Preface: The Beginning

I’m not yet off grid. But I definitely want to be. The majority of these first posts will be more about what I’m hoping to accomplish over the years, rather than what I’ve accomplished or am accomplishing.

I’ve been dreaming out loud for a few years about “when we have some land,” and all the projects that would ensue. For the past five years, my wife and I lived in a subdivision with about a fourth of an acre, and for three years before that we lived in an apartment complex. Over time, my dreams felt heavy – like they were too unrealistic.

To be fair – I have a lot of unrealistic dreams. There’ve been a number of times that I’d email my wife with a question like “airfare to Europe is only $xxx right now – we could totally sell everything and live there for a couple of years…” or “what do think about both of us quitting our jobs and starting an interpretive dance company…”

Well – not interpretive dance, but you get the idea.

I was using her as a sounding board, but she was always afraid that I was determined for all of these random things to come to fruition. So, over the years, I’ve learned that I need to ease into ideas and let her process them. So, many of my ideas don’t even get to that stage; they end up on a notepad and never come to the surface again. Probably a good thing.

Around the middle of 2012, I started talking a lot more about “when we have some land.” Both of us grew up on farms so it’s been a dream that we share – and it didn’t produce the panic attacks that she associated with some of my other ideas. I would randomly look for homes with acreage, more or less just to see the kind of property that would be available when we eventually escaped from suburbia.

I found one in October or so – a foreclosure that was not yet on the market. I showed Holly and, to my surprise, she loved it.

We took a Sunday drive to the property, peered through the windows (it was unoccupied), walked the land, and even had a conversation with a friendly neighbor. We could absolutely see ourselves (and our future children) living there.

We definitely didn’t want to have two mortgages (we’re followers of Dave Ramsey’s plan), so before we knew it, we were frantically getting our house ready to sell. We finally got around to all the things that we said we’d do – fixing this, painting that, replacing the doo-hicky. We called my friend Jerry at Award Realty (if you’re looking for a real estate agent in middle TN, I can’t recommend him enough), and he told us we were ready to put it on the market.

Boom. The dream was happening.

Our house went on the market in December, and Jerry told us it would take a while, since the market is slow in the winter, but would pick up by April.

What? April? But… That house! It could be gone by April!

We prayed a lot that we’d sell our house quick, and that the foreclosure would come on the market soon after – if it was the Lord’s will that we get that house.

Well, the foreclosure came on the market in February.
Our house had not sold.
We were freaking out.

We justified to ourselves making an offer, but we set a limit that was well under the market value for the house. Again praying that God would basically make it obvious that He did (or didn’t) want us in the house.

After an emotional week, we did not get the house. Which is a good thing, because our house didn’t sell until the beginning of April. (It sold! Yes!!)

The closing date rolled around, and we were homeless.

We had friends who needed dog sitters for about a month an a half total, so we packed everything we owned into a storage unit, and hopped around between houses. We had no idea where we were going to end up, but we were prepared to jump on buying some property (while trying not to get too emotionally connected to anything).

On the day of the closing on our last home, I found a house and almost 7 acres for auction, so Holly and I drove by soon after. We had Jerry contact the auctioneer and got us in to the house before the auction, and he gave us a renovation plan (because it was… unique) were we to get it. He agreed to continue to act as our realtor, even though actions generally aren’t done through realtors, because we felt much better with him walking us through the process. (and because he had done a TON of work for us, and didn’t want to just skip out on paying him)

Long story short, we bought the house at auction with Jerry at our side – for under what we’d agreed we’d be willing to spend on it. After a whole of bunch of headaches with trying to secure a loan (because we wanted to roll a construction loan in with it at the start, and we only had 30 days), we closed on the home 2 days before our friend returned from Sweden and we no longer had a dog to dog sit!

Thus, the dream begins.

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