When we bought this Shoebox of a house and the 40 acres around it, we knew that eventually we would need to grow the house to fit a family. We started with just the upper 900 square feet of house finished. We carpeted the basement bedroom and living room just as Gideon was born. And we have gorgeous blueprints for a very simple but perfect addition that would add a garage, mud room, and the holy grail second bathroom on… eventually. Many of you also know that 9 years ago, we dismantled a red barn, labeled it, and stored it in an old semi-trailer in the side pasture.
It’s still there.
Funny thing is, my husband is in construction and STILL could not in any way shape or form pull the trigger on the addition or the red barn project. After a few years, I kind of caught on. HE WASN’T SURE. And if he’s not sure, he doesn’t make plans.
I finally called him on it. I asked him what he was waiting for… and he drove me to this property 10 miles from our home. An old barn sat at the top of a hill at the end of a storybook driveway. The house was long gone, but pieces of foundation gave a glimpse of what was. I knew immediately that we could bring that farm back to life. There was just one problem: it was not for sale. It was not for sale and the deed is held by 7 siblings… grandchildren of the original owners. Those seven siblings are not interested in living on the farm anymore, but some of them were not ready to let it go. For two years, we wrote letters, made phone calls, and built dreams on possibility.
And they said no.
Or at least, not right now. Remember? You remember that.
I figured this would be the final green light for the Shoebox addition. I figured we would grow TexasNorth like the goodyear farm that she was: as needed and as able. As a military kid who didn’t have a permanent address until high school, I love the fact that all three of my children have known only this house as home. I would be fine here. We could raise the barn, build a small classroom, and make it happen. Absolutely.
In June, Curt asked me to drive by an address 10 miles in the opposite direction. Understand, please, that Curt looks at property like I make dinner: basically everyday and so much so that no one really notices any more. Trolling platte maps and property listings is a hobby and one that I steer clear of, especially since the building dreams on possibility situation. I don’t hear about land for sale or who’s passed away or which farm is splitting after 100 years of family ownership. I can’t test-drive cars and walk away without feeling immense guilt. Curt knows not to talk to me about property unless he’s 99% serious about following through.
So, when he called and mentioned a house down a dirt road… I sighed. I wasn’t sure if my heart could handle it. I waited a couple days and then swung by with a van full of groceries and half-asleep kids.
The address did not take me to the top of a hill like before. It was hidden down a dip, through the trees, and over a small creek. Around a small circle drive, a bright blue house popped up and across from it- a perfect red barn, ready and waiting for animals. I drove around the circle drive twice. I did not let myself get out or walk around. I’m that kind of dreamer. I stayed in my seat, put the van in park, and peered over the edge of the dashboard for a good 10 minutes.
Gideon looked around from his back seat. “Us needa move here, Mom.”
“You think, Buddy?”
“Yeah. Us needa put our stuff on a trailer an’ move here.”
“Well, we’ll see, Buddy. We’ll see what happens.”
What happened is we put in an offer, and they said no.
And we waited for months while nothing happened.
And their realtor called and said we should try again.
And we tried again and they said yes.
We bought the farm. A hundred-year-old farm with a hundred-year-old blue house and protected wetlands and a standing red barn and an abby full of farming nuns behind us. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
We will move in June after school lets out. It will change nothing with school or church, but it will change everything else, absolutely everything else. I will need the next 6 months to wrap my brain around it.
And that old red barn we dismantled? She will be put back together in a year’s time. Maybe you could join us for that. I’ll make you an apple pie.