room will be nice enough for guests, I think. When we have visitors we can sleep in the original bedroom, in the front of the house. The floor there is on an angle, and it's musty, and kind of dark, but it has character. Right? I think I will talk about  the Little Blue House's original bedroom in my next post, in fact. You will not believe the story there.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

We Have Somewhere to Sit!

We had to get rid of the old couch and chairs. Look what we found on Kijiji! Yay for Kijiji! We live in an area where one cannot find a great variety of furniture. I was surprised when I saw this furniture advertised for sale. It is circa-1910, so it fits perfectly in the Victorian house. And now we have somewhere to sit in the parlour, so everybody is happy. :)

Chair and Sofa

The furniture was originally from Boston. It was recovered at some point, but it's in amazing shape. Its two previous homes included a formal living room and a bedroom, so it has been well cared for.

Notice the wrinkles in our wallpaper. We are afraid to remove it, for fear of what is behind it! I mean, we can't afford to remove it at this point. I think we will have to wait until we are at the stage of exploring what is in the walls, and then insulating them and really renovating the house. The previous owner of the Little Blue House told me that it was likely insulated with sawdust! Can you imagine this, in a climate with very cold winters?
Sofa, in its New Home!

I think this is a beautiful spot to sit. I wish to spend some time here, but work keeps getting in the way! That is how it goes. I hope that my family will be able to spend lots of time in this house. It feels like it needs to be lived in.

Our children are fascinated by the doorbell. You can see it on the door, in the above photo. This is the original front door - there is a little crank on the outside of the door, and when you turn it, the bell rings. It's a perfect, mechanical doorbell. I also love how small the doors are, and how the doorknobs are kind of low down. People were smaller back in 1898!

Wingback Chair

Here is the lovely wingback chair. It's really comfortable, and the kids look adorable curled up in it. We put a rug down on the linoleum floor, since there are lots of rough spots where it's joined together. You can see some of the metal bands in the above photo, that were used to join the pieces of lino together when the floor was laid. There are places where the metal bands are pulling up, and due to previous water damage, some of the metal has rusty patches. Repairing the lino, and/or pulling it up to refinish the wood floor underneath, is on "The List."

I read recently that old homes are best restored from the outside-in, and bottom-up. That is probably good advice. For now, until we can afford a restoration, I think we will keep it dry and look after it as best we can. We shall explore nooks and crannies as we gather up the courage, right?

Well, I would love to go on, and describe some of the history of the Little Blue House, because from what we've learned so far, it's very much worth telling, but that will have to wait. It is past my bedtime!

Out with the Old, and In with the Older!

Bye Bye, Mousy Furniture!

We found only one dead mouse in the house, surprisingly, and we disposed of it along with the numerous trays of rat poison that had been placed throughout the Little Blue House. The evidence of mousy inhabitants was in nearly every room, and we thoroughly cleaned the house using a solution of bleach.

Some area rugs had to go, along with the mousy couch and these two recliners. The rugs and a bunch of other junk made a trip to the local dump. More things went to the "Free Store" there. There were lots of small kitchen appliances, an old vacuum cleaner, ashtrays, baskets, etc. I love those free stores. Isn't there a saying that goes, "One person's trash is another person's treasure?"

The recliners were free from mouse poop. We cleaned up the couch and put all of the furniture outside; we affixed signs to the furniture that read, "Free!" Several people asked about the furniture and I warned them about the mice and said that it needed a good cleaning. Within a day or so, it was all gone. There are many small cabins and hunting camps in this area, and perhaps these pieces were suitable for those places.

Now there was nowhere to sit in the parlour. I figured that the house needed some furniture that was from the era. It is a Victorian home, after all! I will show you what I found in my next post! We have some fascinating history to share about the Little Blue House, too... That will have to wait until I have a little more free time to write!

Monday, 3 September 2012



Isn't this charming? This is the pantry in the kitchen. There were a lot of spiders in the house - I must say that I've never seen so many - but the pantry was devoid of arachnid inhabitants. That was a nice discovery for us, especially since that is where most of the dishes and cooking utensils are kept. I am still amazed at the joy of moving into a fully furnished home, and not just any home, but a Victorian cottage. In a way, it feels like you are intruding into someone else's life, because so many of the previous owners' possessions are still in the house. It gives the home an instant, lived-in, homey feel, but you also feel that you want to make it your own. I believe that a house like this one remembers its various occupants, in a way, in that each of those occupants has left an impression on the place. Perhaps it was a vase that was used for flowers, or a favourite teacup, a lamp, a set of handmade curtains. I washed these kitchen curtains by hand, gently, and dried them on a line outside before putting them back on the windows...

Vintage Kitchen Table and Chairs

The table and chairs are perfect for this space. Although  during a recent visit, a friend of ours noticed that the seat of his pants had become stuck to the chair! His bum was actually stuck to the chair - he had really settled in - and he had to peel his shorts off the surface. I think we may have to refinish the chairs. The varnish or whatever it is on the chairs has become sort of tacky on a couple of them. I will have to figure out how to refinish them. I will add that to "The List."

The nice thing about this house is that the list is not too onerous, because we do not live full-time in the house. That would put an entirely different spin on things. We have the luxury of being able to tinker with these projects, as we have time, and somewhere else to live. I am sure we will have to wait to do anything really major with the house. I think that it will cost a lot of money! We will have to save up and fix the house as we go along. There seem to be many blogs having to do with Victorian home renovations. My favourite, and I am new to reading them and have much to discover yet, is the Devil Queen blog. Those posts are hilarious!

Heinous Furniture, but I Like the Curtains!

The furniture was going to have to go... You will learn its fate in a future post. Don't worry, it has a happy ending. The couch was a hideous hide-a-bed that weighed a ton, and had been lived in/on by numerous, poopy mice. The chairs (both recliners) were not mousy, but ratty - I don't mean literally ratty here, but tattered.

The table, my mother-in-law tells us, is actually called a "dry sink." It is quite nice, and the lid opens upward to expose a storage area underneath the tabletop. I am going to try to find a nice, Victorian lamp to sit in that window. We decided that we like the curtains! They need a good cleaning. Do you think dry cleaning will work? They are fragile looking.

The Cookstove

I know I already described the cookstove in a previous post, but  I love it, and thought it deserved another photo! This house is a treasure trove for us. I can't wait to light this baby up and make some dinner.

Some Tree Removal

Here is your first glimpse of the back of the house, where the extension was built. This extension was well done, as it does not obstruct the charming shape of the original house as seen from the front. It is a lean-to design that was added to the rear of the house about 20 years ago. The previous owners were getting on in age, and they decided to make an addition to the house, with running water. They were tired of making the trek to the privy every night! Notice the weed trees growing alongside the house. There is a beautiful view of lake and mountains from the property, which was obscured by undergrowth. Not to mention the leaf debris from all of those trees, banked up against the home's foundation, threatening it.

View from the Rear of the House

On our initial stay on the property - we camped - my husband and I removed the shutters, removed lots of junk from the house, cleaned it extensively, washed all of the windows, and removed trees! We concentrated on removing the undergrowth and smaller, weed trees.
Undergrowth Obscuring Front of House

You couldn't see the house very well from the street.

Side Entrance After Initial Tree Removal

After we cleaned up the yard, there was a clear path to the side entrance. This door, with the awning, leads into the back of the house, which is the newer part. There is rhubarb growing in an old mining cart next to the door. It was great to be able to see the house, and to have more light inside it also!

Front Porch from Side View After Tree Removal

Here is the front porch. See how it slants towards the house? It is falling down! I think the house will keep us busy for a long time... It was satisfying to rake 3 years' worth of dead leaves away from the home's foundation... A future project, probably next on our priority list, will be to explore the crawl space and to level the house. She is listing to starboard!

I am thinking that at least the house is dry. I am thankful that the house has a new roof. And you know, a metal roof is a good thing in this climate! It may not be what the Victorians would have used in 1898, but if they had access to a roof like that, perhaps they would have been really happy! And, we like the colour. :)

A Sneak Peek at the Interior of the House...

The Bay Window

My husband and I had a rare week without our two children - they were at the grandparents' for a week - so in mid-July we camped on the property and worked on cleaning up the house. It was such a joy to remove the shutters from the windows and to let in the light! I think the house must have been relieved to "see outside" after 3 years of darkness... Here is the view from the parlour, looking out the 5-sided bay window. Notice the sagging wallpaper on the ceiling... The linoleum floor is relatively intact, although it's coming apart in several places. It appears to be an early vintage linoleum; from my limited research, I think that it may be from the early 1900s? It is made up of little geometric squares, which seem to have been glued or pressed together in the manufacturing process onto a backing of burlap. There is old newspaper underneath. And beneath the newspaper is a wood floor.
Need anything pressed? Just let me know! Oh, and sorry in advance about the rust stains on your shirt...
Here is the woodstove in the corner of the parlour. The chimney is badly rusted; we surmise that water came in through the chimney at some point, perhaps before the roof was redone. The stove itself is in pretty decent shape, but we will not use it presently. The chimney has a nasty double 90-degree bend series near the ceiling... definitely not safe to use. For now, it will remain an ornament in the corner. I think we may put an electric fireplace there in the distant future, one that looks antique. There is a beautiful cookstove in the kitchen, however, that we will use!

Tinnerman Steel Range Company Cookstove from Cleveland, Ohio
Here is one of our favourite things inside the Little Blue House! It is a vintage cookstove, used up until the previous owners' last visit 3 years ago. These stoves were manufactured in Cleveland, Ohio by the Tinnerman Steel Range Co. around the turn of the twentieth century. It is in good shape, and I think it just needs a good cleaning, a new gasket for the woodbox, and perhaps a shine? How do you clean a stove like this? I must find out... We plan to get her fired up in the near future, before it gets cold...

Do you see the fairly heinous 1970s wallpaper on the wall behind the stove? I am a child of the 70s, and I know avocado green and orange when I see it! We found a roll of this wallpaper on a sitting on a shelf, so we know that the previous owners must have installed it. They owned the house for 40 years, up until July, 2012. That puts their initial possession of the house squarely in the 70s.

The linoleum on the kitchen floor is an earlier vintage, and I am guessing perhaps the 1950s? That is a wild guess only. It is just laying on the floor, and it is only attached in the 2 doorways that lead into the kitchen. There is a wood floor underneath! We would love to see it...