I remember thinking, I’ll turn off here and drive Mt. Gilead home. There was really no reason to do so. I was in Brown County for work and Mt. Gilead was not on the way home. At the time, we lived in a sweet, little bi-level in a subdivision on the south side of Bloomington, Indiana. But something was pulling me that way. So I turned right off of Highway 46 on to Gettys Creek and steered up toward Mt. Gilead, not really sure why.
We had looked at a house for sale on Mt. Gilead once before. It was a fixer-upper on 5 acres and we were excited. A life in the country to raise our little girl – Maddie was just a few months old at the time. My husband Joe, being the carpenter, was ready to take it on. But when he and his contractor buddy, Lee, climbed underneath to scope out the foundation, it instantly went from a cosmetic renovation to a “this is going to be major construction” renovation. Joe explained what it meant – more money than we thought and more dust than a baby should experience. We walked away.
So 2 houses and another little girl later, Joe and I started to get the itch again. Joe spent time in Montana during college, I spent most of my childhood on 10 acres. We knew our long term goal was to be on a larger piece of land – to raise our girls, to grow some food, to possibly raise some animals. Still to this day, I’m not sure why I chose to drive down Mt. Gilead. But I did. And there was the For Sale sign. I called when I got home.
It was 85 acres that had been split into 3 parcels. The 5 acres with the house had an accepted offer. The 20 acres across the street was under contract. And then these words on the other end of the line: “But ma’am, there is still 55 acres for sale adjacent to the house. Would you like me to send you some information?” More than we had ever considered. More than we needed. More than we thought we could handle. I spoke to Joe. Could we do this? Maybe. We have to at least go look at it. So we did. We fell in love. Pasture, woods, ravine. But there were still questions….Can we afford it? There’s no house on this land. Where will we live?
We went home and talked about it. I called the bank. I actually called several. Hearing words like “fifty percent down on land purchases” and “liquid assets” and “net worth”, I started to think, this may not be the time. I made one more call – a small, hometown bank. Come in, let’s talk, is what they said. Oh, you have a piece of land you already own? We can use that as collateral, they said. Joe and I talked. And prayed. And looked at our girls sleeping soundly in their beds. And we made an offer.
And here we are. Four years later. A lot has happened in those four years. A lot more, I hope, will continue to happen. I am going to share it with you here. I hope you stay and keep me company.