Some people only think of real estate as land, but there is a more Real Estate than that in the world sitting atop the land often and that is what interests me most. It is the part of the estate that we take from real estate, the part with the blood, sweat, and tears our great grandparents went through to get what we have today. The land goes up in value, the houses decay with age and back maintenance.
When the time comes and people pass, the Estates get carved up and houses reach the end of their usefulness from wear or the memories they keep which prevent the house from being brought back into service where it is. While the real esatate lives on, the houses come and go, their deaths can be equal to a death in the family, thought provoking for some as their experience of growing up when the house was vibrant. Then, in the end, seeing it come apart and be saved, rather than burned to the ground. With this form of redemption comes a salvation no disrespected home ever gets, a chance to live a new life formed with others of your kind and age, but in a new form, full of love from the onset, and with a family or many to protect and take care for once again. For a Tree Spirit, the kindest of all sorts, whos manifestation as God in that form is as miraculous as the birth and lifecycle of any human, but theirs lasted many centuries longer.
I share my love by preserving and respecting the human energy it took to bring that tree to the ground in the forest, then out and on a train to the mills, then on trains or wagon to build this one house, with more kits going or others that created Texas. I have dismantled this floorplan and house style a dozen times but this is truly the most energy filled and memory rich house I have yet to bring through this salvation process we are calling the Next Salvage Bootcamp. This is the grave side and the cradle will be the house we build with the parts which are of the best class we could hope for to do such a seminar. I hope we can video and record as much of the story as possible and that you will be a part of it one day too.
Where do the parts come from that form these houses? This is intended to be a demonstration of how one house goes on to make 2 or three others.
I love to do this with the houses dignity preserved in honor of the structure and life, in knowing we respect the work, the art that was their home. The milk paint colors hidden neath the later layer or two, give history its flavor and they expose the personality and people who haved lived within the walls. Our newest project is a salvation job as we take apart a pristeenly unremuddled house, no sheetrock, paneling, and hardly much paint in 150 years. The is one of the best examples of a house’s mortality and rebirth, for it is a commonly found house floorplan, circa 1890- 1900 of a homestead in Texas that is functionally obsolete, but holds a history and quality of wood that will live on for centuries this way. This was fancy in those days. All beaded wood tongue and groove walls of Long Leaf Pine with Cypress Novelty Siding for the exterior siding. Many of the interior trims on the doors are special order work to add the grooves and style elements that indicate it was a high end catalog house or house plan that used quality wood and windows for its day. Cypress window frames and sashes from a day when Cypress trees were hundreds of years old, some nearly a millenium when they were cut, more than 150 years ago.
Indeed, in my inventories hidden away, have the JF Smith and Brothers Original New / Old stock just like the windows for this house. Once they were sent as packages of factory milled windows, doors, and cabinet parts. This is from a time when was very hard to mill to that precision in the country towns of Texas in 1880. Just getting the cast iron Square nails was expensive enough. Add to that the classic porch posts that were straight out of the catalog too. Brought in by train that ran down the road just 3 miles away in the case of this Harwood house as our project. This was the cutting edge of the industrialization of Texas in the days of the Lumber Barons who first cut down the forests of our state. By 1917 we were exporting 1.2 billion board feet of lumber a year and shipping it to as far away as Venezuela and Uraquay, or up into the Mississippi basin from the coastal mills. Most pay for work was in company store credits and tokens but they did not have to pay the workers with cash or real money until 1934. One must respect the work those people did just to eke by a survival working 352 days a year. Kids went to work by 12 often never stopping to retire before dying at ripe old ages of 45-50.
Rarely do I get to do a study and dismantle a house like this with as many people who may take this seminar and take from it the confidence of knowing the Grave to Cradle cycle. This is how we complete one phase of life, that completes the Cradle to Grave portion we have focused on before. This is how we extend the cycle of life, renewing and revitalizing what it takes to create an Organic Cottage others will also want to build and live in one day.
The afterlife for a house is becoming other houses, forming into new homes to protect the ones they love, we humans who live on as do they, side by side. The trees were often 400 years old or more and carry with them in this form of lumber, the same mitochondria, RNA, DNA, and tissue that formed the tree while more alive. Now in stasis, it is here much as the organ a person donates to another that still has contact with the life force and memories of the body and life it once had, just like the spirits that occupied that tree for so long. It is simply part of the higher dimensions we can not fully see, but we can feel the connection to once you go in or especially sleep in a house of the breed such as I build.
I will say now, the age and strength of an ancient tree gives one so much more to work with, to appreciate, and to know in your material. It will last for centuries more. Rematerializing new homes from pieces of many is like doing a radical form of dismantling with as much respect as a surgeon in a bizarre form of operating room saves all of the good parts and pieces that formed the last house, many from all parts of the country in origin and of many species all mixed together to create a new being.
That being is our home, of any size when built organically, the Organic Cottage is the way we are able to exhibit what is possible with so many parts and pieces of our past. They are still access to the Source of generations more life, sustainably reformed as houses that can hold many a new family fulfilling the desire to Love that permeat the cells that form the house, truly 95% Pure grown without chemicals on the Mother earth for centuries. My Salvage was alive as a giant tree, and lives on as houses, barns, and buildings all over the country. Yes, some parts are not plant based..like the vintage heavy guage metal roof, and a few more parts that are not simply one step away from being taken down from their greatness. This wood is unrefined except for being cut up and dried in the sun. It was not fertilized with manmade chemicals or been genetically modified by Man. It was not poisoned with pesticides before being turned from tree to house, and is still the incredible organic cellular tissue of the greatest sorts of trees.
Thank you for your interest and following the birth of the Pure Salvage Living Renaissance that I believe we are heading for if we are to save the world through our actions instead of just our bitching about our condition at the moment. We have an opportunity at the moment that most countries would go to war for… the largest standing Virgin Forest in the world is in the midst of our country, more than double or triple the virgin forests left in our country growing in all the known forests. It stand before most people invisibly hidden as old buildings, barns, and houses all around us standing still, after a hundred years of waiting to be appreciated instead of thrown away as if you got so much in resources you can afford to throw away the best our country will ever have produced. These trees had to be 185 years old to be mature and most were babies at that point compared to where they got by 400 years old. 47″ was the average diameter of the big ones then and the few that can be found in the whole country of Long Leaf Pine are only 27″ in girth adding 1/4 inch of diameter growth per year. Save more of it, please.
Here is the Song of Salvage to listen to while you contemplate how this could all become part of your future too.
Another version that shows us taking down the El Campo Farmhouse and uses hammers and falling walls for percussion is the Song of Salvage with a Johnny Cash rhythm.