This week, we said goodbye to our little homestead.
I have loved living in that beautiful little valley that is filled with some of the most gorgeous farm land in our state (at least I think so!). I loved the small town lifestyle: how everything shuts down after 6pm, how people talk to each other, how the old farmers gather at the diner every morning and how the feed stores and old fashioned hardware stores outnumber everything else in town. It has been a dream of ours for a very long time to live in a place like that.
I loved making that place our home. The house we bought was a beautiful, fully restored 1905 Victorian. It used to sit in the small downtown area right behind the courthouse. It was originally the home of the town coffin maker during the turn of the century. After seeing years of decay, it was purchased by a man in 2007 and moved from the small downtown lot to the hillside where it sits now. It’s tightly wedged into a flat spot in the hillside on just under an acre of land… well, that acre actually includes the hills and even part of the road, so the workable space is actually closer to about half an acre. But there are no neighbors except for one directly below and one directly above, which you rarely notice. The elevation allows a view of the entire valley… and, guys, that view is what sold me on it! It’s amazing!
It’s a beautiful place. And it’s calm and peaceful and quiet. I think one of my favorite parts was how much nature and growth surround it. The wildflowers grow abundantly. The birds sing louder than anywhere I’ve ever been. Mint and alfalfa grow readily like weeds. And wild turkeys, pheasants, deer, fox, skunks, owls and coyotes come to visit on a regular basis (luckily, they never visited our chickens!).
But there is always a flipside… a reality to everything. That beautiful house, with the gorgeous Brazilian Cherry floors…I could never keep them clean and I agonized over every scratch. That beautiful house had so many empty rooms that we never cared to or could afford to furnish. That beautiful house was way too big and it was so expensive to maintain that even heating and cooling it put us in a financial bind. That beautiful house was tucked away so far out of town that it took us at least two hours a day to commute to our jobs. That beautiful house… it just wasn’t our perfect fit after all.
Lindy changed careers just a few short months after we moved in. It’s a career change that will have wonderful benefit for us in the long-run, but it will take years to build. As we watched our savings trickle away, we came to a realization: no home would ever be worth sacrificing our quality of life. The things we loved about that place weren’t necessarily in the home. The things we loved were the experiences of being able to live in a new environment and to challenge ourselves to build new skills and to become more self-reliant. We certainly don’t need a big beautiful home to do that. If anything, I think the expense of the home hindered our ability to do that. And let’s be honest, it would take us the next 30 years of our lives (at least!) to pay off that home… which just isn’t appealing to me.
The home itself didn’t represent the values that we want to be known for or the life experiences that we want to gain. So, we had a very humbling couple of days of seeing the reality of what we had been sacrificing to live in that home. And then we made the decision to let it go. It was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. We sold the home to someone else who can love and enjoy it more thoroughly than we could. We are lucky to be able to stay with my parents until we figure out our next step. We did sell our ducks, but we were able to bring our goats and our chickens, which is another huge blessing! My mom has even let me rip up a piece of her pasture to plant a garden (more on that clay-filled disaster later!).
Was buying the big beautiful dream home a mistake? I’d have to say that it wasn’t. We were able to build so many skills there that we wouldn’t have experienced if we had stayed in our home in the subdivision cul-de-sac. It gave us the chance to realize a lot of things that we want in a home and a lot of things that we don’t want in a home. But, in the end, it was just a house… and we want our lives to be about the experiences, not the things. So, we will take those experiences with us into our next adventure… and guys, I can guarantee it’s going to be a good one!