Monday, November 28, 2016

::moving to this town::



Seriously, the last two weeks have been insane.  We moved out of our old farm and moved into our new town.  We got Gus and the goats settled in at my brother inlaws house.  We stayed there too for a few nights, and heard Gus going crazy one night.  We went outside and Gus was about to rip apart a coyote that was going after the goats!  He earned his stripes as a life stock guardian dog, because he was going to kick that coyotes ass.  I couldn't love that dog any more than I do.  We went out with a flashlight and once we spotted the coyote Josh went in and got his gun.  He shot it and it went down immediately.  That thing was way to brave and way too dangerous.  I also learned that the DNR says it is legal to kill any nuisance species that is threatening livestock.



Max and Lily started third and seventh grade at their new schools.  It was a little bit of a transition, but it only took them each about two days to find their stride.  I'm so impressed with how brave Lily is.  13 is kind of a fragile time for a young girl and she has just taken in the adventure like a hero.  Mr Max is still young enough that he had six best friends by Wednesday.  Quinn stayed home with us for a week and then started his new daycare.  The lady that runs it is a modern day hippy.  She is peaceful and all the kids call her Nana.  I love her.  She's the best.  I'm feeling so good about those kiddos right now. 


I found us a rental house that is one mile from our inlaws and 1.5 miles from our new farm.  I took the Zillow listings that had been on the market the longest and tests the realtors asking if their clients would be willing to rent their houses out for a few months.  I got lots of no's but I got one yes and that's all it took.  The house is a great rental.  Very clean and in a great location.  It's two stories which is a change for us, but the kids love it.  We are so lucky that we found such a great opportunity. It actually has a master suite which has been a big adjustment for us!  AND an attached garage, which I'm not sure I can ever live without.  We have the lease till May, then they are going to list it back for sale and we can stay there month to month till our house is done.  We hope our renovation is done by late July.  Fingers crossed on that.  I'm hosting our family Thanksgiving at my rental this year for the first time in my life.  Excited and nervous.  



We closed on our new farm on November 21st.  We had the honor of meeting the old owner, who was such a wonderful lady.  Her husband passed one year ago, so we did not get to meet him but he sounds like he was a really great guy.  He collected cars and other "junk" which he had filled the barn with.  She said his four kids worked every day for 1.5 months to empty out the barns.  They still left us a few treasures, and I'll go into more detail about that another time.  We had such a wonderful closing.  I could have talked to her for hours.  I told her that she or any of the family can come by any time they want to see the progress.  When she left we hugged and she told me that she was so glad we were bringing life back into the place and that he husband would have loved it too.  I almost cried, she was just so gracious and kind.  No wonder that place has such good karma.  We drove right out to the farm and just walked around smiling for an hour.  What a great place. 



I promise soon to post a full room by room of the house and barns.  And - we found a designer/builder.  Much more to come about her.  She's amazing!  It was love at first sight.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

::moving day coming up::


I think I am going to throw up.  This moving day stuff is actually going to happen.  I can't really believe it.   I thought 100 different times that this was going to fall through.  We close on our current farm we are selling November 15th.  There are going to be some decent tears about this place.  I LOVE this place, and our future land in definitely not as cool.  It doesn't have all the stunning hardwoods and pines like this place.  BUT - the potential is limitless because the land is flat and blank (minus the 12K square feet of barn!!!!!!!).  I am excited at getting to plant the trees I want; like Ginko's (not the smelly kind), Tulip tress, Birch, Walnut, and a BUNCH of fruit trees.  

Still this actually moving process sucks.  I guess I forgot that the family room has a cabinet over the extra fridge out there.  Apparently, it never got cleaned in 10 years.  It had old pictures and frames and some of the most foul dust of all time.  I also found about 25 empty Go-Gurt tubes sprinkled in various hiding locations in the playroom.  The food rules are changing around here for sure.  My kids are really feral.  It's true. We have two big moving days scheduled and hopefully, that with about 15 other one trailer load trips to our new place should get us moved. 

I met with our first design to build guy.  It was nothing like when Chip and JoJo do a walk through but I think it went well.  We meet with him soon to discuss costs, which I am sure will give me a heart attack.  That I will then recover from and move forward.  We have a day in two weeks where we are meeting three more reno companies, so we keep working on gathering information.  We don't actually even close on our new farm till November 21st.  So my poor, patient, kind realtor has been letting us in several times to get the reno process started.  She'd so sweet.  I love the girl.  Our plan is to stay with Josh's brother's family till our place is done.  It's asking a lot of someone to take in a family of our volume so we will keep an eye on how that is going.  I don't want them to end up hating us now that we will be living less than four miles apart for the rest of our lives.  



Let's not also forget that I am trying to keep my head above water with grad school.  Next semester should be my last one, assuming that I pass.  Which I better, but I don't want to get cocky.  I have finally had the wonderful opportunity to go part time at work.  Never in my entire life have I been part time and it feels like a real luxury.  It also feels like I am skipping class, and I feel a little bit guilty about it.  Really, I've only been part time for two weeks but it is amazing. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

::Donkey::



It has been pointed out to me by several of my friends that I didn't mention Donkey when I was discussing our big move.  Have no fears Donk is alive and well!  Our old horse Teddy died this last winter from old age.  After we put him down, Donk was so depressed.  They had lived together for the last 14 years and had never been apart in that time period.  We knew this moving stuff was coming and we didn't know if we where going to be renting or buying land or who knows what, so I needed a temporary place for Donkey to get loved while we figured ourselves out so we could buy him a new friend to keep him company.  
I work with the most amazing nurse in the NICU at Community North that has a cowgirls spirit.  She has a young grandson that needed a bomb proof mini to play on.  Did I have the guy for her!  Mr. Donkey can not be spooked.  He has the heart of a rag doll cat, he just wants to lay around and be loved.  That is the perfect little boys first pony.  He has gone to hang out with her for a year or so till we are ready to take him back.  My friend is spoiling him up right and giving him all love he can handle.  I miss my Donk, but he is having fun at camp.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

::we sold the farm::



We are moving.  We decided last year that it was time to finally move closer to Josh’s family about an hour from where we live now.  We have wanted to do this for awhile, but last summer felt like it was finally time.  Emma was graduating high school and Lily was starting junior high.  We didn’t want to move while Emma was still in high school here, but we wanted to move before Lily started high school.  The boys are still little and they don’t really care what’s going on.  We listed our house with a shady realtor who has lots of sales in our area.  We quickly realized we couldn’t stand this guy, he was giving us bad advice left and right.  We got a buyer who made it through inspection and then backed out.  We pulled it off the market August 1st because the kids where going back to school.  We thought we would just try again next spring.  Then I got a random call from a different realtor named Lori Redman who asked if her clients could still come see our house even though the farm had been off the market for weeks.  We let them come, they loved it but they didn’t have quiet enough money to buy the whole thing.  We really didn’t want to move at that time anyway so we said, no big deal.  Six weeks later they came back with more money.  We got our old shady realtor to agree to take a reduced commission since he hadn’t done a damn thing any way.  Lori negotiated both sides of the deal and we all agreed to everything. 
               The kicker is that the buyers wanted a short closing.  They only gave us SIX weeks to be out.  Right now we are about one months from closing and I can’t hardly believe it.  We are going to miss this farm like crazy.  We love this place.  It is an amazing farm, but we have said our emotional good byes and come to terms with it.  I will always love this place.  We have lived her 14.5 years.  We got married here.  We have had three of our kids here.  But now it is time to move on to our forever farm.  We are going to take all the wonderful things we have learned over the last 14 years and use them to make our next place awesome. 
         
      Speaking of next place – we have found a new farm.  It’s less than 1.5 miles from Josh’s parents, and 3.8 miles from his brother.  It’s five acres, which is just the size we wanted this time.  It’s got a pretty little one story farm house from 1930 that needs mostly gutted to the walls.  Everything must go.  Then it has the most amazingly huge barn.  I mean HUGE!  There is a 100 year old had cut beam wooden barn that was cover with metal and is very well preserved, with a loft that dreams are made of.  Then there is a cement block building that was built in the 1950’s and was used as some kind of mechanic shop, with four nice sized rooms.  Those two buildings where attached to each other with a pole barn that is about 150ft long and about 70 feet wide.  There are all these amazing open spaces and charming little rooms.  You just never saw such a barn in your life.  You can just feel the magic and the history.  I swear if you saw a fairy fly in front of you, you wouldn’t even be surprised.
    
          

Then next door to the main barn in a cattle barn.  It’s a good 100+ feet long and 30 feet side.  It’s only closed in on three sides and it set up for dairy cattle.    Between the barns and behind them is a large cement area with and two large circular foundations for silos.  Between the barns and the cement area I would say that one solid acre is taken up. 
               It took some serious back and forth.  I even wrote this letter to the buyers to talk them into lowering their price.  Our realtor told me the house has over forty showings and we were the first offer.  It’s just a different kind of place and we are different kind of people = perfect match.  Here is the letter:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. S. –
               I wanted to reach out to you about your lovely farm in (blank).  We toured your house last week and fell in love with it.  The house has such good bones and is so pretty.  Your barns stole our hearts.  All that space, with so many different rooms and turns.  We could feel the history in there and it spoke to us.  We are a family of six, four children ages 18, 13, 8, and 4.  My husband grew up just down the road from you on 900 near (blank).  We are moving back to the area to help with my husband’s parents and to be closer to his brothers and their families. 
               We have lived the last 14 years on a 16 acre farm near Lebanon.  It needed lots of work when we bought it but over the years we have spent many late nights and weekend bringing it back to life.  I am a huge gardener and keep several different gardens.  When I saw the open sunny space at your farm, my mind started spinning at the gardens I could keep there.  My children and I keep a few pet livestock animals, including three pygmy goats and one miniature sheep.  They wonder around their paddocks at our current farm and I could just see them playing in new paddocks at your house.  We can’t wait to get some chickens again too, and I know those guys would love your farm too.  We also have a very silly Great Pyrenees dog that loves to patrol his property all night and protect us from every falling leaf he see’s.  He’s a really friendly guy and our family really enjoys him.  When I came to your farm I could just feel us being happy there.  All the space and openness has so much appeal, and the farm felt so peaceful.  Our family is used to the large amount of work that living on property takes and we hope to be able to put that energy into your farm.
We are hopeful that we can work with you to buy your house and barns, and make it into our families dream farm.
Thank you,
Brooke Schaefer
             

  I am so ready for this place.  We will be living with my brother inlaw and his family while we hire out the renovation.  Josh has all the skills needed to do the renovation, but not the time and since we will be homeless till then we will be hiring professionals.  We have SO many plans for this farm.  First the house: gut it to the walls.  There is no internal charm to salvage, it’s been renovated before and not in the nice way, so it needs gutted for a reset.  We want a four bedroom, kids rec room, laundry room, mudroom, kitchen with large pantry, and one million other finer points that I will chronicle here.  There is a lovely shed and green house that I plan to make into my sanctuary.  I have the perfect spot for a knot garden (much more on that to come), I know just where I want my coop with chickens, my big garden, small orchard, fire pit, shooting range, and more and more and more.  This place is nice and flat and very wide open.  This is going to be our sanctuary.    

Friday, September 9, 2016

::gus gus::



Oh, this Great Pyrenees of mine!  He is really one of the best dogs I have ever met.  He has just turned two, and should finally be coming up on his full adult size.  People ask me how much he weights and I lie and say 160lbs.  I really have no idea how much he weights.  I haven’t had him on a scale since he was neutered.  It really doesn’t matter how much he weights, he is huge.  Just trust me on this one.  A giant dog in all ways. 


When we brought him home his primary job was going to be guard the livestock and the property from predators that want to eat goats and chickens.  He started off very strong in that job, but from the day he arrived we never let him bond with the herd.  We snuggled him all day long.  I took him on car rides and let him in the house.  He got over peopled to really be a top notch live stock guardian dog.  Which ended up being better in the long run, because we are all over that dog any time we are outside. 


He lives a double life at this point.  He gets about one solid bath and brushing on Sunday mornings when the weather even thinks about being decent.  Then I dry him with the air compressor, set to not be too hard for him.  He then gets tied out to dry while I get the kiddos ready.  Then he jumps in the back of the van and off we go on an adventure.  That dog will hike anywhere – water, cliffs, mud – whatever.  He is an all terrain vehicle.  Sometimes on steep stair cases I grab on to him and he helps pull me up the stairs.  The man walks around on his leash like a perfectly trained dog, never pulls or drags.  One out of 10 dogs seem to really bother him and he might let out an aggressive bark or two, but he is easily distracted.  I let him try to go nose to nose with another dog last year and he lost his mind.  Growling and acting a fool, so I just avoid the situation now.  He will walk right by other dog on the trail and just pretend they are invisible.  By the time we load up and get home he is snoring. 


He spends the rest of his week getting loved on, but mostly protecting his goats (who’s pasture he stays in).  He cannot be let to run free as he will go bark at the neighbors house till he makes them insane.  I’m not sure how far he would roam once he got bored with them, but I don’t want to find out.  He doesn’t want to run away, he just forgets his way back.  He loves our 13 year old lab, Alberta, who is very much on her last leg at this point in her life.  I don’t let them play unsupervised because Alberta falls over if Gus gives her a playful nudge.    


He has really settled into his life of guardian/pet in a wonderful way.  His only struggles in when he was a puppy he would occasionally get too playful and swat a chicken, only to look confused as to why the chicken was dead.  He didn’t kill them on purpose, but he was just a little too rough. 



Augustus Walter Schaefer is such a great dog.  I hope he lives to be 100.  


Sunday, August 21, 2016

::update on the funny farm::

It has been eight months since I last posted.  Life has been really trucking along at the Funny Farm.  I just started my last year of grad school.  I have loved my clinical experiences.  I can’t wait to do the actual job.  Caring for patients of all ages and having long term connects. 

Our public school system has the option of an all day preschool, which we decided to send Quinn to.  He gets on and off the bus every day with his siblings.  Lily started seventh grade and is in the junior high.  She tried out for the school play and got a little part, which is great since it’s a high school play.  Mr. Max continues to be the most pleasant child alive and is starting the fourth grade.  Emma just moved in to her dorm and college.  It blows my mind to see her so grown up but I miss her proximity. 
Yet – with all four kids in school I find myself with a little bit more time.  Just a little, since I’m still working mostly full time and going to grad school.  Still that little bit of time is burning a hole in my pocket.  I’ve decided that I really want to get back into horses.  I grew up showing dressage and 4H till I was about 13 then did A circuit hunters and jumpers.  I have no urge to leave my family to go to horse shows by myself.  It’s also out of my tax bracket to do that kind of horses anymore.  I’ve been researching and researching and what I really want is two trail horses.  One for me and one for Josh.  He is game for that idea.  Which is one more example of him being the greatest husband ever.  I’ve fallen in love with a breed of horses called Gypsy Vanner, which looks like the kind of horse you would draw pictures of if you where an eleven year old girl that dreamed about horses all day.  I’m going to take some lessons and learn how to drive horses, and try to get to a few Gypsy Vanner farms so I can figure out if they are the right breed for us.  I’ll look into some other draft horse breeds to but really I just envision these horses as something I pet and groom every day and ride every few.  Maybe they do some light dressage, occasional driving, and go on a day long trail ride at least a few times a month.  Enough about horses. 
Our farm is lovely this year.  We got rid of lots of clutter.  My garden is out of control in a pretty way, not a jungle way.  Tomatoes and cantaloupes are all over the place.  We have sold off all our livestock except for three goats and one old wether sheep.  Donkey is staying with a friend.  Its made the maintenance around here a breeze.    We got a four foot deep pool for the kids that they spend tons of time in every day.  Q is the biggest water baby of all time.  He spends a good chunk of his day swimming or sleeping. 
     Gus Gus has proven himself time and time again to be the best dog that every walked the earth.  I adore him.  He loves the kids and he walks on a leash like a saint.  His only issue is he can sometimes get aggressive with other dogs when he is on a leash.  I just keep him out of situations where he would come nose to nose with other dogs.  We give him lots of brushing and baths and take him to parks as often as we can.  He lives outside and guards his livestock and then cleans up nice, jumps in the van, and heads to the park.  We have so much fun with him.
     We had some sad news on the farm.  Teddy, our old quarter horse that had lived her for 13 years and was owned by my dear friend, died of old age.  We got the chance to bury him in our back field.  Poor old guy.  He didn't suffer.  He just woke up one day and was struggling to breathe.  The vet came out and said that the old man was dying.  I lead him out to our wedding tree and we put him down.  He went down peacefully.  I miss the old man, but he had such a great life.
   Josh and I went for a little Disney sneak out trip.  It was just us but Emma was sown there on a senior trip.  We got to spend lots of time with her, which was so wonderful.  We also knocked off our Disney Bucket list one item: go to all four parks in one day.  
     





Wednesday, January 13, 2016

::small town::

So school has been trucking along and I've been getting my ass kicked pretty regularly there. It's been one of the more difficult experiences of my life I got to say I know it's going to be worth it and I know I'm really going to like being a practitioner at the end of it all right now it just feels like a humongous burden. It is deathly taking up as much time as a Nother job I have clinical today is a week from eight in the morning till 4 o'clock which really means till 6 o'clock. Then every other week I have class on Tuesdays from 9 AM till 4 PM. Let's not forget that I still have to try to get in 36 hours a week of work. If you do the math that does not equal a very nice schedule after the first five weeks my clinical does lighten up a little bit and I only have it once a week.  I am may be overdoing it a little bit in school because my GPA right now is a 3.9 when I'd be happier and healthier person if I had a 3.5 and was not trying so hard?  Maybe.  

But the good part about all this is my clinical is in my hometown of Lafayette Indiana which is about an hour from my farm.  Man do I love me some Lafayette.   It just really reminds me of home I feel like it is my hometown.   I've lived in the town that I live in now almost as long as I lived in Lafayette.  But when I'm driving in Lafayette I just instinctively know where to turn I know where stuff is I know how to maneuver that town and it all just feels like really comfortable sweatpants.  I daydream sometimes about how I could move my family back to Lafayette and we could live there.  I know that is not realistic we are actually moving in the opposite direction eventually but there is just something about Lafayette that feel so home to me. I get a little jealous of my friends on Facebook that I see that are still living in Lafayette I feel like they did it right.  That town is just the right size it's not too big and it's not too small.  I'm sure it's one of those things like St. Vincent Hospital was to me where it seems like it would be so great to go back to this magical place but when you actually get there and are stuck there you realize that it isn't. My brain love to remember things with the happiest sparkly light around it. That's a nice way to be but it's not very realistic when you're trying to make life choices based off it. There will be no going back to my small town I grew up in but I am enjoying my clinical time there I even drove by the house I lived in in college and it looks cute as could be. 

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