Well, let me pick up the story from where we left off.
Once the auction was over, and the crowds had all gone home, Annette and I, along with assorted family and friends, sat on the porch and recounted the day. We also started to 'walk the property' (which would become a weekly ritual) and see what we had just gotten ourselves into.
The yard was SO overgrown with trees; shrubs; various assorted plants; and TONS of weeds. As for grass - well - there wasn't any. The yard was like a jungle in the middle of suburbia. The trees ranged anywhere from 100+ year old oaks to saplings that came up wherever. The yard had been left to 'go-to-seed' for about 20 years - YES - 20 years! It was so bad that the auction company had to come in with bush-hogs, chainsaws, and heavy equipment just to clear spots for people to stand. It was so overgrown that you could hardly see the house!
Besides the flora and foliage there were piles of junk left over and miscellaneous junk. There was even an old, stucco storage building that was so bad.... It was rotting, crawling with mold, fungus, slime, and who knows what else. Part of the roof was even caving in. 90% of the items stored in it (we're talking bags of old corn cobs and dozens upon dozens of KFC containers - that type of junk) was not salvageable.
We even found, buried under mounds of rotting wood, leaves and debris, what looked like the muzzle of a cannon! Turned out it was a cast-iron column that was used in a door way. In fact there were four of them. Two sets of columns in two styles. Each is about 8 to 9 feet tall and weigh over a ton. When we demolished the building we were able to move them. So now they are sitting, with their lintels, in a back part of the property.
We also stumbled across a couple of amazing finds that we were shocked had not been been auctioned off. The first were two, hand made, folk art, birdbaths. They are both concrete with decorative stones and rocks embedded in them. One is even a fountain! We estimate that they were made sometime in the 30s or 40s. The other find was a pile of limestone pavers and rocks in various sizes and shapes. It was hidden under a very thick layer of ivy and antique rose bushes. The pile is about 15'x6'x3' and is estimated to hold over one thousand rocks. We believe they are left-overs from when the yard had been landscaped. As an aside, the builder of the house was good friends of the founder and creator of the Bartlett Arboretum here in town (http://www.bartlettarboretum.com/history.php). We were told that the property had been landscaped by this guy's landscaper. There is a lot of evidence pointing to this fact also. Several of the trees, shrubs, and plants are rare and are only known to exist in our yard and the Arboretum. There is also the pesky bricks and rocks! We can not mow, dig, walk, etc. without hitting, stepping on, or tripping over one of them! We have found traces of brick and stone lined paths and flower beds all over the place!
There are also innumerable stumps everywhere! Most of them are small, less than 3" in diameter, and are the remains of the growth the auction company cut down and the old plants that just died off. We go through a riding mower and a push mower about t every other year. So, we do not buy new ones. I can't wait for the day I can buy a new riding mower!!! Even this week I hit a stump I never knew existed. I was lucky it didn't hurt the blade of the mower.
We also discovered a structure underground. Kind of like a cellar, but we never found an entrance. We know it existed because there was a vent shaft coming out of the spot. What was so unusual, other than no entrance, was the fact that the vent shaft was well over 10 tall. When I would try to dig out around the shaft I would find it attached to a brick form - structure like. Last fall I had had it - I could no longer stand not knowing what was buried out there. So, I took my handy sawzall and cut the vent pipe down and peered down the shaft - it was filed with dirt and sand. Bummer - thought it would be more interesting than that. So I stuck a hose to it to see if it would drain somewhere. It didn't. So - what ever it was it has been filled in. Perhaps it was a storm cellar or a septic tank. What ever it was the person who put it in thought it needed to have a huge vent shaft. I tell people that that is where the bodies are buried! LOL One thing that leads me to think it is not a septic tank is the fact that we are using the original septic tank!! it is a beehive shaped structure made of brick with a dirt floor. More of THAT story later.
Next Post I will tell you about all the junk left inside the house.....
Built-Ins and Fireplace Makeover
3 days ago