This week my family and I celebrated our one year anniversary at Bumblehill (our little house on a hillside at the edge of the village) . . . although technically we haven't been living there a full year, for we had three hard months of building work to get through last winter before we could actually move in.
Here's Tilly in her favorite spot: the warm slab of stone on the kitchen hearth, kept cozy by the old wood-and-coal fired Rayburn stove behind it. Our pup is four months old now, and it's hard to believe that she's the same little lass pictured below, back in September.
Bumblehill was built in 1919, which seems positively modern after living in a 16th century cottage for so many years. Until we moved in, that Rayburn provided all of the house's heat and hot water. Though we put in central heating, we're finding that it's barely needed as long as we keep the old stove stoked up, which is part of Howard and Tilly's morning routine. (Tilly "helps" by dancing underfoot and stealing kindling out of Howard's hands. As far as she's concerned, this is a vital part of the fire-tending process.) It really makes you realize how important the family hearth used to be in centuries past, and why it was once a sacred place. If you're interested in the folklore of hearth and home, you'll find an article I wrote on the subject here.
I'm still asked if I miss my old house, Weaver's Cottage. The answer is: Of course I do . . . but I'm also glad to be where I am. Weaver's was a magical place, to be sure, but Bumblehill is cozy and full of potential. We're making magic here too.
Happy Anniversary, Bumblehill! This song is for you...