Friday, May 16, 2008

"Tails" From The Farm Part 8

You can start reading part 1 here.

We finally made it to my brother's house. We got the animals in the barn and all squared away. Our new home for the time being was my brother's pop-up camper. All or at least most of our stuff was stored away in a storage unit. We had the bare necessities and that was it. It was still quite hot in Florida when we left. Ohio was warm, but we knew that those cooler Autumn temperatures were not long in coming. We had to find a house and get settled in before it grew too cold for the pop-up.

My brother and his wife had just had their 5th child. She was still a baby and her brother was only 17 months. I love babies and was thrilled to be able to hold and cuddle them often. I had not been around their youngest three as much as their older three. There was a good time of getting to know one another. We wanted to be a help and not a burden. There was one bathroom in their house. We had to make sure we did not wait until the last minute if we had to go. =) On Sunday mornings, it was quite a song and dance letting everyone have their turn in the bathroom. Our church started later than theirs, so other than just going to the bathroom, we would try and wait for the bathroom until after they left. We ate our meals in the house with them. I would take my turns at cooking. We had lots of fun while we stayed there. They had horses and Joshua and his cousin Carli would ride in the neighbors field. Joshua had only ridden a little bit, but he would fly on that horse. He enjoyed the time of having some siblings. Being an only child is not always fun.

My parents were up in Ohio at that time. They used to spend their summers up here. They came out the next day to see us. My Dad had been saving real estate magazines for us to look at. The first one I looked in had this house in a town called Big Prairie. It said Amish made house, 6 bedrooms, all oak kitchen, walk in pantry, barn on 5 acres. It was a really good price compared to other properties. However, when we looked on the map where Big Prairie was compared to Michael's work, we said NO WAY!!! It would be about a 2 hour drive. That house kept coming up. We started looking for property. We had a set amount we did not want to go above. The prices anywhere within one hour of his job were way out of sight. We wanted no less than 3 acres, but would like more. We wanted some sort of barn or shed already there. Our animals had come from Florida and this was mid September. They needed a shelter. We would also have liked some fencing, but were willing to put that up. Joshua and I would drive around through the day and look at the properties. Anything that was worth looking at, we made note of and would go back with Michael. We had a great real estate agent. We had tried a couple of different ones and they all basically told us to go fish when we told them what we wanted and the price we wanted to pay. She was the first to say she could help us. She gave me quite a print out of properties to look at. We looked and looked. Nothing seemed quite right. We were really not being picky or at least we weren't trying to be. So many of the houses needed a lot of work before winter and we were not sure we could get it done in time. Or there would be a 35 year old mobile on a bare 5 acres without a shed or anything on it and the price would be out of sight. We did find one house. I loved that house. It was a big old home with brick walls at least a foot thick. It was 175 years old. Johnny Appleseed had actually stopped there many times and had Bible study with the first owner. There were still a couple of apple trees up on a hill that he had planted. It had a spring house and a running spring. Both are things I had dreamed of for my homestead. The price was right and it came with 20 acres. The original property that was for sale was about an acre that the house was on and then the other 19 acres were across the road and had been sewn in crops, so there was no pasture. They were selling the whole huge farm though. We asked if we could get 20 acres around the house and include one of the old barns that was there. The man was a pastor and was very sweet. The farm was his wife's family farm. They agreed to that and we wrote up an offer. We found out by including the acreage around the house, that it also had to be approved by her sister. She did not like our first offer, so we countered and again she said no. We asked them what we could have and the pastor and his wife outlined an area that we agreed to. We wrote another offer. This time they told us that the sister was digging in her heels as she did not want her sister to sell the house they had grew up in. She wanted to still be able to go there for Thanksgiving, etc. So, they withdrew the property from the market. This had wasted about 6 weeks of our time. We were very discouraged. All of our stuff was still in storage. It had gotten too cold to stay in the pop-up, so were staying at my other brother's house. He had a little apartment on his big barn/garage. We would have to drive twice a day to go and take care of our animals. It was not that close either. I just wanted a home. I wanted to be able to make my bread and grind my wheat and all the other things I loved to do. I kept telling God, that I needed a home. I was so discouraged and just wanted a place that I could call my own. We were trying so hard to keep everything as nice as possible at my brothers. The carpet was lighter colored and there was no porch or overhang. There was a very small square of linoleum when you walked in the door. You had to take your shoes off before you could even shut the door. It seemed like there was lots of mud. I was so stressed we would mess something up. My attitude just went down and down.

My husband told me that Michael Card was coming to town and that he wanted us to go. We love his music, but I do not like big crowds and really did not want to go. He kept trying to talk me into it and I said no. He did something very unlike him. He bought tickets anyway. I could not believe it. I really didn’t want to go. Then the night of the concert came and I really didn't feel too hot. My stomach was unsettled and I had a headache. Michael, again very unlike himself, told me that I WAS going. It was a divine appointment. If you ever get to see Michael Card in concert, GO, it is great. It is like he is sitting across the coffee table talking to you and every once in awhile, he sings a song. There is no showiness at all. Everything he said that night or sang spoke to my heart. I started crying from the very beginning. He brought up things that ministered to old hurts. Some of the things he said were things I wanted to share with Cordelia Rose. I was crying for her and for me. Then it came to the last song of the concert. He looked out at the audience and said, “There is someone here tonight that is saying they need a home. God wants you to know that He will be your home.” He then sang that song...

"I Will Bring You Home"

Though you are homeless
Though you're alone
I will be your home

Whatever's the matter
Whatever's been done
I will be your home

I will be your home
I will be your home
In this fearful fallen place
I will be your home

When time reaches fullness
When I move my hand
I will bring you home

Home to your own place
In a beautiful land
I will bring you home

I will bring you home
I will bring you home
From this fearful fallen place
I will bring you home
I will bring you home

I sat there and just sobbed. That was a direct word to me from my Lord. I made a new commitment to just wait and trust Him in looking for a home. He would be my home until He brought me an earthly one.

There was a bread store called Great Harvest in a nearby town. They sold bread that was made from freshly ground wheat. We were so hungry for real bread and we were thankful to find a place to purchase it. My mill to grind the wheat and everything else I would use was in a storage unit that was piled high with boxes. God provided for us through this store. We would drive down and get 3 loaves. They were big round loaves and they were often still warm from the oven. We would take out one loaf and just start pulling off hunks. It would be almost gone by the time we would get back home.

It had started to get really cold and any warm clothing we had was in storage. We had no idea it would take us this long to find a house, so we had not prepared for cold weather. We just kept out the fewest amount of things to get by. Most of my dresses were cotton and thin. Even with a slip on, I was getting very chilly. I did not have one warm outfit. I really didn’t want to go out and buy a bunch of stuff, because I already had it, but just couldn’t get to it. I prayed and asked the Lord for some warmer clothing. The next day I got a package in the mail from my dear sweet Mother-In-Love. It was a warm knit jumper with snowmen on the front and a pair of stirrup pants to wear under it. Again, God provided. He had provided before I even asked, since it would take more than a day for it to have been mailed to me. He is so faithful.

We called the real estate agent and asked her if there were any new properties to look at. She told me that there wasn’t, but there was still that house up in Big Prairie. I told her that I would talk to Michael. This was already the end of November and we needed to do something. Michael told me to set up an appointment to see the house. He was going to time how long it took us to get up there. The house was empty and had been empty since March. Have you ever gone in an unheated building in the winter? It seemed colder in the house than it did outside and it was a bitter cold day. The house was an Amish, non-electric house. It was GORGEOUS!!! I fell in love with it right away. I did not say that out loud though. I did not want to put any pressure on Michael. It was a lot bigger than we needed as well. It had 6 bedrooms and there were 3 of us. It was in the right price range ( a bit higher) and there was a barn and a pasture. It did not have any fencing, but we were willing to put that up. The setting was beautiful and the area around was so picturesque and had lots of hills. Before we left, the realtor that was listing the place told us that he could set up an appointment if we liked to talk to the Amish man who owned the house. We left and Michael timed it back to my one brother’s house that would be on his route if he drove to work from this new house. He knew how long it had taken him to go to work from there. We got to my brother’s house and he looked at his watch. He said… NO WAY!!! It would take him 1.75 to 2 hours one way to work. So, we were back at ground zero. We asked again about new properties, but there were none.

One day out of the blue, Michael asked me to set up an appointment to see that house again with the Amish man. So, I did. We met Reuben at the house and explained how everything worked. The hot water was coal fired. The coal fire heated the water in the hot water heater. It did not have a check valve however. He said that you had to pay attention and make sure you used the water you heated, or you could have a problem. The house did have running water. It was all drained out when we were there since it was empty and the temperatures were freezing. To have the running water, you had to start a big diesel engine out by the barn. It would build up pressure in a pressure tank to push the water through. You needed to do this about once a day. This particular little Amish parish (each little group has their own church and their own rules) would only allow you to have 2 things in the bathroom. Most of them chose to have a toilet and a bathtub. The sink was in the hall outside the bathroom. In some ways this was handy. If someone was in the bathroom, you could still brush your teeth or wash your hands. It was also in a little back hallway that led to the back door. On the wall between the sink and the door were 2 levels of pegs for coats. The children could all come in the back way, hang up their coats and wash their hands.

To be continued…


Peggy said...

I am so loving these stories of your life!! Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing these little tid bits of your life!

The Sisters said...

We love reading these "Tails From The Farm".Can't wait to hear more!

~Have a great weekend!

Unknown said...

I love reading about your life~
Blessings, Lisa

Tipper said...

Another great part of the story! Can't wait to see what happens with the house.