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July 21, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Gone with the grain

door horizontally leaning against wall (© image All rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

Door stop: resting against the nearly stacked hurricane boards for windows if necessary.(© image)

Paper towels absorb spills and extras, then hold it all in without letting go a drop.

Do you think old front doors might do the same? Hope so.

 Restore/Habitat for Humanity happily picked up our old front door Saturday and gently carried it off to their retail outlet.

We tried to personally haul it over like we do most surplus building materials, but it was just too big.

We had to watch it load on to a truck instead – handed off strangers.

And the door shut. Like an unwanted kitten removed and headed to the pound.

At least it was spared seeing the house getting smaller and smaller as it was driven away.

I hope the door doesn’t take this personally – as a rejection. As being discarded, useless, unwanted. It’s not that at all. 

A tree died to make this door. We know that. Not something to be taken lightly.

We’ve refinished it twice – properly: taking it off the hinges, sanding, smoothing, staining. Giving it lots of time to dry indoors at the right temperature with the right humidity level. It’s quite a process.

But this is a harsh climate and even under a porch, the sun’s angle destroys quickly.

As it rained for months and is now close to 100F (not to mention pretty busy around here), we sought estimates for professionally refinishing only to discover that to have it done properly would cost more than a new door.

A new door. One with double panned glass that would really keep the winter chill and summer bake out. It really made sense, but…

This is a such great door: a stylish design with special abilities: beveled glass that tosses rainbows across walls.

The door has seen so many openings and closing. Wood absorbs as paper does, you know.

How could it not have gathered all the happy greetings, trick or treats, or Merry Christmases?

Tiny grubby hands asking for ball back; neighborhood cats rubbing hoping for a pet or snack; dogs pushing it open ready to go play.

Always there for the grand openings.

Never a slam or kick. Oh, one tiny accidental bump and broken glass section by a mover, but that quickly repaired good as new.

Life happens. And the door was there swinging with all of it. Must have soaked the good stuff right into it’s core, right?

This area with floods and hurricanes has seen so much property, homes, damaged.

We were sure our door could find a new spot – one where it was be welcomed and treasured.

After all, not just elegant, it calls rainbows.

Somewhere it’s just what’s is being dreamed of

Where there’s one who likes to work with wood and thrilled to spend a little time and effort bringing it back to former beauty, a rebirth.

With a family ready for a surprise and bit of unexpected wonder

With a home that it will help warm with its’ solidness and all the good times absorbed in the grain.

With a chance for a second chance.

A door they will adore as much as it does them.

Repurposed. And much relieved.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Vintage door leaning against wall in garage ( image, all rights reserved, copyrighted, No permissions granted)

Vintage door salvaged from a previous property that was built around 1940’s with a red tile roof and an actual basement which is a rarity in Houston. Once doctors’ offices and now a Montessori early childhood school. Complete restoration would have been too costly for us to afford, not to mention you’d need a pack of hounds to release to defend it if you live there. Always imagined this one would be refinished and placed indoors perhaps as an entrance to a study. Meanwhile, the door seems content and grateful to be cared for and given a quiet, safe place in its’ old age. And, yeah, the wrought iron bench piece to the right is yet another project in waiting.(© image)


Leave a Comment
  1. anotherday2paradise / Jul 21 2019 11:39 am

    That’s a very special door, Phil. I’m sure it will be much loved in It’s new place.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 21 2019 2:27 pm

      We’ve recycled/repurposed building materials for years – we had something a friend needed for their place and someone else had something we really needed. It’s really smart – and saves landfills. The re-do home shows on tv where they walk in and start slugging down perfectly good items – that someone might be able to use – shiver. May be dramatic, but you have to wonder if that violence and destruction isn’t caught in those remaining walls….and we can get into alternative dimensions and string theories and Twin Peaks…hey this is a NASA community, you know we think of weird out of this world things HAHA
      Thanks for shelving a comment here

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Beth / Jul 21 2019 2:11 pm

    You’ve given this door new life – a new family to watch grow, a new neighborhood to sit in silent vigil, new adventures, new people, pets, and wildlife to greet – a quiet reminder that “you are now home, you are safe, now come in and dance in my rainbows.” Wonder and safety – what a true gift!


  3. Kate Crimmins / Jul 21 2019 2:29 pm

    I love recycling! Everyone wins including the door!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 21 2019 3:54 pm

      As they always say,”As one door closes, another opens” – that’s the definition of recycling, right? Thanks for opening the comment door

      Liked by 1 person

  4. shoreacres / Jul 21 2019 8:46 pm

    Up at the cabin in the hill country, we found a used, hollow-core door and used it for a “kitchen” cabinet: turned it horizontal, cut a hole in it for an old enamel sink, drained the sink to the outside, and piped in water from a 50 gallon barrel in a tree. With some shelves underneath for storage and a burlap skirt to hide those necessities, we were really uptown. Maybe your door won’t be used in such a utilitarian manner, but I’ll bet it has some adventures ahead of it!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 22 2019 9:00 am

      I should have attached a tiny camera for the sequel! You’re right about adventures.
      Now that you mention it, as a little kid I remember my dad wanting a desk, so he took an old extra door, found some legs and voilà- a nice big desk you could spread out on ( and before computers, there was lots of spreading out to see the whole picture.
      ’tis a tad annoying how some have been carefully living ( the old boy/Girl Scout mantra about leaving no footprint and leaving an area better than it was when you came) for years and years while others those “suddenly” realize the environment is in “they sky is falling – tomorrow” crisis (and not recognizing their own actions have contributed to that/changing their behavior of excesses and consumerism…”oh? I have to give up something…oh, well – others can do that – I’ll just rant and wail – raise awareness that way”). Funny, right? HaHA peculiar no the other HaHa?
      Thanks for circling a comment this way


  5. Jane Dougherty / Jul 22 2019 10:30 am

    Restoration of anything always costs more than buying new. We have an entire house to do and can’t even get it started.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 22 2019 11:15 am

      This is the 4th place we’ve worked on…it was supposed to be “done” and not a project, but you know how it goes: Better is the enemy of good.
      We’ve always done all the work ourselves – including taking out walls, kitchens, residing houses, adding steel beams to support sagging 2nd floor. Lots of scrounging for old materials people oddly discard. Usually old wood is much higher quality than new wood. It’s the only way you can really afford to redo houses. And you can do it smartly to make a home more energy efficient if you try. If you hire someone, you have to watch them like a hawk to make sure it’s done right, not just fast – and that the materials bought are what you asked for and used in your house not quietly slipped off to another. It’s time consuming and exhausting. At this point we are not physically able to do what we used, too. We stalled almost 2 years over the door, but energy efficient in this climate – that was the final shove and unhinging.
      Completely understand the hesitation to start a massive house project..once you start one little part, then the next really could use some attention and it spirals out of sanity. After all, better is the enemy of good!
      Thanks for constructing a comment to leave


      • Jane Dougherty / Jul 22 2019 2:02 pm

        Always a pleasure 🙂 I’ll think of your door when we decide what to do about our original front door that’s about two hundred years old and hasn’t been opened in decades.

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 22 2019 2:15 pm

          Oh, the stories that one must be holding in the grain. Any documented history for it? What a source for stories. Sigh. Stuff rarely stay around here long enough in this part of the country for that…lots of relics and fossils, though…not as much fun as a door. Humans have some sort of connections/wild imagination with doors. Yours is stuck for a reason…probably that lone figure at a distance watching in that post…luckily there the dog and memories…you can teach an old dog new tricks but the memory may not recognize the changes….hmmmm. there’s stories there. (and if I would stop blogging, some might get a chance to get done HAHa)

          Liked by 1 person

          • Jane Dougherty / Jul 22 2019 2:21 pm

            The house goes back to the beginning of the 18th century but we have no idea what it was like then. It was just a place for farm labourers to flop really from about the mid-nineteenth century when they started tobacco production. Then that failed and it ran down to just a small holding self-sufficient with a few cows, a vineyard and kitchen garden. The main door went out of use when the last people built a glassed in porch on the south side and more or less lived in that. The old door had dogwood growing in front of it and brambles.

            Liked by 1 person

          • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 22 2019 2:30 pm

            Of course now I want pictures. A mystery…if only those wall would talk. Pictures and what history you have would make a great post Hint Hint. Pleased the place is in hands that at least care about it – restoring would take quite a bit of research to do it properly not to mention someone skilled in old building techniques..and of course, money. Upi could dedicate you entire life to it. Probably good I don’t live in such an area. (Insert smile here)


          • Jane Dougherty / Jul 22 2019 2:49 pm

            I’ll get some pictures. Maybe wait until the desert temperatures ease up a bit. We have another heat wave starting—104°F today and climbing for the next few days.

            Liked by 1 person

          • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 22 2019 4:28 pm

            It is hot here, too, but we always deal with this. Hard to believe we lived without AC – nobody had it. You do learn to live differently…slowly. Not such a bad thing. Wait until cooler – old places need their plants swirling and curling around them.


          • Jane Dougherty / Jul 23 2019 6:47 am

            Most people here still don’t have AC. That’s the great thing about this house, it thinks it’s built on permafrost.


          • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2019 7:31 am

            Architecture and building materials are critical for a house. The old regional building construction tends to be more appropriate and energy efficient. Broad porches, wide overhangs, paying attention to not face a house north or west, high ceilings, transomed over interior doors, and opening windows – all ignored by modern builders resulted in houses that required assistance like AC and big heating systems to stay comfortable. (To be fair our extreme humidity with normal seasonal temps of 95-100F plus that heat index makes it dangerous to live without air-conditioning now. People just weren’t raised with it and business/schools/work does not make seasonal adjustments anymore. You have3 to slow down and pretty much siesta during mid day out of the sun). There’s a reason old homes are searched out, redone, and treasured.
            When I was a kid and we lived in Massachusetts, few had AC – or window screens which felt odd to us as here we fight mosquitoes carrying diseases so much. I know many places out west still don’t have AC – it’s an added expense and if the weather is generally OK or it cools off at night, there’s really no need- you can deal with short periods of hot weather – unless rise in crime makes it a bad idea to leave your windows open. Sleeping safely with the windows open – hearing the sounds, looking at the starts and feeling a light breeze – something each child deserves to experience.


          • Jane Dougherty / Jul 23 2019 7:54 am

            Every child deserves to know what the night sky looks like. Sadly, in towns, even if they could see the sky, it would just be an orange blur.
            Right, time has to slow down when it’s hot. When we first stayed in Rome, we were astonished that everything closed down around midday and didn’t open again until 6 or 8 in the evening. Not surprising Rome had the reputation of being a lazy city, but when it’s hot…


  6. Pied Type / Jul 24 2019 4:50 pm

    Beautiful ode to a door. I especially liked the part about the rainbows. I love anything that brings rainbows into my home. I have some wonderful big crystals that have hung in previous homes, slowly turning in warm sunlight to throw rainbows around the room. Sadly, this house doesn’t have a single window that catches direct rays of sunlight. Hence, no rainbows.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 24 2019 5:11 pm

      I want some child to be excitedly dancing in those rainbows. A surprise unexpected from rescuing a door. Magic finds a way to shine. Thanks for glimmering along


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