Monday, November 8, 2021

Our Country House Anniversary

Hi, Friends,
I hope you are well!
Is there fall weather where you are? I hope so. Our leaves have just a tiny bit of color. 
I hope we are in for some pretty russet tones in the next couple of weeks. 

We just had the first anniversary of our country house purchase.  
This post is about two weeks late because it's been a complicated post to write. 
If you have been following, you will know that we were able to buy our little house in the country last year. 
It was a dream come true and we were in a honeymoon faze about it for a long time. 

The house hurt my feelings and I was over it. 

It was time to sell, blow it up, give it away. 
I fell out of love and broke up with it. 
The honeymoon was over! 

There are some things that we love about country life but there are some things that we really don't love. 
I was kidding about all of the options above. We still love it but we are a little more realistic about country life. 

There have been times, in the last year, that we thought about selling our house in town and moving to the country full time. Bill's commute will not allow that. As things have opened back up, he has to spend time at the office in Dallas. The commute from our house out there is 3 hours one way. 
That's not do-able at all. After his working from home for the last year, I don't love how much time he is away during the week. 

Even if that were not the case, the things that we don't love about the country have given us pause. 

Sugar sand is what they call it. It sticks to everything. 

The issues that I thought would be a problem are not. 
I noticed the sand the day of the showing. The sandy soil was crazy at first and I swept constantly. The driveway apron has eliminated most of that problem. We aren't in and out as much since our inside projects are finished for now. I don't have to sweep as much anymore. Grass has also helped with the sand. Inside shoes and outside shoes has also been a good protocol to follow. 

I also asked the realtor about the road. We live on a farm to market road. It is a road that is trafficked by all types of vehicles during the weekend. Trucks travel to the other towns on our road. I thought it would bother me. It doesn't at all. We aren't far from a major highway in town and that sounds like a hum during rush hour. This isn't like that but at this point we don't notice it. Dixie bolted out of the door toward the road after some deer two weeks ago. Bill yelled for her to stop and she did. 
Other than that she is very obedient and never goes toward the road. 

Our neighbors have some junk. They are so nice that it doesn't really bother me too much.
"Is that Coors Beer sign being used as a dog shelter?" 

We have had some unexpected expenses but we went into it knowing that there would be expenses with a second house. So it isn't like a "lake mistake" where were unaware that there would be costs involved.  We went in fully aware that there would be unexpected issues arise. 

The well is under the little green cover. 

We had some well issues. Those were easily fixed. We had the water tested. It does weird things to my hair when I have to wash it out there. Fortunately, I don't have to wash it everyday. We don't let the pets drink it either. Bladder issues with the well interfered with watering which fried my garden. That was a low point but my plants were grown from seeds. There is always next year. 

I am not overly squeamish but the scorpions nearly did me in. 
There was a day that I found three ticks on the dog and a scorpion in the house. It was not a happy day. 
I don't love the feeling that I can't walk around barefoot especially in the middle of the night.
 I want to walk in our woods without worrying too much about the ticks. The cutter ants were a nasty surprise. We also have gophers. There are just more bugs and critters out there than I expected. 
The exterminator will be coming out quarterly. 

There is not much he can do about the ferrel hogs. 

We thought we would be able to share our house more but Covid has prevented us from spending time out there in the country with friends and family. Bill and I both have a gift for hospitality. It took time to get ready but it's been ready to share for a long time and we are ready to open our doors.   

It is beautiful and bucolic at our house in East Texas. There are pine forests and rolling hills. There are charming looking farms. 
Bill and I watch different YouTube channels. On most of them, farm life may be a little over glorified. 
There are realities and one reality of farm life and farm land are the farm smells.
Sometimes we smell cows. Sometimes we smell chickens. 
 I think it is a dairy which opened on some land a mile or so behind us. Sometimes we smell something else which is not definable. There are regulations with TCEQ but we have no idea if individuals are following guidelines set by the state. What do we do if they are not? 
If we lived out there full time a smelly day wouldn't be a big deal but we bought this house to enjoy the outdoor spaces. A smelly Saturday is unfortunate. A smelly Saturday if friends are out is embarrassing.  A smelly day in addition to ticks and scorpions puts me in a bad mood. 
East Texas is cooler but more humid than in town. It seemed like there were more smelly days during the growing season than in the fall and winter last year so it's not been the summer escape place that we'd hoped. 

In spite of all of this, we have had some magical wonderful weekends. This past weekend was picture perfect. 
We had some friends come out to help us clear some paths in the woods. 

This filled my emotional tank. 
Bill and I had begun to wonder what in the world we were doing. 
It was such a blessing to see our little place through someone else's eyes and have them grasp our vision for it. 
 We cut probably a quarter of a mile which is such a great step toward having trails through the woods. 
I was blessed beyond measure to have people come along side us to help us accomplish this task. 

The rose colored glasses may have fallen off.
 They always do.
 We just keep moving forward toward our five year plan. 
It's why we made a long term plan. 
Our house in town is too big for just the two of us. 
Our house in East Texas is just a tad too small. 
I have come to realization that I'm more of a planner than I thought. I want to know what the future holds but I don't and that is okay. 

For now, we will enjoy our weekends out of town. 
We will light a fire in the fire box and hope the burning wood masks some of the farm smells on a bad day. 
We will continue to open our doors and share our little house. 
We will enjoy our house in town during the week.  
Where we end up when Bill retires is a mystery. 

 I'll have a post soon about a few changes to the interior. 
That is all for now.


  1. wish we lived close by, we'd come to visit you farm smells or not. I grew up in the middle of 40 acres of cows, so I'm used to it. I love hearing a realistic viewpoint on your place. And you're right about how some people romanticize country living, it's hard work. so sorry about the scorpians, we lived in San Antonio for 4 years and they just about did me in.

  2. What a good post and real post on your farmhouse/country living. Being in Texas and having the heat, humidity, animal smells and unwanted guests like Mr. Scorpion are all part of living in the country. Glad you are hanging in there and keeping your plan going forward. Life does change constantly and sometime it goes in a direction we were not expecting. Have a good week Katie. xoxo Kris

  3. I love this honest post, Katie. You are right -- a second home isn't always a bed of roses. There is expense, maintenance and upkeep, and uninvited guests (we have flying ants, which are probably much better than scorpions but still, who wants them?!) Some things you adjust to, some are too hard to get your brain (or nose) around. Even though our well water has been tested, we don't drink or cook with it and it's hard water so yes, it does stuff to the hair. You cope.

    I so admire everything you have done. You started with quite a fixer upper and fix it up your did. And I especially admire that you did this by yourselves as a team. You have much for which to be proud and I'm glad you are finally able to welcome friends to your second home. It will make it all the better. I think it's lovely and all you have done makes it extra special. As you said, "There's always next year," when it comes to the garden. And other things too. Meanwhile, enjoy every second!