January on The Farm: Moving Memories

Today marks our 4th year anniversary here at the farmhouse. It’s been pouring buckets today, which reminded me of our not-so-smooth move here in 2012. We had been talking about moving to the country since before Ella was born, but in a “wouldn’t-that-be-nice” kind of way. By 2006, I knew as much as I loved our home on Humboldt Street I really wanted the kids to have the room to roam I had growing up—and I wanted it back too.

But we loved our little downtown Victorian, a block away from the girls’ school with dedicated teachers and wonderful families. We walked downtown all the time, regulars at Peet’s and frequenters of the farmer’s market. We did so much work on the house, and we all deeply loved our home. But my mind was always painting a picture of what living in the country would be like. By fall 2006 we were actively looking at and putting offers on homes, and by 2011, after five years of being continually beat-out by other offers, a pretty funky looking home came on the market. There was stuff everywhere. And I mean everywhere. And by stuff, I mean satellite dishes, empty and filled cargo containers, broken equipment, tons of everything, everywhere. It was overwhelming, and while you would think that might mean it wouldn't be a hot property--two days on the market and it already was in contract. And then it wasn’t—the first offer fell through that first week. We scrambled and they accepted our offer. Finally! We took the kids to go see it, and I think they thought we had lost our marbles. They couldn’t walk around outside because of all the junk, and inside overflowed with boxes and half finished projects. Looking back, I’m actually surprised the tears didn’t come out that day.

Instead they came out in full force on moving day. It was so stormy we just kept stacking the boxes in the living room to get everything inside, then flopped our mattress in the middle, where my little Millie, looking at the orange carpet that was just floated over the subfloor (never nailed in with inches of dirt between the carpet and subfloor), the soot filled ceiling and cobwebs everywhere, burst into tears. Ella followed suit and Tom came back with takeout to see the three of us miserable on the mattress. The girls miserable from the move, and I had a sinking feeling that we had made a huge mistake.

The storm passed the next day and so did that sinking feeling for the most part. Most of the outside junk had been taken away by the close of escrow, and so the girls put on rainboots and headed out to explore. I spent most my childhood playing in our goat yard, so to catch a glimpse of the girls running around, it felt like it would be okay, especially once we got that rid of that orange carpet.

Four years later it’s still a work in progress. Aside from the initial septic work, the fireplace wall and the countertops, it’s been completely a DIY effort. Some days it feels like we’ve loads still to do (we do), but it has been such a rewarding project fixing up this house. Here are some photos of what it looked like right before moving in.

If you are like me and enjoy "before and after" pictures, more before pictures can be found here. As for the "afters," some rooms, mainly the kitchen and living room, are pretty close, and the other rooms are more at a "lots-of-progress" and "good-enough-until-the-kids-go-to-college" stage. This year I’m hoping to focus on all those little things we meant to do but would fall to the wayside when the next big project was started. It’s time for finishing touches and lots of organizing. I'm doing the January Cure on Apartment Therapy and paying extra attention to the kitchen this month and will be posting piccies of the kitchen now soon.

There will always be something that needs doing around here, but that’s okay. I look around and in addition to lots of projects and progress we have four years of family memories here— and it really feels like home.

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