So, as my facebook friends know, yesterday Ethan and I closed on our first house. (This sentence is still surreal and feels like I must be talking about someone else).
In a word, it's adorable.
In fact it looks a lot like the little house I've been dreaming of for, oh, say, four years. I didn't win the lottery, but it sort of feels like it at the moment.
It's on 6 acres of land, which means plenty of room for frisbee playing with this girl, lots of outdoor space for parties and bonfires, and all the things we love.
There are many beautiful trees, including two weeping cherries out front, and a pink dogwood outside the bedroom window, and a lilac tree. Someone who lived here before was an avid gardener, and those bushes out front, while overgrown now, will be beautiful soon. There are roses, and azaleas, and bleeding hearts, and rhododendron, just to name a few of the perennials.
A lot of the property is wooded (which we intend to keep that way) so we plan to put in a loop trail through the woods for riding, and hope to make friends with the neighbors so we can ride out from the property to all the beautiful farms around us.
Speaking of neighbors, on one side is a nursery, and the other side is a horse farm and lavender farm. We can see the lavender growing from our place and I hope will be able to smell it on the breeze as well. It's pretty picturesque.
There is a quite a bit of work to be done before we can move in. It needs a new septic (which we knew before purchase), and the engineering aspect of that is already underway. We have contractors lined up to begin work on the basement and some other issues. The rest of the interior work is mostly cosmetic, and I'm excited to do a lot of this ourselves (I'm anticipating a very steep learning curve). There are old carpets that we'll rip up, but really nice oak hardwood floors underneath that will be refinished. There is peeling wallpaper and dated wood paneling that will come down, and the walls will get touched up and painted. The kitchen is covered in linoleum, so that needs some updating. I've become addicted to Pinterest.
The way you know that your life is on the right track is that when we posted the news on facebook, my friends didn't ask me how many bedrooms there are, or whether it's a good school system, or how many cars fit in the garage. I did however have several people ask me if there's a barn, if there's a ring, and whether Tucker is moving in. I love my friends. I truly do.
So, to answer your questions. There's some planning and preparation to be done before horses and donkeys can come home. The shape of the property means it will require some careful planning, but I've already talked to some folks at the Township who have offered their assistance in making it work. There is a small stream running through the woods, which means we hired an environmental consultant to delineate the wetlands and get it approved by the DEP. The process will take a few months, but everyone involved seems pretty confident that in the end we will have room for a small barn and grass paddocks. I truly can't wait for Ethan to have his horse in our backyard because he loves riding and exploring our area and meeting the neighbors. This also means donkeys in my backyard. You all know how much this fills my heart with joy.
As for Tucker, he is staying where he is for now, and thankfully as I've mentioned 100 times I love my barn. We have no plans to put in a ring, but the proximity of a horse farm next door means it's possible, if I could arrange something, that he could live at home during the spring and summer if I had permission to ride in the ring next door. At the very least, Tucker has a place in my backyard when he's ready to retire, which brings tears to my eyes every time I think of it. As you know, Tucker will be with me for the rest of his life, and knowing that I have a retirement plan for him in place, in my own yard where I can kiss this face every day, is so comforting.
I've been trying to figure out how to put this next part into words and I'm failing. Ethan's parents have helped us so much with this, and not just financially. They've put in hours of planning and discussion, reached out to their contacts to help put all these pieces together, and put so much effort into making this work. They even put on rubber boots and walked the wetlands themselves. I'm sort of at a loss here. "Thank you" doesn't really cut it. Thank you is something you say when someone holds a door for you. What do you say when someone makes your dreams come true? How do you repay that kind of generosity? I honestly don't know. But having my own kitchen where I can make them some nice meals is a good place to start, I think.
If you had told me two years ago, just a couple months before I ran into Ethan on the hunter pace that would change my life, that I would be living on a beautiful little farm in a town I adore, with a good, caring, hilarious man who wanted to live with me and a bunch of animals, I would have laughed and told you that you were clearly thinking of someone else. It's always been a dream and always felt like something that couldn't happen. It's getting late and I'm getting sentimental, I know. But sometimes the gratitude gets overwhelming.
People keep asking if I am excited, and I am, but most of all I am very, very thankful.