Saturday, January 24, 2015


Here at the Window lately we've been talking about passion,
living your life with passion.

The lucky ones among us
have a vocation that is a passion.

I thought you might enjoy learning what R.H.'s vocation is.

He and two of our sons have a roofing and 
siding business,
and we specialize in historic homes.

Such as this beautiful old farmhouse that has been
in the same family for four generations now.

We completely reconstructed the roof and
then installed Classic Rib 24 ga. steel roofing
in Burnished Slate baked-on enamel.

We also replaced the roofs on 5 outbuildings
in Patriot Red.

There was the Cabin House,
the Chicken House,
and the Carriage House...

The 4th outbuilding was the Springhouse;
our client said that the spring has never gone dry.

R.H. truly enjoys his vocation but never more
than when it means helping preserve
historic homes.

I don't want to forget the 5th outbuilding--
it's the Outhouse!

And what does my husband do when he's not working?

He's dreaming up a new project at home, of course.

Such as turning our old chicken shed…

into a picnic shelter and giving us a view to the valley...

And adding a carport for his truck because the

barn, garage, and another carport are full.

Over the years we've added rooms onto
our own 1920 farmhouse,
often higgledy-piggledy,
as we've needed them,
just as the original owners did
when it was a hog farm.

but it looked right pretty here this morning…

This poem by W. H. Auden reminds me
of my husband:

You need not see what someone is doing
to know if it is his vocation,

you have only to watch his eyes;
a cook mixing a sauce, a surgeon

making a primary incision,
a clerk completing a bill of lading,

wear the same rapt expression,
forgetting themselves in a function.

W. H. Auden

They're the lucky ones, aren't they?

Oh, and did I mention that this hardworking
man of mine is in his 70s?

        Linda at the Sew What Blog. I just read her post and it brought back so many
        memories of young motherhood all the way to and through the empty nest time.]

Monday 26th: Here is a link to today's post from Jemma of At Home With Jemma, who is the host of our project. Jemma explains this whole project again and why it is important to us, and we hope to some of you. It is a path that we hope will continue to lead us to that last part of the project, the Productivity that we all hope to accomplish.


  1. I am a fan of your husband's, Dewena and I've never met him... we share a love, a vocation if you will, of preserving historic homes. You are a very lucky lady... and he is a lucky gentleman. blessings ~ tanna

    1. Thank you, Tanna, I'll tell him you said so!

  2. Dewena,
    To me this is passion in one of it's finest and purest forms. To have a vocation from a tailor to a become so engrossed in ones vocation, that time looses it's measure.
    Your dear husband saving and historical beauties and your own beautiful property-nestled among the groves and being tended to, gently and lovingly by both you and your husband, who work for the betterment of mankind. What could possibly be more rewarding and beautiful.
    I just don't know how he does this!

    1. Jemma, there is a local builder who last I heard was still building unique houses, now in his 90s! He built Johnny Cash's house, which unfortunately burned down before the new owner could move in. R.H. used to deliver their Christmas tree after June would come into our garden center to choose it. It was an amazing house, almost cloven out of the rock hillside.

      I think the builder is a man that my R.H. is trying to emulate. He says he'll never retire. Our sons, however, try to keep him on the ground now on jobs!

  3. When one has a true vocation, age is no barrier, and truly is irrelevant. We all should be as lucky as R.H.

    (You have a beautiful property!)

    1. Of course, Doreen, he constantly frets that he cannot do what he did 20 years ago!

  4. This was a fun read and especially the picnic shelter! :)

    1. Thank you, Deb! I did two posts about turning the chicken shed into a picnic shelter on June 19 and 20 of 2014 if you ever want to look at them.

  5. Grace knowing the family farm house and dependencies are being cared for into more generations.

    Yes, know well the getting lost in my vocation/avocation... The joy of my life.

    Garden & Be Well, XOT

    1. Tara, 3 of the generations now use the Farmhouse as their weekend and holiday home and our clients plan to retire there eventually. The whole restoration project was a joint venture with family committees in charge of different aspects.

      I remember reading Mary Randolph Carter's book about their family place and first heard the buildings that we Tennesseans call outbuildings referred to as dependencies. It's a much prettier word!

      I can see from your blog that your vocation is your joy!

  6. i'm speechless.
    and you know.
    for me that is something.
    i'm blown away.
    a noble profession. and once again. synchronicity of sorts.
    my last post is about a vocation. how strange! again. two hearts.
    but to do what RH does EVERY DAY! creating beauty out of old and loved.
    the energy and dexterity required. oh my.
    well. turned out i'm never speechless. LOLOL.
    a special hug going to RH. and my absolute admiration! xoxo♥

    1. I'll pass along your hug, Tam!

      Can you imagine, though, if you had continued in your once vocation as house painter how much your shoulder would hurt today? Not to mention the barbed wire and rose thorns you wrote about today?

      Did I mention that R.H goes through tubs of Blue Emu on his shoulders now?

  7. Replies
    1. It really is, Tessa! R.H. constantly says that it's the roof and walls that protect everything you care about IN your house.

  8. Dewena, your post hit home for me more than you know. You see, my husband is a builder too. Seeing your husband's projects with these old historic homes made me think of how much work that goes into it, then seeing the finished product when it's done (planting a seed and watching it grow). Is that a picture of your white farmhouse? It is so charming with the snow surrounding the area. What a wonderful vocation that your husband does, filled with hard work and passion.

    love, ~Sheri

    1. Ah, then you know, Sheri, the rewards and the frustrations of people in any aspect of this trade. A house is part of the family, isn't it? And to have a role in seeing it become something the family dreamed of, is a reward in itself.

      Yes, that's our farmhouse down in the valley! It needs another paint job badly so the snow does a temporary job!

  9. Anyone who has a calling, who 'hears' what work their heart desires, indeed, is blessed. And, when such a person is able to provide for their family by practicing that calling, as R.H. has done so well, then, it is truly a gift for all. Passion for one's vocation, can be contagious, as R.H. has shown with regards to his sons, who have chosen to follow in their father's footsteps, and carry on the family business.

    The restoration of these farmhouses, both the clients' and your own, shows the fine workmanship and dedication that are trademarks of all who take pride in their vocation. I can understand your husband's special connection to historic homes, for they are so aesthetically appealing, and the skills that are necessary to upkeep them, giving them new life, are vital to their survival.

    Thank you for this most wonderful post, defining in detail, the elements of 'vocation', with beautiful photographs, for a more personal peek into the passionate part of the word!

    Sending love,

    1. Thank you, Poppy, for this thoughtful comment showing that you understand the heart of people passionate about their work. R.H. really did pass down a work ethic to our children, not only all 3 sons but our daughter--as you know! And he did start them very young, learning how to properly use a hammer, etc.

      If I had only done as good a job teaching them how to iron! That they had to learn on their own!

      Love to my favorite Greek-Canadian,

  10. Dewena,

    Your husband, you and I definitely have old houses in common! I wish everyone wanted to restore them.

    I love that picture on your header and what you wrote below it. It's absolutely lovely and made me want to read more. I'm glad I did :)

    I'm glad to know you too, now.


    1. Thank you, Rue, I'm so glad you like my header! In July and August I wondered if I should change it to a more seasonal one, but it truly says what I wanted this blog to be about. I too had an earlier blog. I was late to blogging and so never knew your first one but look forward so much to following your new one with its stories of that charming 1930s house.

  11. Those homes are so beautiful and yours looks precious in the snow. I love old homes, and I'm so sad when they knock down a beauty in a once prestigious neighborhood to put a bunch houses with a gate.

  12. Loving his vocation is what keeps him young! Your home looks beautiful in the snow!

  13. Wow! What a great post! I feel like my passion has shifted over the years, but so far, I'm happy with each one! I love the pics of your home and have always dreamed of having an older farm home to fix up! Sadly, my husbands passion is NOT any kind of home repair! Lucky you. Love the poem and thanks for sharing it.

  14. Oh my! I LOVE the old buildings your hubby worked on...they are all so beautiful and worthy of those new red roofs! What a wonderful thing for him to be able to work at something to make a living that he is truly passionate about. I also love your house, and that awesome garden shed! If I could, I would live in an old home. It was not meant to be!

    Thank you for your sweet comments on my recent posts! I agree I should be back to my writing!!!

  15. To have a life's work that gives one so much pleasure and does so much good - what a blessing!.....and I love your house!