A year ago tomorrow, the farm became ours.
Late in the afternoon on Friday, March 2, 2012, we finally got word that the deal had closed. We immediately drove to our dream property, talking excitedly about our plans for the next week and everything we had to do before we moved in.
It had been a long search for the perfect property. The two-month closing had been a little uncertain, as the sellers were in a very difficult situation and it was not a pleasant sale for them.
The sun was going down as we turned into the driveway, and we could see a fire burning at the top near the house. Ummmm, who’s having a campfire at our farm? It’s ours now.
It turned out that one of the sellers was there with his friend reminiscing. We chatted for a little while, and then as the rain started to fall, they went on their way, and we went into the house.
Dream house it was not. The heat was still turned way down, possessions and garbage left by the previous owners littered every room, lights were burnt out. It was cold and dim and dirty.
But this is what we had expected. This is how we saw the house for the first time at the beginning of January, and this is what it had looked like every time we’d come back. Now it was ours–all of it. We rolled up our sleeves, tugged on our gloves and got to work.
My priority was the fridge, because we had both of our families coming the next day to help with the clean out and we needed to feed them. Unfortunately, along with having next to no heat, we had absolutely no hot water. Cleaning a cold sticky filthy fridge was a slow process.
Matt started picking up cardboard, paper and anything else that was burnable and carrying it out to the still smouldering fire. Eventually, he had a roaring blaze going, even in the pouring rain.
We stayed for hours, finally heading back to the city near midnight. The next morning, we were back–this time with a kettle and helping hands.
When my mother walked into the house, the first words out of her mouth were, “Oh, Julia.” The tone was not happy or congratulatory. Her lips firmed into a thin line–you know the look–and she said, “Where do you want me to start.” I assigned her to our bedroom, where the closet was still full of the previous owner’s clothes–eight garbage bags worth.
My sister got another bedroom. Matt’s mom–who cleaned the bathrooms at our first house when we moved in–went to work on the main bathroom. My brother replaced light bulbs and washed the fixtures. Matt’s Dad headed out to the barn. The seller and his friend returned with pick-up trucks and trailers–told you it was a weird situation–and they, along with Matt, my Dad and me, went to work clearing out the basement. Three trucks and trailers fully loaded went to the dump that first day.
A year later, the clean out and clean up continues in a few spots. We still have campfires every so often.
But the best part is that the novelty has not yet worn off. Thinking we want to live in the country, have a large property and DIY our own house is one thing. Actually doing it is another.
Now, a year into it all, I couldn’t imagine us anywhere else. It feels exactly right, but at the same time it still feels very new. I am amazed that it’s already been a year.