So, I ended the story of buying the farm with a little teaser that “it only took 6 months for the doubt to creep back in…” And I am just now getting back around to telling you about it. Partly because it is hard to admit and partly because it is just plain hard to explain.
For the first few months after the miracle, we were on a spiritual and emotional high. We took our family Christmas photo in front of the old barn. I dreamed of a large tree in the entry of the house right in front of the amazing staircase. I went to sleep every night with visions of chickens running around the garden while the girls checked for eggs and I scrubbed dishes in my farmhouse sink overlooking the mighty oak in the backyard. And I would wake up to the thought of neighbors gathered down at the barn sipping sweet tea while watching the sunset over the pond. So we met with the landscape architect to create a concrete plan for the dreams floating around in our heads. We began discussions about renovating the house. And all this sustained us & our excitement through the dark months of winter. Even while we continued on with our life here in the burbs.
And then Spring came and with it the opportunity to begin exploring the land across the creek (poison ivy and all). Many weekends were spent going on adventures in the woods and down by the pond (or “Hop Frog Pond” as Eliza likes to call it – from Little Bear, of course). The girls became proficient at spotting good walking sticks from a great distance. And the work of cleaning out decades of trash in the old lean-to’s and cellar began. Creepy carpet was removed to reveal hard wood floors. Dumpsters were filled and hauled off. A tree swing was installed and then a sand box was built. To help keep littles busy while mama and daddy “worked the land.” Leaves were burned and ginormous limbs were dragged to the burn pile. And it was hard. And good. Our hearts and bodies were becoming “farm strong.” All the while dreaming of the day we could share it with our friends, new neighbors and the mystery guests seated around our table.
Then the months of searching for a tractor. And buying chain saws, more work gloves and muck boots. Saturdays became filled with mowing, weed eating and brush hogging. And the rusty, old chain link fence came down. But not without a fight. Then the flags were marked for a new fence. And we could not have been happier than “playing farm.”
And then we began to get serious about deciding what to do about the house. The initial plan was to just renovate the existing structure, making a few layout changes in the process. Like expanding the teensy, tinsy kitchen. And she’s pretty rough as she stands. Leaning a bit here and there, but she is sound. There is also a bathroom situation to address – like a toilet tucked under the stairs in the current living room (don’t’ ask). And, of course, the dreaded lowered ceilings & lack of closet space. But after months of working outside while collecting ideas on Pinterest, we began seriously entertaining the idea of adding on to the structure as well. Which lead to a meeting with a builder friend of ours so he could help us draw up a rough sketch of our ideas. Which then lead to a discussion of $$$. And suddenly everything got real. A little too real.
We were no longer “playing farm,” but instead were risking 18 years of marriage worth of accumulated equity not to mention a substantial chunk of savings in a place that would not guarantee a return on our investment (to say the least). And the permanency of the decision became very heavy. The dream began to fade from my vision. The wheels of momentum came to a screeching halt. And the voice of reason began to drown out the certainty of faith.
And really, how could we ever doubt after receiving such a miraculous blessing? It was like we were the Israelites in the wilderness or something…