Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Dream A Little Dream

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”                ~ Colin Powell

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a dream of living the country life on a farm.  I wasn’t laboring under the illusions that it would be some pie-in-the-sky existence with birds singing, bees buzzing and me, relaxing in a huge hammock strung between two massive oak trees, reading a book or taking a nap… No, I knew that farm life was up at the crack of dawn to feed the animals, spending time in the garden pulling weeds, making sure the veggies weren’t being eaten by some bug, beetle or rodent, with an endless list of chores that always needed to be done.

In late 2011, Fate stepped in to help me reach my dream.  My husband came home one day and said, “I found a piece of property for sale.  Let’s go look at it.”  Well, we weren’t looking for a house.  We were entrenched in the suburban 9-5, living in a 3000 square foot, three story monstrosity, sitting smack-dab-in-the-middle of subdivision hell.   But, what could it hurt to go take a look.
As we pulled into the driveway, I stared blankly at my husband, convinced he had lost his ever-lovin’ mind.   There was a ramshackle structure that, possibly in another lifetime, resembled a house, with a couple of outbuildings that weren’t in any better shape.  The pasture was an overgrown jungle, standing in scrub taller than I was.  Again, I blinked, rubbed my eyes, and looked at my husband who was smiling.  Yes, he was actually smiling.

He said, “Let’s go inside and take a look.”  We walked to the back of the “house” (again, I’m using that term lightly) and walked up a crumbling set of stacked stone steps onto an enclosed porch.   I, literally, could feel my skin crawling.  He turned the knob on the back door and, with a little shove, pushed it open.  The sight that waited was, practically, indescribable.  If you close your eyes and recall any image of an abandoned building that you have ever seen, multiply that disastrous view a thousand-fold and you would still not be faced with what I was walking into.

The house had been abandoned for four years.  From the looks of it, forty years would have made more sense.   I was afraid to take a step for fear of falling through rotting floors.   The house, perhaps in its day (it is 130+ years old) was a viable home, bustling with activity but, now, it was just a relic, a shell of a former lifetime.  The configuration is best described as – originally, a shotgun house – four rooms and a hall.   At some point during the years after construction, a kitchen and back porch were added and indoor plumbing was installed.   The rooms were small, cramped and in need of a complete gut-job!
But, in that moment of total disgust, I felt a calmness come over me.  I looked around and realized that this house reminded me of another house I had been in long ago.  My maternal Grandmother, who passed when I was only eight, had lived in a house so eerily-similar to this one that I could feel her walking through the house with me.   I gradually began to understand what my husband was already seeing – potential.  We called the Realtor.

We made our offer, met with the Realtor to complete the paperwork, and the process began.   You need to remember, we weren’t looking for a house but, suddenly, this house became all-consuming and the quest was on to possess it.   After some back-and-forth negotiations with the Bank (who owned it after it was abandoned in default), a closing date was set.   On November 11, 2011, we became the “proud” owners of a dilapidated farmhouse.

The one comment, in various forms, we received from everyone – including our Realtor, the closing agents, the bank and the assortment of people who stopped by once we took possession was: “You should just bulldoze it down and start over.”   That was not an option.  This house was a piece of history and deserved to be saved.  And, thus, the long and ardent process of renovating a 130+ year old farmhouse and saving a small piece of Southern Confederate history (as we would discover from the numerous area residents who came by to thank us for buying the place and give us their memories, historical stories, and various tidbits of information about the property) began.

Dreams do come true – but not without hard work and determination…

To A Life Of Simplicity
Happy Homesteading!
~ Susan & Rick
Celtic Acres Farm

If you have a question or comment, you can leave it below, and I will do my best to respond.  Please keep your comments civil and clean.  I reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments. 

About the Author:
Susan along with her husband, Rick, are the owners of Celtic Acres Farm, an organic, self-sufficient, off-grid farm where they raise chickens, ducks, goats and a pig, rescue dogs and cats, grow their own heirloom, non-gmo produce, create handmade crafts and home décor items, and strive to live a self-sustaining lifestyle while attempting to carve out that little piece of paradise where they can live free, breathe free and commune with nature.
Celtic Acres Farms is committed to healthy animals, a greener planet, recycling-reusing-repurposing, while maintaining our rural heritage and sharing it with others. We believe that we must all lead the way to a more sustainable future while never forgetting the things of the past. 

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