The one constant about living in a circa 1870 farmhouse, is the need to endlessly repair, renew, remodel and refresh. Earlier this summer we replaced the downstairs floors with porcelain tile. We are now in the process of replacing the 38 year old siding on the east and north sides of the house and extending the ground level wrap-around porch to cover an open air patio on the garden side of the house. It is hard to believe we are redoing work we had originally done when we first moved to the farm back in the early 1970's. I guess that means we've been here a long time, though of course it seems like only yesterday.
We bought Jolico Farm in November of 1971 after a lot of searching for the perfect place. This farm, in far-from-perfect condition, was just what we envisioned. We wanted a working farm with 50 to 100 acres all on one side of a rural road, with a year-round running spring-fed stream, a livable house and a usable barn and outbuildings. After farm-hunting for 3 years we saw this farm and bought it within 4 days. That was 38 years ago and we have been fixing it up ever since.
Our contractors, Rick Lloyd and Marty Swintosky, have done all of our work for the past 20 years. A later than anticipated start on our siding project this year caused them to be working here during our planned 4-day vacation to Cape May, NJ. We decided to go anyway and trust that the job would progress just fine without our constant hovering.
So, off we went to Cape May on Sunday morning, 9/20 - Max, Art and Moses! We had a grand time, walking for miles on the beach, riding bikes around this beautiful Victorian town, eating great seafood and soaking up the abundant sunshine. We had perfect weather with blue skies and cool breezes and very few vacationers this late in September over the autumnal equinox of 2009. In fact, the Boardwalk at Wildwood NJ was downright deserted, with most shops only opening on the weekends during the fall. One evening we took Mo out to dinner with us at The Ugly Mugg, a dog-friendly establishment, where we dined alfresco on huge steamed shrimp, fresh shucked oysters fried to perfection, and grilled chicken for Mo, whose discerning palate doesn't trust fishy things unless they are from his own lake at home. We stayed at The Blue Fish Inn, a great little motel in a quiet section of town, where they made us very comfortable (evidenced by the picture of Art and Mo relaxing in front of the bedroom TV!) Here are some highlights of our trip:
We took our leave of Cape May early on Thursday morning, 9/24, via the Cape May/Lewes Ferry. We rode on the ferry, Twin Capes, with lots of other cars, trucks, campers and motor homes. To Mo's delight there were also quite a few dogs making the 17 mile trip over to Lewes Delaware, and he was kept so distracted by all the people and pets on board that he forgot to get seasick - a miracle! When we disembarked we headed to Rockville, MD, a 3-hour drive, where we stopped to visit with our favorite uncle, Oscar Hoffman
and Oscar's daughter and our cousin, Barbara Kelsky. Uncle Oscar is 98 years old and is Art's mother's brother. He is the oldest and the only surviving member of his immediate family which included Art's mom Lillian, Aunt Syd and Aunt Mame. Oscar and Art worked together in the clothing business at Standard Sportswear in Pittsburgh many years ago. We had not seen him since his 95th birthday party three years ago, so this visit was a very heartfelt one for us all.
Another 3-hour drive and we arrived home, road-weary but safe and sound! Home is such a fantastic place to be, we always wonder why we want to leave. Mostly we have to force ourselves, thinking that we haven't been away in a while and that we should have a change of scenery and experience the wonders of travel.........only to find that there's no place like home.