Sunday, July 26, 2009

A home that we love!

Charlie and I have been looking for a home lately and I think we have already found one that we want.  Let me give you a tour...
It is a sturdy 1500 sq ft home with a basement built in 1930 on 3.5 acres.  It is located between farmer's fields and is definitely rural - but only a mile or 2 from the school and a couple of minutes to the grocery store/bank/gas station in a nice little town.  
Here is the living room.  You can see through to the dining room and behind that the kitchen.  Our realtor is on the ground here looking under the carpet...
... and we found beautiful wood floors.  They are already finished and we would pull out the carpet and tacks and go back to wood.  It looks like the same floors are throughout the upper level too.
It would come with appliance which is a nice feature for us because we don't have any yet.
This is the other side of the kitchen -- kind of a computer station.  I'd eventually (5-10 year plan?) remodel the kitchen, but for now we think it will work fine.
This is the view out the front door to the left.  It has a cute porch and just the right ratio of shade/sun.
This is the view to the right.  They have already tilled up a nice area for a garden.  Further back on the property -- behind the garden is a barn.
It is a large barn in relatively good condition (not about to fall down like most old barns I see).
The back half of the property is devoted to 4 fenced in areas they have used to pasture animals.  It also has a newer stable with 3 very nice stalls and a tack area.  We could either rent it out to someone to board their horses, or I could use it for goats, alpacas, whatever.  How cool is that?
Here is an exterior view of the stable and the current resident of the front pasture.

The home is a little more than we wanted to spend, but it really has a lot of possibilities -- and I think it would be easy to re-sell if we had to.  It needs a little work in some places, but what house doesn't have stuff that needs to be done?  The house has 5 bedrooms!!!  One would be Charlie's "Michigan room" - where he can decorate the room with his favorite sports teams stuff and watch the game with his buddies.  I would take over one room for my crafts and projects.  One would become a guest room -- and hopefully someday a child's bedroom.  That leaves one to spare -- we daydreamed of converting it to an upstairs bathroom/laundry -- or an office.  The house has a very nice garage, and a newer room that was added to connect the garage to the house.  It would be a perfect spot to add a small wood stove for supplemental heat.  
Anyway, you can see we have big plans for the place and we aren't even sure we are able to buy it.  We have invited our parents to see it with us as we go through again next weekend.  We want to get opinions and more experienced eyes  when it comes to home buying.  We need to taste the water (it has well/septic) and check out some little details.  If all goes well next weekend and the home hasn't sold (I'd be crushed) then we will put in an offer and work on getting an inspection.    
It feels like the right one.  If it doesn't sell between now and next weekend, it may very well end up ours.  How exciting!  Then this blog would be filled with all the adventures of owning and fixing up a home and the garden/livestock that we will eventually have. 
In the mean time, please leave me comments on what you think of the home.  Do you have any advice for first-time home buyers?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mom's flower garden

As I mentioned on my previous post, I spent some time with my family this week.  I wanted to show a few photos of my mom's flowers.  Her garden is beautiful!  See that little bee on the Black Eyed Susan?  It's legs are covered in pollen -- nature sure is interesting.

Down on the Farm

This week I had a vacation from work.  It was a nice break but it flew by quickly!  On Tuesday I headed over to Grand Rapids to visit my family and friends.  I was able to spend time with my friend D. talking and watching a movie.  It was very good to see my family -- as always.  And I also spent some time at the Quiggle Farm.  It is a farm that my good friends are living on this summer.  It is an interesting place with two families (6 kids) and many visitors (some with even more kids).  Let me introduce you:
This is Rich...

and Jen...

Rosie...and Daisy (in this photo she had been playing in a tub of water - helping to wash the dishes, but decided to wash herself also).

Here are Foxy and Sunday, the newest additions to the farm.

Here is Brian and Jenna's newest addition to their family.  Isn't she just the sweetest?

Also residing on the farm are chickens and turkeys...

And sheep.
Things can get a little crazy on the farm with some many people and critters (and mosquitos) around, but they are doing amazing things on the farm.  They are working on self sufficiency and living simply.  They are a community of like-minded people -- and I happen to share their beliefs as well.  I guess that kinda makes me a part of their community -- and that is a good feeling.  Thanks guys, I had fun!  I can't wait to come back and visit again!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


The farm is green and vibrant lately.
Onions and garlic...
Chickens that love my overgrown lettuce...
Ahhh, fast internet.  It sure does make blogging easier.  

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Quick garden update

Here are a couple of recent photos from my garden.  I will add more later this week when I get access to a faster internet connection.  Mine is slow and frustrating.  I guess that is the price we pay for living in the country.
Anyway, here are my first zucchini...

I decided to try using natural supports for my pole beans this year.  The indians used corn to stake up their beans -- but I'm not growing my own corn this year.  The plot that Uncle Dave let me use in the garden this year was were the sunflower patch was last year.  I had a row of volunteer sunflowers already popping up from last years seeds (the ones the birds missed).  They were about 6 inches tall when I planted the pole beans.  The sunflowers took off quickly and I was worried that the beans might not get enough water/nutrients once they sprouted.  So far it appears that I have nothing to worry about.  This is a photo of how the beans are wrapping around the sunflowers and climbing.  This one is 6 feet tall already!

Here are the hollyhocks - I love the way they look in front of the chicken coop.  I fed the chickens a bunch of my lettuce that got too big.  They loved it!

And here are the pigs.  They are cute if you ask me.  They are so skittish when you first get them, you hardly get to see them (they all try to run into the barn at once - the problem is that they hit the bottleneck of the barn door and get stuck three pigs across -- wedged into the doorway.  It is hilarious!).  Now they know that people give them food, and they come crowding around to see if you have anything tasty to give them.

That is all I have time to post today.  I have lots to do today.  I'm going to spend some time panning for gold (I'll explain later).  We are also going to fill out the application for a home loan today.  We have contacted a realtor and are officially looking for our own place.  More about that in the future as well.  I will have fast internet on Wednesday as I am on vacation all week and heading to Grand Rapids toward the second half of the week.  More on that as well.  Stay tuned  for all the exciting details.  :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

July 4th

We went to some figure 8 races yesterday with my friend Stacy.  Here is a photo of her and her boys (the redheads to the right and below her).
Stacy's husband races and we were all cheering for him.
Unfortunately, some other guy had it out for Joe and crashed into him multiple times pretty hard.  The guy got black flagged (kicked out of the race), but Joe's car was out of commission by then.  He lost a rear wheel and the car caught on fire (Joe was OK though).

Anyway, it was a lot of fun.  There was definitely a lot of people-watching to do along with watching the races.  There are some scary people that go to these races.  Wow.
Afterwards, they put on a very respectable fireworks display.  The finale was awesome!

I hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I don't have any new photos to post, so I thought I would post a random photo from my archives.  It is definitely not one of my best, but considering how poorly exposed the original was, I'm pretty happy with what I was able to do with it.  This slide was scanned with my Nikon scanner, dropped into iPhoto, exposure adjusted and converted to sepia (was a color slide originally).  I have some gorgeous portraits from the time I spent in Mali (years ago).  I will try to post a few more over time.

Heidi and Jeff -- I am praying that you continue to find more support for your mission in Mali.   To my blog readers -- If you are looking for a worthwhile cause to support, please consider a donation to Heidi and Jeff as they take their family to Mali, West Africa to aid/minister to the Malian people.