New Directions

There have been LOTS of changes here at Kentucky Hollers!!!

The original purpose of this blog (at least in my mind) was to document our life as I moved from the big city to a (very) run-down 1940's farmhouse on a (very) small eastern Kentucky farm and endeavored to teach myself home renovation, how to farm, how to home school, how to cook and preserve the food I produced, and tried to follow my dreams.

Ten years later, things are totally different from the way they started. The house is almost finished, I've learned the basics of how to farm, G. has graduated and moved on to follow her dream of becoming a helicopter pilot, I married the man of my dreams five years ago, I wrote my first novel (unpublished. Trust me; you're welcome.) and I've become a fairly accomplished cook (not tooting my own horn; that's what my family says...but then again, they rely on me to feed them, so they may not be totally impartial. Hmmm....)

Time to move in a new direction.

It all started with the house.

Ten years ago, our house was...well, let's just say most rational people would have looked at it, said, "Oh, HECK no!" and bulldozed the place. But most people who know me will agree--I'm anything but rational.

When I bought it, the house needed: new plumbing, foundation work, a complete rewiring, new windows throughout, new doors throughout, the central supporting wall rebuilt, new flooring, new floor joists, structural porch supports added, and all new siding. The bathroom and kitchen both needed to be redone although they were "functional" as-is, the septic system was...elderly, there was no working heating or air conditioning, there were three unusable fireplaces that needed to be dismantled, and there was old termite damage in one part of the house. There were no outbuildings, fences, or fruit trees (there were 5 black walnut trees.) But it had a new roof, great neighbors, came with 10.6 acres and a stream, and only cost $20,000.

If only these walls could talk.

Our house dates to about 1941-2. The family who built it hauled a portable saw mill onto the property, felled the trees off the land, milled them right here, and built the house. The frame is oak, the siding is tulip poplar and some of the remaining upstairs flooring is (we think) chestnut. It is part of this land in a way no other house could be. It was sited to take advantage of the prevailing winds and the direction of the sun. Originally, it was a story-and-a-half, but sometime in the mid-80s, the upper half-story was removed and three bedrooms were added out to one end.

As we've rehabbed rebuilt the house, I've become more and more interested in the 1940s. It was a fascinating time. A world war was raging. But the populations of the U.S., as well as Britain, banded together for the greater good, despite differences of opinion or belief. For the first time, women were entering the work force en mass. Despite, or possibly because, of this, women strove to look glamorous, elegant, and sophisticated. Food and other goods were rationed. Again, despite or because of this, the general health of the population improved. Science, practicality, and style all blended together to define the era.

 What does all that have to do with this blog?

I'm glad you asked.

With our world more and more resembling the late-1930s (a lingering Recession/Depression, spreading societal breakdown, and a rumbling threat of war across the globe), I've been thinking more and more about just how people lived in the 1940s. How did they cope with the struggles of the war effort, specifically the shortage of goods and food? Which made me wonder...

Could a family today survive 1940s rationing?

We plan to find out. 


Gorges Smythe said...

I'm glad for the progress you've made on your place, and I think the last paragraph is a good analogy.

Catherine said...

Thanks, Gorges! I have to say, it feels good finally seeing the house come together and know it is in good enough shape to last another 75 years (long after I'm gone.)

I keep hoping the Geopolitical/domestic situation will resolve in a rational and reasonable manner, but as my Grandmother used to say, "Wish in one hand and s**t in the other and see which one gets full first." I think we're getting handfuls of the second half of that phrase.

kymber said...

catherine - i am really glad that i followed Gorges' link to here....i think your adventure sounds amazing! i will follow you and do you want to exchange links on our blogrolls? if so, just let me know...several of the people on your blogroll are already on ours and we are on theirs. have a look at our blog....6yrs ago we moved from a big canadian city to a tiny east coast island, have a crappy little cottage, try and grow and preserve as much of our own food as we can...and try to live every day to the fullest.

you can check us out here:


heading off to follow you and then read your next blog posts!

Catherine said...

Thanks for visiting my blog!! Of course I'll add you to my blogroll!! I'm still working on the whole "following"...thing (I don't Facebook either. Yup, I'm a Luddite.)I didn't even know Gorges had linked me...I'll have to pop over and thank him.

I hope you keep dropping by. I'm planning on posting Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. See you then!

kymber said...

i don't facebook either! but if Gorges posts a link to a new blog i always check it out. i am looking forward to all of your future posts. i'll add you to our blogroll now!

Stephanie said...

Im glad to see things going so well. Havent been in the blogsphere in a while. It's good to see you.

Catherine said...

Stephanie!! Good to see you again, too!! I hope things have calmed down/improved for you. I miss your blog; you were always an amazing writer. Are you planning to start up again?

Stephanie said...

Thank you :) I'm hoping to revive it. Still in school full time and 2 part time jobs so time to write is sparse at best. It may only be bi-weekly or monthly if I can pull it off. I miss writing as well.