The right time

For so long we’ve been dreaming about buying land and becoming country people. We are so close. So, so close.

Tonight I was pondering this whole process and it reminded me of wondering, when I was hugely pregnant and antsy to go into labor, when the right time was to leave the house and go to the birth center. It’s not a perfect analogy, but in both cases, you don’t know when it’s time to go until it’s time to go. Then you know. But you have to be ready to go for a good long time before it’s time to go, so that when it’s time to go you’re not caught unawares.

To that end, we are both finding ways every day to improve ourselves. My current category of Improve Thyself is in physical fitness. I’m a pretty strong person, but I can be stronger. And I like having visible muscles. Now my girls and I have weights we work out with (well, ok, the girls make the kettlebells race around the floor making zooming car noises). Ellie tells me that we are getting stronger so we can have a farm.

Oh I have to write this down. For the longest time, Andrew and I have talked and talked about our farm. We have made a game of mentioning something awesome, and then saying, “Can we have that on our farm?” When Andrew and I did it to each other, it was mostly to introduce the girls to the things we plan to have on our farm. Things like a playhouse for the girls, chickens, a tractor, cows, a big garden, etc. Ellie’s taken this to a new level. One day we were driving and went past a construction site. I heard the cutest little voice from the back seat. “Can we have a construction site at our farm??” And, well, the answer was yes! Of course! We will be building a house, so yes! Now when she thinks of fun things, she asks if we can have them on our farm. Some things I can think of are: a train, a school bus, a roller coaster, kitties, lots of dogs, and probably many more I can’t remember now. Ah, this is fun. I’m so glad the girls will grow up as country kids. What a full life it will be.

Farm home

For the longest time, Andrew and I were at odds about what kind of home to build on our farm land. The main thing that is important to us is being able to build it quickly. We are in an apartment right now in a fairly expensive part of the DFW metroplex. We LOVE this area and feel very privileged to be able to live here, but paying rent and paying on the loan for the property at the same time is a lot. So once we have the property, we want to be able to settle there quickly.

We were aware of two options: mobile homes and travel trailers. I leaned more toward a mobile home. They are bigger for the price you pay, they’re pretty easy to get set up, and you can settle in one for a while. I shared a mobile home with a roommate when I was in grad school and it was a really good experience. Andrew wasn’t as big a fan of a mobile home, mainly because they’re badly built and require a lot of maintenance. And buying a new one isn’t too far off building a small, decent home in terms of price.

Andrew liked the idea of buying and living in a travel trailer. To him, you could get something pretty nice for the money, and have it to use for travel once you’re done living in it. I was pretty firmly opposed to the idea because two small children plus me in a travel trailer all day sounds awful. And the kitchens are just terrible. They’re designed for temporary living, and the idea was to keep us uncomfortable in the living space so that we would be motivated to build ourselves a farm home. It definitely would have worked! I would have been awfully uncomfortable in such a small space.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Andrew and I had different opinions about the matter, but we are that couple that just never fights. We disagreed on which kind of house we’d want to put on the land, but we weren’t putting a lot of energy into it. Just kind of waiting for the right compromise to show itself. And it did! We are putting a steel building on our land.

You’re probably familiar with steel buildings, but in the commercial sector more than the residential. Businesses use them as sheds, farms use them as barns, and churches will sometimes use them for their services. We’d thrown around the idea of getting a pretty big one to use as a tractor shed/shop/storage barn. Then Andrew found this picture:

Steel house

Awfully pretty for a steel building, eh? And, even better, steel buildings are fairly¬†cheap. And really well made. And can be very well insulated – super important for Texas. Through some research, bargaining, and a Black Friday special, we have put our deposit down on a 40×32 steel building that we will end up getting for nearly half price. We will get the building envelope; that is, the walls and roof, and the engineering specs to use for building inspections. Andrew is doing most of the legwork for this portion of the farm project. He got the awesome deal and has been working hard on drafting the plans for the house while, you know, building a small business, being a great daddy, and being all around awesome. He has been learning so much about building a home, specifically in Texas, and has lots of great thoughts about windows and doors and spray foam insulation and basements. I love that our dream is one significant step closer to reality!