Tuesday, February 9, 2010

This Old House

Whenever I graduated college and moved back to the ranch, my family and I remodeled a house that’s been on the place since it was purchased way back in 1973. While I’m not sure of the exact date, I’ve estimated the house that we live in to have been built sometime in the early 1900s.

Luke and I are always saying either you’re an “old house” person or you’re not. Let me go on the record as saying that when I first was walking through this house looking at it before deciding to move here, I would have never thought I was an “old house” person. As I walked through, I remember randomly commenting on things that would just have to be changed — like the old doorknobs, and the doors that don’t quite close, or the mismatched ceiling in one of the bedrooms, or the huge windows that no matter what, just won’t open.

I don’t know when it happened, but sometime in the hundreds of hours that my mom and I spent working on this house, painting, sanding, removing layers of linoleum, or trying to figure our why nothing in this house measures correctly (nothing is “square") — I started to love it. Somewhere along the way, I have grown to appreciate this house. There’s something special about an old house… I like to think about all the people who have lived here before us and wonder if, just like us, they tried to get the windows open, or griped in the winter when it was cold, or wondered how on earth they would find a place to store their Christmas decorations, or sat on the same porch we do and watched the cows graze in the pasture around suppertime. My own parents lived here from 1976 – 1983 when they first got married, and like me, they have a soft spot for these 4 walls. It’s a good house… it has history.

Speaking of history, one of my favorite things to do is collect cattle memorabilia, particularly Shorthorn. It’s only fitting that our century old house serves as the perfect canvas for all of my old Shorthorn treasures.

When it came time to start decorating my new (but old, you know) house before moving in, I didn’t know what my style was… but I knew my favorite thing in the world was Shorthorn cattle. I decided that I wanted to paint one of the rooms a Shorthorn red and use it as a place to put my favorite Shorthorn collectibles. Yes, that idea worked, but I should confess that there are Shorthorn collectibles all over the house!

I realize we have more Brahman cattle on this place than red, white, or roan. But you can’t change what you love – and I will always be partial to my beautiful Shorthorns. When I was about 14 years old, my mom, dad, grandmother and I took out on a trip to Colorado and visited the famous Ka’Ba Shorthorn Ranch, a prefix made famous by Ka’Ba Rose T90, a pretty special Shorthorn cow. I’ll never forget as we pulled up to their ranch, they had a huge sign that said: “This place keeps Shorthorns, Shorthorns keep this place.” I only wish I had a picture of that to share! It’s one of my favorite memories.

Here are some photos/stories behind some of my favorite collectibles.

The next couple of framed photos were my first "discovery" and I love them! These are antique prints that used to be distributed by the American Shorthorn Breeders' Association. This roan steer, Big Boy, is something to be proud of! These prints are very rare - I keep looking for another copy to give to a friend as a gift, but I've never seen them again.

International Champion Carload - would've loved to have seen this in person!

This framed scarf was a real diamond in the rough. I purchased it off of Ebay and it was in bad shape, all wrinkled, stained, and puckered/stretched. I took it to our local frame shop and they worked wonders on it. It's framed and hangs in the foyer/entryway.

Not really historical, but still one of my favorite treasured Shorthorn pieces in the house. This frame came from Classic Leather Designs and was a gift from my mom and dad. It sat empty for years as I could never find the perfect photo for it. Luke snapped this photo of me in 2006 with my favorite Shorthorn cow WR4 Delila D. She passed away shortly after this photo was taken. I had the print enlarged and finally had a use for this beautiful frame. Notice her eartag in the righthand corner.

Something about the red, white, and roan makes it gorgeous when it is painted on pottery! There's a lady from the northeast who paints all of these and they are few and far between. They sell every once in a while at public auction and I always bid strong to take them home. They are rare... but they are my absolute favorite thing! I probably have about 6 pieces and my parents have about 5 too... I can't wait to add my next piece to the collection. Notice one of my books there - "Profitable Stock Feeding." Have you noticed how fat our cats are? Haha!

I also collect rare Shorthorn books. My most prized find ever is Volume II of the American Short-Horn Herd Book. I searched for this book for at least 4 years before finding it in a rare book shop in New York! The herd books were published in the mid 1800s until the 1940s I believe. My "golden" find would be Volume I to add to my collection, but I don't think I will ever get it! I probably have one of the most complete collections in the United States... of (what I know) 130 volumes printed, I am only missing 11. Other books here on my mantle (most very rare and proudly added to my collection over the past 10 years) are:
  • "A Record of Unfashionable Crosses in Short-Horn Cattle Pedigrees Vol. 1" by F.P and O.M. Healy, published in 1883
  • "A Record of Unfashionable Crosses in Short-Horn Cattle Pedigrees Vol. 2" by O.M. Healy, published in 1887
  • "The American Polled Durham Herd Book Volume 1" from American Polled Durham Breeders Association, published in 1898
  • "Record of Shorthorn Prizewinners Vol. 1" by B.O. Cowan, published in 1911
  • "Short-Horn Cattle," by Alvin H. Sanders, published in 1916 (not so rare, but important!)
  • "History of Short Horn Cattle," by Lewis F. Allen (creator of the ASA Herd Book), published in 1883
  • "Red White and Roan," by Alvin H. Sanders, published in 1936
  • "Mostly About Shorthorns," by Frank W. Harding, published in 1940

A painting that was given to me by someone in my family (not sure who anymore). I had it framed and put it in the red room at my house. Beautiful Shorthorn cow!

Christmas gift a few years ago from my parents. This roan Shorthorn bull is on the accent table in the dining room. The person who makes these is at Louisville each year and she has all breeds.

1 comment:

  1. I just love this blog! I had no idea you had so much cool Shorthorn stuff too. I love the way you talk about finding rare books in a shop in New York - so cosmopolitan of you. =)