For as long as I can remember, I have wanted a two-story white farmhouse with a bedroom window facing east, a front porch for sitting, and old apple trees. I have carried that vision in my head from my earliest years.
It wasn’t just the house I pictured. I have envisioned the land, the pastures and the lifestyle too. I didn’t have a set number of acres in mind. I only knew I wanted enough land for a small farm and horses, always horses…as well as my farmhouse.
After decades of dreaming, I am making that vision a reality. I’ve purchased an 1890 farmhouse on 21+ acres. For you east coasters, a house that age is commonplace. For those of us on the younger west coast, that’s about as old a house as you can find in these parts.
It took all of my savings, a heck of a lot of courage and buckets of blind faith to make this happen. Actually, it isn’t really even happening yet. I am just getting started. Buying this place was truly only the beginning of making my dream come true. Next comes a lot of hard work, both on the house and on the land.
The farmhouse isn’t white. It’s not even livable! But it will be…both white and livable. And it is two stories tall with the welcoming front porch, the gnarled apple trees and the bedroom facing east that I’ve long pictured. It has the pastures and all the elements. It just needs to be brought back to life and farmed once again.
It’s a project. A big, huge project.
As such a huge project, I’m surprised no one has yet asked me why I bought it and took all of this on. Since moving to this small town last year, plenty have people have asked me why I left the city to move to a rural area. Now that I am here and digging in–literally–no one asks why I bought such a rundown, scary, daunting place. No one has questioned my purchase or my sanity, not the friends I’ve made in my adopted home town or the city friends “back home.”
When I ask myself why, the answer is simply, “Because it’s what I’ve always wanted.” I’ve always had the vision of this farmhouse. I’ve always wanted to raise some of my own food, and the slower, grounded lifestyle rural living offers. And I’ve always wanted horses, horses, horses.
Looking back on my life up to this point, on the verge of making the dream real, I can see how I’ve worked and lived to be ready for this. Even though I lived in the city, I gardened, composted, canned, dried and froze. I raised chickens for eggs and meat. I stored boxes of my own apples in the basement, ripened my own pears in the fridge, made jam of my own berries, and fed my kids from a winter vegetable garden. I’ve tried, failed, learned, tried again. Even the past 18 months I spent living in the crappy rental helped prepare me for this, teaching me about flooding and freezing…and the importance of avoiding both.
Maybe no one has asked me “Why?” because it was so obviously meant to be. Maybe I was meant to stake my hopes and dreams and my savings–everything–on this place.
Certainly it felt like the right thing to do when I made the offer and started the ball rolling. It felt right despite being on my own, with no spouse or partner. I had no idea how I would manage the place let alone restore it. I only knew it seemed like the right move to make, that this was the path to the vision I’ve held in my head all these years.
It’s a funny thing about following your heart. When you do, when you surrender to your deepest longings and start down the path that’s been calling you all along, despite the insanity of it all, other pieces click into place. For me, that “piece” is a partner.
While going through the process of buying this farmhouse with every intention of restoring it and making it my home all by myself–somehow–the perfect man came along. A man who’s a mechanic who can fix anything (very important on a farm!), a man with a longing to learn and a fascination with farming, a man who shares my faith and my vision. A man with a very green thumb! The perfect man to fit right into my dream. It’s no longer a daunting project I am tackling on my own. It’s now so much more.
I bought my horses before I had a truck and trailer let alone a place to keep them. I just knew it would work out and it has.
I bought my small farm before I had a man to work it with me. Maybe I knew all along that would work out too…and it has.
So here we are at the beginning of 2012, on the brink of a huge renovation project and an incredibly steep learning curve, poised together.
When I say, “Here goes everything,” I mean it. In the most positive, joyful of ways.
Here goes everything. Stay tuned. 🙂