Ten years ago Steve and I both felt the calling to do something completely different as his retirement was in the near future as a fire chief. Our home at that time was in Waterville, Ohio and we had purchased it several years earlier with four teenagers in mind who required interior space. Our six children are now all grown adults living busy lives from different points around the country, and it was time to mull over the ideas of what we wanted to change.
On a warm summer evening as Steve was driving back roads he saw a small, handwritten FOR SALE sign attached to a mailbox post of this seven acre farm. He called to ask me to come and see it- the setting was beautiful, but wow, the house needed so much work. The property had been empty for a year and minimally maintained for many years prior to that. After an evening of discussion, thoughts, and prayers we decided to go forward. We made the owners an offer over the phone, it was accepted, and we signed the purchase agreement with
the paper work spread out on the tailgate of our pick-up truck. We are the first people to own this home who are not related to the couple who built it in 1887. God confirmed we were on the right path as our home in Waterville sold quickly so we could begin the sometimes daunting task of bringing this neglected gem back to life with tons of hard, hands on work. With the help of many friends and family members we have cleaned, painted, stripped wallpaper, patched holes, pulled thousands of staples from the floors, put in all new carpet, and windows. After several months the house was livable.
After the house was inhabitable we started some basic upkeep outside- pulling out bushes, stone for the driveway, landscaping, a vegetable garden, much more painting, a front porch, concrete floors in outbuildings, and trimming neglected trees. The exterior now appeared presentable and hopefully it was apparent that the house was now being taken care of.
Now we felt ready for some animals…..what’s a farm without animals right? We cleaned out stalls in the lower part of our 1890 bank barn and purchased a llama, two ewes, two lambs, and some chickens. The following fall we bred the two ewes who gave birth to lambs in the spring. Mary gave birth to twins and Martha gave birth to quadruplets! We were then quite busy bottle feeding lambs every three hours for several weeks. It was a very tiring, yet rewarding experience- there is no cuter animal than lambs. We had them for a couple years before selling them to others to enjoy.
Six years ago we made the big decision to restore the upper level of the barn into an event venue. It has been an extremely exciting, huge project which has involved professionals as well as friends and family. We are so pleased to offer this venue to anyone who chooses to use it for their special event.
The next endeavor was creating, and opening a vintage store in the old corn crib building. I spent my free time after work searching for and creating items to sell during our store's open hours on weekends. We enjoyed seeing our friends, and customers who became friends each Saturday and Sunday. Steve especially relished the company of people who came for "Coffee with Steve." We operated the store through four years of the warmer months here and we were creating the next chapter as the store continued.
All in all despite not relaxing much in Steve’s retirement years we enjoy our life here in the country more than we even imagined. It is serene, peaceful, and a sanctuary from the loud busyness of the real world. God knew we needed to be here way before we did and He put all the pieces in place to make it happen. This has been a big challenge to take on and as we look back at ‘before’ photos we wonder how we have accomplished it all up to this point. We feel truly blessed to own this small piece of rural paradise and have always felt God calling us to share it with others. It means so much to us to hear how others enjoy their time here too.
We are very thankful for our time here, especially the fact that Steve and I are here together.