There are some people in my life who really don’t want us to live on the farm. (Especially after that post about the cluster flies!)
That’s OK. I understand where they’re coming from; it’s scary and it’s going to be so much work. Honestly, for every moment I’m excited about this adventure, I have an equal moment of doubt and anxiety. Will we have enough money to update the farmhouse? Will we have enough money after updating the farmhouse to still keep a comfortable cushion in the bank? Is it even worth it to fix this place up? Will we be able to get rid of all the flies? Do I have it in me to homestead as a way of life? Do I want to take care of more animals? Do I want to live so far out in the country? Is this the right thing for our daughters? Is this the right thing for us?
We brought a general contractor out to look the house over yesterday, and to give us any advice he could. He looked at our plans, he looked at the house, and he deemed it achievable … although in his professional opinion it would probably end up costing more than we’d hoped. However, he also recommended an idea we’d initially discarded: that of “deconstructing” the farmhouse and building new on the existing foundational footprint. The benefit of that would be a sound, sturdy, smaller house built as we want it, reusing much of the old farmhouse’s materials. It might even be able to be done for less than remodeling would cost. I’m going to talk with him more this weekend, but it definitely gives us something else to think about.
While we were there, we took a pretty good look at the place, at the walls and windows and floors. In the state that it’s in, honestly, it gives me the heebie-jeebies. There are holes, and flies (ugh), and pack rat nests, and a dirt basement, and knob and tube wiring, and brick chimneys just hanging there a few feet above the ground. But, I try to keep reminding myself, there’s also old-growth post and pier holding the house up, and more old-growth timber framing the walls. There’s a newer septic system, a newer poured-cement foundation and a new roof. The original drop siding on the house is, incredibly, still in good condition. The potential in this 120-year-old farmhouse far outweighs the inconveniences. As the contractor pointed out, the real important parts of this house are structurally sound and made to last, and everything else can be fixed or re-purposed.
The most important part of all of this, however, the part that I keep trying to remember when I’m feeling subdued and swamped with misgiving, is that no matter what we end up doing with the house, there are and will always be 40 vast and beautiful acres spread out around it; acres that are harder and harder to come by in this modern and rapidly populating world. A house is a house is a house, but that land is something special. It is a gift and a haven. It is home.
As for the rest of it: of course I’ll probably always have doubts. That’s my nature. And some people may always disagree with this plan. That’s just their nature. But in my heart I know we won’t ever give up this dream of ours. We won’t turn our backs on this land. We will build a house, we will make a home. We will remember the important parts.