Wow! That year went fast. So let me refresh your memory. We closed on September 14, 2020, and this land officially became ours. We were all here until about October something and Chris returned to Washington to continue work. The boys and I stayed here and we had lots of visitors and achieved more than we imagined. The day after Thanksgiving we all returned to Washington. In April we returned to HKA and after a week of achieving even more, the boys and I returned to WA while Chris stayed here and began his internship with Vulcraft. Finally, on June 18th, we left Washington and returned to Haulin Kuester Acres for good.
A visual recount of all our accomplishments
Here’s a little reminder of all the changes we have made in the first year. Man, no wonder I’m tired.
You can see some of my previous posts about what it looked like in the beginning and projects we have taken on in the past year.
Enjoy this gallery of pictures. As we say, It’s better than it was Yesterday.
Lamp post before
Image 1 of 54
This lamp was not connected to electricity and there was a solar light stuck in the top of it.
A big thank you to all our family and friends for the labor you have provided, your ideas, your visits, your laughter, and your joy. Thank you for those who have prayed us through this process and will continue to encourage us. We’re excited to see what’s next…
What is next?
We have met with a draftsman for a house plan
Plans for a new garage
Refurbishing the front gates so they can be used
Finish the pump house and add a water filtration system
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
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
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.