Tearing Down Wallpaper

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Our goat Naughty passed away last week. We knew this day was coming as he had slowed down, was losing weight and seemed to be having some trouble eating. I never knew I could cry so much over a farm animal. I made a little tribute video of him and posted it on social media. It made me feel good to share with others, the joy he provided to us.

Watch:  The Naughty Movie

We never really knew how old he was, though through some conversations on Facebook following his passing we learned he was likely 14-15 years old. That’s pretty good for an old goat and it comforted me that he had lived a long, happy, carefree life, much of it with us.

I haven’t written on this blog in years. I started it back in 2009 and it was in 2010 that I began adding to it on a regular basis. 2013 was my last really active year, with a small burst of activity in 2015 and 2016. It was a love/hate relationship I had with this site. Building a readership was invigorating. Putting words on a page that someone else, often total strangers, enjoyed reading was a treat that I had never experienced before. It gave me a focus during a somewhat stressful period of life. I was introduced to many people that I still have never met in person but who I am connected with on social media platforms and would consider “old friends.”

On the other hand, over time it became another thing to worry about. “What do I post next, what am I going to write about, gotta keep the hits coming!”

I liken it to our old brick farm house on Brown Road which we actively began renovating a few years after we moved in. I loved it, this newfound hobby of which I had little to no experience; building and painting and installing floors and bathroom tile. I jumped at the chance to dive headfirst into a project, logging countless hours on weekends and evenings, swinging a hammer and using power tools I’d rarely touched before, getting my hands dirty, choking on the dust and soaking up the paint splatter with yet another set of old clothes that would soon end up in a trash bin.

And then one day when things were kind of status quo, when the house was livable as this quirky combination of renovated farmhouse and bad 1970’s chic, when our kids were taking up more and more of our time with sports and school activities, I suddenly didn’t like it anymore. I was tired and I stopped. Cold turkey. Believe me there’s still plenty to do and I’ll occasionally tackle a smaller, more manageable project with the hope that I get inspired again to finish everything that’s on “the list”.

When Naughty passed it hit me hard, not only because I had grown quite attached to that ornery old coot, but it was in 2010 when I had just started actively writing this blog, that we also adopted he and Heath, our first two goats. Suddenly there was this whole newfound theme to write about; our little “farm” on Brown Road, with its historic old house, long wooden fences, grazing goats and an idyllic dirt road with a corn field on the other side. I had visions of Garrison Keillor and Prairie Home Companion dancing in my head. I joked in posts about becoming famous while often carrying this fame on the backs of my two new, soon to be legendary goats, Naughty and Heath.

They gave us story after story to recall, some of which sit within these pages, others that we’ll have to remember from photos or social media posts or the file cabinets in our slowly deteriorating memory banks. In our local circles we became the family with the goats and it’s to this day part of our identity. Heath passed away in 2014 and now my buddy Naughty was gone too. We were down to two goats from our peak of five. I felt like a small but very relevant part of my past had been dredged up and ripped from my heart.

Clearly this blog never reached those levels of Garrison Keillor infamy just as our master bedroom, up until a few months ago was still covered in ugly 1980’s wallpaper, with the same dirty blue carpet, there when we moved in, still sadly covering what I know is a gorgeous 120+ year old wide plank wood floor anxiously waiting a belt sander and a few coats of stain and polyurethane. Even so, Naughty and Heath did go on to become somewhat well known and adored locally, as well as the three other adopted goats that have crossed our paths in the interim years.

A few months back, on a whim I started tearing down that ugly wallpaper in our bedroom. Underneath I slowly and patiently revealed the old, sexy plaster walls that hadn’t seen the light of day in decades. Next I’ll pull up that carpet. It felt good to dig into that project, to once again take on that role of caretaker, and I could sense the old house relishing in the attention she was getting.

The bedroom is still not finished but eventually it will be… I promise. Our old house has been a work in progress since the day we moved in. The “to do list” changes, it morphs and fluctuates, and sometimes we just shove the list in a brown paper bag and carelessly toss it into a closet, like you do with your clutter when you are preparing to have guests over for a party.

Perhaps this blog is a work in progress also. Today I tore down some wallpaper.

Thanks Naughty, I’ll miss you buddy!



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15 responses to “Tearing Down Wallpaper

  1. I’m so very sorry for your loss. Losing furry members of the family is hard. Glad you got to ripping wallpaper.
    My kitchen renovation got seriously derailed in the fall of 2016, the few things left to do being refinish the drawer fronts (I refinished – stripped, stained, and varnished all the cabinetry except the drawers and installed all new hardware), tile the backsplash (haven’t picked tiles), repair/texture and paint the walls. Didn’t realize under 2 layers of paper were a mix of textured sheet rock, unfinished smooth sheet rock, and previously textured then partially sanded sheet rock. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to it in the next summer or two.

    • Thanks! You never know what you’ll find under that wall paper, paneling, carpet! It’s funny (sad maybe) what we learn to live with though. Half finished projects that sit there for months. Oh well, life gets in the way I guess. Now that the kiddos are both away at college, hopefully can get back into some of this stuff. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  2. What a surprise to see Brown Road Chronicles in my in-box! So happy to see you back! I also stopped blogging back in 2011 and have been contemplating starting again. This may be my inspiration. Keep writing!

    Walks With Stress

    P.S. So sorry to hear about your beloved goat. 😦

    • Hey! My first blogging friend ever. Glad to hear from you. I clicked on your site as I was trying to see who else was still active from way back when and noticed you’d moved. Yes I think perhaps its time to get rolling again. I’ve just lately felt like something was missing and maybe this is it. I’d encourage you to do the same! Thanks for checking in.

  3. So sorry to hear about your loss, but good to hear you are in re-evaluation mode.
    I chuckled at your master bedroom story. Our house has been in reno mode for the last 26 years. The master bedroom has 3/4 of the flooring replaced – old carpet still lies on to the last 1/4 so that I don’t have to walk across the sub-floor. And so it has been for the past 2 years. This is just how it is when the trades and the contractor are the same two slowly aging people!
    I still write a blog post about once a week or so. As long as I approach the whole thing as something I do just for me and a few friends, then all is good.

    • Hi Margy!! Glad to see you are still around. My sense from reading over the years is your husband is a little more adept at some of this reno stuff than I am, so glad to hear things are behind at your place too! Hopefully I can get active here again!

  4. ermigal

    What a lovely tribute to your beloved Naughty. Nice to see you are writing again–I enjoy your reflections on life. Beautiful header picture!

  5. I have to say I was so pleasantly surprised when your post showed up in my email. You are right, it’s been awhile since you posted. You chose a good subject though, to write about. Thanks for sharing. My husband and I took our basement of 2000 sf completely empty, and turned it into six rooms. I understand the burst of enthusiasm, and how it feels when it wanes… We too, enjoy the feeling of “doing” something that you can look at and admire long after you’ve finished. Be kind to yourself and as you said, the house already thanks you for the attention. Glad to read your words again! Happy new year…

  6. Rest in peace, Naughty, though I suspect you’re having a ball running rampant somewhere beyond the Pearly Gates.

  7. Finally, I had a good chunk of time to settle down enough to read your post. So good to read your stories again. I hope you can keep writing, even if it’s just then. I’m sorry to hear you lost Naughty.

    • “Now and then” I meant to say…(damn phone)

      • I always question folks who blame their phones when they didn’t take the time to proofread their posts 😂😂. LOL just kidding but I have been SO glad to see there are still some old friends around here! I will try to keep posting somewhat regularly. I had a “reckoning” that I had set aside all creative endeavors and I decided writing was one I needed to get back. So here we are…. stay tuned! 🤪

  8. Pleasantly surprised to see a post from you in my email. I’m sorry about Naughty, and your grief at his passing. Here’s hoping to brighter days as the room is redone 🙂

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