We Bought a Farm
Dreams do come true.
I mean I believe(d) it but if I am being honest, doubted a few times over the years on dreams in general and this one in particular, buying a "farm" or a "home in the country," or homestead, or ranch, whichever you prefer.
The dream started like a lot of dreams do...as a child. My dad always talked about owning a place in the country. He liked trees, seclusion, and I know he would have grown a great garden (always did in the city) and probably would have raised animals. Since I looked up to the pop, I felt like I could see what he saw. A place, away from the hustle and bustle (even Spokane in the 80s was too busy for him). A place to stretch out and cut wood, tinker on old engines, fix things, and generally have no reason to go into town except to work or a supply run. I am sure if there was a way he could have supported the 4 of us on a farm, he would have.
We never were able to make that work as a kid. Mom and Dad chose to send Molly and I to Catholic school, which stretched our little budget, even when my mom went back to work as we became teens.
I left home at 17 to go to the big city and lost track a little of what country life might look like.
Besides a brief attempt in the Moran Prairie for one year, country life was lost until I met my wife Dominica. She brought me back by introducing me to a great family, farmer's Dave and Laura, who have a wonderful farm in the Snoqualmie Valley. Dominica had been working there for several years prior to us meeting and when I came out there the first time, I could see why she loved it so much.
First the people. Dave and Laura became a second family to Dominica and her daughters and then to me and the big 3 boys and of course our little surprise, Lochlan.
We have spent many hours working and even more playing on their lovely 16 or so acres in Carnation. Heck, we even got married there! So the dream was reborn. Could we somehow, some way put together the money and find a place to make our own little patch of heaven?
As the man said, "they aren't making any more land." Plus, we live in King County where land is at a premium and certainly space. It is one of the most beautiful places on the earth, the Puget Sound, but what makes it so beautiful is the fact it has two huge volcanic mountain ranges to the east and to the west, with Mount Tahoma looming on a clear day. And lets not forget about the water. Beautiful. Pure. Everywhere. The trouble with this "beauty" is that there is not many options for us to live so land gets WAY expensive. There are housing tracts EVERYWHERE when they will let people build and they get filled up because we have a bunch of things going for us around here. The beauty and clean air of course, but also some big companies you may have heard of. A LOT OF PEOPLE want to live here!
So after scratching out a life in the suburbs, we thought that as the older kids got older, maybe we could someday move to a spot we could grow some things ourselves, and maybe have some animals...the whole "live off the land" thing. We believe it. We want it for us and our kids.
But we were getting a little disillusioned. We were starting to think that we couldn't find a place in this area that would fit what we want. A place to spread out and do what we wanted to do. We were at the end of our hope and pretty much subscribed to fact we would probably not be able to get something like this until a few more kids left the house...probably Montana, or back to either Eastern Washington, or central California. The first two, maybe a shot at some space, the last, close to family (which is great) but not what our goal was.
And then the winter of 2020.
Here is how it went, or how I remember it (classic Irish right?).
Every winter the wife dreams of California. The wet, dark and dreary winters of the Puget Sound start to get heavy, both literally and figuratively. As the clock clicked into 2020 we were chatting about our future and decided to give finding some property another wack. Probably the last one honestly. We dusted off our loan pre approval and thought we would reach out to a couple of agent friends.
We really didn't have a ton of hope.
A couple of days into the idea, I woke up and decided to reach out to one agent friend in particular who I knew lived and knew the Snoqualmie River valley and the towns that line it. I reached out with a "hey, doubt there is anything and there is certainly no rush, but if you find something, some property, maybe even a farm, between Fall City and Duvall, maybe let us know??"
She called back the next day saying that she may actually have something. She sent a picture and honestly, it was a big time downer. It wasn't what we were looking for but on a wintry, blustery, wet day, where the wife was recovering from a two-week sickness, I drug her into the truck to take a drive and see.
We drove up to the house (which looked nothing like the picture) and at the iron gate, we called the agent and said something like, "hey, we are probably not in the right place because it doesn't look like the picture you sent, but if so, can we take a look?" She said yes, gave us the code, and we inched up the long driveway to the home, and so much more.
We peeked into the windows, walked the property, and left wondering if.
The next day we asked the agent if we could actually take a formal tour inside. She said yes, we drove back out, and a vision began take shape.
We decided to give it a go.
We got the financing dialed in to where we could and then inquired about next steps. The agent friend suggested we write a letter to the seller. We did and I wrote a simple, straightforward letter (with pictures of all the kids and our dog) stating that we believed this could be our next home and that we would honor the seller's legacy as best we could.
The owner apparently loved it.
We worked through the formal negotiations and BAM, a deal was made. We were in shock. Our kids wanted to work out but were skeptical. We desperately wanted it to work out and we, if I am being honest, a little doubtful. After all, this was a dream for ALL OF US. Could it actually happen? Could NOW be the time? Could this be the PLACE? Are we the ONE(s)?
Turns out...YES. A resounding YES.
We bought a (not the) farm.
The dream continues...