GAYS MILLS - While the whole world, myself included has been tangled up in the day-in-and-day-out stream of COVID-19 information, Chasca and I decided to add a bit more craziness into the mix.
Last week, we closed on a new-to-us, nearly 27-acre certifiable organic homestead property.
If that wasn’t enough excitement for a young family of four, we decided to add two new additions to the family as well. This week, we brought home two eight-week-old Australian Shepherds. A brother and sister named Sloppy Dog (Thatcher’s choice) and Queenie (my choice).
We didn’t exactly plan to buy a house (and certainly did not plan on acquiring two puppies) during a historic and often unsettling pandemic, but here we are.
We have been talking about owning a dream homestead with 20 acres and a pig for as long as we’ve been together. We both fancy the idea of hobby farming and having extra room to roam, but at least for the past few years never really had looked at the market seriously.
Even when we stumbled upon this house, it was almost by accident.
I had been wasting time scrolling through houses on a real estate website, when I had come across another home. A old farm house nestled on a ridge top above Viola, with 20 acres of rolling Driftless hillside.
I somehow managed to convince Chasca to go look at it with me one afternoon last fall.
From the outside it didn’t look half bad, as it had a big barn and a few outbuildings and some fenced barnyard. But when we got inside, we realized that the current owners, who were Amish, had done a lot of renovations to suit their needs. Without electricity, a toilet, or bath and shower, on top of its already dated look, we quickly decided it wasn’t the property for us.
I continued to casually scroll through surrounding real estate, sometimes taking the long way home to be able to drive by potential matches and get a better view of what they had to offer in reality versus the perfectly staged website photos.
And then one day, I found the home we purchased.
It had been on the market for a little while, but I had scrolled past it thinking it might have been a hair out of our price range. But as I continually looked at comparable properties I found that to get what we really dreamed of, we might have to lean out of our comfort zone just a little bit.
The more I looked through the pictures the more and more I fell in love with the little ranch-style home. I knew it had many features Chasca would love as well, like a freshly fenced pasture and deep woods teaming with wildlife and flora and fauna.
Once again, I somehow managed to get Chasca, who is quite a conservative decision maker, to view a second house. I knew right away after our brief tour on the snowy winter day that it was our home. Finding the right place is kind of like falling in love, you just know it’s meant to be.
After the tou.r we knew we’d have to move quickly. The spring buying season was right around the corner and we were smitten and didn’t want to lose out on an opportunity of a lifetime.
For a few weeks, it felt like a real whirlwind of phone calls, digital signatures and verifications. All the while, the world was starting to feel the heat from COVID-19.
As things began to change and social distancing was implemented, we realized that our dream of a big convoy of family and friends trucking across the Kickapoo Valley helping us move would not become a reality. When we did our final walk-through in our homemade cloth masks prior to the closing, we were unable to seal the deal with a handshake. All of my ‘Midwest Polite’ values felt personally insulted.
However, I am happy to report that we’ve managed to do it by ourselves. At only one point did we requite the assistance of a friend to move our couch, which lucky for social distancing guidelines is longer than six feet so carrying it end to end, with masks on didn’t feel too risky.
We are now in a new whirlwind of unpacking, piles of boxes, kids who want our attention and baby puppies who need to go outside every 15 minutes.It all feels a little chaotic, but I must admit, it’s a different kind of chaos than I’ve grown accustom to the last couple of weeks. It is a happy kind of chaos that is specifically reserved for a big new and exciting adventure, one that I couldn’t be more thrilled to go on.