Tuesday, February 14, 2017

An Unusual Valentine Love Story

Hello and welcome. It's been a very long time since I've blogged and I cannot promise I will be consistent here. I feel if I am honest upfront, there will be no expectations and therefore no disappointments. On our journey through this adventure and renovation, Byron and I have come up with our own sort of motto to label any sort of shortcoming we face. "It's the farm." We've even gotten fancy and shortened it to ITF. If we get really fancy (duh, sounds right up my alley) we can even hashtag it. #ITF. There you go. I fully plan to employ that motto with this blog as well. So, if I go missing for weeks, months without a post...you know, #ITF.

For those that know me through my other neglected blogs you can skip on down a few paragraphs. For those that are new, here we go.

I am Amy and I am married to Byron and we have 2 kids, 1 dog and a cat (not pictured, we all wanted to live through that photo session). Most of the blogging will be done by me. I am not an English major. I love to read, but writing is not my specialty so don't expect perfection here. Remember...ITF. I do however love to tell a story so get comfortable as I am also very detail-oriented. I am a pediatric nurse by trade, although I am not currently practicing (with the exception of what my children get themselves into). I am also a pattern designer for children's clothing. I love to sew and have recently found an addiction for quilting. Byron is an otorhinolaryngologist (or ENT for short), clearly the over-acheiver of the family. 

With that background, it is totally obvious why we bought acres upon acres of land in the middle of nowhere for a farm. Right? 

Totally obvious. Especially when I add in the part that I grew up in the city (well, one of the islands of Savannah) have only ever had animals as pets and have no clue how to cut grass. Clearly I am experienced and this is just the sort of thing I should undertake. (insert sarcasm here)

But what if I told you my husband grew up in the country? What if I told you he's been wanting a big piece of property for as long as I've known him? Maybe even add in the fact that he loves to hunt? Combine that with my hermit heart and my constant dreams of wanting to sort of fall off the grid. Add in two old-timer parents who want their children playing outside getting dirty and growing up knowing the woods and all the treasures they may hold. Maybe the last factor to consider is that both Byron and I love nothing more than looking a project that is way over our heads dead in the eye and saying, "We've got this. We can do this." If you think about those aspects, then maybe, just maybe it becomes a little more obvious of why we are all here.

Let's back this train up over a year. I cannot tell you how much time Byron spent looking online for the perfect piece of property. Unlike house hunting, we didn't have too many "must haves" so one would think it would have been a lot easier than it was. Since I knew nothing of land over an acre, Byron was in the driver's seat this time. He wanted acreage with forest, some source of water that was located near by and not too expensive. All I wanted was a structure that we could live in (my sanity cannot handle building a house) and some water (and lots and lots and lots of cows and goats and maybe a donkey or two that would become my friends). Easy as pie, right? Wrong. The biggest factor we faced was location and price. The counties surrounding our home have gold built into the dirt and therefore prices are out of control. Too many times we found ourselves getting excited about a prospect only to learn it wouldn't work or we may have to draw straws to see which child we had to sell to buy it. So, honestly (don't tell Byron) I had kind of given up. And after some time, Byron was about to as well. Until one Sunday night...

The kids were already in bed and I was laying in mine reading a book with a glass of wine. Byron was in the den watching one of his "shoot 'em up" shows (I am a total ninny and cannot watch or listen to any sort of show or movie that has violence since I became a mother) and he came into the bedroom lit up like a Christmas tree and told me he found it. He was so excited he could hardly speak. It was literally the last property he was allowing himself to look at before shutting down his Safari and just being done with it all forever. The very last property he ever laid eyes on in a search just so happens to be the very property we now call our happy place. Was it fate? Who knows, but I have to believe it was at some point meant to be after all of the hoops we jumped through to get there.  He handed me his phone with sparkling eyes and a smile so big I was almost afraid of what I may see. Well, I saw acreage.

I saw tons of forest and I saw water (a stream, not pictured). 

And then I saw what pulled me in...a river. 

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that would be an option! The summer before we kayaked as a family down 2 of the rivers in the area and I fell head over and even told Byron what I would give for a place on one of the rivers one day. As my heart began to pitter-patter, I continued to click through images of this place. And then another that made me pause...and old house. It is no secret my affair with an old house. I am hopeless and powerless when it comes to anything built before 1950. Granted, this little country house had me at hello, but hadn't completely knocked my socks off yet with it's crumbling siding and aluminum storm door.

 At this point, I started to come down from that 9th cloud and scrolled down in the description waiting to read that this perfect spot was a/ too far away and b/ too expensive. But all I found was a price. And while on the top end, it was doable with all the other items this piece of land had going for it. But there was no mention of address, only this aerial. 

There was no way to tell where in the world this happy place was located after hours on a Sunday night. I don't think either of us slept very well that night. We had too much excitement in our heads. One would think a call to the agent would have been Byron's first task early Monday morning but I mentioned before he is the overachiever and instead he had some tonsils to work on and some parotid glands to wrestle. Later that night, I joined him on the couch in the den and got to work with google and the few details I had of this place. After about 45 minutes of searching/stalking, I hit the jackpot. I found an address. I told Byron and after he admitted how afraid he was of my internet sleuthing skills he told me to map it. I almost didn't want to see the results. I had allowed myself to fall in love with this place on the internet almost with the knowledge that it was going to be too far away. But, it wasn't. It was 30 miles from our house. Things got serious then...

And crazy. And then even when we thought it couldn't possibly get any crazier, it did. Spoiler alert: we got the property and we have closed and it is now ours, but boy oh boy at what it took to get there. A few times down the road I honestly thought it wasn't going to happen. Never say never, but never in my life have I been involved in more of an ordeal of a real estate transaction. But before I get into all of that (some of which I feel I have stored in an area of my brain better left to being locked up) let me tell you about a love story. Here is when you learn about the title of this post. Neither Byron or I are much for Valentine's Day. But this is the first year to me that the 14th of February has meant a little more than red hearts and chocolates.

Byron contacted the agent and the agent told him all about the property and how wonderful it was and how beautiful it was and all of that jive. Byron was all but frothing at the mouth. But then the agent dropped what he thought would probably be the deal-breaking bomb. He said, "I have had this property listed for almost 4 years and no one has wanted to even get close to it as a purchase because of what a nightmare of a deal it is going to be." Little did he know who he was talking to. Dearest agent, while most people would run the other way with tails tucked...those few words to Byron and I are music to our ears. Doing things the easy way is so very uncharacteristic of us both. Give us a challenge, then give us the magic words...you probably can't/don't want to do this. And just like that...we have our Type A pants pulled up and are ready to go. 

We set a date to meet the agent at the property. It was Valentine's Day and at the time the irony was lost on me because I was too busy making googly eyes at the river. Walking through the woods, finding a beautiful, bubbling stream with small waterfall that we didn't know existed, listening to the river run over the shoals and just being out in open air in the middle of nowhere with nothing but the sound of nature. We walked and walked and walked for what seemed like days in the woods. When we finished up the walk of the property (although I seriously don't even think we have covered half of it still) we met on the drive in front of that little country house and honestly, I don't remember what Byron and the agent talked about. All I heard was the wind and the birds. All I saw were future family baseball and kickball games in the pastures, afternoons spent doing nothing but watching the birds while swinging on a swing hung in one of the two pecan trees by the house. I was a goner. Who knew, a girl that had never lived on more than an acre was head over on Valentine's Day with a place down in the boondocks. Looking at Byron I quickly realized he was a goner too. 

But then, the deal was sealed upon walking inside. From the looks of this, you may wonder why in the world I didn't just walk back out and say forget it.

I can tell you why. An old house gets me. An old house with a story puts me over the edge. And this sweet little place had a story and I am so very fortunate to be able to have spoken with the man that built the house with his brothers and dad and lived in it his entire life. Those stories are a whole other post in itself set for a day I can share it all and have you fall head over for a little old country house too. 

I think that's about it for today, a small little intro into our new adventure and a look at the beginning of our love story with the farm. In some ways it feels like an eternity since we drove up to this place just a year ago today. In others it feels like yesterday. I know this for sure, I can honestly say I have enjoyed this sweet little place in the middle of nowhere so much more than I could have ever imagined. Byron always jokes that one day he's going to come home from work and find that I've moved all of our stuff to the farm. While I am so very tempted, I am also head over for my sweet little old house in Athens so I think he is safe for quite a while. 


  1. Love love love!!! Thank you for writing this. I love it and feel like I just escaped to the farm with you. xoxo

  2. How wonderful! Looking forward to reading more! Do you think there was something in the water fountains at SVA that makes us city girls go so googly eyes over country spaces? I'm headed out to Sweet Olive Farm later and will try to sneak you and Lucy home one of the alpacas.

  3. Oh, this was a wonderful, dreamy read. You're one gifted storyteller, my friend. What's so exciting is this isn't fiction. Someday I'll get to see your little slice of perfection with my own eyes. I can't wait to read more.