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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Buried Treasure

Just when I was wondering what I would post about next...! 
 I have been planning to show you what we've been doing on the property this summer, but there are so many works in progress it was difficult to know where to start.  Sometimes I feel like Dan and I have gardening A.D.D.   We start one big project in the yard, and then... accidentally find some plantings to purchase for another bed so switch our attention to that bed, , then... we decide we need to try to access the water in an old "dug" well for irrigation purposes so we work on that project, then...  I decide I don't like a plant in a particular spot and need to transplant it somewhere else, then... I just finished the design of my vegetable and herb garden (which is my birthday present this year and is located off the kitchen mud room steps and will be enclosed by a picket fence and the gate will have antique granite gate posts- please remember that little detail for later!), so we start that area only to then go back out front again, and work another area!  See, Gardening A.D.D.!
I'm so grateful that Dan loves to work in the yard too.  Calling what we do "gardening", while it sounds lovely really has no bearing on the blood, sweat and tears "yard work" that we really put in.  On days when we are able to be in the yard we will work from morning to night fall!  Coming from Texas, where to call yourself a gardener you have to be hardy stock, we are known to transplant/plant and work in the yard no matter the heat or conditions.  In Dallas we planted the edge of our driveway with liriope one year and it was 104 degrees that day!  And they lived!

So, here's what happened...  it all started because I wanted a hole dug in a specific spot for a new hydrangea bush.
I purchased two Blushing Bride Endless Summer Hydrangeas to add to the three I had already planted in a wooded area we opened up this year that is at the entrance to our property.   I placed the pots where I wanted them to be planted and Dan went to dig the holes.  New Hampshire isn't "the granite state" for no good reason.... very rarely can you dig a hole and not have to use an iron pry bar to wedge some huge stone out of the hole.  Hole number one, no problem.  Hole number two, different story.  A large stone was on one side of the hole.  The pry bar wouldn't budge it, so Dan got Big Blue and using the fork attachment tried to pry out the embedded stone.  No go.  After making a big hole and a bigger mess even Big Blue couldn't budge the stone and I was informed I would need to reposition the pot.  That was not welcomed news since for design/layout the perfect spot was that hole.  It was the end of a long yard day and we were both hot, tired and a wee-bit cranky:), so I told Dan to just fill the hole back up and I would find a new placement the next day.

The next day, once again at the end of the day, after planting a bed of (13) junipers to anchor a perennial bed that hides the power station for our underground utilities and the electric meter ...  we go back to the hydrangea bed to address the hole placement.   Since the embedded stone was only in part of the desired hole space, I asked Dan to show me (i.e. re-dig:) the hole so I could look at it with the rock and decide if it was at all possible to place my hydrangea there with the rock since it was the one spot where I really wanted it for the perfect layout!   I'm a pain, but he's used to it!

As Dan hand-digs around the embedded stone I'm using the iron pry bar to find the end of the stone so he can determine just how big it is and what we're dealing with.

As I plunge the bar into the ground I realize the edge of the stone is straight.... not round like a natural stone should be. Whaaat?? I move the bar several inches and plunge again.... again I hit a straight side, and again. Dan shovels the top and we see that what he is shoveling is also straight. The realization hits us at the same moment and our heads snap up and we look at each other with saucer-shaped eyes like two five-year-olds on Christmas morning. No words, but the saucer-eye message that we were both thinking was:
OMG... could this be a buried granite post??!!!   NO WAY.

We laugh and I think how disappointed we're probably going to be, but what if?! What if the house-angels are at work here.... remember me wanting antique granite gate posts for my vegetable garden?! (In case you are wondering, antique posts have a different patina from freshly cut new granite posts which are easily found here at any stone yard. New posts are machine sawn whereas antique posts were hand-split and chipped to form the desired size and shape.) I really, really wanted the stone to come from our property and we actually do have "one" stone post in our stone pile from the barn renovation, but I needed two.)
And, I'll be damned if it doesn't appear to be a buried cut-granite post!!

In trying to find the end of the piece Dan keeps moving Big Blue over several feet at a time.  Time and time again you can hear the sound of the scoop lightly hitting and scraping a flat stone top. 

Turns out, it wasn't a cut granite post after all....

IT WAS GRANITE CURBING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   

Somehow buried (and what we wouldn't give to know how in the world that happened) over the 150 years since it was probably initially placed. What I haven't' mentioned yet, was while I had been wishing for some granite gate posts for my new vegetable garden I had also told Dan one night as we were walking the property with a glass of wine admiring our progress from that day in the yard, was that when we win the lottery:), I want to put in a cobblestone curb from the beehives to the fork in the drive!  
Those "house angels" must have some really good hearing!
While it might seem odd that our simple farmhouse would have such grand curbing along the driveway, there is a reason for this: our house was originally part of the grand estate next door which is one of the largest, oldest and loveliest in our little town. Our farmhouse was probably the over-seers house as our house faces the estate next door and not the road (a feature I have always loved in houses btw!) Our next-door neighbor also has stone beehives at his entrance, and our antique maples share a continuous line making it is obvious that at one time our drive and his drive was one huge circular drive!

This serendipitous discovery falls under the life lesson "be careful what you wish for"!  Two days have gone by and my hydrangeas still aren't planted as we try to figure out what to do!  It's a good "problem" to have, don't get me wrong, but 50 feet (might be more) is a lot of granite edging.  Dan has made numerous holes along the other side of the drive and it doesn't appear to be buried there (why? was it there to begin with? and where did it go?)  So, today we'll probably attempt to start digging it out!  I'll let you know how it all turns out!
Oh, and in the days since I DID find a second post buried in a pile of lumber!  Again... be careful what you wish for!!!

And, speaking of buried things on the property... 
We were told by our sweet neighbor and friend, Mr. B.,(who passed away last year at 93) that there are two cars buried on our property- a Pierce-Arrow and a Cadillac.   As it was told to us- during the Great Depression is was in poor taste to drive fancy cars so often people would just bury them :O 
We have yet to find them, but it's a fun legend none the less!

Another thing that we have buried all over the property are stones of all sizes!  The first summer we lived here and as Dan learned to mow the front and back fields he spent half his time stopping to dig up stones that would catch Big Blue's mowing blade.  One day while out mowing he spied the small surface of a stone barely peeking through the grass.  It's important to note here, that this little  stone wasn't hitting the mower blade and wasn't causing anybody any trouble, but Dan got a bee in his bonnet and decided it needed to come out!!   He started to dig and pry the stone and by the time he realized that it wasn't a regular stone, but a huge stone he was committed and was then hell-bent on getting it out!   Men!!
Hours went by and the hole around the stone got huge trying to dig around it to get it out from the ground.  I had lost interest and gone inside, so I missed Dan and Big Blue barely dragging the huge stone with a chain (as it was too heavy, about 1,500 lbs., for Big Blue to pick up) across the field to get it out of the way.  It ended up in a front bed along the road which this year I am planting with a natural woodland look.  The huge stone with its perfectly straight top makes a wonderful natural bench and cornerstone to the area!
Dan learned his lesson and unless it's in the way, he now leaves stones where they are!
This view is the narrow side, the length is about twice this size!

Time to get back out to the salt mine rock quarry!


  1. How exciting! Being a Texas girl, you know the most exciting thing I get in Houston while digging is dirt , instead of more red clay. What a lovely curb! And how are you not digging the while yard :)

  2. what a great story. gosh i love the stories that old houses tell. really, i cannot wait to see your vegetable garden, i bet it will rival bunny's! redlands has cut granite curbs too. they are one of the lovliest features of this town.
    congrats on the finds!

  3. My goodness - I often joke about financing another project by going 'out to the back to dig up the chest of gold we've got buried out there'. In your case, it seems you really have struck gold!

  4. That is a great story. I wish all OUR digging was to unearth something GOOD instead of just ruining our yard for the new septic. UGH!!!! Your property is so beautiful and you 2 are a great team. Big Blue sure comes in handy sometimes:):) XO, Pinky

  5. Joan, Dan, and Ella: What a great story! You guys are good; our gardens are not in great shape this year as I find it too hot! Like you, we like the older granite pieces; when we needed a step, we went to the Stone Yard in Littleton to purchase an old one. Perfect!

  6. wonderful adventure, joan. looking forward to the creative thing you'll do with the curbing.

    loved your post on ceilings with a sheen, too. great tip! donna

  7. Hmmm. I see a metal detector in your future.

  8. It really IS buried treasure! I always get excited when I find a shutter hinge or shard of old transferware; I can't imagine finding some old granite curbing. It's hard to understand why anyone would cover it. Good luck with your excavation AND your watering!

  9. such a neat find. my dad is a retired stone mason in CT and he used to get a lot of his stone from leased land. He used to uncover the coolest stuff. old stones perfectly round that were used for griding nuts and spices.

  10. I've always wanted marble countertops....maybe if I start digging now.....haha. No such luck here, I'm afraid. Congrats to you! Sara, Ohio

  11. That's a really exciting find in the ground Joan. I can't wait to see how it gets removed and replaced on top. Your property has such an interesting history. I know what you mean about rocks as we 'grow' them here too. :D They seem to pop up every spring in a new spot. I love country life! Pamela

  12. know i love love love every...single...word of this post...the mystery of it all! the hands that first laid the curbing...oh my...and i love love love too that last picture...i think perhaps ella needs to a have a sculpture done of her...proud dog on a big rock...blessings laney

  13. I was laughing the entire time I read this because you two remind me of my husband and I!!!! Our house is made of limestone so you can imagine the stones we have dug out of our yard. LOL...I wish we could find some granite...that would be so wonderful!!!! Can't wait to see your herb garden :o)

  14. How exciting! I love digging up history! I think you must be very in tune with your property. Will be interesting to see what else you find. Ella looks simply grand on that boulder!

  15. We are kindred spirits! Your gardening ADD and rock excavations made my husband and me laugh in empathy! We are currently working on fencing in the vegetable garden (with cedar tree posts he cut and I charred last summer), widening the front flower beds three times over to conform to Gordon Hayward's design, carving out a new parking area, painting the new fence (no plastic pre-made for us!), and rebuilding the outdoor stone fireplace.

    I am so jealous of your find! When this southern girl came to the farmhouse in NJ and visited my in-laws on Cape Cod in the summer, I fell in love with granite curbing and posts. I couldn't believe the extravagance of using it everywhere for the most utilitarian purposes! Now I am pricing out belgian block just hoping for a touch of granite as edging for the front flower beds.

    I love the camaraderie of reading your blog! Someday when I have 5 minutes (who am I kidding -- an hour or more for this blogger neophyte!) between coming in from the garden and falling into bed, I'll post on our blog!

  16. I just love to hear your stories!!! You all are really blessed to live in such a beautiful part of our country and on top of that, to have buried treasures!!!! Love it

  17. I had to show this post to Ron, he was drooling over the curbing! LOL!!! His chin dropped to the floor when I started telling him, show him the photo and told him how long it was! LOL!!! Oh, he loves the stone too, he said it was "beautiful!"

    Here's a little secret about my husband, he took up stonework as a hobby when he retired! He LOVES it!

    Thanks for sharing a great story and great photos!


  18. Interesting notion about burying the cars during the depression. But I imiagine they had the same issues with stones as you're having now - wonder what their equivalent to Big Blue was? Just curious, what has your weather been like the last few days? We just got of our 100 degree heat wave a few days ago.
    ~Jackie in Virginia Beach

  19. Joan, I love old homes because you never know what you will find. The granite post will look wonderful.

  20. This story was fascinating! Can't wait to see those granite posts at the entrance to your vegetable garden.

  21. You are living out THE MOST excellent adventure!!! I love your blog!!!! I wouldn't miss one of your posts for the world! Thank you for bringing us along!

  22. I have enjoyed this post and all the treasures your have unearthed and still more to come.

    Growing up in the West of Ireland on a farm with rocky fields, it was an endless project of picking stones.
    My late father used say" "Meat without bones, nor fields without stones you shall never find"

    Continued happy discoveries

    Helen xx

  23. Another wonderful story - your picture of Ella on the found treasure is priceless! Can't wait to find out where the hydrangeas are planted.

    p.s. loved your previous post on BM pearl paint on ceilings.

    NB in Ontario, Canada

  24. The joys of living in an old house, you never know what you are going to dig up...I cannot wait to see what you do with all that stone curbing, and of course the post!!! :) donna

  25. Joan,
    What a fun story. How great to have granite "growing" in your yard. Such an amazing curb. I wish you luck on getting it out. A blog, Victoria Elizabeth Barnes recently shared a story of a huge rock on her property (a historic home). It was a humorous story about how she got someone to take this 800 lb rock away.

  26. Forget the wine, you need champagne to toast your win.
    It's somewhat sad to think that this may have stayed buried if not for the determination of you and Dan..... and big blue of course!

  27. Who knew your land had so much treasure hiddent beneath the soil?! Can you imagine Dan's face if he was digging and caught the top of that Cadillac? That would be priceless! Good luck with your granite and your plantings!


  28. Great story! Makes me want to go digging around in our yard. Have you ever used a metal detector on your property? How cool would it be if those cars were really buried somewhere! <3

  29. Hi Joan,
    What a fabulous treasure! And so funny about the ADD, I can so relate. The only treasure we've excavated here was a huge (like the size of a small boat) slab of concrete. We think it was the dumping ground for all of the previous owners concrete projects.
    Not as exciting.
    Reading your post was a 'page turner.' ; )

  30. Glorious!!! Yard work comes with its own "Little Rewards", does't it? Today, mine is trimming over grown yews in 90 degree heat... :-)

    Have a great week!!! Stay cool!!!


  31. Your husband sounds like mine.....he can definitely get fixated on something.....spending way more time than he should:)
    I actually love that huge stone....and I guess I did not pay attention too well in school.....I did not know there was a "granite" state!!

  32. Joan,
    Are you sure you are not married to an Archeologist?

  33. Never a dull moment when digging holes on an old property, huh? Your curbing is a great find! I have jars and jars of 'treasure' from digging holes here ... mostly broken bits of china and nails ... but I did find REAL treasure a few weeks ago while moving a rose. The guy downtown at the museum says that it is a Colonial-era 3-lb. cannonball ... solid, so there is no chance of blowing myself up with it, thank goodness. Civil War stuff is pretty common in my part of the country ... Revolutionary War stuff is not seen so often, and I'm still giddy about flinging it.

    I love the photo of Ella on the rock!

  34. WendiP- It's actually very easy since I wouldn't know how to "decorate" with them. Maybe something like Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo!!

    Janet- Oh, I doubt that;)Mine is very tiny!

    Jackie in VB- We gave that a passing thought too when we first heard the story, but one could easily find a low spot (it's a rather hilly area) and fill it in, thus burying it, OR our house has a full basement, so they had some way to do it! I'm thinking men were super buff back then;)
    Are weather is HOT! Oh, and humid! We are very grateful that we put in central a.c. when we renovated the house;) This Southern girl was fooled once when we live in Portland, Oregon and was told "oh you don't need a.c. here"..... wrong! We are 91 today, but are supposed to be 97 on Tuesday.... ughhh.

    Daniel and Fancy- We haven't used a metal detector... yet! It sounds fun and a bit scary- no telling what we'd find!!

  35. How fun. I love finding surprises like that! We have found about a dozen old windows, an antique ice cream maker, some antique flour/sugar/salt/pepper shakers, and a handful of other things buried on our property, presumably from the original homestead that was here at the turn of the century, and I always wonder what else is hiding from us. I'll be anxious to see how/what you end up doing with that curb. Doesn't it kill you to not know the story of how it got there?!!

  36. Gotta love those unexpected finds on old pieces of fun! We live on what used to be an old tobacco farm and we have found old pieces of what I assume were part of the stone foundation of the original farmhouse...oh how I wish the original house was still here and we lived in it! We also recently found out that about 20 or 30 years ago there was a historical survey done of the area and we are dying to get our hands on it to see what else we can learn about the property. I love that our land has such great history, and I know the previous owners of your home must smile down on you as you work so hard to bring it back to its former glory!


  37. I dont remember how I found your blog but I love reading it and all your adventures with your farmhouse. I live east of Dallas, a 100 miles or so and love your references to Texas. Keep up the wonderful work, and thanks for all the time you put into sharing with us all.

  38. Great post! I really enjoyed it.

    We call our yard work "ranch work" because we had dreams of owning a small ranch at one time. Kinda glad that dream didn't come true...

    Could you show us a photo of the stone beehives? Or, is there one already on your blog? I'll check.

    Have a great day!
    Karla in CA

  39. Oh my goodness, you two have been busy bees. What serendipity. It just goes to show that you were MEANT to have this house. Everything just keeps unfolding in the proper order.
    I'm exhuasted just reading your post. :)
    Can't wait to see those granite posts.

  40. Keep the stories coming...I love your blog....

  41. What a wonderful story!! If someone told my Hubs that antique cars were buried on the property he'd be out there day and night with a metal detector :0)

  42. I always love your stories, and this one does not disappoint! I love the pic of Ella on the huge stone! She is too cute!

    I read on my dear friend Lynda's new blog that your dad was born in Jackson, MS. While I live in Mobile, AL now, I am a born and bred Mississippi girl. I grew up in the Pearl/Brandon area which are suburbs or Jackson. My dad and sister still live in Brandon. How cool that you know the area. :-)

    As always, I truly enjoy your blog!! Your home looks like a magazine spread. I really liked your last post on the pearl ceiling paint - I will remember that tip.


  43. Crumbs mate, I was holding my breath right to the end of this post expecting Big Blue to dig up an underground vault full of The House's previous Owners - phew! Count yourself lucky, just when I was wondering what to post on yesterday MOTH found a religious image in our Dining Room floorboards. The subsequent bloggie post has probably offended 1/2 of the world's Catholics!!
    Millie xx

  44. I think the fact that you and Dan bought that house was just meant to be! All those treasures were buried so many years ago just waiting for the right owner to come and unearth them and love them all over again.

    I LOVE your plans for your garden, I cant wait to see how it comes out!! Can I tell you how jealous I am, living in the city I dont think I'll ever get my white picket fence garden :)

  45. Great story indeed. We have dug up many rocks in our yard and woods to use for gardening projects. I love use found things. I'm sure your property is beautiful.

  46. This was a wonderful post and so fun to hear about. I hope you post all of the hard work that you have been doing in the yard. I wonder if you have ever posted pictures of the estate next door and I just missed them? Also, I would love to see pictures of your yard in Texas. I remember you posted once that people came just to see your yard. I so enjoy your blog and pictures. best regards, Wenda

  47. So fascinating, I love your property full of history! We also have Gardening ADD and sometimes have a problem agreeing which project to tackle next!

  48. Great post. For a minute there, I thought you were going to say you dug up a grave! It reminded me of the time my husband dug up a mysterious object in our backyard, only to find it was a piece of concrete, leftover from when the slab foundation was poured. (Nothing much to discover here in Oklahoma ... except tons of red dirt.) The kids quoted that movie "Funny Farm" and said, "Dad, remember, whenever you buy a house, whatever's in the ground belongs to you – whether its gold or oil…or Claude Musselman.” So to this day, whenever we strike even the smallest rock in the garden, we say, "Perhaps it's Claude Musselman?!" :-) Granite edging, however, is much better.

  49. Big Blue to the rescue! Lucky find...I just found an old aluminum coffee pot that I plopped in a cute little fern!

  50. What an amazing find, Joan!!! I wonder how it got covered up and undiscovered all those years!

    And love that new rock/bench!!

    Funny story about the buried cars. My father-in-law buried his father's (my husband's grandfather) old Cadillac in the ranch "structure" for the fish!! :)

    Hope you're having a wonderful summer and find more buried treasure!
    xoxo Elizabeth

  51. I am so anxious to get this place sold and fly back to the US !! We found a house in Connecticut last night online and it is so perfect for us .. built in the late 1700's.. the present owner is a fabulous gardner and there are stone walls everywhere .. I must have it.
    I will tell the husband to avoid big rocks wherever he goes lol.. besos !

  52. AMAZING!! What a little blessing of a surprise!! How wonderful!! I love you guys. So stinkin cute. You really teach me what marriage is all about! xx

  53. I have to say I am so envious when I read your posts and wish for a decent man to whisk me off to home renovations. Love reading about your adventures, did I read bee I am really jealous! Thanks for sharing!

  54. New follower i love your home and property! ! Have a great day!

  55. Loved this! Lawrence is known for its "rock chalk"—limestone—but my yard was full of quartzite boulders. I know that routine of pry bar...and the biggest rocks at the end of the day.

    Great find with that curbstone. Can't wait until you find the cars. I can see Dan doing some kind of sonar research flyovers!

    BTW could not find a more loyal keeper of the rock table than Miss Ella.

  56. What a fantastic find!!! Funny how folks like 'us' think buried granite is treasure...but it is, of the best kind! I'm sure the rock is very grateful for the fresh air too...and looking forwrd to it's new incarnation as a part of your lovely property.
    We were hoping there was buried jewlery on our property when we bought it as we were told a previous owner used to bury his out far I've only found broken pottery...still hopeful though!
    xoxo J~

  57. Sounds like one of our projects! In CA if you find something like that...they stop the process and do an archaeological dig. Our house was held up for over six months because they thought there might be indian burial englanders are probably more practical!

  58. How exciting to find something interesting buried in your yard, instead of old beer cans and tree roots. Thanks for a sharing a neat story...hope you find the old cars...well, maybe not. I hate to think of beautiful old cars buried.

  59. Loved this post - I can't believe you found all that curbing just hidden like that - are you going to leave it there or move it to your herb garden?

    Digging in Delaware County, NY they have a saying 'Two stones for every dirt' - which is quite literally true - every hole (whether for a seedling or bush) requires a pickax, a shovel and a huge pry bar. I have actually gotten quite good with the pickaxe this summer...

    best from NY state! -


Welcome! Thank you for leaving a comment; you have no idea how much your comments inspire me to keep writing- I appreciate each and every one. Comments are moderated by me prior to publishing on the blog, so if you don't see your comment post immediately it will be posted as soon as I receive and read it. joan