Our Journey to Homestead Living – Getting Started
We couldn’t move into our new farm right away as the family that currently lived there were taking their time moving out so we found a kind campground owner that would let us have water on during the day (this was in November, most campgrounds are closed). We stayed there in our rv for a few weeks getting to know our new town and the surrounding area.
Finally it was moving day. The camper, the tractor, and our things were moved over to the house. The papers were signed and we moved all our boxes into the laundry room/2nd bedroom until we decided what we were going to do.
After reading the inspection and looking at the house ourselves, we knew there were many things we needed to do to the home. It was built in 1890 and didn’t appear to have been well taken care of, at least for the last many decades. After placing all our boxes in the house we started exploring and learned that there are only so many things the inspection report can tell you.
In our minds we had a list of the things that needed to be done to the house to get it into livable shape before we moved out of the camper, most things we figured we would just live with and fix later down the road.
One of these things I thought I could live with was the kitchen. It wasn’t pretty but I figured it would serve it’s purpose. After we signed the papers I decided to check out my new kitchen. It’s small but I’ve been cooking in a camper for over a year so it felt huge to me! The cabinets were old but I love all those tutorials you can find on re-painting cabinets so I figured that’s what I would do. As I looked around the kitchen I pulled open a cabinet door to see the space inside…
Out came this horrible, horrible smell. Followed by a shower of mouse feces. I slammed the door shut and moved on to the next cabinet…same thing, bottom cabinets…same thing. It was disgusting. I ran and found hubby and told him, “They have to go, I’m not putting food in there!”
Room after room in the house we went through and found trash, unsanitary conditions, critter feces EVERYWHERE, and things that were unsafe. We knew we were going to have to fix up this house before we bought it, we just didn’t realize quite how much love this house was going to need.
After looking over everything and feeling a little more than slightly discouraged, we headed back into the camper to talk about a new plan. Thankfully we’d had a bit of money left from our own house sale that would get us started, the rest of the money to fix up the house would have to come over the next couple months while we worked. The house would have to be worked on at night since hubby would have to go to work during the day. No part of this was going to be easy.
But the more we talked the more we remembered about the original dream we had. After traveling for a while we wanted to settle down on some land again and build our little dream house. This house didn’t seem like a dream right now but with hubby’s handyman skills and my decorating skills, we could make it a home that we wanted to be in.
During these discussions of what we would do with the home, I often thought about the home its-self and all it had gone through over the years. Almost 124 years ago, someone had worked very hard to build this house. This house has withstood the test of time, horrible winters, many tornadoes, the dust bowl, and so much more. There are 3 “ghost houses” within a mile of us that are hollow and empty. They didn’t make it, someone hadn’t rescued them. They were the fate of this house if something wasn’t done.
I thought about the joy that this house had brought to people once, a long time ago. The Christmas’ that had been celebrated here, the birthdays, the new family members. After talking about what we would do we went outside in the dark of the night and looked at the house in the moonlight, the large trees making shadows all around it. I looked at this house and I knew that if we gave this house some love and care again, that it was going to help us achieve our goals. To be debt free, to live as self sufficiently as possible, and to have a joyful, simple life. In our eyes this house was not a burden or a disappointment, it was telling us that it wanted to help us. We just had to help it first.
But we were about to discover that our “findings” on the house were the tip of the iceberg….