Local Lines - The Brandegee Blog

Ramblings on Crafting Useable Art (and other things that I find interesting)

Local Lines

Posted on February 8, 2013
The mountainous countryside surrounding our 1840 log cabin is Appalachian in character. It’s Bedford County, PA, land originally surveyed in the 1760s by a well-traveled fellow named George Washington. Back then, it was farmland, and much of it still is, even though most of today’s farmers have jobs elsewhere too. The land is very hilly and rocky, so much so, that you have to marvel at the tenacity of those first settlers scratching out a living for their families.

When we first bought our land, there was another house upstream about a hundred yards in addition to our log cabin.  Built in the 1880s, or so, it was roughly 18' square and three stories.  It had sheltered a family with nine children, we later learned.  But at the time of our first viewing it was not just uninhabitable, it’s holey roof and rotting floors actually  made it dangerous.  Insurance people would label it an “attractive nuisance.”

Soon after, we solved the problem.  We lined up the volunteer fire department from Hyndman, 8 miles south of us, to burn it to the ground as a practice exercise.  Our neighbors were confident that this could be safely managed despite local lore that the fire department boasted that they had “never lost a foundation.” 

Soon after that episode, when shopping in Shellsburg, about 15 miles north, we met the proprietor of an antique shop, the Reverend Fenstermacher, who had retired from the ministry and turned his one-time church into a jammed-to-the-gills emporium.  We did stock our cabin with blue and white willowware china that we’ve used ever since, but not until the Reverend advised us that the town had recently outlawed the round hay bales seen on many fields in the area.  When we looked quizzical, he explained that “the cows weren’t getting a square meal.”

We should check back with the Reverend.  Maybe he’s moved into a new career in stand-up.  Just learned it’s too late.  He has ascended to his microphone up there.

I’ve occasionally thought of that encounter with the reverend, particularly when I’ve broken a piece of the willowware.  I save the shards with the notion that I might embed them into a wood top on a coffee table.  But that will have to wait for a few more breaks.

This coffee table is named for the butterfly that holds the two top logs (log cabin origin) together.

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