Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Monday, July 9, 2012

When life hands you lemons...

 I'm thinking about how many Loyalists and other pioneers drew lots for properties they'd never seen. Thinking of the role that geological chance played in whether they and their descendants became successful farmers or just rural survivors. So much depended - everything depended - on the drawing of lots. By chance, some folks ended up with deep alluvial till, while others got...rock farms.

Even the hard farms on the Cambrian shield had been forested, encouraging settlers (and those promoting settlement)  to believe in the soil's capacity to provide.

I spotted this beautiful house near Hay Bay. It's built from granite fieldstones, used in their round natural state - I remember our dad calling those stones "hard-heads". The builder looked at the stones strewn about his hoped for prosperous fields, and made lemonade.

The photo does not do it justice to the little Ontario farmhouse, but look at the massive chimneys, the patchwork walls. The house has style - the shady verandahs boast turned posts and bargeboard.

Notice the window sash cut to cooperate with the incline of the kitchen tail built to the side of the main house.
And here, near South Bay, is a unique community of beautiful stone walls. I don't know if it's because there was a gifted drystone wall builder who shared his love and skill with stone, or if folks just looked at the stone lying about on the surface of their newly cleared fields, eroded over millenia from the loose limestone escarpment above, and said....anyone for lemonade?

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