Off to a rocky start


By Sue Curtis



Living in a home that was built over two hundred years ago has many joys. It has not only history, but also unique features and charm that only vintage lovers appreciate. Since both Matt and I are history buffs, the home suits us in more ways than I can count. We love taking care of the house, the outbuildings, and the property and consider it more a legacy than a chore.

That being said, my father-in-law had a wonderful expression that suits to a “t” every time we start a new project. Invariably, about an hour or less into any venture around the old homestead, he would remark, “Well, we’ve hit a boar’s nest.”

It’s not surprising that every project we undertake has some unforeseen challenges. The house has 18-inch thick limestone walls, built before heating ducts, plumbing, or electricity had been invented. So these features were added many decades after the house was completed. This creates some distinctive situations, such as the second floor having no direct heat.

The house is named for its builder, John Minor Dye, but since 1933 has been called Stonecrest. There’s a reason for that — there are stones on the property. LOTS of stones.

So, when we decided to relocate three boxwoods to another place on our property, we thought it would only take a couple hours. Well, to be honest, we hoped it would be, but we figured something would delay us, probably unearthing massive stones — or a boar’s nest.

We chose our new boxwood location near the end of a bed of myrtle that surrounds a locust tree. Wisely, we decided to dig the holes for the transplants before moving them.

The locust tree has big roots. Enormous roots. Roots that stretched at least twenty feet and had to be cut out with an axe. Of course, the rocks, both massive and regular sized were there, as well. The first hole took us ninety minutes to dig out. We had trash can full of roots (sized about firewood size) and weeds, as well as a wheelbarrow load of dirt. We had a pile of stones a foot high and two feet in diameter that at some future point would need to be moved to another location.

The second and third holes only took another hour, because by this time we had gathered the axes and other tools we needed. Also, God smiled and there was only one root in the last hole! The holes finally dug, we decided to buy three new shrubs rather than dig up the ones that were already safe in their rocky, rooty places.

By the end of the day, we had planted a lovely row of three silver kings and a flat of myrtle to replace and bolster the poor myrtle we had trampled all day. The two-hour job had taken eight hours, so it was a boar’s nest all right, but in the end, it was (as usual) worth the extra work.

Email me at [email protected]

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By Sue Curtis

Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at a local elementary school and Hospice and keeps busy taking care of house, husband, son, and pets. She lives just outside of Troy, Ohio.

Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at a local elementary school and Hospice and keeps busy taking care of house, husband, son, and pets. She lives just outside of Troy, Ohio.

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