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This picture was taken at the exact moment that Linda decided she wanted to buy the farm. It was early January 1993 and the owner was giving my wife Linda and I a closer look at the place. We had always wanted land ... and a barn ... and the kids wanted pets ... a cat and a dog and maybe some barn cats as well. Three horses came with the deal for as long as they should live - which was turning out to be a ripe old age.
The place had been vacant for a while. The house was very, very rough with a stream running across the mud floor basement with dead mice and frogs and toads as well. I watched a garter snake crawl through a crack in the foundation. The furnace ran almost all of the time except when if conked out and needed to be primed to be restarted at which time it belched black, sooty smoke. The heat exchanger in that furnace was cracked. The water pump was in the basement and was rather noisy after the lone toilet was flushed. There was no insulation in the walls and many things did not work - if they ever did. The chimneys were unsafe and needed to be removed or replaced. We would need to put another lane into the property but I knew a local genius for that kind of work - George Craib. Linda loved it and by the middle of March, it was home.
A raccoon also lived in the barn and had a routine of coming up the path behind the house at sunset to go to bed in the loft. I would not have minded too much except he ate the cats food and shit all over the place. I evicted buddy raccoon by boarding up his entrance and he moved on although we saw a raccoon at least a couple of times each year, sleeping in the huge black willow tree.
The picture used as a basis for the painting was taken from the south side of the ramp to the barn. This ramp has since been removed since it was pushing in the wall of the barn with each frost ... not good.
March 18th, 2019
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