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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Day 1

View from the master bedroom.
Yesterday, my husband drove out to our little homestead, roughly 10 acres in Southwest Missouri, to supervise the placement of a 560 square foot barn. It has 8 foot lofts and windows in each end, a lovely windowed front door right in the middle on one side and two windows opposite the front door. It is 14 feet wide and 40 feet long. On top, there is a beautiful, green, metal roof. The reason these little details are relevant, and very, very exciting, is because this barn is ready for horses, but we are going to turn it into a home for our family of six. We will extend the lofts to an even ten feet each, we will add two interior walls, one to create a bathroom/laundry room, the other to close in a master bedroom. Our youngest daughter, only 16 months, will be in the master with us until she gets older. Our two boys will bunk in one of the lofts and our oldest child, our ten year old daughter, will have the opposite bunk. CRAZY? Oh yes, but we have never shied away from crazy. We are going to be living it up in our very own "little house on the prairie" for about five years. There is a method to our madness, though. We are bailing out of the city life. My husband was raised around animals, out in the country, working hard and growing character. He chopped firewood with his father to sell, he hunted deer to feed the family, he learned the value of putting your hand to something and bearing fruit.
I, on the other hand, was raised in town. My husband teases me and calls me a city girl. If you have ever driven through Rogers, Arkansas, you would know I am not a true city dweller. I have dreamt of country life since I was little, though. My grandparents in Morrison, Oklahoma, showed me the life I wanted. We would go to visit in the summer and my grandma would teach me needle point and how to bake. My grandpa would let us ride around on his tractor and feed the cows and fish in his pond. I knew that was the way to live. I always loved the farm, but when I was in third grade, I met this awesome girl who lived in Missouri. When I stayed over at her house, we rode horses and swam in the creek and ran wild! That just served to further my desire for something different than "city life."
Fast forward several years and my husband and I are on the verge of making our dreams a reality. We bought part of his family land and we are are going to buy some chickens, a milk cow, a few head of cattle and plant a garden. The challenge for us, while planning how to make this happen, was how to get from where we are to were we want to be, God's way. We started out looking at building a house, talked to mortgage companies, looked at pages and pages of house plans, spent hours discussing if and how we could afford to build our house, within our budget, within a reasonable time frame. The biggest challenge was that building our dream house from the ground up, all by ourselves, while continuing to live and rent in town, was going to put us way over budget. Paying for a builder to build it would have lessened the amount of time for the build, but would have almost doubled our costs. We talked to financial advisers, both professional and family members, we looked at all these different options, and ended up frustrated and still confused. Finally, Rich and I put our dream back into the hands that had given it to us. We had prayed about it, but we hadn't truly released it into God's hands and given up control. It was only then that we both had a peace about it, and then, that suddenly this crazy plan started to form.
So, in a nutshell, we have a barn in which we are going to live, for the amount of time it takes to pay off the land. It will be very motivating to us to save and get started building our dream house, which by the way, will not be a one room cabin. We also feel very strongly that this will bring us closer as a family and help us to simplify our lives. Our kids are ecstatic about all the trees they can climb and the valleys they can explore. They are also very excited about having farm animals. I am excited about them learning true responsibility and gaining some common sense.
Oh, I forgot to mention the craziest part of our plan! When the barn was delivered yesterday, the clock started on how long we have to finish the inside and get moved in. We have 90 days until the first payment is due, and we don't want to pay rent while paying for the property, so we have 90 days to add electricity and light fixtures, plumbing and bath, cabinets, walls, wall and floor coverings, heating and cooling and a front porch.
So, there it is, the whole nutty story, and it all starts today, on day 1.
View from our front door.

I'm standing in what will be the bathroom,
 looking toward the other end of the cabin.
Ella, our youngest, checking out the new place.

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