If you missed Our Place Part 1, you can catch up here.
In December we closed on 60 acres that sits uphill from our original property. At one time, they belonged to the same property. The new place has an amazing barn built over 100 years ago and meticulously cared for. A system of corals and squeeze shoot, a larger ranch style home with a daylight basement, a beautiful yard with many mature fruit trees, and a large irrigation pond. Our new house sits higher up the hill, just at the base of the tree line. When we first considered our original purchase, we were driving by and I said, “wow, let’s buy that place!” Honest to goodness, that happened. In the next few years, we often talked about “well… once we buy [neighbor’s] barn…” this or that. And then, well, we did! It actually happened. Just exactly how I dreamed it up. It has been surreal.
But the timing of it all has been a challenge, to say the least. The sale closed six weeks before our baby boy was born. We immediately increased our cattle herd size threefold and began calving in a matter of days. Just one of those changes would have presented some serious growing pains for our family. All at the same time has been difficult. The increase in livestock, acreage, and irrigation have stretched Handy Huband beyond thin. This pressure has obvious impacts on the division of domestic and child-rearing duties. We are both working harder than ever, and seem to rarely see one another.
Handy Husband and I have lived in fourteen different homes together, but this move was a hard one for me. I am sad to leave the little house behind. My garden, my cute little farmhouse, and the views I have so enjoyed watching change with the seasons. I fear we may have expanded too fast, too quickly. So many projects at the little house remain undone, abandoned for a new home instead. I am still struggling to make this new home my own.
When we purchased the little house three years ago, we were able to budget a significant amount to immediate improvements. We completely renovated the bathroom, kitchen, basement, and two of the three bedrooms, as well as put in new flooring and painted the living room and remaining bedroom. Much of which happened before we even moved in. This time, it is much slower. I often feel like I will never manage to get us settled, let alone make improvements. While the house itself is in significantly better shape, there are many changes I would like to make. The kitchen has no dishwasher, and I am quite sure I spend half my life washing dishes. I have yet to work out the quirks of this layout, and overall there is a great deal I would like to accomplish. Our new home has space and potential, but I am forced to practice my patience. My frustrations are only increased by the reality of having a new baby. Sweet as that bundle of joy is (and he truly is!) babies are not particularly interested in household chores!
Rationally, it makes sense to expand our operation. The two properties work well together and were already tied together in many important ways. They share gravity-fed domestic and irrigation water systems. They share fence lines. The higher timbered ground complements the irrigated pasture in establishing grazing rotations. The beauty of this opportunity is building on what we started. The part of the original property I instantly fell in love with is all still there. Now, we have the acreage and the systems to do this thing for real.
We solved the problem of a home that was really very small for a family of five, two dogs, a home office, and the headquarters of this project. While I have grown to love the little house as we made it a home, our new house is much more comfortable for our growing family. I am thankful for the lessons our little house taught us. We learned more than we ever imagined about home renovations. We learned priceless lessons in minimizing clutter and maintaining organization. Most importantly, we learned to trust our gut and take on big challenges.
It is difficult to explain the feeling of simultaneously knowing without a doubt I am right where I should be while feeling just a little melancholy for what is in the past. It was all too serendipitous to pass up. I really feel like we wished this opportunity into our reality.