Sometimes the Lord chooses to answer our desperate cries quickly! Man, oh man, did this happen fast!
In the context of The Elliott Homestead, this is huge news! And great news.
Ya'll. We bought a farm.
Do you like how before I drop a bomb I always say ‘y'all'? I blame it on my Southern husband.
I'm only going to share this picture of the farm until the sale is final. Because, for now, it's someone else's property and they don't know that I'm a lunatic blogger that likes to broadcast my life to the world wide web and as much as I enjoy this, they might not enjoy having their bathroom made public to such. Over and out.
The farm is located about a mile and a half down the road from us – off a little hidden gravel driveway that we've driven by a thousand times without noticing. Tucked back into the hillside, surrounded by cherry orchards, it's invisible to most any neighbors. I never even knew it was there until I passed the crooked ‘For Sale' sign stuck out on the road a few weeks back.
Curiosity got the best of me and I took a peek. It was total love at first site. Because I'm a dreamer. And I see potential. Not what is – but what could be!
This farm isn't necessary what you think of when you think of farmhouse. And if the plastic decking and hot tub set by the front door doesn't throw you, perhaps the stucco or mismatched windows will. Half the house was built as a homestead back in 1909 – the second half was built sometime in the 1970s.
Yes, there's shag carpet involved.
But beneath the old paint, white carpeted dining room, and dated landscaping, there are bones. Potential. A house I completely fell in love with. Despite the one bathroom (roughly the size of a closet) and the bedrooms (roughly the size of a bed). One bathroom. Teeny bedrooms. Outdated everything.
The living spaces are gigantic! 6 bay windows look out over the orchards, the mountains, a pond, and the Columbia River valley. A brick wood burning fireplace is nestled into the living room. The dining room connects the kitchen and the living room and is beautifully designed for family meals and fellowship. Plenty of room for the 9 foot farm table we're currently building (and more!). The dining room also has slider doors that walk out onto the deck (which we'll remove and replace with a French courtyard).
The kitchen, carpeted and faux oak as it may be, has windows looking out on the garden area (or what will be the garden area), the cow pasture, and the courtyard. It's got narrow stairs that wind down into a root cellar – a real root cellar! – designed for storying home canned goods and root vegetables. And perhaps a few fermenting buckets of home brew or such.
Downstairs is a gigantic daylight basement, currently boasting a 70's style carpeted bar (par-tay!), that will be converted into all-things-farm-kids. Beds, homeschool stations, craft tables, and noisy toys will make their home here. Another wood burning fireplace will serve us well on long winter days.
And outside the home? Well that's where it gets really exciting!
Though the plot of land is less than we have now, just over 2.25 acres, it's flat – useable – and irrigated. Yes please! As thankful as we've been for our 5 acres, because of our mountainous region, we haven't been able to utilize much of it for animals or garden. Not to mention it's super hard for my pregnant ‘ol self to walk up and down and up and down and up and down the hills. There's already green, established pasture land for Cecilia and Lyle (the new heifer we'll pick up this Spring and Sal's son that we're raising for beef). There's another pasture across the driveway, about an acre or so, that is already established as well – perfect for keeping a close, watchful eye on our sheep while they graze. Even the chickens, geese, turkeys, and pigs will have a pastured home, pending lots of fence building and creativity. There is room for all at the inn!
And while it's covered in grass right now, a gigantic plot sits next to the house in the sun, begging to be tilled up for the kitchen garden.
2016 will not be a year of rest for the Elliotts. 2016 will be a year in which we move to our new farm, work our fingers to bloody stumps, and (oh, by the way!) have a new baby. But this time, you see, we get to stay. The farm and the work will be ours.
Much of our homestead will be coming with us to the new farm. Naturally, all the animals. But also the fencing, garden gates, and even the potager plants (which we have permission to come back and dig up in the spring when there's not a foot of snow on the ground). I simply can't believe it was a waste, these past few years on a rented farm on which we did soooo much work. Because we're not leaving empty handed. We've gained a huge amount of knowledge since we started farming.
We now know how to milk a cow.
We know how to design and plant a potager.
And so much more.
All of this foundational work and knowledge will journey with us to the new farm.
To say it is going to be a lot of work is a gross understatement. The amount of work ahead of us makes me want to either beat my chest and rage forward with a sword and a battle cry… or wither up into fetal position and hide under my bed.
Today it's the battle yell. So it's a good day.
So this year, instead of putting up a Christmas tree, cozying up the home with boughs of pine and decorations, we're packing. Stacks of boxes already line the walls. Georgia told me the house looks ‘ugly and uncozy'. So that's somethin'. Periods of transition can be downright uncomfortable, can't they? But I'm still holding onto our dream. In order to grow – we've got to get uncomfortable, baby.
I'll sleep when I'm 70. For now, I must work!
I've commissioned my brother-in-law to come and stay with us for the month of February to help Stu get fences and gates put into place. And help build the garden bed, naturally. So most of my time will be dedicated to bossing others around, I mean, directing their tasks, and the very first order of business – which is gutting the kitchen.
Girlfriend can't be cooking in a kitchen with carpet. That just ain't gunna happen. Especially when there are cookbook photographs to be taken!
Oh ya. Let's not forget about that little project – which you can now PREORDER!
I'm so thankful to be able to take you on this journey with me, my friends. You've been with our family from our first garden plots, to Alabama, back to another Washington homestead, and now to our very own farm. WE BOUGHT A FARM!
I can't WAIT to share it all with you!