Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Farm That Got Away

It seemed perfect.

It was 10 acres, close enough to town to bring in potential riding students, but far enough away that I couldn't see any subdivisions.

The house was gorgeous.  I mean, seriously, it was a dream house.  Built in 1881 of red brick with yellow brick accents, it was the perfect farmhouse.  It wasn't just the classic "Ontario farmhouse" style with one peak in the front with a gothic-arched window.  The front of the house had three peaks.  The centre peak had two windows.  This gave the bedrooms at either side of the upstairs hall their own little arched window.  Bliss.  On top of that, the bedroom at the back of the house had two more peaks.  Triple Bliss.  There was a tiny staircase down to the living room.  Sneaky.

There was a porch.  The door was the original wooden door with the big iron lock.

The kitchen was huuuge.  It was yellow - the colour I'd chosen for my cute little bungalow years ago.  Coincidence?  Apparently the cabinets were "dated" but they were all hanging together.  There was a sliding door to a small deck.  Jethro didn't like the deck.  He was already planning a new one by the time he left his first viewing.  The kitchen had its own entrance and a staircase to the cellar.  I pictured my winter coveralls hanging at the bottom of the steps.

There were two bathrooms.  The big one upstairs had a clawfoot tub.  And a laundry chute.

Four bedrooms meant an office upstairs.  Plus there were two big rooms downstairs.

So much room.

There were overgrown flowerbeds begging for my green thumbs to rescue them.

There was a shed with a cement floor.  I was visualizing how best to soundproof it and where we'd put the control room, how big the iso-booths would be, and what Jethro would see if he looked out the window while mixing a record.

He could be looking at the large sand arena where somebody would be riding, and beyond that, the hayfield, from which the Dutch dairy farmer neighbours would be bringing over a cutting each year in exchange for keeping a cutting.

There was an ancient hay shed, which I loved.

The barn looked small from the outside but contained 5 large box stalls, plus a run in shed, a wide aisle, and a big open area where a lawn tractor and a wheelbarrow had way too much room.

There were paddocks.

There were trees.

Lots of trees.

There were little pockets of overgrown bushy wilderness.  Prime tree fort material.  I pictured little trails to take the Pug for walks, and ride the horses, and maybe even set up some trail obstacles to make our rides more fun.  I had plans.

There was a tiny little wellhouse.

There was room for one of those inflatable pools and still have room for a kitchen greenhouse.

I was deeply in love.

The kids were ready to move in.  They were planning where our friends from town could sleep when they came to stay over.

The price was pretty darn good, too.  We had meetings with the real estate agents, then the bank, and the accountant, because even a pretty darn good price was daunting to us.

We first went to tour the place in late June, at an open house showing absolutely swarming with people. I starting getting an offer ready but backed out when I heard another family had moved to offer as well.  I was sure theirs would be better and at that point we didn't feel confident enough that we could really pull this off.  There were three offers, and none stuck.

July ticked by.  We started stalking the place.  Every time we drove anywhere nearby we'd detour past the little farm on our way.  I looked it up on google earth.  I'm not proud of this, but I did it.  I was obsessed.  I laid awake at might picturing my furniture in that house and my two Appaloosas grazing in the paddocks.  I wondered how much snow we'd get, and what the Dutch farmer would charge for bringing over his tractor and snowblower.  I called the school to find out if they had room for two new kids.

August came along.

The realtors were just as shocked as we were that the place had not sold yet!

We were crunching numbers and scratching our heads.  Could we do it?  How much could we get for our house?  What would the monthly payments add up to on a more expensive property?  Could we put in a lower offer?

The price came down.

We got another offer ready.  And got cold feet again.

We loved that place and all four of us figured we could be very happy there, but the chances of not being able to continue there were too scary.

At the very end of August,  just before the labour day weekend, the real estate agents called to tell us an offer had been accepted.  The place was not ours.

Jethro was afraid I'd be devastated but I knew there were no guarantees that we could actually afford to buy that farm.  It's just that I felt so good about the place.  It felt like home even with somebody else's stuff in it.  I knew that feeling, because I got it so clearly the first time I walked into that little bungalow in town.  With all the interest in that small farm, and the way it spent the whole summer not selling, I could convince myself that it was just waiting for us to get our act together and move in already!

Well, it wasn't meant to be.


Yeah, we still did some light stalking.

Curiosity got us, and for awhile I felt really ripped off that the sand arena was growing in with weeds.  There were no horses!  Somebody bought a place with fenced paddocks and big box stalls - I mean sliding doors and everything - and they didn't even have horses!

One evening we drove past at night and realized that the lights from the city could be seen from there.  Maybe it wasn't so perfect after all...

A few months ago, I had to drive my kids to school in the morning.  Just for old time's sake, I went a little out of my way and took a drive down that tar and chip road.  I was following a school bus, and sure enough, it stopped in front of that farm I'd memorized almost two years before.  I counted four kids hop onto that bus.

I liked the idea of four kids growing up there.  I noticed the trampoline behind the house as I waited for the bus to go again.

Soon after that, we noticed sheep in the paddocks, and a young Holstein heifer.

Kids, sheep, and a cow.

You know, I have no business getting all possessive about a property I never lived on - I have no claim on the place whatsoever.  But I just really loved finding out that this home got a good home.

(Ours is out there.  The current owners aren't quite ready to move on yet, that's all.)

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