Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy All Hallows' Eve!

Halloween is almost here!  I love Halloween and all the traditions that go along with it: pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, costumes, haunted houses, ghost stories, bonfires, and delicious treats.  However, I often forget that historically our colonial ancestors did not celebrate Halloween--nearly all of our modern customs would have been foreign to them except for the display of a colorful bounty of pumpkins. Colonial Americans, introduced to the pumpkin by natives of the New World, consumed the fruit at a far higher rate than most of us do today--pumpkins were a valuable source of food that aided survival during the harsh winters and were prepared in soups, pies, puddings, and as a savory roasted dish by itself. I like to have a variety of pumpkins during the autumn months to enjoy not only for their natural beauty and sweet taste, but to remind myself of how integral the crop was to the early American home.

Of course, I can't help but carving at least one pumpkin each year:

If you would like to learn more about the origins of Halloween and the role pumpkins played in the domestic lives of early Americans, visit http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Autumn09/pumpkins.cfm  for a good article on the subject. 


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An Introduction

Hello and welcome to Restoring the Roost! A roost, home, nest, abode, or whatever you prefer to call it, is  the space where many of the most significant and cherished events of life occur. Historic homes in particular are extra special--to think of all the lives that their walls have sheltered. I believe historic buildings have a certain "feel" to them when you walk inside that you absolutely CANNOT sense with a new building. I find that older buildings contain so much charm, weathered beauty, and functionality.  I hope you will find this resource informative for preserving the past in your own home!

 I love old relics, and as a historian, I decided a long time ago that I would only make my home in a house that was older than 1950. Well, since getting married and living on my own I've stuck to my promise.

Our first home was a loft-style apartment in an early 20th century industrial textile mill overlooking the Haw River that had been rehabilitated into apartments:


The space was wonderful--16 foot ceilings with exposed original wood beams, exposed brick on the exterior wall, great triple-hung windows for tons of natural light, and amazing original wood floors. 


Now we are "setting up house" in a 1917 bungalow out in the country:



Wherever I happen to live, I hope to always be restoring my roost--not just the physical preservation of the structure, but restoring all aspects of a healthy and nurturing home.