Wednesday, July 29, 2015

That Time We Bought A Farm

Years and years ago, after my older siblings moved out of the house, I was in college and engaged, and my little brother had graduated from high school, my parents sold our childhood home and moved to the middle of nowhere. Their dream for years had been to live in a house where if the grass got too long, the neighbors wouldn't call the police (ours ACTUALLY DID!). They wanted more land, but there was no way to afford that in the DC area, and my mom absolutely hated her job. But our educations were so important to them that they stuck it out in a high-pressure, high-traffic, high-priced area until my little brother graduated from high school, at which point they were out of there!

We thought they were crazy.

I visited and do you want to know what I could hear from my window to wake me up in the morning?

COWS. MOOING.

What the heck WAS this? Who would want to live in a place with no sidewalks, MILES from the nearest mall, where people actually wore overalls, no shoes, and bloodstained undershirts to go grocery shopping (at least, it looked a lot like blood).

My parents were so happy. And Andrew and I discussed how ridiculous this was, how we would never live somewhere so inconvenient, somewhere so far from the highest-ranked schools in America where our kids would obviously thrive, somewhere with more livestock than people...

Then, years later, we bought our first house. A perfect house, just the right size for our growing family, with a beautiful yard perfect for a small garden and a swing set, convenient to Andrew's work, right in the middle of the bustle of suburban living, walking distance to a frozen yogurt shop, grocery store, and several restaurants. It was perfect, maybe our forever home.

But there was a tug. Little conversations about how nice it would be to have a little more room for the garden. Wishes that zoning didn't prevent us from having chickens in this county (even though our yard, for this area, is HUGE). Complaints about the traffic. The decision to homeschool, which means we wouldn't even be using these amazing public schools we stayed in the area for. Maybe someday, maybe 5 or 10 years down the road, we'd be in a position to move a little farther away from the city, have a house on some land, raise chickens and teach the kids to work the land and care for the abundant gifts with which He has blessed us.

Then my dad died unexpectedly. My mom, having spent years of her life tending to him in his many chronic illnesses, no longer felt like she had much of a purpose. Suddenly it occurred to us... Would it be crazy if, 2 or 3 years down the road, maybe a little sooner than we planned, we DID this moving thing? And she lived with us?

And it made sense. And everything started falling into place, and that sense of peace settled over everything with all these decisions and prayers, but there was still no timeline, no urgency. Our wishes and desires for a house were many - a certain location, a certain amount of usable land, a separate guest house for my mom so that she could have her own space. There wasn't anywhere that fit the bill, but we like to make a hobby out of real estate browsing, so we looked every few weeks to see if anything popped up online.

And then one day, I changed the search terms by one bedroom and there it was.


A renovated 19th century farm house. On more land than we thought we would find, with a guest house right behind it. Fruit trees on the property, plenty of outbuildings, flat sunny land for a huge garden, a porch, and for significantly less than we thought we'd be paying.

It was perfect. We drove the hour+ as soon as possible to go view the house, the land, the pond at the back of the cleared space, the guest house where my mom would be living. It wasn't immaculate, there was a fair amount of work that needed to be done, but it was right.

So we made our offer, had it accepted, had closing delayed (and delayed. and delayed. and delayed again. But finally closed today!) and starting doing all sorts of research on backyard chickens, wood stoves, fruit trees, septic systems (St. Courtney, pray for us!), and planting a way bigger garden than we've ever been able to plant at our current home.

It's smaller than our place right now, and we're hoping eventually to build on an addition because 3 bedrooms for 7 people (and who knows how many more in the future) is a little tight, but for now we're going to make it work. And I'm so, so, so excited! We all are!

I don't know how much I'll be blogging in the midst of packing and moving and settling in and planting and doing our first *real* year of homeschooling - I won't promise anything because I might fall off the face of the earth (although I can pretty much guarantee I'll still be around on instagram), and I might just go on as if nothing has changed because generally blogging refreshes me and gives me energy. We'll see. But at the very least, this isn't exactly going to be "a blog for my mom" anymore, since my mom is going to be living life with us. 

So pray for us, would you? While we pack, purge, figure out how to get all three girls to actually *sleep* if they're in the same bedroom together, and move to a new town and a new church. And if you've got a suggestion for a new blog name, hit me up!

And to be completely clear, I suppose it's not *technically* a farm. But there are plenty of outbuildings and a barn and a ton of land, so maybe someday it WILL be a farm! But there are cows across the street and ponies next door, so we'll get to look at plenty of animals before getting any of our own.
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