On Wednesday, 25th July, we signed the papers which finalized our purchase of a 20 acre property less than five miles away from our current farm home.
[These first several photos were taken on that date, although sometimes my camera doesn't change its date setting through several photos.]
The highway twists and climbs up the ridge for nearly two miles before starting to widen into cropland and small meadows. We looked at this property in early May when it came on the market, made an offer which, luckily as it turns out, was accepted but with terms that we felt were restrictive, so we continued to search.
We have been happy in our modernized Amish farmhouse. We have enjoyed having friends as renters in the lower farm. Retirement and a change of location looms for them within the year--and we have had serious misgivings regarding renting the house and its out-buildings to strangers.
There is also the consideration that we don't need a large house with five bedrooms!
Thus we decided to list our Amish farm with the local realtor whose integrity and professionalism has proven valuable in the past.
We told each other that a unique property such as ours [two large houses with pastures and outbuildings] would likely be slow to attract a buyer.
Before the property had been listed on the market for two weeks, arrangements were being made for a showing. We accepted an offer several weeks later, signed a contract--and I, at least, began to panic that if the sale went through we would be scrambling for a suitable new home for our cats, our belongings, Jim's tractor 'collection.'
I spent late night hours trolling area offerings on line. We made note of a few, drove out to have a preliminary look--nothing appealed. Too far away from our pleasant neighborhood; houses perched too near the highway; a house with possibilities for renovation, but for sale through bank foreclosure which presented a nightmare of red tape and dead lines.
The listing of the nearby acreage we had liked was updated with a price reduction.
We drove up the ridge to look it over again.
There had been a house on the property--destroyed about a year ago by fire. The house was built in an unlikely spot--at the end of the acreage, shaded on three sides by woods, and perched above a steep ravine. The cracked foundation remains, filled with a sad clutter of fire-twisted metal roofing, charred beams, a rusted stove, all fit only to be bulldozed and buried.
We made a second offer much lower than the new asking price--and considerably less than we offered two months earlier. The owners countered, Jim told the realtor that we didn't intend to respond immediately.
By the time we reached home that afternoon, our realtor had left a message that the owners had capitulated.
A dog house surrounded by weeds survived the fire which claimed the dwelling.
There is clean up under way. Livestock fences are being taken down.
Jim has decided the big metal barn is more of an asset than he first thought. It can be insulated, wired for electricity and repurposed as garage and workshop.
Our house will be sited on the gentle slope to the left [west] of the barn.
Jim's first effort was to haul machinery up the ridge, take down some of the fence and bushhog weeds and grass.
Today we removed the partitions and pens pictured here in the main part of the barn.
Box stalls and pens line up on either side of the center aisle.
This building is located midway between the barn and the former house site.
It is filled with the belongings of the former owners--hopefully they won't take forever to clear out their bits and pieces.
I'm needing identification for this small tree near the burned house site.
I'm tentatively thinking it may be a hybrid of the magnolia family.
I loaded these photos on Thursday, but have spent hours at the property with Jim, trying to be useful.
I think my role at this point may be what Grampa Mac would have termed 'the heavy looking on!'
Today I have coiled up yards of electric fencing wire as Jim tore up the stakes. I have held a bucket ready to catch screws and nails removed from partitions in the barn. I've trudged the length of the meadow and along the board fence several times, moved our folding chairs into the shade so that we can take a short break.
Coming home [finally] at 6:30, I cleaned up enough to do some baking--4 loaves of whole wheat bread and a batch of molasses spice cookies.
A load of grubby sweaty clothes and damp towels has been laundered and dried.
Jim showered while I tidied the kitchen [minimally] then came downstairs to tell me that I must view the red planet sharing the south-eastern sky with the rising moon.
Three loaves of fresh bread bagged and in the freezer, one loaf set aside for breakfast.
Molasses cookies sampled, some in the cookie jar, some tucked in the freezer.
I've showered --again--taken an Advil for my aching bones.
Folding the laundry can wait til morning.
I'm taking another Advil--and heading for my bed!