|9 years ago---from our youngest son's baby book|
Nine years ago today our suburban family purchased and moved into this 1880s farmhouse on the side of a mountain. This is the longest my husband and I have ever lived in one place during our adult lives. I still remember that magical day when he and our 13 year old son (now 22 and engaged!) drove the moving truck with most of our belongings, while I arrived in the minivan with 2 preschoolers, a toddler, and our 2 month old baby boy. I had to get there first to open the doors for the furniture movers to bring our new living room set and a king size mattress up a flight and a half of stairs. Fortunately, the weather was beautiful---just like it is today---and the children ran around this large property to their heart's content. I felt as if I had arrived in our own private paradise. I loved the smell of the wide pine floors, the original oak doors, and even the slightly musty smell of the very rustic cellar. The split staircase, high ceilings, and colonial fixtures made me feel like I was going back in time to a quiet, simpler life. The wide open space around our house seemed endless at the time, and the acres of woods and creek bordering our property felt like they were all ours. With the only visible neighbors being old order Amish, you could almost believe you were back in 1850, until the satellite TV van pulled up and attempted to install a dish to our roof.
That first night after we put our exhausted little ones to bed, my husband and I stood outside and looked up into the black night sky full of brilliant stars. There were no street lamps, no cars, no sounds except for the neighbor's cow bawling occasionally. The most awesome sense of peace overwhelmed me, and I couldn't imagine ever getting tired of this place. I even said I never thought I would have to go on vacation again because everything I could ever want was right here!
While I am now aware of the realities of owning a small farm, an old drafty farmhouse, and living on the side of a mountain with no city amenities and being a good thirty minutes from just about everything, I can still say that moving into this house was one of the biggest blessings we have ever received. Living here brought all of our extended family together far more often than ever before. It was here that we started a homestead, built a small farm with our own hands, and learned how to be somewhat self-sufficient. Being here, away from the malls, the restaurants, and just about anything that costs money, made it so much easier to reduce debt and allow my husband to work fewer hours away from us. It was here that we did almost all of our homeschooling and childrearing of our youngest five. And it was here that we learned how to rely on faith to get us through difficult times.
Although the farmhouse is showing its age and needs continuous upkeep, it also now reveals signs of a family who lived in it well. The pine floors in the kitchen are scratched from kitchen chairs being moved dozens of times a day by family members eating and doing school work and painting pictures at our nine foot table. Bikes, bats, and homemade bows and arrows adorn the lower yard. Branches have broken off trees from boys climbing up and down them over and over again. The porches always contain work boots, cats (and the remains of the vermin they've caught), harvested vegetables, and nature collections from the latest hike in the woods. There are walls decorated with "artwork" from our youngest daughter that can still be seen under three coats of paint. This is a house that has become well-lived-in, but it now holds stories of our life here as a family.
|9 years later---well worn but well loved|
So today I remember with nostalgia the feelings of hope, excitement, and potential when we stepped foot on this property nine years ago today and called it our own. It continues to be that promising for me as I look forward to experiencing middle age and old age in this farmhouse with my husband. I can't wait to be the grandmother who lives over the river and through the woods as grown children return with their little ones at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is here that I hope to share this natural retreat with friends and family through outdoor farm dinners, barbecues and pool parties, and maybe even a wedding reception some day. I hope to live long enough to see what mark our family has left on this farmhouse fifty years from now.