Saturday, May 21, 2016

Homesteading: Our First House, Gardens, Raspberry Bushes and Chickens, Oh My!

This week my fiancé and I sign our rental papers for our first house. One of us will move in over the summer and the other will follow after the wedding in August. I will tell you how it came to be.

One night my fiancé Robert had a dream. We were moving into his groomsman’s house some miles north. About a week later, lo and behold, his friend contacted him to say he and his wife were moving and asked if we were interested in renting or buying this very house from them. It is just minutes away from where Robert works.

So on a Saturday in May we drove over together so I could have a look. I did not have any expectations. As we stepped inside the front door, I was stunned by the interior beauty of the home which our friends worked hard to remodel and fashion. Hardwood floors, a cozy fireplace in the living room, a large kitchen with a wrap-around counter top and modern features, lots of beautiful wood cabinetry, two bedrooms (one in which a cat greeted us stretched out on the bed like my Ginger), a bath and a downstairs room with another fireplace, and bookshelves built into the wall. As we chatted in the kitchen, our friend pointed out the east-facing kitchen windows, which on a clear day, offer mountain views and lovely sunrises. As if the interior of the home wasn’t amazing enough, we walked outside and I kept on being amazed. There were raised garden beds and a compost, bee keeping boxes with nests inside (tended by someone else), and a chicken coop with squawking ducks and chickens! There were roses, raspberry bushes, a cherry tree and kiwi trees maturing to produce their first crop.

I was stunned. Could it be God was offering us all this without us even seeking it out? You know how we have those dreams…and sometimes they seem far off…one day I will write a book. One day I will live in a house and raise a family… one day.

But here our dreams were coming to life, as they have been in the entire past year. Here a real vision of our new life opened up before us. A nest for family, welcoming others, nurturing life, cooking, working, writing, gardening and even perhaps...yes, keeping a chicken or two! (Thanks, Flannery O’Connor.) No more tiny and overpriced apartment living or basement living. (Keep in mind, currently we both sleep in basements – my bedroom is in the basement of a house – and Robert’s apartment is underground.)

Later our friend emailed photos and more details of the patio being built behind the house and the landscaping to be finished this summer. We are overwhelmed by our friends’ generosity and God’s providence:

“Garden beds and coop will be empty and available. If you want to keep chickens there, we can arrange to get you some new ones. There's running water and electric power back here. Wood shed is full of 1 cord of wood for use in fireplaces next winter.

“Land on the left side of the road is also part of the property and could be used for planting if desired. We had great plans for it, but haven't gotten to them. The big purple thing is a plumb tree that produces crazy numbers of plumbs ever since I thinned out the trees to give it light.

“Here's the raspberry bushes, blueberries and cherry tree. All producing now. More raspberries than we can eat.”

We left and I praised and thanked God the rest of the day.

All we need is a cave of love, right? In rags or riches, we are vowing to spend the rest of our lives together committed to each other and to God Almighty. That’s all we need. Yet God knows what our other temporal needs are too, and the plans He has for us. Build us up, Lord, in your love. Build a fire in us that will dance and glow into eternity.

Proverbs 31:25 in describing the ideal wife says, "She is clothed with strength and dignity and laughs at the days to come.”

I have been laughing a lot the past week. I can’t help it. 

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