Yesterday we got up and got out of Dodge so to speak. We were finally granted permission to go see the farm we have been thinking of for months. You may remember this post I wrote about Paul going to see it several months ago. After having looked at a few more houses on his own, he began to reconsider that farm but asked that I come see it this time to see what I thought. And so we did.
The day was beautiful. The temperature was +5C in Battleford. The sun was shining and the highways were dry. We turned off of the highway onto the gravel road where this farm is situated. The road was winding and hilly and tree lined. It was a beautiful sight. There had been snow a few days before and the grader had not been by yet so we locked it in 4x4 and plodded through. We did encounter the grader on the way as the road is a school bus route.
And we drove and we drove, or so it seemed. About 30 minutes from the time we left the spot where Paul's office in North Battleford is we were at the property. The drive was a little long but if the place was worth it we could do that. Or let me rephrase, HE could do that. I don't have to leave my house unless I want to. Lucky me.
So we pull up to the house and I stand on the deck. As far as the eye could see, that was the farm. 160 acres, a quarter section. Half farmland and half mixed forest. It was stunning. There was a children's play area. They would leave behind the play centre, the trampoline, the above ground pool. We trudged through the thigh high snow to see the play area and right in one of the trees, munching away nonchalantly was this guy. So cute.
The children who were showing us around told me not to get too close or I'll get quilled. And then the woman came out and told me about the apple orchard, grape vines, 300 strawberry plants, the raspberry bushes, the cherries and the Saskatoon bushes that produced so much they could never process them all. I asked about other wildlife on the property, you know, the kind that can eat your children if you are not careful. She offhandedly said, "Well, we get deer and moose in the yard every day. You can see they have been standing on my deck and eating my pines. We get coyotes every day too but they are usually scared of us. I had to shoot one last week. You can see the blood stain right there by your truck. We have only had two black bears and one mountain lion. Oh, and a timber wolf. We tried to shoot it but we missed. You'll need a dog so your girl will be safe." On a side note, why do people try to shoot things? Why would you kill a wolf just because it was on your property?
Anyway, I was a little worried about the bear and cougar but how often would that happen? I guess I would have to learn to shoot a gun. I did shoot some sort of gun with my Dad when I was a little girl. I don't know what kind and it was only tin cans. We then walked back up to the house, past the frozen pond and past the blood spot where the poor coyote lost his life. Past four outbuilding that were crammed to the top with furniture, old tools and who knows what. The owner said he hadn't a clue what was in there as all of that stuff was left there when he bought the property over a decade ago and he was leaving it all there "as is".
As we walked I asked about neighbors. Oh yes, there is Bob and Mary a mile that way. Their kids are long gone. Chuck and Margaret across the road. Teenage kids and just a half mile behind are Mark and Kerry. They have four kids, all home schooled. (Imagine my glee!)
Forward into the house. Oh my. So much stuff. Closets could not be opened lest everything topple out. The flooring was covered with toys, clothes and who knows what. In EVERY SINGLE ROOM there were incomplete projects. Started long ago and abandoned. The house was huge but the size of it seemed to exaggerate all of the work left undone and the clutter. Stickers all over freshly painted walls and doors and closet doors. It was a disaster. I can usually see past this kind of stuff and I was able to picture it clean, uncluttered and with our things in the rooms. What I couldn't imagine was how Paul would ever have time to repair, replace, repaint this mess. I figured what with cleaning the yard and fixing the house, we would not be able to put our feet up and have a cold beer on the deck for about two years. Two years!!
We thanked them for showing us their home, told them how beautiful it was out there. "A little piece of heaven" the man said. Paul said we would talk about it and let them know. We must have gone a mile or two before either one of us spoke. Each was trying to figure out what the other was thinking. Each weighing the pros and cons in our own minds. Another 20 minutes passed and our daughter texted with "Well?? You're killing me." I didn't know what to reply. We talked back and forth in tentative words. The reality of the situation slowly sinking in to both of us.
It was not to be.