We are renovators long on enthusiasm and somewhat less long on expertise. We are always eager to throw our backs into a thing and usually pretty quick to laugh at ourselves when we frig it up. We are earnest readers of design magazines and cookbooks, with more ideas than time. We think every day should end with a happy hour thrown together effortlessly, and in truth we pull it off maybe twice a year. We have day jobs, kids, laundry to do and possibly some obsessive tendencies. We are city-dwellers in awe of country life. We are laptop-drivers who yearn for a used pickup.
After years of searching, we have snagged a spot in central Maine where we can try to coax some asparagus out of the rocky, well-rested dirt, tend to a charming, rundown farmhouse, and navigate little boats up an old logging river and back again.
(These pursuits are an embarrassment of riches, we know. Especially now. The world feels broken and beautiful and in need of repair. Like our little farmhouse in a way. With good bones! This is not a blog about pandemics, or politics, or economics, or justice, though we worry over those things just like you do. But we like to think we are teaching ourselves the practical arts of restoring horsehair plaster - and the faith. Both skills could come in handy.)
We like to share what we have. And right now we mostly have photos and misadventures.
We are Tiller Project.
Cedar posts and boards, for a someday outdoor shower. A kindling cracker, a gift from dear friends, who take housewarming literally. A sweet little retro fridge, because doesn't Nana's kitchen demand such a thing?
A Penobscot Bay kindling axe from Snow & Nealley, for Valentine's Day. "The Workbench Book" by Scott Landis and another book called Doormaking and Window-Making. Elderberry, rhubarb and horseradish starts, to be delivered in the Spring.
Two gallons plumbing anti-freeze. One space heater.
Three granite countertops. More tree stakes. Two bulbs of garlic for planting. A balsam wreath with a red bow.
A nail gun. More tree stakes. A kettle, a cast-iron dutch oven, a set of measuring cups. A cord of firewood. A half gallon of maple syrup.
Three bowls, three mugs and a mixing bowl from the barn sale down the way. A kitchen faucet and replacement drain. Wooden stakes for the fruit trees. Another kitchen faucet, but just temporary. Paintbrushes and rollers. Plumbing tape. A wasp trap.
Fire extinguisher and two smoke detectors. Three 8' clear pine trim boards, landscaping cloth, even more chicken wire. Oversized switch plate and sawzall blades. Four brown enamel 1/2 inch pipe holders. A stovetop percolator.
Seven kitchen base cabinets, to be shipped from the factory in Texas. One replacement cabinet, for the unit that was broken in transit. 75 feet of hardware cloth for the garden fence. Four paint samples and nine wallpaper samples. Five more paint samples, and a case of wine. A pair of oven mitts. Instant coffee. Still more hardware cloth (because: deer) and hinges for the garden gate. A new used camera and wide-angle lens. A russian sage, a sea lavender, and three hardy lavender plants. A dowel clothes rack for wet swimming gear and a colander for wild raspberry picking. Rodent-repelling tree wrap and clothespins for hanging sweaty work gloves in the barn to dry. A wood stove, a kitchen-load of paint (we hope), 6 cabinet doorknobs, 8 drawer pulls, one sconce and three lightbulbs. An electric range, old-school. Plumbing supplies. A trash can with a lid and fly paper. Unsanded grout, masonry primer, a kitchen hood and venting, 6 sanding blocks of various grits, 100 feet of chicken wire.
A third hose, 125 feet this time. Three sonic plug-in mouse repellers. A canister of propane for the camp stove. A flange, for the new toilet, turned out to be the wrong size. Another flange, in the correct size. A toilet. A queen bed and a single, and some sheets. A dozen cupcakes. Window screen fabric An American Flag (and a trucker's hat). Caulk, two gallons of primer and a four-inch paintbrush. A new electrical system.
A ladder. Rootstock (12 apple trees, 6 peach trees, 3 cherry trees, 10 high bush blueberries, 10 raspberry canes, 25 asparagus crowns). Six giant sunhats. A prescription for Prednisone. Four cubic yards of compost, delivered. A new well pump and a cement well cover. A toilet seat. Another, taller ladder. Another 20 yard dumpster. Three bottles of DIF wallpaper remover. A second, very long hose. Work gloves. Bug spray. A shop vac. Four chamois work shirts from L.L. Bean (of course).
A 20 yard dumpster, for a long weekend. A quart of maple syrup from Dunlap Vegetable Farm. Johnny's seeds (basil, lavender, hot pepper, columbine). Two giant sheets of black plastic. Cedar Shakes. A ladder.
Two brassy Italian candle sconces (?) from Portia's Barn. Three chimneys inspected. A new roof, installed in January. A box of contractor garbage bags, from my mom. A grey throw blanket, from friends, plus a balsam candle. Four blaze orange winter hats and a pair of workpants.
The deed to ten acres by a river, and one sweet old house.