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A love story two centuries within the making – Ohio Ag Internet

By Matt Reese

I used to be a bit shocked this summer time after I referred to as a couple of Historic Ohio Farm story and the cellphone was answered by a person with a definite East Coast accent. I used to be much more shocked after I discovered of the farm’s distinctive love story.

Steve Garguillo grew up in Newark, New Jersey. His father was a contractor.

“I began working with him after I was 12 years previous, mixing cement and dealing with the blokes. Once I acquired out of faculty I made a decision I preferred building, so I stayed with that and labored with my Dad for a few years. He retired after I was about 28, so I took the enterprise over and ran that for about 25 years. It’s robust operating a enterprise again East due to the congestion and visitors,” Steve stated. “I met Susan in New Jersey in 1982 when she was tending bar in my buddy’s membership and I acquired her cellphone quantity from her. She was so demur and so good. I referred to as her up and he or she was busy. I referred to as her once more and he or she was busy once more. I referred to as her once more and he or she had one thing else to do. I stated, ‘Effectively that is that. Three strikes, you are out.’ It was 7 or 8 months later after I went to Peter’s Pizzeria — they’d the very best veal parmesan sandwich. I got here outdoors after getting my order and he or she was standing there. She checked out me and requested if I remembered her. It was darkish and I stated, ‘Type of.’ She requested if I had a girlfriend. I requested, ‘Effectively are you busy now? Let you know what, I simply acquired this sandwich, you wish to share it with me?’ We went to my house and shared the sandwich and we talked and talked and talked. Then I took her house from her, a couple of blocks away. Then we went out the following night time, and the following night time and that was it. She was like taking a chill capsule for a Jersey man.”

Susan had grown up in Pomeroy, Ohio and moved together with her household to New Jersey when she was 12. After that memorable veal parmesan, the Garguillos have been married in Pomeroy in 1985. Although they hoped to, the couple was by no means in a position to have youngsters.

Susan Garguillo

Very early of their relationship, Steve might see how necessary visits to southeast Ohio have been to his spouse, each to see household in Pomeroy and to go to the household farm owned by her father and uncle close to Amesville in Athens County. The farm had been in her household de ella since 1817. Within the early Nineteen Nineties, Susan’s mother and father moved to the Amesville farm and visits turned extra common, although the Garguillos nonetheless lived again East.

“I semi-retired and my spouse got here out to the farm to handle her mother in 2008. Susan took care of her mom for about 2 years earlier than she handed on. Then her Dad de ella had a stroke and he or she stayed to handle him, ”Steve stated. “Each time we have been aside, we spoke day-after-day within the morning and earlier than dinner. Each time I got here again, I noticed that Susan turned an increasing number of acclimated to the world. She was extra pure right here.”

After Steve closed his enterprise in 2010, he was in a position to come to the farm extra usually. He ultimately was in a position to transfer there full time. Realizing this was the place Susan needed to be, he targeted his years of experience, and vital capital, on enhancing the constructions on the property. From 2010 to 2015 I’ve targeted on the home.

“I simply needed my spouse to have the ability to stroll round and take a look at issues and revel in them and know that it was taken care of. I couldn’t see Susan being glad anyplace else — not New Jersey, or Florida or Pennsylvania,” Steve stated. “The very first thing I took care of was the home, as a result of Susan was going to dwell right here. I restored the home inbuilt 1895 to get it to a spot the place it could be simple to take care of as we acquired older — redid the plumbing, electrical, portray, new home windows, put a brand new roof on. The opposite preliminary factor I had achieved was I put lots of stone down across the grounds. It was very muddy and we have been all the time bringing mud into the home. I did that in tandem with fixing the home. I put down 300 tons of stone within the drive in a single yr and one other 150 tons round home.”

As soon as the home was meticulously restored and up to date, Steve began wanting on the a number of growing old buildings on the farm.

“We didn’t contact anything on the property for a very long time. It was like wanting via a time machine. It was superb,” he stated. “When the home was achieved, I began going to every barn, saying, ‘Now what ought to I do?’ The primary one was proper by the home that I referred to as the backyard shed. I slowly eliminated the entire particles that was inside just like the rotted floorboards. I needed to prop it up with timbers to maintain it from falling over. A few of it was sagging and I might jack it up. To make it a extra everlasting repair, I began digging foundations and mixing cement. I discovered huge stones all around the property that have been remnants from the foundations of the completely different buildings. I built-in these stones into the foundations of those barns and the home. I might attempt to save no matter a part of the barn I might. There have been occasions there was no alternative however to chop away rotted sections and change them. I attempted to maintain as a lot of the unique construction as potential and I stabilized it, leveled it, plumbed it. After that we needed to put siding on it. I went to the Amish folks within the space they usually instructed me the wooden that was right here initially was yellow pine. They milled it for me and made yellow pine siding. I might put that on one barn at a time to shut them in and make them helpful. From there, I went to the following constructing which was the corn crib, then the tractor shed, then the cow barn. For the previous horse barn inbuilt 1895 that was constructed the identical time as the home, I didn’t must do as a lot restructuring. It was nonetheless plumb and stable. I simply needed to clear it out. They put a short lived ground in and it was lined in livestock manure fowl droppings. I energy washed each single constructing right here to get all of them cleaned up on ladders and scaffolding do away with the soot, animal particles, nests and the whole lot to get them cleaned up. The final barn was out within the again and it was the brand new horse barn. I cleaned it out and took the stables out.”

All through the method, the couple would take night walks across the farm to debate their plans, the progress and the occasions of the day. They’d stroll up and down the hills of their Locust Valley Farm with the solar on their backs or snow beneath their toes, watching the transformation and modernization of their outstanding household heritage evolve earlier than them.

“You’re feeling a connection. One, I used to be doing it for Susan however two, it was superb to be engaged on buildings that have been erected by folks 150 years in the past who have been in commerce I used to be in. The third factor was it was to simply preserve myself busy. It was good to stand up within the morning and return to work. I couldn’t wait to go outdoors and dig a gap or jack up a beam. The worst half was going into city to get provides — I could not wait to get again. I needed to get achieved,” he stated. “I might begin at 6 within the morning and work till 2 or 3:00 within the afternoon. It felt so good. I might cease, go take a bathe and get a glass of wine. Then we might take a stroll and take a look at what had been achieved. The place am we going subsequent? It was enjoyable. There was no time constraint.”

The huge quantity of labor over 1000’s of hours (and with many a whole lot of 1000’s of {dollars}) was largely achieved by Steve.

“I all the time needed to take into account that I used to be working alone. I didn’t have assist. On occasion I might have somebody come by and assist me with a beam,” he stated. “I ultimately employed a man about 6 years in the past to assist me clear issues up.”

The results of Steve’s large private effort eradicating, preserving and restoring 200+ years of household farm accumulation is nothing wanting spectacular. The extent of consideration to element, meticulous restoration and preservation of such lengthy household historical past in a single place is uncommon. No energy lower than real love might produce such an effort.

After caring for each her mother and father and having fun with years on her household’s farm together with her husband, Susan handed away the day after Christmas in 2020. Steve continues to dwell with and look after his father-in-law and the Locust Valley Farm his spouse liked so deeply.

“Susan was a really particular individual. So long as I’m right here sustaining this place and retaining it good, she is alive to me. She is current, she is right here and he or she is a part of the world. It truly is the reality,” Steve stated. “And when folks come right here and see this farm they are saying, ‘Now there’s a man who liked his spouse from him.’”

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