April Fools!

April 1st 2020 was one of the best April Fool’s Days I think we will ever have.  This was the day that we closed on our new farm in Ewing, Kentucky.  In the middle of a global pandemic, we bought a 4 acre property that sits in between a rushing creek and an old railroad track! 

At the time that we were notified that we were actually moving forward, it was soon after I injured my hamstring and we were freshly going into this new normal of “social distancing”.  I have to admit that, initially, I was not too excited for the news.  We had been in the process of buying the property since Christmas, and we had basically resigned to the fact that it was never going to happen.  There was so much back and forth about the value of the home versus the loan being approved and we did not even know if we would be given a loan.

Perriee and I have a great way of altering our long term plans, based on the current goings-on of life. We already had about 3 different ideas of what to do if we did NOT get the house and we were getting excited about it. We then we got the call, a week after working from home full-time due to a pandemic, that we were about to buy a second home.    Everything was so uncertain.  We both felt like our jobs were secure, but I just could not imagine a bank being willing to move forward with a loan for a second home.  But they were ready, so we leaned in.   

We both took the day off once we confirmed that we would not be doing the closing remotely.  I sent a quick email prior to the day, just to make sure that we would at least be doing the social distance thing.  Our mortgage lender was already on it.  The seller was scheduled to get there after us, in order to stagger our exposure to one another, which really made me feel better since he is in the “mature” stage of life.  When we got there, we called from the parking lot so we could be let into the bank.  The lobby had already been closed to foot traffic.   Our lender’s office had a folding table set up at the end of her desk to increase the space between us and her.  It was super creative!  We brought our own pens, but she had some throwaways ready for us.  We brought masks with us, but we ended up not wearing them.  It was April 1st and we did not want to be the weirdos, even though I wanted to wear it.  The last thing I wanted was for us to potentially be the ones to bring coronavirus to Flemingsburg, Kentucky.  

After signing our paperwork, Marcus, the seller, arrived and was set up in a totally different office than us to sign his paperwork for the sale.  I chatted with our realtor for a few minutes when she stopped in for some last minute signatures and it was hard to not hug her for sticking with us through the process!  When Marcus was done, he gave us a key to the house.  He told me that this day was hard for him- it was the day he sold his childhood home as a final chapter to his parents’ lives.  It was special to be the ones to be on the receiving end of that day, since Perriee and I have the best intentions to do that property justice in its rejuvenation.  We tried to communicate that to him on more than one occasion.  As we were leaving, he told us he wanted to show us something about the water over at the house that was just repaired, so he met us over there to give us the rest of the keys.  

Marcus was our first guest at the house.  He stopped over from his brother’s house (from across the tracks) when he saw us pull up the driveway, gave us the rest of the keys, and kindly showed us where the water meter was (which happens to be on the other side of the creek).  He did not need to do that, but he did.  He also shared that he was happy that we were the ones who bought the house, as opposed to another family from out of town.  That was super special to hear as our initial “welcome to the neighborhood”.  

The grass was freshly mowed, and we took a quick tour of the house, before heading back home.  We totally had a jumping up and down and hollering moment, then Marcus came back to ask about the electric bill (I had already set it up to be transferred).  I wonder if he heard us celebrating!  I hope if he did, he found it comforting.  

It has been a little more than a month since we closed and we are so excited to be sharing this next chapter of life with all of you.  Each time we go we love it more and more and have already interacted with such wonderful people.  The feelings we get there are already so warm a fuzzy.

Homework: Be Flexible

I have heard that our perceptions of difficult situations is really what allows us to be happy in life. We can’t wait for perfection because I am afraid it will never come. Lean in to whatever is happening at the moment and find the way to make it the best.  We love getting excited about things, and during this process we got excited about getting this house, then excited about not getting it, only to be stoked to be cleaning it up and getting ready for the first renovation projects after we got the keys. I know I am preaching to the choir, but nothing in life is predictable; go with the flow, and learn to love the free fall (credit to Karen Kilgariff’s therapist for a similar explanation of life).  

The Party Barn

Kentucky Home

After we decided to move on from our Indiana life, we began looking around to see if there was any land within our financial reach that we could handle on our own.  Having spotted a couple of places on the “interwebs” that looked promising, we inquired about the ones we found online. The realtor we were connected with was really awesome at explaining what may or may not work based on what we were looking for.  One of the spots had a little cabin on it which coincidentally, was in almost the stage of build that our a-frame was in! Laura, our rep kindly let us know that the place it was in may not always be passable in inclement weather, and it was such a large plot of land that it might not be the best place for us, who would only be there on weekends.  She said that it would be very likely that folks would wander through when we were gone. Thanks and no thanks! 

Once we narrowed down the list, we set up an appointment to go look at a few of them.  The first stop was to look at a house on a little more than acres of land. It was explained to us ahead of time that the place needed some work.   I was expecting the worst and totally did not want to get my hopes up since both the price and the location seemed perfect. Surely, it would not be what we wanted, but it seemed like a great starting spot.  

The Farmhouse

About a week later, on my birthday, we took the hour and a half ride down the AA highway in Kentucky to take a look. It was a drizzly morning, but pretty warm for mid-December.  It was apparent from the landscape that were in Kentucky. The hills and rushing streams escorted us the entire way there. Our first glimpse of the property included a short ride up the perfectly level gravel driveway- a far cry from the steep, choppy driveway that we had to navigate each time we went to the cabin..  It was a dream! The house was white with a green metal roof- probably the same roofing material that we used on the cabin. Was this a sign? Once inside the house, we could see the remnants of years of history. Wallpaper and paneling lined the walls, old encyclopedias were stashed in the corner of one of the rooms and an old farmhouse staircase led to the upstairs.  

Nestled on a touch over four acres, the property lines were defined by an old railroad track on one side and a rushing creek along an open field on the other.  There was a barn with electric and water in addition to a mobile home and a couple of other “out” buildings.  

We had the pleasure of meeting the son of the previous owners, who had passed away not too long ago, but who had lived into their nineties.  He shared stories about growing up there and how they used to farm tobacco in the open field. His dad raised pigs in the barn. The feelings and memories were warm.  

After the tour, our realtor took us to see some other properties in the area, based on what we were looking for.  We saw some beautiful acreage with some spectacular views and they all had the ability to add electric and water pretty easily.  One of the properties even had an old log cabin upon it, which had been discovered when the owner started demoing the house. The wood, by our realtor’s account isn’t even around anymore; it is extinct! There was even an old stone fireplace with arrowheads embedded in the facade.  

All of the properties had no restrictions, meaning that we would be free to build, say, another a-frame cabin or put an amish barn on them.  They all had a minimum purchase of about 10 acres and had a nice mix of woods and open field. We went home with a top three but the farmhouse was the one that spoke the loudest, and in fact is still on center stage right now.  We made an offer!

Homework: Keep Moving Forward

Be ready to turn the page. You need something to look forward to.  Life is to short to mull over the past. Learn from it, but then move on.  

After we got home from looking at all of the different properties, all we could talk about was all of the things we could do at the farmhouse.  We could plant flowers, grow vegetables, host events, and do Airbnb. We can bring the cats, like right away if we get it! There is plenty of room for or family to sleep there with us when they come to visit.  The list just goes on and on! Leaving the cabin was a hard choice to make, but having a plan for the future that we can visualize is what really gets me excited!   

Keep searching for those things that make you want to get up in the morning.  Those goals are the ones that get you through a hard day at work or help you face a difficult situation that you would otherwise avoid.  Currently in this holding pattern, it has been hard getting through some recent weekends when I am missing working on challenging projects. To help me along, I ordered some seeds that I will plant at the new place and we have been dreaming up a storm about the things we can do at our little farm, if we get it.  That, my friends, is what got me up this morning. Stay tuned!