Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Right Home

We believe that the right place for us has appeared in just such a miraculous way as the whole process of selling our Wyoming properties has taken place over the past months.
Our realtor has been endlessly helpful and patient, but in the three days of viewings, some properties have been completely unsuitable horrors and of the ones that were "possibilities" nothing has created much enthusiasm.
I didn't sleep well last night, which always leaves me with a slow and grumpy start to the day.
Our scheduled viewings did take us through some interesting country and to two very different homes on offer.
The first was another Amish-built place, but this time in a county which requires that the Amish install at least minimal electricity and plumbing, even if they have no intention of using it.
J. has been eyeing for several months an Amish farm of 42 acres with a seemingly admirable house, shop and barn.  All of our agent's attempts to contact the broker had gone unanswered.  When we drove up to the Amish house we were scheduled to view, we were astonished to find it was located next door to the one that J. coveted.  Some determined effort on our agent's part finally ran to earth the listing agent, who reported that the property had been removed from the market due to "issues" which the owner hadn't explained.  I could see J's disappointment. 
Meanwhile I was finding the available Amish house of interest. The kitchen, dominated by a wood cookstove,  was huge, as was the adjacent dining area.  There was a large living room, a small room which would make a nice spot for sewing, a decent bedroom and a working bathroom!  The upstairs was unfinished.  There were no fences or outbuildings. I was intrigued to see that in the master bedroom the dresser top held a collection of perfume and lotion bottles, little feminine oddments,  Either this was a settlement under the influence of a less exacting "bishop" or the young wife in residence was a daring and worldly woman. 
The clotheslines near the back door dangled with a huge array of traditional Amish garments, right down to tiny black suspendered trousers for little boys and rows of collarless blue men's shirts.  In the dining area a plastic hanger was suspended from an unused ceiling light fixture and festooned with drying white stockings.

From this home we drove to one on the opposite end of the scale, a beautifully finished log home with manicured grounds of slightly under 5 acres. We admired the landscaping and the immaculate interior, but couldn't seem to be excited about it.
Disheartened, we took leave of our agent, had a mediocre meal at a cafe and returned to the motel.

Did I mention in a previous post that J's beloved truck developed a problem during the last miles before our arrival on Sunday evening.  The "check engine" light came on and J. suspected, quite rightly, that the alternator wasn't working properly.  Just across the street from the motel is an auto repair shop.  J. took old "Snort'n Nort'n" there on Monday and testing determined that the alternator should be replaced.  I went with J. late this afternoon to retrieve Nort'n and drive the car back across the road.
The proprietor of the repair shop handed J. a buisness card with the logo, name and phone number of a local man who raises Angus cattle.  Mr. S. had business at the repair shop today and inquired about the novelty of a Wyoming registered truck.  J. had explained to the shop owner that we were hoping to buy a small farm in the area. Mr. S. stated that he had a farm for sale and would like to have the shop proprietor pass on that information.
I was skeptical, as well as being very tired.  I really wanted nothing more than a hot bath and to collapse on the comfortable motel bed!
J., ever the optomist, rang Mr. S's cell phone and was informed that he was feeding his cattle but would be finished in half an hour and happy to see us then. [I had of course consented by then to go along.]
The approach to Mr. S's farm was impressive; tidy buildings, two elegant older houses, neat barns, a dog wagging a welcome and Mrs. S, who ran out into the snow flurries to state that he would be right with us. We drove around the gravel drive to meet him as he rumbled in from the feed lot on his tractor.
The farm which Mr. S. wished to show us was only a few miles down the road, so he clambered in the back seat of our car, gave directions and began to tell us, in an engaging and forthright way, how he had bought the farm at auction in October, as an investment property and had spent the winter months helping to clean up the property, inside the house and all around the neglected acreage.
His enthusiasm was compelling and by the time he had directed us to drive slowly along the road frontage of the 28 acres, something like cautious excitement began to stir.
There were the rolling fields and pastures, bordered by a little creek. A small yellow house nestled well back from the road, surrounded by a variety of trees and ornamental shrubs. As we stepped along the walk to the side door I recognized daffodils waiting to bloom on a sunny day, roots of iris, sedum, hydrangea.
In the house Mr. S. showed us what he had accomplished in the way of renovation and what needed to be done before he put the house formally on he market.
J. was giving me thumbs up signs, I could feel my weariness receding as I saw the possibilities of the house. We ranged over the acreage, while Mr. S. pointed out where different crops had been grown, where renovations had begun on the outbuildings. He directed me to a raised stone planter behind the garage, a rock-bordered "bed" beyond the fruit trees, waved a hand at the grape arbor.
Work to be done includes a kitchen renovation, the replacement of old carpets with hardwood flooring.  J. has happily made a list of what he would do with the land and the buildings.
I'm thinking cabinetry for the kitchen to match the built in cherry buffet in the dining area, paint colors.
There are built in book shelves on either side of the living room fireplace, a feature I have always wanted.
Did I mention that the price is within  our range?  And--there is a magnolia tree, a sugar maple, a redbud tree...!
We are full of plans.  We are filled with gratitude that the One who directed in the incredible sale of our Wyoming properties [including those motor homes!] seems to have had the right place for us in waiting.  When things happen in such marvelous ways, we believe in miracles!


  1. So glad to hear that you have found a house and land that you both love, hope all goes well with the purchase now.

  2. Oh yes, a miracle. I'm so glad this has come along for you. Sounds like you have a lot of plans for it, but I gather you like doing renovations and customizing. Good for you!

  3. I am SO PLEASED that finally you have found the right place - even if it meant that Snort'n Nort'n had to do the intro's for you! It sounds lovely (can't wait to see photos!) and it seems to have ticked lots of boxes on your wish list, especially in the garden area (fruit trees, a grape arbour, established plantings!) I hope that the purchase goes ahead smoothly for you and you will soon be heading back to your new home with all your furniture, cats and of course Pebbles!

  4. Sounds so perfect for you both ...will you actually have to farm the land or can you leave it fallow or natural, for the wildlife and Pebles to enjoy...sorry to be ignorant about this.
    I can tell from the way you write that it is THE right place. I shall be keeping everything crossed ...and saying a few words to 'him upstairs'xx

  5. Getting a positive tingle about this one. Good luck guys.....


  6. What fabulous news, I'm so happy and excited for you!

  7. Yes! Yes! Yes! What a blessed miracle!

    My own dear little house is a slightly smaller miracle that happened 20 years ago...most of the houses i saw were too expensive, or needed so much work that i couldn't afford them, or were in dreadful neighborhoods. My agent remembered the house had been listed but no longer was, but she took me there anyhow. It's a solid little brick ranch house which was built by Mennonites in the late 50s; it had hardwood floors safely tucked under filthy wall to wall carpeting; it was on 1/3 acre which is big for a small town lot; had 8 big maple trees, foundation shrubs, place for a garden, numerous falling down sheds, and a view over to rolling hills with patureland and woodlots. It's on a very quiet street. It was off the market because it hadn't sold and the owner's girlfriend talked him into covering the ugly paint throughout the house with off white, painted the kitchen cabinets blue (my favorite kitchen color), and put fresh vinyl on the kitchen and bathroom floors.

  8. I'm a bit of a basket case this morning lest anything should go wrong with this process. J's cooler head insists we must go back and have a closer look, although when I wailed at him he stated firmly that a "Closer look" doens't mean he is less enthused, he is is simply taking everything into consideration, making a more thorough mental list of what will need to be done.
    I too have been surprised at the real estate activity among the Amish in the area. I would have thought they would prefer to buy and sell through their own networks. I think this does happen to a great degree, in part because most house hunters would be too put off by having to install electric and plumbing in an existing house.
    I hope all will go well in this venture---the place "speaks" to me and I want to be there to see the trees come into leaf and the grass turn green.

  9. I haven't been following blogs for a while but this one caught my attention and I was hooked. I hope all goes well. Your search reminded me of my dear friend (Kristin Steiner) who spent months trying to sell their home in Columbia and buy a place in N. Carolina - and then everything seemed to happen at once and they are in their new home, as of last week. So I will be thinking of you too every day now. And - or is this a silly question - do I see you quilting again ?

  10. How exciting! I do hope it all goes well for you MM. This sounds a place with real promise.