It’s important to explain all this because our farmhouse is still a work in progress. From these pictures you can see where started and where we are now. We are still working towards our goal so you may find us moving rocks, shingling a barn, gutting a room, digging, painting or otherwise working on some house project. If you stay with us we won’t make you help, but we certainly won’t stop you.
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WHO WE ARE
Our Previous Life
My name is Judith Gushee. David Eyler and I run Maine Summer Dog. My family has lived in the Midcoast area forever. I grew up in Warren on a chicken farm; went to high school in Rockland and the University of Maine in Orono. I worked for the federal government for 35 years, 25 of them with the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine in the Washington DC area.
David grew up in Muskegon, Michigan, joined the military, came home and graduated from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan. We met while pursuing masters degrees at Indiana University in Bloomington. In the DC area David worked for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the Montgomery County School System with special needs children.
We raised two children in Maryland. They have turned into responsible adults and have given us two granddaughters. We retired and moved back to my home state. Before retirement we purchased a second home in Union, Maine, an old farmhouse. And that begins a new phase of our life.
Our New Life
When we were considering moving back to Maine, I wanted to find a place on the water. For me streams have a certain appeal so when I saw this farmhouse, next to a mill, with water running year round I didn’t look any further. In retrospect that might have been a little impulsive.
The house and lands were in serious need of updating. It was an older house and had undergone a number of modifications throughout the years none of which seem to be the product of a plan. There was the main part of the house, a beauty parlor, an apartment, a connected barn and a separate small barn. There is a book titled “Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn” that describes this haphazard style of Maine house. Beauty parlor is not generally a feature of this “style”; but, in general, Maine tolerates a lot of peculiarities.
We consulted with locals, listened to their good advice and developed the appearance of plan. There are still enough projects associated with the plan to keep us busy for some time but we have made a great deal of progress. The major systems have been updated, roofs have been replaced, a porch has been added, lots of painting completed and much of the siding replaced. Most importantly for purposes of Maine Summer Dog, the old apartment and the beauty parlor were gutted and an apartment with all modern conveniences and some interesting elements from its past was developed.
Also on the property was a separate small barn that was once used to house animals. We power washed it, painted the walls and floors, reshingled, put in new windows, rebuilt the doors and stayed in it during the Summer months. We built an outside kitchen and shower area to complete our version of modern conveniences. It has all the luxuries: space, the stream, the fields, blanket nights, breezes, and that outside shower which lights up at night and provides a whole new experience. Then we fenced everything in, opened up all the doors and invited in the dogs.