Discussions and Decisions

(The four photos above were taken by Larkspur, including her own Yarn Along picture. 🙂 )


Yesterday I got up extra early to take a little day-trip.  I spent the afternoon with my friends Elizabeth and Ann.  Our opportunities to be together are few and far between so we crammed all the sharing we could into those few hours.  Lately, I have felt like I haven’t been connecting with friends very well.  The days are overflowing, and in the evening I am just too tired to think about getting out.  But spending those hours with friends reminded me of how important friendship is.  Three hours of good discussion with people you love is worth six hours of driving to make it happen.  We talked about our families, and friendship itself.  And we talked about the farm…

I already mentioned that the owners didn’t take our offer, and in the end they didn’t even counter it.  They did though give us a detailed account of why they didn’t take it, basically telling us what we would need to do to make an offer they would accept.  And it was less about money, more about timing (faster! faster!) and the house itself, determining whether or not it is livable (basically we’d have to do it on our own dime.)  This farm and it’s 200 (!!!) acres are within our reach.  But for me, the timing is terrible.  The thought of trying to get our house ready to sell while pregnant and wrangling two destructive little boys (Job just entered the wall scribbling stage) is super overwhelming.  And it’s not actually what I want to be doing right now.  But then we think, “How can we let that place, that land, get away?”  Decisions like these are so difficult, the huge life-changing ones.  I am a realist, and I am married to a dreamer.  We aren’t always on the same page.  For instance, we have both just finished reading books about raising sheep.  His reaction was, “Sheep!  Let’s get some!”  And mine was, “Wow, shepherding is so much work.  And umm, how are we going to afford them?  I can’t possibly add that to my plate right now, but later, definitely later!”  Right now, I think we are in agreement that we can’t do anything to move forward on the farm right this second.  Well actually, Jonny can.  He can keep working on our house repair to-do list (please!!!) so that if everything looks different in a month or two (or six) we will be better prepared to sell our house.  And it is entirely possible that the farm will still be on the market then.  If not, it wasn’t meant to be.  I can live with that.

In the meantime, I have plenty to keep me occupied without worrying about moving.  Of course there’s housework, and homeschooling, and all the have-to things.  But we also have possibly pregnant goats, seven hives of bees still going strong, making us think we may actually have a real honey harvest this year, and lots of fun projects as well.  I finished my first tiny baby knit (socks!) And yarn for some hat knitting arrived last week (tosh vintage in begonia leaf and aura).  I’m starting to make a mental list of what I want to knit for our new baby, but not feeling a real sense of urgency because she’s due to arrive in early summer.  The sad reality is that summer babies in Virginia don’t really need many knits.  That won’t stop me from knitting ahead for her first fall and winter though!

Making the best of life right where I am and focusing on the good is one of my few special talents (though I am no stranger to sobbing pity parties here and there when everything just seems like too much.)  Today, I am going to channel that talent right into all the have-tos, riding on the happiness over-flowing from yesterday’s time with friends and the reminder that near or far, city or farm, knitter or not, we’re all in this together.


  1. I just recently finished Ann’s book One Thousand Gifts and it has been so spiritually uplifting and challenging. I would say that I am a dreamer married to a realist. Or at least I am an idea person. I tend to overwhelm my dear husband with all my “wonderful ideas” . . . 😉

  2. I just wanted to let you know that you are in my prayers, and your blog about your life and family is a blessing. Not that you need my prayers, just because reading you I feel like meeting an old friend and I love that you are so honest even about hard moments. The house will happen if that is the Lord’s plan for you! Maybe there’s a better one waiting for you that is not on the market yet.

  3. Some things that worked for us to get our historic farm…We worked out a preoccupancy agreement basically renting the new property until our house out of state sold. The only down side was that we couldn’t make any changes until closing. We stored boxes in the barn until rooms were ready, living simply in the meantime. Being clear that the sellers were responsible for any repairs got us a new septic drain line when, with regular use, it was discovered to have long ago collapsed. Having our household out of our previous home and staging it helped it to sell in 6 days. We found an agent that included this service in her regular commission, no higher that the others we interviewed. Being creative and just asking for what you need can help dreams come true. It may seem overwhelming, especially with a new one on the way but God’s grace provides. Praying God’s will for your family.

  4. Roseanna Hatke says:

    PS Our youngest daughter has started her homestead in a one room cabin with four children….they are fixing up “the big house” as they go along. Not easy….sometimes downright awful!!…but they will be so glad some day that they made that decision.

  5. Roseanna Hatke says:

    Ginny: I very rarely comment on anyone’s blog, but I wanted to give my 2 cents about your decision on the 200 acres. Our three grown children also had a dream of homesteading. But instead of starting with 200 acres they have much smaller (and less expensive) homesteads, between 3 and 10 acres. But that is plenty to fulfill you dream of homesteading, have animals (they all have pigs, chickens, goats, sheep and rabbits…not to mention all of the barn cats and a few dogs thrown in!) and plenty of children. They homeschool, can, and do all of the things I think you would hope to do on your own homestead. They all started with houses that needed some TLC and fixed them up as they could. I guess as a woman with plenty of life experience, I would urge you to start small. If you want more acreage in the future or a bigger house, then you can cross that bridge when you come to it. But in the meantime, get a few acres, perhaps with a house that is not your “dream house”, and got going on fulfilling your dreams. Good luck, hon.

  6. Hi Ginny!
    I rarely ever leave a comment but i’ve been following your blog for almost 2 years. Your blog has been uplifting, real and inspiring, and I really would like to Thank You for that. The last line really touched me…”Today, I am going to channel that talent right into all the have-tos, riding on the happiness over-flowing from yesterday’s time with friends and the reminder that near or far, city or farm, knitter or not, we’re all in this together.” I am not a knitter (as least not yet), I don’t have much time to read, I don’t homeschool my children and I work full-time…but boy you could not be more right We Are All in This Together!!! Your blog has truly inspired me…God Bless!!

  7. I have to say that it is impressive that you’re able to continue living in your current house and still maintain any level of peace and sanity. I’d be panicking with a large family in that small of a space, especially while pregnant. It must help that you have the outdoors that you all make such good use of, but still… I wish you could get that farm. 200 acres, wow.

  8. Ginny, I just want to offer you some words of encouragement (a good spiritual work of mercy on the first day of Lent, right?) I’ve had many situations in my life that I though were impossible. I’d tried every angle and nothing would seem to work or solve the problem (this was especially true with our family finances). Then something completely out of the blue happens, so completely unexpected that I knew it was a gift from God. I never felt so close to God as I did at those moments. I really felt his care as a loving father, the Loving Father.

  9. Years ago when I was pregnant and in despair because our little house felt too full a dear friend reminded me, “You have a father in heaven who wants to bless you and knows what’s best for you. Tell him what you want and then leave it with Him. If it will be good for you He will give it to you. If He doesn’t give it to you be happy because it wouldn’t have been good for you and He probably has something better in store.” She was right. He didn’t give us the house I wanted. He had a better one in store 😉 If the farm doesn’t work out take heart, there’s something better in the works.

  10. How special to see three of my favourite bloggers standing there together. How lovely! So glad you had a refreshing time.

  11. Still praying. We have to make a decision in April on the house we are renting now. Decisions are hard, all of the what ifs and if onlys. Good thing we have a God who cares or we would be in big trouble, lots of giving it over for Lent.

  12. Ginny-This post tugged at my heart strings. I am at the other end of where you are…..my nest is empty after 23 years of raising my children and homeschooling them right up to the first steps onto a college campus. I remember those many days when I said, “I have more on my plate than any one person should have.” There were times I felt overwhelmed by it all. But yet, looking back, I would not have had it any other way.

    I can relate to your husband-I am a dreamer-a visionary. I never look at things in the same way as my engineering husband does. I look at the potential-the dream-the vision. I also tend to research before jumping in. Before we got our first flock of sheep, I attended every workshop I could on raising sheep, I even had the state sheep specialist out to our house to talk with me. Before leaving, he looked at me and said, “Kim-it is time to get your sheep. You will learn as you go. Now go buy sheep.” And we did-we brought 4 little lambs home to our farm-and at that time, we had no fencing and no barn.

    If you ever want to talk specifics of raising sheep-I am happy to do so with you. I am also happy to help you do some cost analysis as well to get a realistic picture of what your expenses would be and how to make your sheep earn their keep. My blog has some posts as well on raising sheep- you may want to browse around to see what is involved. http://www.livingwithgotlands.com/ But you already have animal experience which places you far ahead of where I was when we brought our first flock home years ago. 🙂

  13. Sweet photo by Larkspur…so sorry your offer was turned down…200? wow…and what a treat to spend time with friends. 🙂

  14. you look lovely with your friends and I like the decision to not decide. Sometimes that is best. I believe things work out in the end and that what’s meant to be will be.

  15. That much land would cost an absolute fortune in Iowa where corn/monoculture industrial farming has basically placed land prices out of reach for most of us. Makes us treasure our paltry 3 acres all the more & also really want your family to succeed in finding your dream farm!

    Larkspur’s yarn along photo is heart melting–what a sweetheart she is!

  16. You are very blessed to have such good friends to talk to. I find more and more that I have many fun aquaintances but no real women friends that I would share anything of depth with. Friendships are so rare and thus so beautiful a gift when found. I had to laugh when you mentioned you were the realist and your husband was the dreamer…its the other way round in our house. I find it makes a good checks and balances effect and brings out the best in both.
    Good luck with all your decisions!! Those are hard ones.

  17. God knows. Keep praying and being diligent with the to-do list. We moved last summer from our own tiny house. I hit the wall a year ago, almost to the day, and it took six months to finish our house, and to find another. It is difficult and painful at times but honestly? It was so worth it. All I can say is God knows, but keep working as if you wanna move, as if you will move. Do what you know needs to be done. ❤️

  18. That Secret Garden was always my favorite to check out in school, along with the matching Little Princess. I didn’t know Tasha Tudor did the illustrations when I was that young, though–now I want to find those copies again! 🙂
    You and Ann and Elizabeth look so lovely!

  19. We moved last year to our dream house on more property. It was a time sensitive opportunity, and while not pregnant, my youngest was 2. It was awful. But getting a house ready to sell is always awful. It was a fantastic decsion and the right one for us. Interestingly, my sheep keeping book just came in at the library! I will be doing my own reading and thinking on the topic!

  20. Hello! I haven’t dropped by in a while and I’m so glad to see you still blogging. I’ve been reading on and off since Beatrix was a baby. I love your writing and looking at the photos of your beautiful family x

  21. Gwendolyn says:

    Lark’s pictures were just beautiful. They remind me of yours.

    Well, when my husband and I were in our early 40’s he decided to look for a farm and we found one with 160 acres and a house that needed to be totally gutted. We worked for one year every night an hour’s drive away (some friends let us stay in a house for just the taxes while we worked on the house). It was extremely hard on our marriage and we didn’t see much of our children. Both our jobs are an hour away. In the time we’ve been here (since 2004), I learned to knit from an 80 year old woman, made many friendships with the neighbors, and learned not to be afraid of cows now that we’ve started our herd of Red Angus cattle. None of our children can afford to keep the farm if something happens to us. I’m ready to move back to town and be closer to work and to my parents. My husband refuses to move back.

    I’m glad you and Jonny have discussed your decision and are ready for whatever comes your way. You are much younger than we were starting out on your “farm venture”. I wish you much luck in taking the right course. I’m so glad you got out with your friends Ginny.

  22. I love that Larkspur is taking her own Yarn Along photos!

  23. This past year we made a huge move cross country to be near family. My husband completely renovated kitchen and lots of other repairs before listing house. I was 6 months pregnant with #6 and my oldest was just 5. We listed the house with sone things info she’d with an agreement to do them before closing and actually the buyers didn’t even care about the u finished paint etc. we sold it in 3 days and thank God because the worst part of the whole thing was cleaning avd getting out of the house for showings! It was rough but totally worth good luck to you if you go for it!!

  24. I just want to tell you that it appears Larkspur appears to be every bit as good a photographer as you–beautiful pictures!

  25. One thought is what are the taxes on that much land? I say this because we had our hearts set on our retirement house being on a small lake near here only to find out that taxes would be at least $500 a month and that made us back away from that really quick.

  26. Ginny, I love land, too. Love. I want to tell you my story to encourage you. Several years ago my husband and I decided we wanted to buy a farm for horses. We searched and found the perfect–I mean, perfect–piece of property, 100 acres, near my kids’ private school and full of history. Yes, it needed tons of work, including, oh, every single thing you would need for a horse farm. The house on it was 150 years old, the former overseer’s house for the plantation whose land this used to be. Also, work, and small for my family of six, but so much history. The land spoke to me and my husband.

    Unfortunately, it also spoke to the man who owned it. It said, “don’t sell to that family.” We we so sad.

    We kept looking. A few months later we found a smaller piece of property in a very good location. It was turn-key: beautiful arena, lovely pastures and a great barn. It was smaller than we wanted, only 25 acres, but that meant we could afford to buy it without selling our home immediately. Two weeks after we purchased the farm, our next-door neighbor approached us about buying her 20 acres, and then two years later we purchased the neighboring 10. Now we have a beautiful 55 acre property and we are finally building our house out there.

    Best of all, we have grown an amazing community of riders/boarders, people I truly love. I think God’s hand was in that first property falling through (although I still think of it!) in order to get us to Shady Oaks. I’ll pray for you that His hand is on all of the transactions going on now. Take heart–God knows where and when you need to be. Sorry for such a long comment but I just wanted to share because I know how this feels! (And now we are looking at 500 acres that we just can’t seem to decide on…)

  27. I really feel you about the moving. We will have to list our house and move before our baby is due mid summer. It isn’t our first time having to sell or move while pregnant. But I am grateful that I won’t be doing it alone this time as I have put my foot down regarding deployments. I just CAN’T do it again without him helping me.

  28. You are making my head spin just thinking about everything. Honestly, I don’t know how you *do* any of it! I only have the two boys and a house that needs very little work….and yet, I am still getting nothing done compared to you!

    Also, I feel you on the wall scribbling……my 5 year old pulled some of that. I think the removal of his utensils has helped. That’s not exactly feasible in your house, sadly 🙁

  29. I hear contentedness in your writing, and that’s good. And knowing that if it’s God’s plan, it will happen.

  30. wow, that’s a big piece of land! * I am learning that living in the present is the best thing and to see the good in each day. Vital for survival and a semblance of peace * praying for you all. * God’s timing IS perfect!

  31. lovely post Ginny.
    Somedays I am so focused on the simple good in my life and other days…well lets just say, I hope Jesus turned his head! or at least my family turned their heads. When these moments happen I wonder who that person is? but in the calm contented moments…oh how I like that person.
    It is always nice to spend time with like minded friends, taking time for yourself.
    Have a great day.

  32. Bonnie Schulzetenberg says:

    And I would like to say: Congratulations on getting the friend thing done! You are much like me, Ginny – just don’t want to come back to a worse mess or issues so I would just stay home and plow thru it (grudgingly) and soon I didn’t even miss it anymore… until I tasted it’s sweet wine – then I remembered what I was missing in my life. I think I would have been a happier person had I done it more. 🙁
    love you Miss Ginny – how will we ever see each other again?

  33. You know the saying, God never gives us more than we can bear……..well sometimes it’s a fine line. Never give up on your dreams though. After your children have left home and started their own journeys those dreams are your life.

  34. I bet all it would take was a simple “Does anyone feel like coming to VA and helping get the farm spruced up so we can move in?” and you’d have a TON of people at your door step for the weekend. I’m sure no one would ever want anything back in return. Well maybe something.. more posts about your farm and sheep 🙂 I think I could find a place to put a tent for two nights and I’m very handy with a paint brush.

  35. You’re absolutely right: life is good RIGHT NOW, regardless of what may happen in the future, and regardless of what we’d like to happen. This second, right now, is great :).

    Having said that, I do hope you’ll be able to get the farm eventually; it just seems like a really nice place for you guys.

    Up until then, there’s Larkspur’s lovely photographs, and yours, and the privilege of following along as you write this blog…that counts for something, too.

    PS. I’m glad you got to connect with friends! I always feel the same way: I never really feel like going (it feels like such an effort) but once I do I’m so glad I did!

  36. I love Larkspur’s yarnalong picture! A lovely book and lovely yarn. It looks like Dream in Color, Shiny Moss.

  37. I understand that juxtaposition of realist and dreamer as my husband and I are the same. It’s a good balance but can also be frustrating at times. 😉

    Praying that the farm works out for you…but peace if it doesn’t. (Hoping for the former!)

  38. Our oldest daughter AND her husband are dreamers. This is not always good as they are able to dream themselves into all sorts of tight corners. You two are blessed to balance each other.

    Anyhow….we have been working on getting the house ready to sell for 13 months and waiting on God for the next step and as long as we are working on this old house we know we are doing something about moving and it is enough. I do have to say though that I will never take another popcorn ceiling in a house that I am living in. What a mess and 4 weeks later we are still finding drywall dust.

    And something our pastor’s wife said to me when we were expecting our fifth and in 1400 sq feet, ‘If there is room in your heart there is room in your home.’

  39. I love Lark’s pictures!

    You seem to have a pretty good handle on things right now (this post and the last are very peaceful).

    Your big boys (husband included) are very handy so I know wherever you end up living will be great! If you get that land sheep are a need! Think of the fiber!!!

  40. Oh this sounds like our story as we searched for land over these last few years. Joe is the realist and I am the dreamer. Most often a good match…. he keeps many dreaming in check and I inspire him 🙂 When we were ready to buy our farmland, the first piece we looked at had been waiting for us all along. I have no doubt the perfect one is waiting for your lovely family too!

  41. Fingers crossed that the farm and acreage will still be on the market when you are ready to make an offer, for some reason I think it will be Ginny, really I do, and if not, then there is something even better just waiting on you.

    I’m glad you had some time to spend with some kindred spirits.

    PS- I am a dreamer and married to a realist, we balance each other nicely as I know you and Jonny do too.

I love to hear from you!