Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Making do

Mom used to have an expression, "making do." No doubt the expression and the discipline arose from her childhood on a frugal farm, peppered with a bit of The Great Depression to deepen the lesson. "Making do" meant mending, improvising, or readjusting your expectations (something our hugely entitled age is not very good at). The alternative was "doing without."

My sister Jo and I went for a lovely walk at Massassauga Point Conservation Area recently. On our way home, I had to stop to take this photo of a homely old barn foundation, limestone rubble bejewelled with round pink granite fieldstones.

My better camera would have gotten us closer

A house in Picton with fieldstone quoins

A kitchen tail in a beautiful Point Petre home, with fieldstone
So often these granite fieldstones, glacial litter left by the great ice sheet's careless passing on the way back north, found their way into foundations - rounded edges, irregular, one would think a poor choice in a foundation made largely of limestone more or less linear in shape, and glued with mortar. But they were solid, and filled the space, and they were available, rising as they did each spring as the frost left the ground. So farmers and builders "made do."

And left us a lovely legacy, an invitation to visit and understand the lives of our ancestors.

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