Tuesday, Aug. 11 -- I got to David Smith's boyhood home around noon. My phone rang. It was David.
"Where are you?" he asked.
"I'm standing in the driveway of your dad's old farm. It's not as nice as you'd described," I said.
Shrubs become trees engulf the farm house
David had visited last year and told me the structures were beyond repair, the roofs had collapsed and there was nothing worth saving. I had no illusions, but the reality was worse than I expected.
David grew up on the farm on Seneca Lake south of Geneva, N.Y., overloking a row of vacation cottages on the lake shore. He told me he remembers him and his dad putting a new roof on when he was 12 years old. That was more than 50 years ago. The roof hasn't held up.
David remembers helping to put on this roof as a boy
After his wife Peggy died, his dad's ability to maintain the place ran out long before he was willing to leave it. He stubbornly refused any help and died last year only a year after leaving it. It's been abandoned now for two years, but the vines and weeds had a head start.
The barn's sturdy timbers kept it straight
Vines have claimed all but the upstairs window and chimney
A barn houses two old boats, which are also disintegrating
A local farmer rents the land to grow corn and beans, but David's been trying to sell it. It's in the middle of wine country and he's hoping it will attract someone wanting to build a new winery.
In the meantime, nature is reclaiming the house and barns.