Dwellings...Our Parade of Ten Homes in Twenty Years

8. Rocky Lane

We now arrive at our little woodland cottage nestled deep in the forest at the end of a long winding lane. It is number eight in the parade.

It was with both excitement and a bit of trepidation that I wound my way along the path leading to our potential home. I remembered it from many years earlier as a dark shaded place and was not anxious to be cut off from sunshine.



But wait, I don't recognize this setting. The clearing around the house is much larger and the sun is streaming through the trees. Besides, the cottage is cuter than I had remembered. Maybe I will like this new little house in the big woods! It has a rustic charm and lots of room to roam.

Side note...hurray for no more grainy, horrid quality photos of photos! Not pro but much improved!


Actually, it looked more like this when we moved in. But, of course, I didn't go for the blue railings and painted them as soon as possible!


I must admit my heart sank when we walked inside that front door. Lots of wallpaper, yellowish linoleum, blue kitchen countertops and backsplash, and panelling on many walls. I feared the landlord would not want me painting his house but I also dreaded living in it without sprucing it up.

The kitchen floor was a nasty-looking blue and white linoleum, which we unabashedly asked if we could replace. We also cautiously asked if we could remove wallpaper and paint over panelling.

Hurray, he agreed to both the new floor and the painting, provided we buy the paint and do the work ourselves. He was willing to pay for the flooring if we install it!

I was set free to redecorate! First, remove wallpaper, that long and painful chore I have come to dread.


Dale is working hard on the new laminate wood-look flooring.


It's looking so much better already!


Jacki helps clean the kitchen cabinets.


Julian is cleaning light switch and receptacle covers.


Before photo of the living room. The window coverings and wall shelf must go! I have an area rug for the middle of the floor, which will help cover up the linoleum.


That fireplace area needs serious attention, but I am delighted to have one again, even if it has a stove it in. We were able to burn wood taken from the property as an added heat source. It helped a great deal.


After! We painted the walls 'subtle oatlands taupe' and the trim was 'hitching post', both from Valspar, as well as painting ceilings. My ferns grew prolifically, no doubt because of the nice shady location! Even with the yellow linoleum still showing around the edges, it has become much more warm, serene, and inviting.


We painted the vents on the bricks and brightened everything up with a mirror. I wanted an enclosure for the sides and top of the the fireplace opening around the stove but that wasn't going to happen! Very bad idea, according to my husband. You lose heat, etc... Well, I tried anyway!


When we lived in the previous cottage I was introduced to chalkboard walls and/or doors. I was hooked from that point onward to this very day. I love chalkboard!




Before. The kitchen gave me the blues :) But I was thrilled with all the cabinet space and the pantry (behind that door).


On the other end of the kitchen is this dining area. I love the huge windows with a view of the surrounding forest. It really was an idyllic setting.


I used the same wall and trim color here. Don't you just love the floors? Yes, real wood is better but I love this too...and my husband will install this himself! Inexpensive. Super fast.


So I couldn't paint all the rows of brown cabinets - I didn't even dare ask - but I could remove the doors and display my white dishes and clear glasses to add a little sparkle. I also painted the backsplash to lessen the 'blues' feeling!


Obviously, I did some rearranging already because didn't that corner just have a huge plant in it? The living room is to the left and the door on the right leads to a screened porch off the back of the house.


The screened porch, after we hung new screens. The old ones were messed up from a bear trying to get in to a trash can at some point before we lived here. You can be sure I was careful about where and how I stored my trash! I did not relish a bear breaking into my porch.


Before pictures of the bedrooms. The children were excited at the prospect of another move and living close to grandparents, let alone a whole mountain to explore and a stream to play in!




Julian's room, painted red but looking rather orange in the photo.


Jacki's room painted a pale lavender. I think this was the first house in which I allowed her to choose her wall color, provided it goes with her bedding.


Before of the first floor bath


After removing wallpaper border and painting. Lest you miss it, I might mention I was into red!





Before of the entryway...with mom and Julian popping out from the stairway!


After shot - from the door, looking in.


Now for some gatherings and happenings at our little woodland home...

It was so wonderful having Dad's live pretty much next door. They would stop at our place or we'd go to their place; we'd get together for pizza, games, or movies. Mom came over for coffee and cinnamon rolls one morning.


When the electricity shut off due to branches falling on power lines one stormy night, we were especially glad for our wood stove.


By this time we had switched our schooling to ACE paces. Here the children are studying Pennsylvania history. 


I had the youth girls and my friend Eunice for lunch out in the backyard. It was so hot and sunny, the party ended up inside pretty quickly!


Dale and Jacki enjoy a campfire


Some more lovely friends we had over one evening...some of them all the way from Lancaster County! Two of the girls had actually lived in this very house, built by their father, when they were wee little tots, so that was quite interesting! O, and another one lived here for a little after she got married to the two girls' brother! Do you follow all that?


In springtime our gardens, lawn, and the surrounding woods erupted in gorgeous greens!




Then came lovely cherry blossoms along with a variety of other flowers and trees.


Followed by the abundant flowers and foliage of summer.


I still love a green and white theme for my gardens, but it was especially beautiful in this forest setting. The white almost seemed to glow against the backdrop of the deep woods.


But if you know me at all, I love the changing of the seasons. We got an early snow that year, October, I think, and Jacki and I rejoiced at the beauty all around us!


This was a home of joy and good times, but I must say it also holds deep, unsettling memories of great pain and grief. We went through a lot of changes and deeper prunings of God. We experienced pain in ways we never had before and shed many tears. 

Yet through it all, we knew our God to be faithful, loving, compassionate, and ever a patient Father to His needy children. We clung to Him through the struggles we did not understand. We knew He would  show us the path to take in the midst of light or darkness. 

I cannot fathom life without His Presence. It would not be worth the living. I delight in Him!


Our need to move again, after living here for only about a year and a half, was totally not our doing this time. We got a phone call from the landlord's son, who wanted to take his girlfriend through the house. That can only mean one thing. He was getting married and wanted to make this his home! Shocking though it was, I was not too distressed by it.

I'll be honest. I had come to the conclusion, in that short year and a half, that I don't love living this far away from town. I wanted to be back in my familiar Lewistown territory and had even prayed about it (okay, so maybe our next move was more my fault than I'd admit), but we sure weren't planning to move for a long time. We felt so happy to be close to Dad's and church, why move? 

Nonetheless, so began the hunt for a house as soon as possible.

To be continued...

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