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Utah house in winter

Quirkiness is the new trend in today’s homes: Inside Edition

Watch any home show on HGTV and you will see decorators using today’s hottest trends to remodel, update or create new homes. The only problem is that there isn’t one on the quirkiness of a home and how to embrace it or turn it into the hottest new trend. Where is that show? What Joanna Gaines did for shiplap, I could do for quirkiness. That’s the show I need. I may just have to embrace the quirkiness of our old house. Truthfully, we may have to gut the entire thing and start over. What quirks, you ask? Let’s look at some of the quirkiness things we discovered. But promise me you’ll abide by our farm rule. You are not allowed to ask why things are the way they are. We just don’t have the answers.

Quirkiness or Character

Oxford Languages defines quirk as “characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits.” That would definitely describe our house. However, Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines quirky as “unusual in especially an interesting or appealing way.” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quirky  Our house is interesting but not necessarily appealing. 

Stairs to Quirkiness

Let’s start at the stairs because it’s fascinating to me. At some point, the owner diverted the stairs. According to the last owner, the house was two living units at one time with the stairs running up along the exterior wall of the house. Later, they turned the stairs to come out to its existing spot but left the old stairs. It is currently a closet in what used to be a foyer but then became a bedroom and is now a room in question. Are you following? This spring we are going to open the wall up and see if we like the original route of the stairs.

New stairs going up

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Can you find the water heater?

With everything, I am sure that at the time it was the best option. Now, it just perplexes me. Somehow I didn’t get a great picture of our living room. Our hot-water heater sits in a closet in our living room. Everyone notices it because it’s that quirky. The goal is to relocate it because we want to tear down the adjacent wall. But in order to move the heater, we have to move it to the other side of the wall in what will be the laundry room. To do step C, we have to do steps A and B.

It won’t always be like this, right?

This entire room is full of quirkiness. We will remove the carpet to see what is underneath. The whole back wall needs to be redone. The “bay” window is three different size windows. Behind the curtain is the world’s ugliest sliding glass door. As we understand it, the original kitchen was here which would explain some things. 

back living room
You can see the edge of the hot water heater closet to the left of the couch

While we are in this room, look up. Let’s see if we can get one light for this small room instead of four. It will require moving the fake beams and the ceiling that seems to be lower than the rest of the room. Quirky!

Living room ceiling
These beams are probably decorative. But what is more troublesome is the many light fixtures. This will be rectified once we figure this room out.

Goodbye awkward Sauna

While a sauna sounds like a good idea, we found the one attached to the back of our house to be dangerous. It was close to setting the whole place on fire. The wiring was questionable. And as you can see the only creatures using it were the birds. It was ugly as well and was not appeasing. It had to go.

Goodbye awkward, quirky sauna! It looks so much better.

sauna1

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A better solution for storage in eaves

I appreciate that someone removed the knee walls of the attic to make the bedrooms larger. My quandary is what to do with that space. Thank God for Pinterest and all the amazing ideas I have pinned. https://www.pinterest.com/  

Here is our current situation upstairs in two of the bedrooms.  I have included ideas of what to do with the space.  Also, can you spot the hidden hatch in the floor? That secret storage may very well be the reason the ceiling is so low downstairs. We shall see!

This website has a lot of great ideas as well for building dressers into the space. I really like these ideas for added storage.. https://diyprojects.ideas2live4.com/knee-wall-storage-dresser/

Closets where all the answers to why are stored

We obviously need to rethink this situation. Here is a fine collection of our closets:

upstairs closet. The second smaller door is what was the original attic access

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Windows

We need all new windows but that will be one of the last projects along with exterior work. But this one window is always the subject of dinner conversations. It’s two storm windows used to make one window. You promised not to ask why!

Window
A double-pane window? I don’t think so. ©missykuester.com

Adventures in quirkiness

There is a long list of things that aren’t quite right but this blog only has so much room. I will include and explain the wall we took down in another post.

This can all be fixed. When we change things it gives us a sense of accomplishment. One day this blog will show us how far we’ve come. Thanks for following along and not asking why.

In the meantime, revisit some of my past blogs on Haulin Kuester Acres. https://missykuester.com/renovation-update-outbuildings/ Next time we will talk about the quirks of the outside. 

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.

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.

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