Brian and I found each other after failed first marriages, and we were instantly the best of friends. It was on the foundation of that friendship that we built a life together with six children between us and 13 grandchildren, and, as I write this, we are approaching our 32nd anniversary. Over the years we thought about and dreamed of what we would do and where we would live in our later years, and as time passed the dream solidified into a plan. One thing that was for certain, we wanted to be close to the beach! The other must have was a little country homestead. When our last child flew the nest and our last parent left this earth, we sold our house, packed up, and headed south!
The first place we landed was in Daphne, Alabama, in a great little apartment with a lake view. We even had alligators that came right up to the building behind us! We fell in love with the whole southeastern quadrant of our beautiful state, and we knew anywhere we located in that area, we'd be within an hour of the beach. It was important, however, to be far enough inland that we would not find ourselves having to evacuate during hurricanes. While living in our apartment we began to look at different specific areas, and stumbled upon a foreclosed home that we were able to get in a steal of a deal. We stayed there about a year and half before selling it for a crazy profit. Unfortunately, I'd had some health issues while in the house and I was still getting back on my feet, so we reluctantly rented a tiny condo in order to downsize and give my health a chance to catch up. The upside to the condo was its location right on Mobile Bay. Brian loved walking the dog down a steep hill to the Bay and back every day. That hill was a bit much for me so I began my rehabilitation by walking inside the condo. I just walked circles around that 650 sq ft space until I was dizzy, but eventually, with the help and encouragement of a dear friend, I reached my goal of five miles a day. My health began to improve and we were ready to move on.
It was then that we got an unexpected opportunity to "practice" living our dream. My son-in-law's family agreed to rent a relative's home to us for next to nothing. Although it's located on a busy highway, the house is set back from the road enough to give it some seclusion. It is on about two acres but what makes it really special is the fact that it's backed by about a hundred wild acres. The view to the back is beautiful and in the second year, we put up clotheslines, bought a chicken coop, built compost bins and garden boxes and even fashioned a bottle tree. (You've got to have a bottle tree in the country, right?) The wildlife is amazing and we have learned so much here. This house gave us the chance to really discover if the country life is for us and we love it. The only downside is that it does not belong to us and never could. So we again turn our thoughts to finding property. We know for sure we are in the right area, though, and there is property for sale all around us at phenomenal prices.
At some point our dream turned into a plan, and the plan became solid details. We chose a house plan (more on the house in a coming blog post) and we decided that we needed a temporary "home" to stay in while we are building the house. We both have always loved Airstream trailers, so the search is on to find just the right one that is both livable and that we can use later as a guest suite, or maybe housing for someone to help on the homestead. We quickly realized that something else was needed before we ever sleep a night in a camper trailer - a storm shelter! We live in tornado country so a storm shelter is a must have. Once that's taken care of we can get our garden established and maybe build a nice enclosure and hen house for our chickens!
Here's our "get-it-done" list:
1. Find & buy property
2. Build a storm shelter.
3. Buy & set-up an Airstream
4. Build our house.
5. Live our dream!
...and that's where you pick up our journey. Hop on and ride with us!
P.S. On my 60th birthday in 2015, I made a decision to pursue another long held dream of mine - to own an Interior Design/Decorating business. I spent a year preparing and learning a LOT and as of this moment, things are beginning to open up for me. It will give us some extra income, and be an important outlet for my creative side. You can find me online at BayView Redesign. Come visit any time!