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Welcome to Our Vermont Estate House

Welcome to Our Vermont Estate House

    Barbara Davis Howard has been vacationing in Vermont for the past sixty-five years (that is, before she was born).  Her Dad and Mom built a cabin two football fields downhill from the site of our cabin which, of course, wasn't there when the Davis' palace was erected.   We bought in to the Chelsea Farm Society in 1962 for the princely sum of one hundred dollars.  With that price we inherited a twenty-five by ten foot shack rolling around on the ground with the winter frost heaves. 

    The following year, with baby Kathy in a car bed and baby Gwen in diapers, we lifted the house off the ground, and put it up on piers mounted on cement pilings.  The "we" means me and the chief engineer, Lewis H Davis, Barbara's father, who, for his pains, earned several porcupine quills in his backside while crawling around underneath the cabin.   Barbara remembers this summer because it rained two-thirds of the time and the diapers rarely dried.

    The next year the expansion plan began.  A large platform, 22 x 15 was erected on piers on cement pilings.  That was the summer daughter Betsy, eager to help with the construction, learned just how sharp a chisel could be. 

    After practicing my carpentry skills attaching and constructing a porch to the Armitstead cabin, we (Barbara's father, my father, and I) began the construction of a large room with a loft on the aforesaid platform.  The balloon construction was framed out in one summer, treed, and the night before returning to Brooklyn in early September, we slept in our new home. 

    Eventually, a toilet with a shower was added.  Then, a 12 x 12 room for the grandparents.  And finally, a 10 x 15 porch, which eventually became my summer study.  Everything, framing, siding, shingling, electricity, flooring, plumbing, and finish work were done the old fashioned way, with our own hands and very little professional intervention. 

    Over the forty years of ownership most of the modern amenities we have come to think of as necessities have been added: a four  burner electric stove, medium capacity refrigerator, hot water heater, kitchen sink and counter, cell phone access to the Internet, TV from a distant satellite over Texas, a food processor, a coffeemaker, a hi-fi receiver, a new queen-sized bed, kitchen cabinets, knotty pine wall paneling, electric baseboard heating, and a refurbished backhouse just in case the number of guest becomes excessive.  More recently a Vermont master-of-all-trades replaced the piers and put them on a more solid foundation, landscaped the two acres around our cabin to make more level space (we now have a park!), and shored up the underpinnings of the house.  He also reworked the stovepipes inside the cabin, the ones used by our Franklin stove, to bring the device up to fire code. 

    Of course, there is always more work to do.  But (and my knees say, "Thank you, Lord") no plans or even dreams remain to be fulfilled.  Just tinker here and fidget there.  This summer we shall be doing a lot of reading and plenty of computing, in between speedy visits to Long Island for two weddings. 

    I just thought you might be curious about our Vermont.  Be curious no more. 

    Barbara, after reading and seeing this tribute to our little piece of heaven, told me that I had forgotten in my listings what is for her among the chiefest blessings of our cabin: The View.  So here it is.

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