We bought the farm. Actually, I mean, we bought a farm. It nearly killed us but it didn't. It's a good story.
Our property is just north of Fresno near the little town of Madera. Madera is in the middle of California and the raisin growing capital of the world. But the road to get to Madera was anything but fun. What got us through is that we are stubborn when we really want something. We don't give up easily.
Let me tell you a story.
When I was young I spent most of my time outdoors. My mom and dad weren't happy and rather than keep quiet about it they let the whole world know. You could hear them yelling at each other from almost anywhere in the neighborhood. My self-defense was to leave the house and walk as far away as I could until I couldn't hear them anymore. As a result I got very comfortable being alone in nature. In summer my favorite place was laying down in tall grass watching the clouds going by like leaves on a lazy stream. In winter I walked the uncut rows of field corn rows. The stalks trembled and rustled like old bones in the wind. Out there I felt peace.
It's not hard to figure out why I love the country. It's kind of a wonder why I didn't come back here sooner.
This ranch has been great. The thing I'm going to miss most about it is the peace. No freeway noise. No neighbors mowing lawns. No nothing. The only thing breaking the silence is the honking of geese flying in to the lake or the random motorcycle way out on the road.
The only problem with it is this: it's not ours. We really need our own place. A place where every little dirt clod kicked over has a purpose and makes a contribution. A place where we can build things that make sense to us. According to our plan. A plan that we decide on. So that is our new place.
We almost didn't get it though. It's a seller's market for fixer upper property in California. Buyers from all over the world and mostly the Orient are coming in to California and buying up property cheaply with cash, fixing it up and re-selling it for a profit.
We started looking in July 2015. We made offers on 3 places only to be skunked by cash buyers every time so when we saw this place on realtor.com we called up the agent and, sight unseen, we made an offer. We knew from painful experience that we needed to get our foot in the door immediately or the place would have an offer on it and we would get skunked. This way we might have a chance. We could always back out if we saw it and it wasn't right.
So we made an offer for a little more than the asking price that was still in our comfort zone and not out of line with the comparables. Then we took a chance and agreed that the owner could stay on a bit after closing to move herself out. Lo and behold, we got it! Just so you know, we did see the place and we did decide it was perfect.
Honestly, it feels like a bit of a miracle.
Four acres (two and a half, flat and arable) land with plenty of water, trees, outbuildings (in need of repair but, so what, we can do it!) and a modest house. Now we just have to get a mule!