This fall marks ten years since my Other Half and I moved a house onto our humble homestead. We had decided to reclaim a previously abandoned yard, mostly to make use of the large beautiful hip-roof barn that was located there. While the yard had a great barn, it didn’t have much else, so we had to figure out what exactly we were going to live in. After looking for a while, we came across a nice little house and we arbitrarily chose a spot to… plunk it. So began our adventure as home owners. Sometimes it feels as though we’ve been here for 100 years, other days it seems as though we just arrived. Either way, our homestead has been (and will continue to be) a real work in progress.
In 2004 the internet was in its young adulthood, and it was before the days of Facebook. That didn’t stop my from subjecting close friends and family to a little email update on our house renovating adventures, which I had forgotten about until a friend recently unearthed a copy of it. Somehow, in the midst of fourth year finals, wedding plans and job hunting, I still had time to pound out a rather wordy and melodramatic message titled “The Top 10 Reasons to Move a House into the Middle of a Pasture.”
It’s been interesting to compare my earlier observations with where we’re at today. Not all of my “top 10” are still relevant, so I’ve picked out a few of my favorite ones to share.
2004: You get to develop the useful skill of filling holes in walls.
2014: Still true. I’m actually not terrible at spackling, and through a lifetime of experience, my Other Half is also pretty good at filling gaping holes in drywall. And, given the fact that there are now three preschoolers integrated into our home, and said preschoolers will someday grow into rambunctious teenagers, I really should just buy some stocks in a drywall mud company right now and be done with it.
2004: You get to check your cows without leaving your kitchen window, sometimes they even rub on your house!
2014: fortunately we have a slightly more defined and refined buffer between our livestock and our house. Sometimes. When we first moved here, we had no fence restricting cattle from accessing our house. And sure, sometimes I’d come home from work and Brownie would have tipped over the BBQ (perhaps in protest?) or wrecked the front step or Tina would have rubbed another piece of X90 siding off the house, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. When we did get the much coveted four-wire fence constructed, we curved it around the front of the house so we can still check cows from the kitchen window. Just the way we like it.
2004: You find a place where you’re always welcome, “where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came…” that’s right, the Home Depot.
2014: I don’t darken the doors of big box home improvement stores if I can help it. They don’t know my name, they don’t care what project I’m working on, and the money I spend does nothing to help my local or regional economy. Local stores have competitive prices, unparalleled service and thankfully only give me 10 choices, instead of 4976. Ain’t nobody got time to look at that many samples.
There are still many more points to go, but I’ll have to save those comparisons for another column, perhaps later this fall. Right now, I’d better try and salvage my walls from the bumps and scrapes of life.