An Overdue Update To The Farm And The Family

Updates for the farm restoration have been sorely lacking. After finishing our living quarters and shop, we resumed clearing out the land. Our entrance to the property was horribly uninviting, and upon waiting for the arrival of our first grandchild, we decided to place cleanup of the entrance at the top of our priority list. Therefore, the house would wait yet another month.

Our grandbaby arrived in early September and several days were spent in Kansas cuddling with the tiny new addition to our family. He is such a wonderful gift from God!

Steve and I continue to work hard on the renovations of the land and the house. Although I have portrayed our restoration of the family farm as all well and good, unfortunately it is without the blessings of my mother and siblings—from whom we encounter many, many trials. I will just sum it up with this:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  James 1:2-4

Though they are difficult and hard to find joyful, I have gained much wisdom from these trials. And though it may seem strange, I am able to find thankfulness that God has brought them upon me. We do have many blessings from our Almighty Heavenly Father, and for that we are forever grateful!

My daughter and her first born child.
Grandmama admiring first grandchild.

 

 

Handing Down A Legacy


Excavation work has begun on the homestead—in preparation for rebuilding my ancestors’ home—and I can’t help but reflect on this legacy which I have inherited. Not just a legacy of my ancestors who lived on this particular piece of land in Oklahoma. But also of those who led the way while also walking different paths. I was once told that my Grandfather, while looking for land on which to move his family, walked to the top of the hill of this homestead, took a good look all around, and then firmly stated to my Grandmother without hesitation, “This is it. THIS is where we are going to live.” And so it came to be. He carried on with a legacy which he himself inherited. That is, a legacy to endure through anything life threw at him (in his case, physical and financial hardships) while never losing faith in God. And to cherish and care for land that a gracious God has provided.  A lifetime legacy of hard work, which he instilled in my father.

A definition of the word legacy, in the sense I am using here, is: anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor. When I think of legacy, my first thoughts are not of creating a legacy for myself. But rather, it is preserving and handing down—to my children and to others around me—honorable legacies left by those before me whether it be gifts given or lessons learned. Yet, at the same time, it means taking these legacies and making them better. Unfortunately, it seems so often nowadays that we are forgetting these handed-down legacies rather than preserving them. Or worse yet, we are intentionally tossing them away.

But as for me, I pray that all who enter this land which has been handed down to me will feel God’s presence here.  Steve and I have fought hard to keep it in the family and to improve upon the land, and we sincerely hope that what we are doing is pleasing in God’s eyes.  For what we truly strive to be is more like Apostle Paul—to fight the good fight for the Lord Jesus Christ.  And to one day hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  We still have a lot of work to do in that area.

I had an inheritance from my father, it was the moon and the sun.  And though I roam all over the world, the spending of it’s never done.

~ Ernest Hemingway, For Whom The Bell Tolls

He Makes Beautiful Things Out Of The Dust

We began the first day of the new year attending a church sermon in which Pastor Joe Wright spoke about Christians making changes in their lives in order to attain sanctification—that is, allowing God to shape us into His image.  It was certainly one of those sermons in which one feels a direct connection to the message.  Before the sermon even began, Steve and I had walked into the sanctuary contemplating the changes we were about to make in our lives.  And we had been asking God to speak to us so that we may know we are doing His will and not that of our own.  Following the service, we attended an after-Christmas gathering with members of our church which dismally reminded us that leaving our home also meant leaving some wonderful Christian friends.  Yet, we drove home, picked up the phone, and made the call accepting an offer made to us earlier in the day for the purchase of our home in Kansas.  The deal was sealed—we were leaving the first home we built and which we love dearly and heading to Oklahoma to build our second.  And I couldn’t be prouder of my husband for what he has endured to make this happen.

I don’t know how to accurately express the feelings I am having—seeing where my husband is now in his life and in his walk with God, and knowing from where he came and to where he is headed.  Over 30 years ago he was struggling with addiction and, as a result, he served time in prison.  But he walked out of that prison clinging to the Serenity Prayer with great determination to better himself. Once a lost man who felt he could never do well in life and who believed he would never be worthy of owning a nice home, he has now learned that God will indeed change him into His likeness, if only he himself first makes the necessary changes.  I have personally watched God make beautiful things out of the dust, and I do believe with all my heart that our garden here on earth is finally about to be in full bloom.

I am sharing the below song not only because the song itself is beautiful, but also because it so well and so simply tells of my husband’s life.

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18 NIV)

Meeting The Pioneer Woman

Meeting Ree Drummond at The Mercantile in Pawhuska, OK
Meeting Ree Drummond at The Mercantile in Pawhuska, OK

This Thanksgiving, while driving to the farm in Oklahoma for a weekend of work, we decided to take a little detour.  Upon reaching the junction for Highway 60 in Ponca City, I turned off our beaten path and headed east towards The Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile.  It was supposed to be a three-day weekend of clearing unsightly trees covered with thorns.  But I decided we first needed a day of fun and a meal ordered straight from a menu prepared by Ree Drummond herself.  With our trailer in tow loaded with tools and equipment, we took the 45-minute drive out of our way to check out the history in a small town we had never before visited.  Pawhuska.

The drive to the Mercantile—namely, passing the Drummond Ranch—was stunning!  To think that such a wide-open expanse of land, similar to the Flint Hills in Kansas, belonged to one family alone was quite thought-provoking.  And suddenly I found myself comparing my land situation to that of the Pioneer Woman.  But really there was not much to compare and not much in common.  Here was a woman who came to live upon this land near Pawhuska by marrying into a family—landowners of four generations—wealthy by an abundance of land.  And here was I, on the third generation in my family to live upon a much smaller portion of land belonging to a struggling poor family.  But still a family which managed to hold onto the land.  The Pioneer Woman lives on a vast amount of acreage with tall prairie grass and scarcely a tree in sight (or so it seemed from my drive-by view on the highway).  While my land has a vast amount of trees with scarcely any acreage in sight (or so it would appear due to the abundance of trees).

We arrived at The Merc and were somewhat astonished to learn that there was nearly a two-hour wait for the restaurant.  Fortunately for us, however, we were able to get in after a short wait because we were the first “party of two” standing in line.  After a little shopping (um, I mean daydreaming of kitchenware to be placed in my new kitchen), I picked up Ree’s book, “The Pioneer Woman Black Heels to Tractor Wheels,” and then Steve and I made our way upstairs to the bakery.  It was there I spotted the beautiful Ree Drummond in the middle of an interview, after which she motioned to me and two other women that we were welcome to her table for an autograph.  Lucky me—I dodged a long line again!  And I had a good book in hand with which to finish the day.

Black Heels to Tractor Wheels
Autograph by Ree Drummond

Finally at the farm—helping Steve cut down trees and dig up truckloads of debris left behind by my ancestors—I not once had any doubt that this land is where we are meant to be.  This acreage of ours is beautiful, as small as it may be.  We are truly blessed, and there is nowhere else I would rather be.  Hmm, perhaps Ree and I do have something in common.

My father's favorite spot on the farm.
My father’s favorite spot on the farm.

 

 

House For Sale By Owner—SOLD!


We have finally listed our house in Kansas as “For Sale by Owner”.  And it is bittersweet.

I feel sadness and gladness clustered together.  In one moment, it seems, I am excited for the day we can start building our new home in Oklahoma.  But in another, I am struggling with the thought of leaving our current home.  In one moment, I am hoping this house will sell.  But in another, I worry that it will.  Having built this house in 1994 with the help of family, raising our three children here, and ourselves now having an empty nest, it will be a tough move for us for sure.  But this is what we have been striving for the past three years, and there is no turning back now.  We are not a couple which likes to sit idle.  We have great hopes that we can turn the old homestead in Oklahoma into something beautiful.  And if we don’t do it now, then we shall never know what might have been.

 

Architectural Salvage Yard No. 1

Antique water pumpsAnd so the scavenger hunt begins!  Searching for hidden treasures—among thousands of items—suitable for reuse in and around our farmhouse that has yet to be built.

First stop, Bearly Makin’ It Antiques.  As my husband, Steve, and I began our search for the perfect antiques and scrap that provide just the right architectural touch, we found a 40-minute trip to Marion, Kansas, to be well worth the drive.  Located just outside of town at an old alfalfa mill—”The Mill”—and having previously been featured on American Pickers, we anticipated this stop to be a pleasant surprise.  And we weren’t disappointed.  We searched through doors, windows, furniture, hardware, scrap metal (which was rather quite organized for a salvagBearly Makin It Antiquese yard), vintage car parts, lawn decor, reclaimed wood, and numerous other items which are just too many to mention.  Secretly being wannabe pickers ourselves, we found this salvage yard to be quite fascinating and difficult to leave.  And its quaint little shop in town filled with vintage home items and decor—such as quilts, dishes, clocks, glass light fixtures, and more—was a sweet addition to the day.

After finding some doors which we felt were “doable” for the farmhouse look we are trying to achieve, we ended up leaving them behind as we still have more salvage yards to visit and we didn’t want to be too haste in buying.  I did, however, snatch this wire fencing with a nice scalloped edge and with a perfect vintage patina (below), which I think will make for a great flowerbed backdrop when attached to already existing vintage posts which are still nicely secured in the ground on our land.

As the pickers of this architectural salvage yard are continually on the hunt and adding items almost weekly—we will be back for more hunting, I am certain!

Antique wire fencing

 

Shiplap For A Touch Of Charm

After drywall removal
“I just need one original detail to be intact.” Nicole Curtis

When most people restore a house, they are doing so in an effort to restore it to its former glory.  However, with our house, architecturally, there is no glory.  There is no charm.   An uncle rebuilt this house in the early 1970’s.  He was a poor man (as were my grandparents who lived there prior) who typically assisted in demolishing old buildings.  He used scrap from the demolitions to rebuild the family house which sits on a small hill.  While he built a house that was sound, it lacked beauty.

While reading online yesterday, I scanned through a Q&A segment with Nicole Curtis of “Rehab Addict” which airs on HGTV.  She was asked what traits she needs to see in a house to make the light go on in her head and lead her to tackle the project when the house appears to be a lost cause.  Her reply was, “I just need 1 original detail to be intact —scary but true.”  This has been my sentiment exactly, as I searched for that one detail.  But it appeared as though it was nowhere to be found.

Finally, this past spring, I asked my husband to remove some drywall so that I could see what lies inside the walls.  He did so, and while we found a mixture of wood including old porch ceiling panels under the drywall, we also found shiplap.  There it is . . . my “one detail” which I found to be intact.  And it is perfect!

It is a good thing that I have a passion for a touch of shiplap.  Just as my Uncle used scrap to rebuild the house in the 70’s, my husband and I will do the same.  Though, hopefully, we will be successful in giving the place some charm.

Shiplap

The Sweetest Gift I Ever Gave

“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God
that a man has to seek Him just to find her.” 

Max Lucado

My mother celebrated her 83rd birthday this past week, and what present to buy for her is a dilemma I face each year.  But this year, many weeks prior to her birthday, she mentioned her regret for not taking photos of the antique-like porcelain dolls she had made and gifted to others over the past 20+ years.  Here was a woman who so artistically crafted numerous dolls by firing the molds in her own kiln and painting each face with great detail.  She styled their hair and sewn their clothing, including their shoes, and then passed each doll on to a loved one without keeping even a photo for herself.  What a shame that she had kept nothing for herself to show for her work.  So I took photos of three dolls which she gifted to me and my two daughters, and I prepared a photo album and video which I in turn gifted to my mom.  It is my hope that others will add to this album by providing photos of their dolls which they received from her.

I am looking forward to the day I can place my doll, made by my mother’s own hands, in a special location in my new farmhouse, built on my father’s land.  I’m just quirky that way.

Upon receipt of the photo album, my mom told me that it was “the most meaningful and beautiful gift she had ever received.”  Sometimes it’s the simple things that matter the most.

The House On A Rocky Hill

standing on rocks“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them
into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

Matthew 7:24

We spent the better part of last year clearing dead trees and poison ivy from the land.  Clearing a path to the house, I guess you could say.  And while we originally thought we would build on another location of the farm, once my cousin contacted me with an offer to purchase her portion of the family land, we couldn’t turn her down.  While debating back and forth on which location to build (a softer ground area or a rocky hill) our thoughts kept going to the above Bible verse.  Plus, my heart kept tugging at me while saying the homestead needed to remain in its original location.

House on a hill

House Restoration – Before The Work Began

House Before Pic
Before

So here it is . . .  the before picture of our house restoration.  Nothing exciting here; nothing pretty about it.  Looking at the size of the house and the clean siding, it doesn’t really appear to be that bad of a fixer upper.  But several years ago an uncle of mine had put new siding and a new roof on this house.  There is no telling how bad the condition of the house would be now had he not done so.  It has been sitting empty nearly 20 years.  The inside of the house tells quite a different story though, with rats and snakes having taken up residence here.  We have been successful in eradicating the critters (for the most part, anyway), and now we will begin tearing the house down to the studs and rebuilding.

While down here working one day, a neighbor down the road stopped by and introduced himself.  I was surprised to learn that he and others still referred to this home as “the Peavey Place.”  A Peavey hasn’t lived here for many years.  Even when my aunt and uncle lived here (the last residents), their last name was not Peavey.  And, so, I will categorize all posts regarding restoration of the house as the “Peavey Place.”