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Haulinkuester house

Haulin Kuester Acres

Happy New Year! We are excited about 2021. I wanted to update all of you on our farm. Ideally, I consider it a hobby farm as we don’t plan on using it for large farming or animals. As a family, we decided to name it Haulin Kuester Acres. It was the name all 5 of us could agree on. You offered many amazing suggestions. We felt this best reflected our homestead and would maybe help people remember the correct pronunciation of our last name.  Thank you for sharing in our enthusiasm and watching along.  Due to weather and other commitments we are not currently undertaking any projects until the weather improves. Also, we currently maintain two households so fiscally we are trying to be responsible.

Please check out our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/haulinkuesteracres.  And if this is your first time here please read our last renovation update on this blog: https://missykuester.com/renovation-update-outbuildings/

Additionally, my talented sister, Larissa designed our logo. We wanted a logo that could stand on its own but also be identifiable and unique. She accomplished that. Next up will be to get some swag with our new logo. 

Haulin Kuester Acres Logo
Haulin Kuester Acres logo created by Larissa ter Veer ©missykuester.com

In my next blog post, find out the reason you are not allowed to ask “Why?” on Haulin Kuester Acres.

Christmas letters

21 Christmas letters that won’t bore the readers

I am one of those people who writes a yearly family letter every year. Somewhere tucked in a draw in someone’s house are all the Christmas letters I have written. I just know it! I hope I have evolved over the years. So, in the hopes of helping reinvigorate the art of Christmas letter writing and to help another soul looking for more creative ideas, I am sharing my past letter ideas here.

The tried and true Christmas letters

Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas future. At the time, I claimed this letter was not as boring as the others they would receive. It was my first attempt at writing a Christmas letter. All these years later I realize that the letter is indeed boring. Example: Christmas past was about what happened in the past year. Christmas present was where we were working and such. While Christmas future was about our upcoming year.

Written by our dog, Fletcher. Creative at the time but everyone has done this idea. Example: “Hi, my name is Fletcher. Mom and Dad are too busy doing human stuff. So, in between naps I will try to retrace some of the past year.”

Baby Makes Three. Written from the view of our newborn baby. Again, a tried and true version of Christmas letters. I at least used some pretty winter scenery paper. Wonder how much that cost? Example: “I must turn this over to Mom. I don’t remember the first part of my life and besides, I must nap now.”

Improving on the Christmas letter writing

Movie Titles. I started to stretch my creativity a bit. I used movie titles intermingled in our end of the year recap. It’s also fun to see all these years later what movies popular. Example: Chris, the star of An Ideal Husband and his driving could best be compared to Eyes Wide Shut, without the raunchy parts.

Top Ten List. At the time we lived in Idaho so the list was ‘Top Ten Things to Do While living in Idaho.” You could easily write about your own town. Again, I was getting more creative, or so I thought. Here is an example: 1. Ski, Hunt, Fish. 2. Flying: Chris has completed his private pilot’s license requirements.

NewsletterIt’s a cute, short, and easy way to share your thoughts. I’m sure at the time it was a lot of work and I was proud of it.  Example: It announced the birth of our second-born son. Also, a Sightseeing section showed a trip we had taken that year. I have done the newsletter a couple of times. One time I used fancy parchment paper, included lots of pictures, and featured my third kid that was born that year. I was probably tired and desperate and this was a quick and easy way to get a letter written while kids napped. Some of the sample headings were: What we did this year. A year of blessings. What we learned. It includes some fun facts based on events from the year. 

Stepping up the Christmas letter game

Review in Pictures This one is really simple for busy parents or folks that just don’t want to write a lot. I did this one when I had two kids, lived in a foreign country, and my husband was deployed. I included nothing but pictures along with a short summary. It starts off: We realize how busy we all are this time of year, so here we have put our past year in pictures. 

Kids Answer Questions. I probably was desperate when I asked my kids questions for this newsletter. My kids’ answers are hilarious. I then give a recap and provided a picture of us. Example: The question was ‘Do you like your new house?’ Trevette’s response was “Yes, I like that it has an island in the kitchen.” Guthrie’s responded with “Time to eat!” Again, this is a simple Christmas letter if you have smaller kids.

Rebus Christmas letter. This was fun! I replaced some of the words with pictures. Each of my kids is represented by their faces. Other words are replaced with little clip art. For example, I included airplanes for when we flew and clipart for activities. See abcteach.com for examples and ideas to get you started: https://www.abcteach.com/directory/subjects-language-arts-reading-rebus-2280-2-1   

Rebus Christmas letter
Here is a general example of a Rebus letter. ©www.havefunteaching.com

Imaginative Christmas letters

All I ever learned I learned from Country music. The year was 2008. I guess I liked Country Music because the letter is based on the titles of country music songs. I use song titles to share our monumental events. You could easily pick your favorite genre and do the titles of popular songs from the year. One example is ‘Fall by Clay Walker’, as it shared the time that our kid fell out of a second-story window.  

I share more about that experience in another blog post: https://missykuester.com/the-one-time-my-kid-fell-out-of-a-window/

A Fairy Tale Christmas Letter. I decided to use my title of Princess to write our annual letter. The letter used royal titles and a storyline. You could use any story to write your letter. How about a superhero letter or from your favorite tv show. Example: Upon arriving in their new village they were given new responsibilities. The Prince was tasked with watching the skies. (Chris was an air traffic controller and airfield manager at the time.)

The best and worst of 2012. I shared things such as The best family vacation, Favorite month, Happiest Homecoming (because Magnum was deployed yet again), and Best News of the year….that we were moving to Belgium. 

Thinking outside the box for Christmas letters

Facebook Status Update Christmas. I remember I was new to Facebook. I used status updates for the letter and then explained each event. The descriptions were short and to the point. Again Magnum was deployed so I was probably pulling my hair out. Example: Received my Princess Crown which told about the time my friend Lisa took pity on me and threw me a princess-themed party.

Bumper Sticker Letter. For this idea, I am sure it came to me as I stood at my freezer wondering what I was going to make for dinner. Each event starts off with a bumper sticker I have on my freezer. Each side is covered in bumper stickers so there is a lot of material to work with. One such sticker read, Yes, this is my truck and no, I won’t help you move. Then I wrote about how my husband bought a new truck.

Freezer with bumper stickers
Here is a recent picture of our garage freezer adorned with hundreds of bumper stickers. ©missykuester.com

A Review told with memes. I was pretty proud of this one. It was at the height of the memes. I used the memes to set up poignant events that had happened throughout the year. For example, I used a meme that said “We’ve decided moving is the easiest way to clean your house” and then I shared about our move to Belgium.

Epic Christmas letter ideas that will surely impress your family and friends

Season in Review: Football theme: This was the first year I did a photo card. In our picture, we are football players and referees. The theme of the letter is also football and breaks our year up into Quarters. I also used football verbiage and jargon. Example: Final Score: Kuesters crushed the Year 2014.

Comical Year. I really kicked it up a notch. This time, I made ourselves into comic characters and created a comic strip using a free online comic strip maker. storyboardthat.com It was visually pleasing and easy to read for sure. Example: One picture was me sitting in a hospital bed because I had ankle surgery at the beginning of the year.

Comic Christmas letter
This is the comic I created for a Christmas letter one year.

Quotable Christmas. I have a book of zany things my kids say so I resorted to those quotes for a Christmas letter. Example: “The Beastie Boys fought and possibly died for my right to party” a quote by Trevette. I used it to share news about his senior year and graduation.

Random Facts. For this letter, I invoked the help of my family. They always have these random facts. I asked them to share facts based on what I was writing. One such great example: We moved from Maryland to Washington so one of the facts was “It was 2, 837, 015 smoots from there to here.”

This year’s letter is canceled. Even though it was the 2019 letter, it was probably best suited for the following year. I laid out all the reasons we couldn’t write a letter. For example, I thought I would have some time in August between trips to…..and so forth.” By the end of the letter, I had given all the reasons we couldn’t write a letter.

BINGO! This year’s Christmas letter idea

I’ve been writing these letters for Twenty Five years. It is the Silver Anniversary Edition of Christmas letters. A couple of years I repurposed ideas. This year it is…Bingo Christmas. I used a Bingo card generator at http://spark.adobe.com. Lucky for me 2020 gave me a lot to work with. I marked off the things we actually got to do. Consequently, there were things we didn’t get to do and I left those events unmarked.

Bingo Christmas
Kuester Bingo Christmas Letter ©missykuester.com

Now you try it

These are my most epic Christmas letter ideas that are sure to not bore the recipients. Each year I try to outdo myself from the year before. I hope this inspires you to write a better Christmas letter that shares your yearly events in an entertaining and interesting way. Good Luck!

Pilgrims at Thanksgiving did not go home

That time the Pilgrims didn’t go home for Thanksgiving

Several years ago, I wrote a response to an article on Military Spouse Magazine in regards to going home for the holidays. The article felt judgy and unnecessary for military spouses who want to go home but for reasons cannot. My response was hasty, brash, and resonated with other military spouses. If you google it you can probably still find the original article at https://www.militaryspouse.com/magazine/. I decided to edit and share with you my thoughts about feeling guilty when you cannot go home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other important times of the year. So enjoy this revamped and retitled article, That time the Pilgrims didn’t go home for Thanksgiving. Here is to another guilt-free holiday!

Released from guilt

Two significant times in my life I was released from guilt for living so far away from family. The first was when my mother told me to get out of our small, rural, Indiana town. Then my 93-year-old grandmother told me as we prepared to move to Germany, “If anything should happen to me while you are gone do not haul those babies back here for my funeral.” She released from the guilt I had for not attending her funeral. You see, I am married to a military man but I live with less guilt because of the overwhelming understanding of my family for missing out on holidays back home.

My husband Chris has been in the Air Force for over twenty years. We have spent five years overseas and moved fourteen times in total. Currently, my college kid has never come home for Thanksgiving. I would be a hypocrite to insist he come home for Thanksgiving. In the meantime, I have prepared myself for the future. As the mother of boys, I may spend future holidays without them. Our military lifestyle has always been about creating new traditions. Holidays at our house don’t always look traditional and we are okay with that.

Many times it is just not fathomable to return to your parents’ home for the holidays. Air travel, car rental, hotel stays, boarding of pets, food, and the list compiles and before you know it, you are so in debt you cannot travel the rest of the year. There is also the stress factor, the inability to get enough time off, and a plethora of other responsibilities. Let us not forget those that are deployed and cannot be home for the holidays.

Random thoughts about going home for the holidays.

1. If it is so important for your extended family to be together, invite them to your place. Two years in a row, our families traveled to where we live and we rented a house large enough for all of us. It relieved me of doing all the cooking and cleaning.
2. Delay holiday for cheaper times of the year or plan a destination holiday where you all gather in a central location. I dream of having a vacation in a cabin in the mountains one day surrounded by my boys and their families.
3. Talk to your extended family. Let them know how you feel. My hope is that your family is understanding and if not that is on them, not you.
4. Coordinate with local friends to gather for the holiday or serve in the community in some capacity. In years past, my family and I are served dinner to inmates in a halfway program on a farm.
5. Create your own traditions. My husband and I have created our own family holiday traditions. We look forward to carrying these out every year.
6. Above all, do what is right for you and your family. In the meantime, release your family from that same guilt. And do not judge other military families if their choices for the holidays are different than yours.

The 2020 holiday season is different but still guilt-free

The holidays should not be stressful or filled with guilt. My kid is doing what I taught him to do by making a life of his own. If his adventures lead him far away at the holidays I will survive just like my mother has done. She is a great example of how a mother can release her children and adapt through the holidays. Listen, this military life is hard enough on good days so the last thing you need is to feel guilty for not being able or wanting to return home for the holidays. Instead, embrace your new home, make new traditions, and if someone tries to make you feel guilty remind them that the Pilgrims didn’t go home for the holidays either. I release you of that guilt. I’m not saying to never go home for the holidays but when you can’t that’s okay too.

The 2020 year is bizarre, to say the least. We are being told by health professionals that it is best to not gather in large groups or with those people who have compromised immunity. This year we all are relinquished of any guilt about not going home for the holidays. We can claim that we love our families by staying away and thus keeping them healthy.   

Have a happy, guilt-free holiday season!

The top three names for this unnamed farm

It’s come down to the top three choices as voted on by the viewers. Thank you all for your interest.

The top three are:

Flying K Ranch

haulinkuester Acres

ChrisMis Farm

We hope to decide this week when we are all together for Thanksgiving. Until then enjoy these pictures.

 

Farm at sunrise

What’s in a farm name

Recently, I went to my Facebook audience to crowdsource names for our new farm in Utah. I was blown away by the suggestions. Quite frankly, you are all very creative. I wanted to document the name decision so here is the process, chronicled for years to come. It’s not easy to pick the perfect farm name.

Round One

This is the initial list we got from Facebook:

Kuester Acres

haulinkuester Acres

The Best is Yet to Come

Next Chapter Farm

Prayer Walk/ Road

Stars and Stripes

Rocking M Farm

Condiment Farm

M and M Farm

New Journey

Kamp Kuester

Kuester Corral

A Wing and a Prayer

Kozy Kuester Kabin

Princess Missy Farm

M Squared Ranch

Scrabble Ranch

Muddy Paws Ranch

Kuester Kingdom

After AF Farm

Kuester Retreat

Beautiful Acres

Chez nous

Greener Pastures

Places des Grand Hommes

Magnum Way

Black Dog Fields

Magnum Acres

Where the Pavement Ends Farm

Where the Road Ends Farm

The Haven

Kuester Krossing

Wabatucky West

Mis Mag + 3 Farm

The Destination

Kind Kuester Korner

Omega Alpha Acres

Kilo 5 Ranch

Wallis-Frome-Kuester Farm

End of the Line Farm

The Open Commissary

Hallelujah Hollow

Delilah Downs

Magnum Manor

Missy’s Family Farm

New Beginnings

Kuester Homestead

Haulin Farms

End of the Road Farm

Delilah’s Boys’ Farm

Delilah’s Farm

Road’s End Farm

Flying K

Lazy K

Crazy K

Magnum Farm

Answered Prayers

Rest Your Kuester Farm

Where my Kuester Farm

Wonderland

Topshelf Farm

Kuester Downs

Kuester Hole

Green Acres

Pretty Acres

Peaceful Valley

My 3 Sons

Joyful Acres

Kickin’ Kuester Farm

Hidden Treasures

Kick in the Kuester

Kuester Ranch

Fly Over Farm

Golden Acres Retirement Home

M+M Family Farm

Permission to Land Farm

The Forever Homestead

The Sanctuary

New Chievres

It Ain’t Wabash

Delilah’s Playground

Delilah’s Ranch

Red Devil Pastures

Destination Acres

Wild Blue Yonder

Final Flight Plan

Flight Plan

Kuester Korner

Mountain Ridge

Done haulin Farm

Kuester Lane

New Life Farms

Circle K Farms

Aim High Farm

Nua Farms

That Last Stop Farm

Sit on your Kuester Farm

ChrisMis Farm

Lazy M Ranch

Kuester Horizon Estate

DD-214 Acres

Retired Homestead

Rustic Kuester Ranch

Missy’s Meadows

Place for Kuesters

Delilah’s Family Farm

The Lord’s Bounty Farm

Test and Peaceful Farm

Thanksgiving Farm

The Forever Home and Farm

Kuester’s Resting

Dirty Kuester Ranch

Heaven Homestead

Water Well Acres

Lost in time Farm

Three Magnums Farm

Hoosierville

Almost Wabash

Kuester Kurve Farm

Secondhand Farm

LaVraie Montagne

The World’s End

Where the Pavement Ends Farm

Red Devil Acres

Round Two:

This is what is left after the first cut of names:

Kuester Acres

Wild Blue Yonder

haulinkuester Acres

haulin farm

End of the Road Farm

New Beginnings Farm

Kuester Homestead

Next Chapter Farm

Circle K Farm

Aim High Farm

The Last Stop Farm

Where the Road Ends Farm

Where the Pavement Ends Farm

Kuester Korner

Round Three:

We lost some good ones…

Kamp Kuester

Kuester Corral

Flying K

ChrisMis Farm

Kuester Ranch

Fly Over Farm

Permission to Land Farm (bar name)

M squared Ranch (Math!)

Muddy Paws Ranch

Greener Pastures

Kuester Retreat

Kuester Krossing

Omega Alpha Acres

Done haulin Acres

Wild Blue Yonder Acres

haulin Farm

End of the Road Farm

Circle K Farm

Aim High Farm

Where the Road Ends Farm

Final Approach Farm

haulinkuester Acres

Flying K Farm

ChrisMis Farm

Fly Over Farm

Permission to Land Farm (Bar name?)

Final Flight Plan Farm

Stay tuned as we dwindle down more names on our way to finding the perfect name for our farm. And thank you for helping!

Wilderness interstate

The Wilderness that is I-84

Recently, my minister asked me to a testimony about being in the figurative wilderness. After prayer and much thoughtful consideration, I contemplated what the wilderness meant to me. It reminded me of my drive from Washington to Utah and the vastness that I drive through. It is there in the wilderness that is I-84 that I have learned to trust in God for protection and provisions. Included is my testimony that I gave to the congregation at Cornerstone UMC in Covington, Washington. https://buildingonjesus.org/

This is my testimony

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NyH9mDYECk  Elevation Church’s song, “My Testimony”.

We own a home in Northern Utah and have family in the area. Therefore, we travel from our home in Maple Valley to the Cache Valley in Utah a couple of times a year. On this route, we travel some isolated sections of the interstate. The most barren is I-84 in Northern Utah. Before we hit this section of the road, we stop in Twin Falls, Idaho for fuel and provisions. Once we make that turn south, services become scarce, cell phone coverage is weak, and the weather is indecisive.  But the grace of God, we have never broken down in this section of our trip. However, we have broken down twice on this route but in more habited areas where we could receive assistance.

This stretch of remote, American highway signifies something else to me. It is a faith barometer. If I’m honest, this road makes me nervous. What if we do breakdown and there is no service area nearby or we can’t get a call for help out to someone? But that has never happened. I forget that even though there are very few services areas, weak cell coverage, and unpredictable weather, God is on that road. He is in the vast wilderness.

I have walked through a spiritual wilderness

In my life, I have walked through spiritual wildernesses. Through seven military deployments, when my son had a seizure on an airplane on a cross country flight, when another son was attacked by a dog and required emergency surgery, and when son number 3 fell out of a second-story window and needed to be life-flighted. In the back of an ambulance with your kid is a wilderness. Giving birth in a foreign country while your husband is deployed can feel like a wilderness. I have felt alone, rejected, scared, unsure, and ill-equipped while in the wilderness. But all along, God was there.

My spiritual walk is a growing process. I have learned many lessons along that desolate stretch of I-84. God has never abandoned me there or anywhere else. His provisions never run out. There is no place that God isn’t with me. He is the service area, the cell coverage, and the weatherman on any wilderness road we find ourselves on, both figuratively and literally.

A highway for our God

I am often reminded of Isaiah 40: 3-5

A voice is calling,

“Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness;

Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.

“Let every valley be lifted up,

And every mountain and hill be made low;

And let the rough ground become a plain,

And the rugged terrain a broad valley;

Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed,

And all flesh will see it together;

For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

We will find ourselves in a spiritual wilderness at some point in our lives. But we are never alone or without provisions. When we remain faithful, we have all we need.

Prayer Road

Walking the prayer road each morning

The paved road that runs in front of my house turns to gravel just after my driveway. It then curves around the side of our property. If I go out of my driveway and turn to the right I can walk on the smooth, blacktop road.  However, when I turn left out of my driveway, I have to walk on the gravel portion of the road and not a soul lives on that portion. Initially, Chris and I would walk the paved portion. But lately, I have decided to walk the gravel portion. I have begun to refer to it as the Prayer Road.

Walking with God each morning

My prayer life has wavered over the past 40 years. In recent years, I have made a concerted effort to pray each day. I have learned that prayer doesn’t have to be kneeling by your bed with your hands folded, eyes closed, and head bowed. No, prayer is more of a conversation with God.

I take daily walks with my dog, Delilah. Additionally, it’s a way to exercise and destress. Now, as I walk, I pray. I intercede to God on behalf of my kids, my family, my friends, even strangers who are suffering, and of course for our country and world. I prefer the morning so that I don’t get too busy and forget. But also, walking with God each morning helps me set the tone for the day ahead. I love the thought that things are made new each morning.before the world tries to spoil it. I love the peace, quiet, and stillness of the morning.

He promises us the morning and with it comes water

From Lamentations 3: 22-23 we learn of the promise of each new morning. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” I love the thought that he promises us the morning to bring a new perspective, outlook, or outcome to our troubles.

Recently, I had a morning revelation. You see, we recently purchased an old farm. With an old place comes issues. One such issue is our well. It’s a natural spring. We have a cistern and if you use too much water all at once it freaks out the pump or runs the cistern dry. One evening not too long ago, it happened to me. There wasn’t much I could do. The old me would have freaked out. Instead, I prayed and went to bed. I woke in the middle of the night to the sound of running water. It was a precious sound.

He promises us the morning and with it comes the water. It was water for my soul and spirit.

The Prayer Road

The Prayer Road for you may look different than mine. In the meantime, I have the luxury right now to walk as far and as long as I want. I have always said that one reason I love to walk is so I can listen to music. Consequently, when I walk I listen to music, Christian music specifically but not always.

Recently, I added a new song by one of my favorite artists, Dante Bowe. https://www.dantebowe.com/home  His voice is authentic. His song, In the Morning, helps me get in the frame of mind to walk and pray. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjDTsnIUo-Q

What roads are you walking on today? Can you carve out time to walk and pray daily? What music do you listen to that helps you throughout the day?

How can I pray for you on the Prayer Road?

 

farm at sunrise with outbuildings

Renovation Update: Outbuildings

This is our next renovation update: outbuildings edition.

One of the things we looked for was a farm that was already established. We are behind many of our peers when it comes to buying a home. Chris has always wanted an orchard, a greenhouse, and a barn. We didn’t want to start at ground zero since we are in our late forties. The best solution for this dilemma was buying an already established homestead. However, it is hard to find such a place.

We liked this particular property because of all the buildings…okay, maybe not all of them, but most of them. The two red barns we really wanted and all the others were a bonus. After inspecting them we realized that many of the buildings were haphazardly built. We decided to start dismantling them right away. It was gratifying to tear down what we considered derelict buildings. All of the outbuildings had electricity which meant we had to carefully disconnect them as well.

A Quonset hut, the cat building, and the new woodshed

outbuildings
Left to right: new woodshed (what we call the garage), the cat building, and the Quonset hut.

Most people only see three outbuildings in the picture above but it’s more like 5. The metal, fake Quonset hut no longer exists. The structure was built using gray, electrical tubing with sheet metal drilled in. Therefore, it was not geometrically correct and bothered those with OCD.

The brown sided cedar building is what we refer to as the cat building. The two doors on the front go to two separate rooms. The door to the left (the glass one), went into a storage area where every wall had floor to ceiling shelves. Door number 2 goes into an area that has a gravel floor. Through that area is a maze to a couple of other pen-like rooms that we were told once held approximately 50 cats. The old owner believed he was saving the cats from being harmed by wild animals.

Finally, the white building to the left is what we refer to as the garage. It has a nice cement floor and is dry. For now, we will keep it and use it as a garden/woodshed. Consequently, we tore down the old woodshed because it was dilapidated and blocking my view of the mountains. One day when we expand off the back of the house, the garage will come down.

Horse visitors welcome

outbuldings4
Magnum inspecting the horse barn.

The back portion of the property is fenced in. We have this horse stable/paddock and we will keep it in case a visitor wants to stop in or a local farmer wants to rent the pasture. It’s not in bad shape, just needs to be cleaned out and around it.

Don’t mind these buildings

outbuildings3
These two buildings will be torn down in the future

These two buildings next to the big red barn are set to be burned/ torn down. Right now, we just haven’t had time. The white building is housing any junk we find on the property. We have already had one dumpster of junk hauled away.

outbuilding6
This building was once a dog shed and we will move it to the back of the property to use as a well/pumphouse

This little building will remain because we will move it to the back of the property and use it as a well house for the pasture water well. Right now the pump to our agricultural well is disconnected because of shoddy craftsmanship that Chris will correct next summer. We can repurpose this shed to shelter that wellhead and pump.

The keepers

The red barn caught Magnum’s eye and was a deciding factor in our purchase. Ultimately, he has always wanted a shop to work in. It is insulated so is warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The cement floor, a propane heater, and electricity are all bonuses. In the future, we will have RV hookups next to this barn.

interior of red barn
Interior of the red barn. Heavily insulated.

The faded red barn in the pasture is the Sheep barn. At one time they raised sheep and there is evidence of that in this barn. The barn isn’t very tall and has a rather large metal beam down the middle. The sellers claim is floods but as far as we can see it sits at the highest point on the property. In the meantime, it will be the Jeep barn. Sheep to Jeep barn sounds about right. Right now it houses material we have salvaged from the other buildings.

I have always admired red barns and wanted one. Although I would prefer a wood barn, these will have to do.  Find out more on why barns are typically red, https://www.farmersalmanac.com/barns-painted-red-240

Not sure what the next post will be about but stay turned. There is always a story here.

Before renovation

Restoration Update #1: From the Inside

We still haven’t named our farm/ranch so for now it’s just Our Place.  What is the difference between a farm and ranch? https://www.land.com/buying/difference-between-farm-and-ranch/  According to this article our 7.5 acres with no current animals or crops is a farm. Don’t tell Delilah, the dog as she considers herself a ranch dog. So, we’ll keep stewing on that name for our farm.

Our house was originally built in 1908 in Logan, Utah but at some point, it was moved to its current location. If I had to guess, it is a kit home. http://www.searsarchives.com/homes/1908-1914.htm

So here is our first Renovation Update: From the Inside.

Don’t judge a house by its crappy vinyl siding

In the Cache Valley, it’s hard to find a house with land. This was a unique piece of property but it ain’t pretty. We have grand plans down the road. When we move in permanently in July 2021, we will hire an architect or engineer to tell us if the house is worth remodeling or if we should start over. For now it’s liveable.

People asked for pictures of the inside. Here are some. Excuse my photo gallery, it’s not perfect either.

 

Thanks for following along. I hope you’re in for the long haul.

 

 

 

 

Utah house in winter

When God plans it, you can’t stop it

I’m a praying woman. But I haven’t always prayed expecting my prayers to be answered. I know that makes me an imperfect Christian but it makes me human. Several months ago when Magnum and I started talking about our plan when he retires from the Air Force in July 2021 I began to pray. I began to pray to settle on a certain town, area, or state. Then, I prayed for opportunities and doors to be opened. In addition, I prayed for jobs and housing. I prayed for God’s will but I failed to specify a time. They say timing is everything but God’s timing is not predictable. Opportunity knocks when you are doing something else. But I know this, with His timing comes his provisions. When God plans it, you can’t stop it.

If I could buy this place I would

Spring Break of 2019, Magnum was deployed. I decided to drive with Kid #2 and #3 to see Kid #1 in Logan, Utah. T is a student at Utah State. It’s our favorite place to visit and where his brothers wanted to go for the week. I rented a house, saw lots of friends in the area, got a surprise visit from one of my best friends, and cried when I had to leave to return to Washington. I felt a strong sense of home.

Fast forward, Magnum returned home in October and we decided we would go back to Utah for Thanksgiving. It’s been our tradition. Instead of staying at a hotel, it’s more economical to stay in an Air B&B. I selected a place in the country. It was advertised as a quaint farm. It would allow all of us to have a room so it was perfect and cheaper than a hotel.

While staying at the house, it snowed 8 inches overnight. We were surprised to wake up to no electricity and find out we were snowed in. But it was like being in a winter wonderland. If I didn’t need to get out to go to dinner with family, I could have stayed snuggled up in the house. I posted a picture on Facebook and jokingly said, “If I could buy this place I would.”

If God brings you to it, He’ll get you through it

Fast forward again to July 2020. We had big summer plans but then Covid-19 happened. So, we salvaged what we could and decided to go camping in Utah, the Cache Valley. On the way, we stopped at our friends, the Hughes near Council, Idaho. They have a beautiful place. Sitting on their porch watching the sunset made me ache for a place of my own.

We made our way to the Logan, Utah area and set up our camper in a campground. I then received an email from Kurt, the owner of the farm we stayed at the previous Thanksgiving. In March, I had told him that if he ever considered selling we would be interested. At the time, he had someone interested but their financing fell through. The very day we arrived, he offered it to us.

I immediately said yes and arranged to meet up with his wife. We had to pass her approval process first. In the meantime, we continued to look at other places just in case. After we met her and she approved, the process went rather quickly. We made an offer, they countered and at the end of the day, we agreed on a price.

We returned to Washington and finished the process with the assistance of our realtor, Johnnie. All along the way, things just worked out. We had some hiccups but I kept remembering the phrase, “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”

Utah House first day
This is us in front of our house on the day we closed. ©missykuester.com

Immeasurably more

Many people talk about the struggle to decide where they will retire after a long military career. When I prayed that prayer, I forgot how our God can respond; immeasurably more than we can imagine. I love Priscilla Shirer, author, preacher, and speaker. She talks about praying big prayers. We sell God short when we don’t pray bigger.

That’s why I am so content. I was along. For the next several months, we will divide our time between Washington and Utah. It is scary to think we will need to maintain two households. But I am certain that God will provide, He always does. 10 years previous to this, we owned a house in Delaware. Times were tough but we were certain we wanted to sell our house when we relocated to Texas. The house did not sell by the time we left and sat empty for nearly a year. All that time, we lived on less and paid a mortgage and a rental. God provided and He’ll do it again.

A change of address but an unchanged God

It is a season of big changes. We are taking them in stride. There are still a lot of unknowns but we are certain we are where we are supposed to be. We have a change of address but an unchanged God. God’s plans are unmistakable and they work out, you can’t stop them. Man, I’m so glad I rented this place for Thanksgiving. It gave us a chance to try it on for size. I’m also grateful that we live 13 hours away; we never could have done this living across the country. We have a lot of work ahead of us and big plans but God is in it. We’ll pass along our address with due time. Watch for updates on here, Facebook, and Instagram.

We are contemplating names for the ranch/farm, so stay tuned. Please leave a comment with name ideas.

https://www.explorelogan.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cache_Valley

Although our address is Amalga, we are closer to Smithfield. Our address is interchangeable.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amalga,_Utah

https://www.bestplaces.net/city/utah/smithfield