A Good Home, Anglican Church, Architectural Conservancy, Art, Artist, Authors, Beautiful Neighborhoods, Birds, Bond Head, Canadian History, Canadian life, Canadians, Country Homes, Country Living, Country roads, Episcopalian Church, Family, Family Stories, Famous Places, Frederick Farncomb, Furniture, Heritage Homes, historic neighborhoods, Historical Society, Homes, Interior Design, John Farncomb, Life in canada, Newcastle, Newcastle Historical Society, Restoration Award, Restoring old houses, The Farncombs of Bond Head

Loving and Leaving Ebor House – Pt. 6 – Conclusion

Ron Coffin did such a great job restoring Ebor House that he was honoured for it.

Blog Photo - Ebor House MBedroom other view

He received the Newcastle Village and District Historical Society’s Preservation Award in 2011.
Blog Photo - Ebor House Master Bedroom

He also opened the house to the community on a recent architectural conservancy day and 600 visitors came.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Library

A pianist played beautiful music.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Living room reverse

The visitors toured the grand old house, admiring the furnishings and paintings, old and new.

Painting by George Forgie
Painting by George Forgie

Ron has invested untold time, love and money into his home.

“This place has nurtured me. Not just me but others too. One friend stayed here in the winter, healing from an accident. It’s nurtured her.”

The children are grown up. Ron says it’s time to leave. Ebor House is too big for one person.

He looks around at rooms sparkling with sunshine, beauty and a strong sense of well-being.  He tells me yet another story about the house and the Farncombs. He calls each family member by first name.

I say:  “You don’t sound like a man who’s selling this house.”

He says he is.  

“I truly believe the house is looking for a buyer, rather than a person looking for this house. It’s a very special place.  Last evening four of us had a wonderful supper under the trees and at the end of our meal we were visited by one of the hawks that have decided to call this place home this year.  Just magical!”

Blog Photo - Ebor House back lawn

**

As for me?

It started when I got lost a few weeks ago and saw this house.

I wanted to know more.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Front 2

But the single discovery that kept me searching was the August 1901 New York Times story about the drowning of the two Farncomb boys.

My heart sank when I read it.

A parent myself, I wanted – perhaps even needed –  to know that things turned out well for the family.

Of course — since this is real life and not a fairy tale — they did and they didn’t.

**

The Farncomb family survived and, over the decades, many thrived.

John and Jane and the boys were not forgotten.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Entrance and Stairs

But life must go on, at least after a while.

And so it did.

Farncomb descendants became successful in Canadian business, education, law, medicine and other fields such as literature and media.

They still own property in Bond Head, and still have influence. In 2002, one descendant (among other residents) protested against a plan to change the name of a local street. He argued it made no sense. He also pointed out that Farncombs had lived there for 150 years. And that he owned much of the land in the area.

His side won.

Blog Photo - Bond Head main street

**

My interest in a house became a story about other people’s lives.

I double-checked each finding, then begged homeowner Ron and Myno Van Dyke, secretary of the local historical society, to read some of what I’d written. I thank them.

I conclude the series knowing I’ve done my best to make it fair, factual — and kind. But I know there is much more to the story of Ebor House and its families than I’ve written here.

**

This story is dedicated to the descendants of Frederick and Jane Farncomb.

**

POST-SCRIPT: EBOR HOUSE HAS NEW OWNERS — OR PERHAPS I SHOULD CALL THEM ‘NEW STEWARDS’.  I WISH THEM JOYFUL TIMES IN THIS  EXCEPTIONAL HOME.

Thanks to: Newcastle Village and District Historical Society; Library and Archives Canada; Archives of the City of London, England; Trinity College, Port Hope; Canadian Anglican Church;  St. George’s, Newcastle; the Canadian Encyclopaedia; The New York Times and several other Canadian and American newspapers; and other sources. Some photos of Ebor House came from Promise First Realty’s website.

A Good Home, Flowers, Furniture, Garden, Home, Home Decor, Inspiration, Photographs

10 Pictures That’ll Make You Even Happier For Spring!

Sharing the love for Spring and encouraging her to visit soon:

10 Pictures That’ll Make You Even Happier For Spring!.

A Good Home, Birdfeeders, Birdhouses, Birds, Furniture, Garden, Recycling, Woodwork

You’ve Never Seen Bird Feeders Like Jean Long’s

Imagine yourself a talented creator of furniture, wood furniture made mainly of pine and cedar. Beautiful benches, chests, cupboards and armoires furnish your home.

Blog Photo - Armoire

You end up with smaller pieces of wood, left-overs from those bigger items.

If you’re Jean Long, you use these pieces to make birdhouses and feeders.

Birdhouse with Drivers' License roof by J. Long

Birdhouse by Jean Long

An astonishing variety of birdhouses and bird feeders – most of them whimsical, each of them well-made, each unique in some way.

Blog Photo - Birdfeeeder 1

Although I’ve known Jean for years, and have been lucky enough to own a Jean Long birdhouse,  I start to smile the moment he opens his studio door for the latest tour:  I never know what to expect, but I know it will be fun – a journey of discovery!

Rustic birdhouse 2 - by Jean Long

Over the years, Jean has built hundreds of birdhouses.  

Blog Photo - Birdfeeder 3

Roughly half of them were given to friends or donated to organizations for fundraising purposes.

Blog Photo - Birdfeeder 2

Many are scattered over his 10-acre property.

Blog Photo - Yellow Birdhouse

A former educator in a demanding leadership role, Jean found building birdhouses a form of stress relief.  Retired now, he still has birdhouses on the brain.

Blog Photo - Birdfeeder 4

Since each creation is an original,  the challenge (and joy) is to keep creating new designs.

Blog Photo - Red Barn Birdhouse

Some ideas come to Jean in his dreams. Some come from the sheer drive to find out how many objects he can use in his birdhouse designs.  

“I use old rubber boots, watering cans, old lamps parts, hub caps, old metal roofing , scrap metal, old nails, old frames, old windows, barn wood, etc…. to build my birdhouses, Jean says.

Blog Photo - Boot House

Today, Jean is working on his 867th birdhouse. It’s a large, very complex one that takes much time and patience – he calls this kind his ‘’Xtreme Birdhouses’’.

Blog Photo - Jean building complex birdhouse

And they’re stunning, even when in progress.  I can hardly wait for this one to be completed.

For more information, to see or to acquire a birdhouse, please contact Jean at: jenjes@mac.com

 

A Good Home, Architecture, Canadiana, Christmas, Furniture, Gratitude, Homes, Inspiration, Interior Design, Spiritual, Wool Blankets

Everyday Glory

One late-autumn afternoon, after being stuck in bed for several days, I looked around at our bedroom and decided it needed colour.

Christmas was several weeks away, but  that didn’t mean I couldn’t haul out the two Christmas-themed cushions I’d received as a gift a few years before. Red does wonders for a room.

I could hardly wait for my husband to see this cheerful scene.

He went to bed before me that night. The next morning, I asked eagerly: “What did you think of the way I decorated our bedroom?”

“Decorated?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

He  stared at me, puzzled.

“Didn’t you notice anything different?”

“Oh!” he said. “You mean… all those pillows and stuff?”

I nodded.

“I didn’t really look at them,” he said.

Christmas Cushions
Christmas Cushions – Photo by H. Grange

There, in a corner of the floor were the red and white cushion and the two pillows in their lace-edged shams. They looked forlorn. I groaned.

“Oops – I screwed up, didn’t I?”

“It was so pretty,” I said in a whiny voice.

But when I met his eyes, he looked contrite, like a small boy in trouble.  Next thing I knew, we were both laughing.

Laughing over this foolishness was a little thing – an unremarkable thing. Unless you’ve learned to cherish the small moments of life.

Before the car accident, I was busy leading the big projects, travelling here and there.  Rushing around, trying to change the world, can make a person miss the beauty of “ordinary” things.

Injuries and pain are indescribably worse.   You finally have time to see, but barely have the energy to look.

But – oh – it’s worth the effort to look! To take joy in the small moments, to see one’s surroundings with new and grateful eyes.  To be open to small patches of everyday glory. 

"Snow Cones" on Spruce Branch - Photo by Hamlin Grange
“Snow Cones” on Spruce Branch – Photo by H. Grange

Snow on cedars. Fresh snow on the cedar and spruce trees  makes the garden beautiful, day and night.

The late sun. Late afternoon sunlight shining on wood floors is magical. And when the late sun hits the wavy glass sidelights in the front door of our old farmhouse, it’s wondrous.

Sunshine on Hardwood
Sunshine on Hardwood – Photo by H. Grange

My husband’s truant socks. I find them in the weirdest places, including the floor. I used to get irritated by this and other things, like his leaving the newspapers strewn across the breakfast table. (Or overlooking my small attempts to ‘cheer up’ our house.) Now when I come across stray socks, I give thanks for having someone kind, funny and loving to share my everyday life with . (And I try to assemble the newspapers without muttering.)

Canadian Wool Blanket
Canadian Wool Blanket – Photo by H. Grange

The old wool blanket. “Canadiana”, for sure, it would be worth something but for the pale stain on one side. Do I care about the stain? No.  I love this blanket for its brilliant stripes – and for having survived.

Blooming Amaryllis. Bought for 6 bucks,  it re-blooms (big red blooms) on long stalks in February. ‘Nuff said.

Freshly washed sheets.  There’s luxury in the smell and feel of freshly washed cotton sheets although they’ve been used and washed many times.

Our family’s big clay mixing bowl.  Many apple pies have been mixed up in that beautiful old bowl.

My daughter’s dogs.  Sometimes, just the sight of them gladdens my heart. One black, one white, they’re both tiny dogs with personalities of their own. As I write, they’re stretched out beside me,  fast asleep.

Julius and Dawson Fast Asleep
The Pooches

Slowing down  by choice is great. Being forced to do so is awful.  But in the spirit of lighting a candle and finding my way out of darkness, I’ve been focusing on positives.

I’m keeping both eyes open for that everyday kind of glory.

This post is dedicated to the caring staff at the pain management centre of Toronto Rehabilitation Hospital. One of the techniques they teach their patients is mindfulness.