Sunday, July 29, 2007

Cupboards and Pitbulls

We are currently evaluating a farm from over 350 miles away. This is a new experience for us. Our Realtor has emailed pictures and has even taken a video to help us get a better idea of what it is like. It was interesting watching this video with my wife. The Realtor, a man, is narrating the video as he pans around the kitchen. He pauses briefly, filming (or does one now say “videoing”) the wall of pantry cupboards. My wife speaks to the video, “Open the pantry doors. Show us inside the pantry.” But the man, moves on to the “large” laundry room giving us a 10 second panoramic sweep of that room. As we watch, I think to myself, he’s a guy, and I find myself wondering how the video might have been different if a wife and mother had been behind the camera. However, we are able to pause the video to see some details better, although we aren’t able to get the video to open those pantry cupboards, no matter how hard we try!

We find ourselves in the situation of trying to evaluate a property from afar through unique circumstances. Normally we would arrange with our Realtor to visit several properties whenever we were out visiting family in western PA, and that is what we were planning to do when we went out over the Fourth of July. By the time we arrived, we found that one of the two properties we were scheduled to see was already under contract, so we only had one place to look at.

This place was over 50 acres with a couple of run down trailers, an abandoned two-story cement block garage, and 3,500 feet of creek going through one corner of it. The pictures on the listing showed us not to expect too much from the buildings, but perhaps they would prove serviceable as shelter and storage while building the main house. We arrived before our Realtor early Friday morning, and as we pulled into the drive-through driveway (it was a corner lot), we noticed that the property looked like the kind of neighborhood where you wouldn’t want to be alone at night. The combination of several abandoned vehicles and abandoned buildings, all added to the effect.

We therefore decided that we would continue driving through the driveway and see how much we could see from the road. It was then that our Realtor showed up, and we followed him as we cautiously entered the neighborhood a second time.

Who Let the Dogs Out?
We parked our vans outside of the abandoned garage, and left the safety of the vans behind as we all got out (we had our two boys with us), and with the Realtor in front, started to approach the less run-down of the two trailers in case someone was home. We were about half way to the trailer when suddenly, from the far side came two large pit bull terriers barking wildly. As they careened around the trailer, they spotted us.

My wife, sensibly said, “I’m getting back into the van.” And not wanting her to be alone and unprotected, I decided to go along. The boys, and our Realtor, followed suit.

As the five of us sat in our vans, the two dogs began to set up vigil outside. You have to remember, we had an appointment to see this property which they were trying to sell to us. Makes you wonder how uninvited guests might have been treated!

Providential Serendipity
Realizing our Realtor wasn’t going to get out of his van anytime soon to go knock on the trailer door, we decided to drive back out to the road and see what we could of the property. After we noticed that there was a lot of cattails around (a good sign of swampy ground) and that the 3,500 feet of creek was totally stagnant (no water flowing even though it had rained the day before), we decided we had seen enough. It was then I mentioned having seen a “Farm for Sale” sign on the way to this place and we all decided that our time might be better spent looking at that place then spending anymore time here.

That is how we came across the place we are currently considering. No one was at home, so we were only able to look at it briefly, and because of scheduling, we were unable to get to see it again before we had to head back home to eastern PA.

As with any farm, you have land and you have the house (and you have the other barns and out buildings). This place is probably a “9” as to the land: 35+ acres tillable, about 30 acres pasture (fenced), and about 10 acres woods, with a 2 acre pond and a smaller spring fed Koi pond and a small stream. The house is an 100+ year old farm house with an addition that has been nicely kept with an updated kitchen and 2 full bathrooms. However, including basements, it is a little over half the size of our current place, which means making sacrifices and choices.

And that is where we are right now, trying to decide if we are willing to make the necessary adjustments to move into a smaller place. If we decide that we are, we will probably schedule a visit out west to give the place a thorough going over.

Afflicting the Comfortable
Perhaps you’ve heard the quote (I think it was from Spurgeon), “My ministry is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” We have often heard that Christians can lose their effectiveness when they become too comfortable. I find these thoughts have new meaning as I contemplate choosing a less comfortable house and perhaps a less comfortable lifestyle. It is interesting to think that this current house would probably have seemed palatial to those who built the original farmhouse over 100 years ago. But we have become used to comfort and to having room for all of our things.

And so we pray for God’s grace and direction. May God give us the grace to understand and to choose His will as we seek Him in all of this. May we find our comfort to be in Him, and in Him alone.



At July 30, 2007 6:15 AM , Blogger Ron and Ginny said...

Well, I'm glad you didn't get intimately acquainted with the dogs. (!) However, the farm you are considering sounds really nifty. May the Lord's will be done. :-D Thanks for the post. (finally...!) ;-)

At July 30, 2007 6:22 PM , Blogger tc said...

Now I just need to get the time to tell the story about the ex-con and why Realtors don't want the owners to be around during a showing! :-)

Oh, and then there's the story of the haunted shack and swamp land...

At July 31, 2007 1:57 AM , Blogger Ron and Ginny said...

Okay! Stop it! Don't be giving these little hints, just type the posts! (grumble grumble...)

At August 1, 2007 8:43 PM , Blogger Fout Family said...

Quite amusing set of circumstances huh?

Just recently I moved and am venturing to find a farm for my family to "grow" on. I'll be looking to you for insight as you post.


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