We have officially owned our farm for six years this month. It was nothing less then an uphill battle to buy her. A fight to convince our bank that we could breathe life back into a house deemed uninhabitable. A fight to find an insurance company that would take on what they saw as a liability & a risk...from the thought that a brick might fall out of a wall, that a rabid animal might leap from the tall grass, that the roof would cave in, and on & on. A fight with zoning, that required purchasing more acreage, that we in turn rent right back to a neighboring farmer. From a 2 day turn around purchase offer to a 2 month fight to make this farm ours....it was a battle.
So in June of 2006 when we finally took ownership, with haste we arrived to begin the work of renovation. As I was the one to convince Dave to "jump off this cliff with me"--I knew I had to put on my brave face. As we had bought the farm with no contingencies (that reads as NO inspection) we were fairly naive to the work that awaited. I waited until well after dark that first night to cry myself to sleep with total self doubt....what had I gotten us into? We now owned two homes 3 hours apart, had wonderful jobs in Madison-again 3 hours away-with no prospect of work near the farm, and at 50ish-we had taken on a property that was not for the faint at heart.
But we would do it, we did it. We set up a key club...with a carpenter, electrician, plumber, heating contractor all stopping by to work on our farm during the week. The bank and insurance company had both provided "must fix" lists as contingency of their contract with us. And we had a list of our own that was challenging at best. Dave & I arrived each weekend to camp out and work. My mantra was "one window at a time" - meaning, hunker down and take this house & farm on one step at a time. We learned to celebrate each success from knocking down walls that had been added over the years to filling dumpster #3 to seeing a room come back to life.
What we gave to this 1857 farm was being returned to us ten fold. Within weeks of beginning our work, I would find myself in tears when we left her on Sunday night. It took us almost a year of steady work before we were ready to uproot and make the move to the farm. Even so, we moved in while a new well was being dug.
Today I look at this farm, truly with my blood, sweat & tears in her walls and it makes me really proud, see we did it. Two city folk stepped out of our comfort zone.....way out of our comfort zone--and here I sit, on the steps of my farm, barefoot & content. Life is good!