Homestead history… and hope

We have an appointment tomorrow at the title company to sign our names dozens of times on a mountain of paper. It will be my third and, I sincerely hope, final time through that ritual for this property – first the land loan, then the construction loan, and now we’re refinancing into a plain vanilla mortgage. The occasion set me to thinking about where we started, and just how far we’ve come here. So… a little homestead history photo tour:

2008: Our first outdoor kitchen, under a tarp hung off the shipping container
2008: Our first outdoor kitchen, under a tarp hung off the shipping container
2008: Future house site
2008: Future house site
2008: Cabin construction
2008: Cabin construction
2008: Cabin construction
2008: Cabin construction
2008: Our first winter. Note the patch of paint left of the door.
2008: Our first winter. Notice the arbitrary patch of exterior paint.
2010: New shed/privy at the cabin
2010: New shed/privy at the cabin
2012: House foundation
2012: House foundation
2013: Septic installation. Perhaps our biggest accomplishment to date. Certainly the most aggravating.
2013: Septic installation. Perhaps our biggest accomplishment. Certainly the most aggravating.
2013: Construction progress
2013: Construction progress
2014: Still working on finishing touches
2014: Finishing work
2014: Settling in
2014: Settling in

What’s hard to see in photos is how the most basic infrastructure of this place has changed in really dramatic ways. We’ve probably done as much on/below ground work as above-ground. Power and water came in via easements across neighbors’ property, and started with a single port. (Oh, the days when a single electrical outlet and a trouble light were real upgrades.) The utility networks, the septic system, more than half a mile of driveway… it’s all been installed and extended and upgraded.

I’ve said nothing of how this place has grown up around us, despite our best efforts to tame it. The first alder saplings that we were distinctly excited to see along the road that first year are now 20-some feet tall. This piece of land was logged just before we bought it, and it’s been amazing and frequently overwhelming to witness the ferocity with which the forest has grown to fill the voids created by that.

Of course there’s plenty more that we’d like to do, wish we had been able to do already, and will continue to do for many years. But there’s something newly tangible about it all. Fifteen years of set payments – it all seems so finite, so known, so simple. In what is most certainly a sign of my advancing age, fifteen years just doesn’t seem like all that long. It feels imminently… doable. Hopeful, even.

That’s right friends, mortgage papers give me hope. Surely you’re not shocked.

2 thoughts on “Homestead history… and hope

  1. Hi! This might sound really odd, but I was looking at your pattern in the new knitty, and your bio mentioned you live on the Olympic Peninsula of WA. A wee bit of backstory, I am in the process of getting ready to relocate to your neck of the woods from Ft Worth, TX, to get some land that we can turn into a hobby farm. So, when I saw your location, I had to pop by to see how things were. It looks very much like you have gone through much of what we’re interested in doing, and I’d love to get some more info from you as to lessons learned, process, things you wished you knew, anything and everything you are interested in sharing would be really fantastic if you’re ok talking to a complete stranger on the internet. I’m on ravelry too as hannah8ball if you’d rather chat there. Your farm looks amazing, you give me hope that our baby dream will someday turn into a reality too!

    1. Hi Hannah! Congrats on the impending move, sounds like a big change from Fort Worth. But if your hobbies are knitting and farming, I bet you’ll fit right in. It’s certainly been a ride, and I’m happy to chat via email and will do my best to answer specific questions.

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