When did it begin?
Was it during my first trip to my Aunt’s farm when I giggled with glee feeling the silky hair of the various dogs, cats, horses and goats?
Maybe it was a little later when I began to stay for long weekends/week with her and my uncle riding, camping and canoeing.
Perhaps instead it was in 8th grade when a blonde haired prepubescent version of myself was sitting in class drawing barns and stall layouts with a squiggly hand during class instead of taking notes.
Later? During high school when I would take long drives out to the country to clear my head and breathe in the sweet scent of clean farm air? Or in college when I leased a horse and pretended I knew what I was doing?
In all likelihood it started in the womb. In any event, the desire to live with space has been deeply ingrained in me for as long as I can recall.
I remember doing my junior year of college in Rome, Italy. I was living in the heart of the city in an apartment and walked or took a bus or train everywhere: school, the grocery store, the colosseum. My ears were hit with a constant barrage of noise from all directions. My eyes saw concrete in every direction. My nose smelled the dirt and grime of a centuries old city.
Taking advantage of the ease of European travel, I flew out one weekend to London and stayed in a hostel bordering a magnificent park. Once I wandered into it, feeling grass under my feet, smelling flowers, watching ducks and swans laze in the pond, I finally breathed again. I knew right then what I wanted most in this world: a small corner to call my own where it was quiet, peaceful and green.
A lot happened upon my return home to the States. I met Dusty. I graduated. Got married. I lived in suburbia then moved to the city for school and back out to suburbia for residency. I got Gem and explored the woods on horseback. I never lost that urgency to have peace and quiet. To sit outside my house and hear nothing but birds, the wind through the trees and the humming of the natural world.
Moving to our current home was a step in the right direction. With 16 acres surrounding us, there were no nosy neighbors or pesky HOA presidents to yell at you for your grass being 1/4″ too high. However, the property sits on the corner of two busy roads. The traffic can be heard in our bedroom even with the house being 1/4 mile back from the road and surrounded by large, ageless trees. There is a constant barrage of noise, people and the energy of dozens of people going places and doing things.
It is the opposite of peaceful however the horses were home and it was super close to my work and family. It was sufficient. But then Irma came along and while we suffered no damage, she brought with her a heaping dose of uncertainty and a fear that was rooted in lack of control.
Irma put me on a mission. I wanted my own place in a peaceful corner of the world. I wanted to sit and relax on my front porch and not hear the world buzzing around me. I wanted a place to decompress from my day and live life a little slower.
Thankfully Dusty was on the exact same page.
What commenced was a frenzied search of every online site we could think of. Property without houses, full on horse facilities, property with a house but nothing else. Lake side property. Mountain property. Wooded property. Hills, flat land. If it was for sale we looked at it.
Dusty fell in love with some. I fell in love with others. Our biggest concern was that the properties were falling into two groups: huge swaths of land with run down, nearly demolished trailers or tiny parcels with massive, ornate homes. Neither were what we wanted, but we spent hours upon hours looking at property, touring modular homes and various stick built builders locally exploring our options. It was both exciting and exhausting. How could our budget allow for such a wide variety in offerings? Would we ever find a suitable place within our budget and our radius from work within a good school district?
The search continued until the Sunday of the Windridge Hunter Pace. I mentioned that I had an important meeting at 2 pm that made me have to rush a bit once we finished. That appointment was with a realtor to look at three very different properties in three different cities: acerage with a small house, property bordering a lake with no buildings, and a mountain top house with a pool.
We met first at the acerage with a small house. I was skeptical. The house was just about as small as we could squeeze into and it was on the edge of our radius in an area I knew nothing about. My heart was already sold on the mountain top house in the city I really, really wanted to live.
The route took us down country roads brimming with golden rod along the ditch. The farther we went the skinnier the roads became until eventually the lines disappeared. We turned off the road and down the driveway which wound past a goat farm and kept going until it dead ended in a clearing with the house to the right and a seemingly endless pasture straight ahead.
My heart stopped. I knew I was home.
We poked around the house a little, but it was so small that it didn’t take long to survey it all. While it is small, it was built in 2014 with new appliances and an open floor plan.
After the quick look inside, we piled into the truck to drive to the back of the property. The front half is all pasture, but there is equal amount, maybe a little more, in woods that run along three sides and the rear. There were several trails that led down through the woods and we walked a couple that followed a creek with a small waterfall leading to a large meadow in the back. Apparently the original owner would damn up the creek back there to water his cows.
By the time we got back to the house I was done. We cancelled the other two appointments and got busy drafting our offer. It was a tense 24 hours waiting for the reply and we went back and forth a bit until reaching an agreement.
You’d think we would have gone out and celebrated at that point, but the drama and stress were just beginning. This has been long enough, so I will stop here and get into the rest later but so far we are set to close mid November. I’m holding my breath a bit and not dreaming too big since it has been such a rough go, but I already have plans for the property. I’ll fill you all in as the time gets closer and closer to closing.